In the early 2000s, 2C-I was sold in Dutch smart shops after the drug 2C-B was banned. In April 2008, 2C-I was also banned in the Netherlands, along with three other 2C-x phenethylamines previously sold in Dutch smartshops for short periods of time. During the same period, 2C-I also became available in powder form from several online vendors of research chemicals in the United States, Asia, and Western Europe.
It is often misrepresented as mescaline in US street sale of singular dosages, as it shares some level of similarity in psychological effect. Both chemicals are members of the psychedelic phenethylamine class of drugs, except 2C-I is an analog of mescaline in the 2C-x series. A major difference between the research chemicals in the 2C-x series and mescaline is a much greater potency by weight and thus also a steeper dose-response in the newer synthetic drugs. 2C-I's effective dosage range per milligram is approximately 10-fold less than mescaline. This means that a small carrier material, such as a small candy or pressed pill, is suitable for 2C-I. That type of small carrier material has an insufficiently small holding capacity to contain a large enough quantity of mescaline to produce a substantial psychoactive effect.
The onset of effects usually occurs within two hours, and the effects of the drug typically last somewhere in the range of 4 to 12 hours (depending on the dose). The effects of the drug at small dosages (less than 12 mg) has been reported as more mental and less sensory than those of 2C-B. Users of 2C-I do, however, tend to report a physical stimulant effect, often quite strong and clean. The effects of the drug at larger dosages (12-30+ mg) are often described as combining psychedelic or hallucinogenic effects typical of drugs such as LSD with the empathogenic or entactogenic effects of drugs such as MDMA (ecstasy). Although unpleasant physical side-effects such as muscle tension, nausea, and vomiting have been reported, their incidence with the use of 2C-I appears to be less common than with some closely related phenethylamines such as 2C-T-2 and 2C-T-7. Some physical effects include dilated pupils, high energy, and muscle relaxation. Users report feeling light and sometimes giddy or excited during the first two hours. Users also report that heavy music, usually electronic, and other auditory stimulation is enjoyable.
Sveriges riksdag added 2C-I to schedule I ("substances, plant materials and fungi which normally do not have medical use") as narcotics in Sweden as of Mar 16, 2004, published by Medical Products Agency in their regulation LVFS 2004:3 listed as 4-jodo-2,5-dimetoxifenetylamin (2C-I).
^European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (2004). Report on the risk assessment of 2C-1, 2C-T-2 and 2C-T-7 in the framework of the joint action on new synthetic drugs Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, p. 109. ISBN 9789291681815