Ephedrine in North Carolina – Is It Legal to Buy? [Limits & Laws]
In North Carolina, there are strict laws and regulations governing the sale of products that contain ephedrine and pseudoephedrine.
There are guidelines that apply to both the retailer and the customer. These laws are put in place to prevent any one person from purchasing too much of this product.
Ephedrine is an ingredient in over-the counter (non-prescription) medications used to treat asthma and other breathing disorders. It is also abused off-label for weight loss, energy, focus and appetite suppression.
Individuals who live in North Carolina and want to buy ephedrine tablets should be aware of both applicable federal and state laws. While this stimulant ingredient is legal and FDA-approved, its sale is also highly restricted.
Products containing ephedrine and pseudoephedrine alkaloids are under increased scrutiny due to their use as precursors in the manufacture of methamphetamine. Click here to buy ephedra supplements online legally without a prescription.
Ephedrine in North Carolina
Ephedrine is classified as a scheduled substance in this state. While it is legal to buy without a prescription, availability is strictly controlled.
When buying ephedrine or pseudoephedrine in North Carolina, you must be a minimum of 18 years of age and be prepared to show an approved government-issued photo ID.
You will also be required to provide a valid personal address of residence and your purchase will be tracked in a central database.
Like other states in the USA, sales tracking systems are employed requiring pharmacists as well as retail stores to maintain a log (manual or electric) of all purchases of pseudoephedrine and ephedrine in North Carolina.
Name and contact information for every purchase and purchaser is recorded and submitted to the state commission.
There is also a 3.6 gram limit to the amount of this drug that can be purchased on any single day or 9 grams within a 30-day period. Individuals purchasing more than the maximum amount allowed by law may be subject to legal penalties.
Exceptions to these rules do apply when products containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine are dispensed with a valid physician prescription. There are also exceptions for liquid capsule or gel capsule products.
Pseudoephedrine Legal Status
Pseudoephedrine is an alkaloid that is closely related to ephedrine. Both come from the ephedra plant and they have some similar effects on the body.
This chemical is the active ingredient in the medication Sudafed and is used to treat allergies, hay fever, breathing problems, chest tightness and wheezing caused by asthma.
Pseudoephedrine and Ephedrine are treated similarly under the law. In North Carolina, it is deemed unlawful for a person who has been previously convicted of possession, the intent to sell, or delivery of methamphetamine, or its precursors, or in the manufacture of methamphetamine from any state within the country, to possess pseudoephedrine products.
In addition, retailers and retail distributors must display a sign stating, “North Carolina law strictly prohibits the purchase of more than 3.6 g total of certain products containing pseudoephedrine per day, and more than 9 g total of certain products containing pseudoephedrine within a 30 day.” 
Tablet products containing the sole active ingredient of pseudoephedrine are required to be stored and only sold from behind the pharmacy counter. Pharmacy employees must go through a training program in order to dispense this product.
Potential Legal Penalties
Offenses regarding sales of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine in North Carolina are applicable to any sellers, pharmacists, retail distributors, drug stores, grocery stores, as well as purchasers who knowingly violate the regulations.
Retailers who do so can be charged with Class A1 misdemeanors for their first offense, and Class One felony charges for second or subsequent offenses. A third offense for a retailer will result in the restriction of sales of any pseudoephedrine product at that business.
Buyers who knowingly violate statutes can be charged Class 1 and Class 1A misdemeanors for first and second offenses. Third or subsequent offenses will be deemed Class 1 felonies.
Before using ephedrine in North Carolina, be aware of current laws, regulations, and limitations of use.
Ephedra Weight Loss Supplements
Ephedra products are regulated differently from ephedrine products in the United States. Ephedra is the plant from which the ephedrine alkaloid is derived.
In the USA, ephedra became famous in the 1990s as one of the strongest diet pills available. Due to its ephedrine content, this herb stimulates the metabolism and can promote fat loss.
While ephedra extract with ephedrine was previously sold as a non-prescription dietary supplement, this product was banned from the marketplace in 2004. It was found to cause an unreasonably high risk of side effects, especially when combined with other stimulants.
Many sites have falsely reported that all forms of ephedra are illegal in the USA. This is not true; only versions of the ephedra plant that contain ephedrine alkaloids are prohibited.
There are other species of this plant that are naturally devoid of any ephedrine content. These sources of ephedra extract are legal in dietary supplements in both the US and North Carolina.
If you come across ephedra extract fat burners online, note that these products do not contain real ephedrine alkaloids. This means their efficacy for fat loss will be limited, unless these alkaloids are replaced with other stimulant ingredients.