Ephedrine is found in both cold remedies and herbal highs. Find out how it affects you and what the law says.
Ephedrine is an ingredient used in certain over-the-counter medications to treat congestion and asthma. It’s a stimulant, extracted from an Asiatic shrub called Ma Huang, and is often found in herbal ecstasy products such as Cloud 9 and Nirvana Plus, although its effects are closer to those of speed.
What are the effects of ephedrine?
- Speeds up the heart rate and increases blood pressure.
- Dilates the bronchioles in the lungs, making breathing easier.
- Users report feeling more alert and focused.
- Other effects on the body can include shivers down the spine and sensitive skin.
What risk does taking ephedrine have?
- Nausea, a dry mouth and restlessness are common.
- At high doses, users can experience anxiety, heart palpitations, vomiting, tremors and insomnia.
- Long-term recreational misuse has been linked to strokes and heart attack.
Ephedrine and the law:
- Ephedrine is not currently classified as a controlled substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act, so no penalties apply for possession or use of small amounts.
- Selling ephedrine as an unlicensed preparation would risk prosecution under the Medicines Act.
Slang terms for ephedrine:
Mini-Thins, trucker speed.
If you are planning to take ephedrine:
Think about the risks before using ephedrine without medical supervision, especially if you have a heart condition or diabetes.
Photo of white pills by Shutterstock
Updated on 29-Sep-2015
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