We thought we had answered most questions regarding legality of ephedrine in our previous articles, Legality of Ephedrine in the USA and Ephedrine for sale, but apparently it’s not the case, we still get questions such as: is it legal to buy ephedrine in my country? Is it legal to buy online from a country where ephedrine for sale is legal? Etc…
Reminder: legality of ephedrine in the USA
Ephedrine as a substance: it is legal to buy ephedrine as bronchodilator for asthma, given maximal quantities of 3.6 grams per sale and 7.5 grams per month if delivered per mail, 9 grams if bought locally. Legal obligation to check name and address of the buyer. Ephedra as a plant (Ephedra sinica or Ma Huang) is not controlled in the USA, both plants and seeds are perfectly legal in all US states for purchase and sale.
More information about the legal status of ephedrine in Canada
Next to the ban of ephedrine by the FDA, Health Canada has requested recall of products containing ephedrine above the following dosage: 8 mg ephedrine per single dose or 32mg ephedrine per day. These limits still apply today.
EC stacks are not allowed, nor references to weight loss on labels.
Ephedra based products which are marketed for traditional medicine are still authorized if they don’t contain caffeine and if the above-mentioned dosages of ephedrine are respected.
Legality of ephedrine in Europe
France: banned in 2003, based on the decision made by the FDA (official explanation)
Belgium : banned in 2005, next to the FDA ban.
Germany: only in pharmacies
UK: in pharmacies and freely sold online for weight loss by UK based companies
Netherlands and Finland: prescription only
Spain: we didn’t receive references to the legal text, some members reported that they buy online without any problem.
Legality of International Sales of Ephedrine
Is it legal to buy from a country where ephedrine is authorized, to ship to a country where it’s not? No. The legal rules apply, not depending of the country of origin.
Back to USA and Canada
Due to the close relationships these countries have, also in the pharmaceutical industry, there is a need of convergence regarding drugs regulations. Canada had to stand a point after the ban of ephedrine by the FDA. If you want to have a better idea of the real motivations of the US ban, you should have a look at the Canadian official texts about ephedrine: there is no reference to potential health risks but only concerted actions to fight against drug trafficking.
For instance, here is an extract of the Canadian official position on ephedrine:
« Synthetic drug producers require a continuous supply of precursor chemicals. Ephedrine and pseudoephedrine (PSE) are in the greatest demand as they are the primary precursors for methamphetamine. Until recently, the flow of large quantities of PSE from Canadian supply sources to methamphetamine ‘super labs’ in the United States heightened law enforcement concerns regarding the cross-border trafficking of PSE. »
More information here.
Some people will probably worry about the fact that Canada did not authorize EC stacks (ephedrine + caffeine), which has not to do with drugs trafficking but with a real worry for the health of the population. Let’s close this point rapidly: yes, EC stacks present a cardiovascular risk at insane dosage, but no, they present no risk at the prescribed dosage.
Our frequent readers know that the FDA ban of ephedrine had other motives than adverse effects. The scientific basis of the decision was so poor that even pro-ban enthusiasts were embarrassed (including the pharmaceutical industry and the officials). Have a look at our post about the recent bills in the USA which will restrict even more the sale of ephedrine as cold and allergy medicine: the real target is to fight against the rise of meth labs in the country. Bad luck for the 12 million people who were taking ephedrine for weight loss without any adverse effect. When you think that in the same time, the American food industry is directly involved in the epidemic rise of obesity of adults and children as well, you could truly question the relation between legality and safety…
Anyway, to come back to the FDA ban, the reasons of drug control did win (ephedrine being a precursor of methamphetamine), but medical evidence remains: ephedrine alone, or ephedrine plus caffeine (EC stack) present no risk at the prescribed dosage: for instance in this 2008 case-crossover study focusing on cardiovascular risks of ephedrine + caffeine, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology : « Prescription of an ephedrine / caffeine product was not associated with adverse cardiovascular outcomes. This was found across a wide range of patient subgroups, different cardiovascular outcomes, different assumptions about exposure, and different utilization patterns. »
Many other medical studies lead to the same conclusion: the FDA ban, meant for drug control, has prevented millions of people to benefit from the amazing effects of ephedrine for weight loss (fat burn through higher metabolism/thermogenesis, energy level, appetite suppression, lean muscle mass retention), and all this without any patent, just offered by Nature (see our article about Alkaloids).
But law is law and applies to all. If the legality of ephedrine in your country allows you to buy EC stacks online, lucky you, don’t forget to check our review of most sites having real ephedrine for sale and not fake products without ephedrine alkaloids.
By Mike Budd