So many things changed recently that it may be useful to do an update on the legal status of ephedrine in Europe but also in the USA, as Europe is usually following the US drugs legislation; remember for instance how Europe has copied the FDA ban on ephedra in 2004. The European drugs legislation is not totally aligned on the American one because each European state has its own laws and regulations, but they are progressively harmonized at EU level. Since 1997 there is an agreement signed by EU countries that authorize a free movement of persons and goods, defining the so-called Schengen Area. This means that European countries depend on each other to make sure that all imports are strictly controlled at the EU border because there will be no further check between two European countries within the Schengen Area. To sum it up and to come back to ephedrine, the EU Single Market is composed of independent countries that have their own laws about ephedrine but European laws are overriding them in order to protect the Schengen Area, since any entry point in Europe gives access to all states without further Customs control.
It is legal to purchase ephedrine in the USA?
Yes, as explained in several posts such as Ephedrine for sale or Ezine Article about the Legality of Ephedrine in the USA, you can legally buy ephedrine and pseudoephedrine as bronchodilator for asthma in all US states, given maximal quantities of 3.6 grams per sale and 7.5 grams per month if delivered per mail and 9 grams if bought locally in a real store. Depending on your state, you will need a prescription or not, and most of the time you will have to show your ID at the pharmacy. You know our point of view regarding a prescription mandate: we are convinced that it would only put a unfair burden on honest patients without solving the meth problem.
Will it be easier to get ephedrine in the USA?
Let’s start with the USA as the leading nation for this topic.
The key factor is that a small US company has found a new formulation process that blocks the crystallization phase in the meth production thus no more risks that ephedrine and pseudoephedrine can be used in an illegal way. This is a real game changer and some cities or counties have already passed ordinances that takes this fact into account: see for instance the recent ordinances in St. Charles County and Manchester that require a doctor’s prescription but also include an exemption for products that are meth-resistant. We think that this win-win situation could establish a kind of case law statewide and relief counties and cities from the burden of local ordinances.
As you can guess, we had long discussions about this point within the team and you will find more information in this dedicated post, Ephedrine Sold Over the Counter, A Political Fiction. If our guess is right, the new meth-resistant product will have consequences for all concerned people: politicians, pharmaceutical companies, drug addicts, law-enforcement officers, doctors and patients.
In two words, pseudoephedrine and ephedrine should be progressively absolved from the suspicion as being precursors of methamphetamine, there is a chance that you will be able to buy ephedrine over the counter for the current legal usage which is cold, allergy and asthma. Why? Just because pseudoephedrine is by the far the best medicine we have for these conditions, ask any allergist, immunologist or pulmonologist for confirmation if you want. What about the FDA ban then? Well, we don’t think that politicians will have the courage to open this controversial file, there has been too much lobbying, hypocrisy and manipulation: most involved politicians and health officials have nothing to gain and much to lose, why would they explain that they have deprived millions of overweight and obese people of the natural benefits of ephedrine for weight loss? That would be a real surprise If ephedrine is not suspected anymore for its role in the production of meth, then the remaining issue about ephedrine and weight loss will be the safety issue and we are sure that politicians can live with that, just as they live today with the fact that common painkillers called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) kill thousands of people each year in the USA: “major adverse gastrointestinal events attributed to NSAIDs are responsible for over 100,000 hospitalizations, US$2 billion in healthcare costs, and 17,000 deaths in the US each year“.
So the pressure will probably decrease, the current lobbying done by drug agents will disappear and people will get ephedrine as they used to do before the ban. Of course they will buy it for cold, allergy ans asthma, and if it also helps burning fat, well, let’s consider it as a positive effect for people who have a few pounds to shred.
How will sales of ephedrine evolve in Canada?
As neighbor of the USA, Canada has to align with US drug policies. Ephedrine is sold over the counter in Canada, not for weight loss but as oral decongestant and with a limit of 8mg per single dose or 32 mg per day. Despite the need of convergence regarding drugs regulations, Canada has today a more balanced approach on the legal aspects for ephedrine and as a consequence Canadian producers such as Kaizen are the main source for what we consider as the best ephedrine that you can buy legally: pure pharmaceutical grade Kaizen Ephedrine HCL without binders or fillers. The only restriction is that these companies can’t promote ephedrine for weight loss, it is meant as bronchodilator for the same authorized conditions as in the USA: cold, allergy and asthma. What would be our guess for ephedrine in Canada, taking into account the recent changes in the USA? Probably a reduction of the sales of ephedrine produced in Canada and shipped to the US: that makes sense. But for the internal Canadian market we have no idea if it will become easier to buy ephedrine or if it will become possible to promote it for weight loss. Again Canada is usually following the USA so if the pressure goes down in the USA we see no reason why it should increase in Canada, that would make no sense.
What about ephedrine for sale in Europe?
You might remember from our previous post, Are Purchase and Sale of Ephedrine Legal in Europe?, that the current legality of ephedrine varies from country to country. The key factor is that the European Commission is currently planning to strengthen the Customs controls on ephedrine and pseudoephedrine. You remember what we mentioned about the EU Single Market and the Schengen Area, well all the buzz about ephedrine in the USA and a recent scandal in Pakistan have drawn the attention of European politicians who have realized that while ephedrine and pseudoephedrine are controlled as substances, the sales of medicinal products which contain these two alkaloids are not controlled, this is why buying ephedrine online from a Canadian site for a delivery in Europe is perfectly legal, your shipment will not be stopped at Customs controls because importing an asthma treatment is legal even if it contains ephedrine.
Here is an extract of this EC regulation:
As you can see in this text, the goal is to control the export of medicinal products containing pseudoephedrine or ephedrine. The new law will allow Customs authorities to do more controls and to seize suspicious shipments when there is a reasonable suspicion that it may be used illegally for drugs. A European drug precursors database will be built to differentiate EU legitimate businesses from companies that provide narcotics producers. Apparently individuals are not targeted by this new law which will focus first on companies which export industrial quantities. The second step will probably focus on imports of ephedrine in large quantities by companies, not on small packages for people who have purchased ephedrine online. Two reasons for that: first, Europe doesn’t have the same meth problem as the United States, second, controlling individual packages bought online would be an overwhelming task in terms of resources for the Customs authorities.
We see the future of ephedrine in Europe in two phases: the first one will restrict the sales of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine due to the new legislation and the second one will release the pressure as in the USA, when both products will be progressively disconnected from the drug issue. But this may take some time as it has to start in the USA before being copied in Europe and the rest of the world. We are not talking about tomorrow or the next week here, no need to go to a convenience store and look for ephedrine HCL on the shelves You will have to wait a bit on both sides of the Atlantic for that, but fortunately if your sinuses are completely blocked you still have the possibility to order ephedrine online: remember that we have updated our recommendation on where to buy ephedrine from trustworthy selling sites that have years of experience.
As usual, the last words are for safety: if you plan an EC stack (EC stands for Ephedrine plus Caffeine), for a cutting phase or just to boost your cardio training, you know that we have detailed a safe dosage here and a standard dosage there. Take some minutes to read and understand all potential side effects. Stay safe.
1. Edward J Frech and Mae F Go, “Treatment and chemoprevention of NSAID-associated gastrointestinal complications”, Ther Clin Risk Manag. 2009; 5: 65–73.
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