Every so often a drug invented by California psychedelic explorer Sasha Shulgin, the Godfather of Ecstasy, escapes the lab and becomes a headache for law enforcement.

This is one of those times. Amid reports that actor Johnny Lewis might have been on 2C-I, or “smiles,” when he allegedly flipped out, murdered his landlord and jumped or fell to his death, there is some concern that the psychedelic substance is gaining in popularity.

It was only July that …

[Warning: NSFW language]:

… 2C-I was outlawed, DEA spokeswoman Sarah Pullen tells the Weekly:

These substances have been linked to recent deaths throughout the US.

On July 9, 2012, President Obama signed the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act which included placing 9 different 2C chemicals, and 15 different synthetic cannabanoids into Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.

2c_i DEA Factsheet

Since then, it's only increased its presence in Southern California and elsewhere. Pullen:

We're definitely starting to hear more about it lately.

Still, she said, the drug, part of the so-called “2C family” of hallucinogens cooked up by Shulgin and apparently made more accessible via at least one of his his recipe books, isn't as present here as it has been in other parts of the nation.

LAPD Commander Andrew Smith told ABC News that the department has also seen more of the drug and others like it:

The thing we are seeing lately here in Los Angeles and across the country are synthetic designer-type drugs, something like 'bath salts,' or the new one we've heard around here called 'smiles.'

A YouTube user called toker90704 (see video, above) described the 2C-I trip as the equivalent of taking “8 to 10 hits of acid” and “the most profound experience I ever had.”

Police were awaiting toxicology tests on Lewis' body to determine if indeed he was on 2C-I during last week's attack in Los Feliz.

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]

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