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Forensic Sci Int. 2007 Mar 2;166(2-3):102-9. Epub 2006 May 16.

A study of the use of Ephedra in the manufacture of methamphetamine.

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Institute of Environmental Science and Research Ltd (ESR), Mt Albert Research Centre, Hampstead Road, Private Bag 92021, Auckland, New Zealand.


The Ephedra plant has been identified as an excellent source of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, both of which can be chemically reduced to form the widely abused illicit drug methamphetamine. Ephedra contains several additional alkaloids that undergo analogous reductions to form amphetamine and N,N-dimethylamphetamine (also drugs of abuse). The main alkaloids obtained from the Ephedra plant have been reduced using four common methods used by the clandestine operator. The intermediates and byproducts of these reductions have been identified and/or tentatively assigned and the mechanism of formation discussed.

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