|Summary sheet: Ephedrine|
|Common names||Ephedrine, Ephedra|
|Routes of Administration|
Ephedrine is a naturally occuring central nervous system stimulant obtained from the plant Ephedra equisetina. Commonly used as a stimulant, concentration aid, decongestant, appetite suppressant, and to treat hypotension associated with anaesthesia.
Ephedrine is closely related in structure to methamphetamine, although its CNS actions are much less potent and also longer-acting than those of the amphetamines. Its peripheral stimulant actions are similar to but less powerful than those of epinephrine (adrenaline), a hormone produced in the body by the adrenal glands.
- 1 History and culture
- 2 Chemistry
- 3 Pharmacology
- 4 Subjective effects
- 5 Toxicity and harm potential
- 6 Legal status
- 7 See also
- 8 External links
- 9 Literature
- 10 References
History and culture
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Ephedrine in its natural form, known as má huáng in traditional Chinese medicine, has been documented in China since the Han dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD) as an antiasthmatic and stimulant. In 1885, the chemical synthesis of ephedrine was first accomplished by Japanese organic chemist Nagai Nagayoshi based on his research on traditional Japanese and Chinese herbal medicines. The industrial manufacture of ephedrine in China began in the 1920s, when Merck began marketing and selling the drug as ephetonin. Ephedrine exports from China to the West grew from 4 to 216 tonnes between 1926 and 1928. Ephedrine became a highly popular and effective treatment for asthma, particularly because, unlike adrenaline (until then the standard therapy), it can be given by mouth. Ephedrine as a treatment for asthma reached its zenith in the late 1950s, since when there has been a gradual and inevitable decline in its therapeutic use. From mainstream medicine, ephedrine moved into the twilight zone of street drugs and nutritional supplements. Ephedra and ephedrine products are now banned in many countries, as they are a major source for the production of the addictive compound methamphetamine.
Ephedrine primary mechanism of action is through increasing catecholamine activity at alpha, beta-1, and beta-2 adrenergic receptors. It also acts as a NDRA (norepinephrine-dopamine releasing agent).
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Disclaimer: The effects listed below cite the Subjective Effect Index (SEI), a literature based on anecdotal reports and the personal experiences of PsychonautWiki contributors. As a result, they should be treated with a healthy amount of skepticism. It is worth noting that these effects will not necessarily occur in a consistent or reliable manner, although higher doses are more likely to induce the full spectrum of effects. Likewise, adverse effects become much more likely with higher doses and may include serious injury or death.
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There are currently no anecdotal reports which describe the effects of this compound within our experience index. Additional experience reports can be found here:
Toxicity and harm potential
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It is strongly recommended that one use harm reduction practices when using this substance.
Tolerance and addiction potential
As with other stimulants, the chronic use of ephedrine can be considered moderately addictive and is capable of causing psychological dependence among certain users.
Tolerance to the effects of ephedrine are quickly built after repeated and frequent usage. Ephedrinepresents cross-tolerance with other dopaminergic stimulants, meaning that after the consumption of ephedrine, most other stimulant compounds will have a reduced effect.
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Although many psychoactive substances are reasonably safe to use on their own, they can quickly become dangerous or even life-threatening when combined with other substances. The list below includes some known dangerous combinations (although it cannot be guaranteed to include all of them). Independent research (e.g. Google, DuckDuckGo) should always be conducted to ensure that a combination of two or more substances is safe to consume. Some interactions listed have been sourced from TripSit.
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- Canada - Ephedrine can be sold for breathing purposes in 8 milligram doses OTC.
- United states - Ephedrine is heavily regulated due to production of meth using ephedrine.
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- The history of Ephedra (ma-huang). (PubMed.gov / NCBI) | https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21365072
- Pharmacological Effects of Ephedrine | https://link.springer.com/referenceworkentry/10.1007/978-3-642-22144-6_41
- Dopamine-mediated actions of ephedrine in the rat substantia nigra. (PubMed.gov / NCBI) | https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16386715