Is Ephedrine Legal to Buy in Illinois? [Ephedra Ban Review]
Can you legally purchase ephedrine in Illinois without a prescription? Ephedrine is one of the active alkaloids found in the ephedra plant, commonly used to promote fat loss and to increase energy levels.
In Illinois, the sale of Ephedrine is restricted, but certain forms of it are legal. This ingredient is approved by the FDA as a drug for the treatment of medical conditions, including asthma, bronchitis, nasal congestion and shortness of breath.
However, it cannot be promoted as an ingredient in dietary supplements to support weight loss, boost athletic performance or as an energy booster. Under US law, it is banned for inclusion in products sold as nutritional supplements.
This is made more confusing by the fact that ephedra – the plant from which this compound is derived – is still legal in dietary supplements. But only if sold in a form that excludes the banned ephedrine alkaloids.
What do you need to know before you buy Ephedrine in Illinois and where can you legally purchase this drug? Click here to buy ephedra supplements online legally without a prescription.
Ephedrine in Illinois
The legal status of Ephedrine and Ephedra in Illinois can be confusing given the many intricacies and exceptions prevalent in the law.
The sale of these compounds are restricted under both state and federal law. While Ephedrine is legal to buy, possess and use, there are a number of stipulations and requirements that both manufacturers, sellers and buyers need to be aware of.
In the United States, ephedrine and certain other alkaloids from the ephedra plant were banned in 2004 from diet and weight loss products and other performance enhancers. They cannot be sold in dietary supplements, according to a ruling from the FDA.
However, ephedrine HCL and sulfate can still be found in a number of drugs such as asthma medications, cold and flu remedies, and some cough medicines. These drugs have to be sold behind the counter at a licensed pharmacy.
In Illinois, ephedrine is defined as a schedule IV substance. Because it is noted to be a precursor for the manufacture of methamphetamine, Illinois regulations specify that any mixture, compound, or preparation that contains detectable amounts of ephedrine or pseudoephedrine as well as their salts or isomers, will fall under this classification.
Exemptions do apply in regard to how the products are packaged and formulated. For example, products that contain less than 12.5 mg per dose in a soft-gel formulation are legal to buy, possess and consume without a prescription.
The Illinois State Police coordinate and manage the statewide precursor tracking program (NPLEx), and pharmacists and retail distributors are required to maintain handwritten or electronic logs of purchases of products containing ephedrine and pseudoephedrine.
Ephedrine or pseudoephedrine must not be marketed, labeled, or advertised as a compound that promotes weight loss, appetite control, energy enhancement, and so forth. If it does, the product will fall under the statutes and regulations defining the product as a controlled substance.
Ephedrine along with pseudoephedrine ‘convenience packages’ cannot contain more than 360 mg of either precursor in liquid form. Thirty-day sales limits cap out at 7.5 g.
In Illinois, purchasers must be 18 years of age or older and be prepared to show a driver’s license or other applicable government issued ID showing photograph, date of birth, and name.
Sometimes other contact information will also be requested and your sale will be tracked in a centralized database. Anyone purchasing too much could be subject to legal scrutiny or investigation.
Where Can You Buy Ephedrine?
Pharmacies and retail distributors, including drug stores, merchandise, and grocery stores can sell ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, but they have to follow very specific statewide guidelines on legal practices.
There are daily sales and transactions limits put in place in the state of Illinois. Employees also have to go through special training in order to distribute the drug and have to be educated regarding information about such substances being a precursor for the manufacture of methamphetamine.
Employees are required to sign a certification form stating their education on this topic for the length of their employment.
Products containing ephedrine and pseudoephedrine are to be stored behind pharmacy counters and are only allowed to be distributed by pharmacists and pharmacy employees. For retail distributors, packages are required to be kept behind either store counters or locked glass cases.
Sales are limited to two packages of any ephedrine or pseudoephedrine product as they are deemed precursors to methamphetamine manufacture. This is applicable to even those acquiring any such products with a prescription.
Offenses for both purchasers and retailers or pharmacist will apply in misdemeanor or felony classifications dependent on amount (milligrams) of ephedrine or pseudoephedrine purchased over the defined amount throughout the 30-day period.
Before considering purchase of ephedrine in Illinois, know state laws and regulations. 
Ephedra Fat Loss Pills
The information above pertains to the sale of ephedrine HCL or sulfate in the form of a pharmaceutical agent used to treat asthma or bronchial blockages.
This is distinct from the sale of ephedra as a dietary supplement in the USA, which is regulated at the federal government level by the Food and Drug Administration.
Under the FDA policy, ephedrine is treated differently than ephedra. To clarify, ephedrine is one of the active chemical ingredients found in ephedra. Think of it like caffeine, which is the active ingredient found in coffee beans.
According to FDA regulations, ephedrine is banned from supplements, but not ephedra. This means that supplements that contain ephedra extract without ephedrine are legal.
Imagine having a decaffeinated coffee bean. In this analogy, the decaffeinated coffee extract would be legal while the caffeine would illegal.
To get around this and meet the demand for ephedra fat burning supplements, manufacturers will provide other species of the ephedra plant that do not naturally contain ephedrine alkaloids.
For example, E. Sinica (Ma Huang) is a species of the plant that has a high ephedrine content. This species would not be allowed in supplements sold in Illinois or anywhere in the USA because of its alkaloid content.
E. Viridis or E. Californica are two species of the plant that grow naturally in the USA. Neither of these species contain discernable amounts of ephedrine alkaloids, so they are legal to use in supplements.
These supplements are not easy to find in local stores in Illinois and you will not see them sold at GNC, Amazon, Walmart or Target. But you can find these supplements online and they are legal to buy under US federal law.