Legal Status of Yohimbine in Canada
In African countries like Gabon, Nigeria, Congo, and others, people have used the bark of the Yohimbe tree as a general tonic, and an aphrodisiac.
It was traditionally prepared into an herbal tea and used as a natural remedy and a performance enhancer.
In some countries, Yohimbine (alkaloid derived from Yohimbe bark), is also available as a prescription drug for the treatment of impotence in men.
In other countries, like the US, Yohimbe bark extract can be purchased as a dietary supplement without a prescription.
However, strict supplement laws forbid the sale of many herbal remedies in Canada, and Yohimbe and yohimbine are effectively banned in Canada. For this reason, it is difficult to acquire it without a prescription.
Yohimbine Laws in Canada
Presently, Yohimbine has not been approved as a natural health product under Canadian Health regulations, but in the 1990s, Canadian lawmakers began working on a framework for regulating natural supplements in the country.
The Natural Health Product Regulations (NHP), which is a part of Canada’s Food and Drugs Act, were passed in 2004, and under the new law, only products that meet pre-marketing registration requirements can be sold in Canadian markets.
In this new act, a number of products to qualify for an exemption, and the health minister will ban products that they deem to contain ingredients likely to result in injury.
Canada does not allow the sale of yohimbine supplements without a prescription and will not allow it to be imported into the country for commercial purposes.
The same applies for Yohimbe bark extract products, including tinctures, bulk powders, and teas.
Health Canada requests that companies importing non-approved yohimbine stop and stores that stock non-approved yohimbine supplements remove them, with the agency threatening to take further action if suppliers and retailers do not comply.
From the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, substances considered unsuitable for use in Sports Nutrition Products include:
- Caffeine, except in cola beverages Anabolic Steroids
- GHB (Gamma-Hydroxybutyric Acid)
- Branched-chain amino acids (isoleucine, leucine, valine)
- Calamus, oil, extract or root
- Catha edulis (Khat)
- Chromium Nicotinate
- Ornithine Alpha Keto Glutarate
- Chromium Polynicotinate
- SAMe (S-Adenosylmethionine)
- DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid)
- DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone)
- Superoxide Dismutase (SOD)
- DMSO (Dimethylsulfoxide)
- EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid)
- Ferulic Acid
- Gamma Oryzanol
- Vanadyl Sulfate
- GBL (Gamma-butyrolactone)
One of the primary reasons why yohimbine is banned in Canada is due to the high risk of side effects associated with the use of yohimbine.
Yohimbine is known for its use as a bodybuilding and sexual enhancement supplement, and research studies have shown benefits for both of these applications.
However, the Natural Medicines Database states that the use of Yohimbine as a supplement is “Possibly Unsafe”, and they warn that it should only be taken under medical supervision.
Yohimbine has been safely used, for up to 10 weeks in medically supervised settings.
Yohimbine has also been clinically shown to have a number of benefits, as athletes who took 20 mg of yohimbine per day as part of a study experienced a decrease in body fat.
In another study, yohimbine was shown to have helped 30% of test subjects with erectile dysfunction.
In addition to some mentioned benefits of yohimbine, people take yohimbine for a number of other effects, including:
- Aphrodisiac effects
- Weight loss
- Improved athletic performance, and
- Increased energy
Can You Buy Yohimbine in Canada?
The fact is that Canadian consumers cannot legally buy Yohimbe or yohimbine supplements in the country without a prescription.
This is because, it is not considered a controlled substance, but does appear on the New Drugs List compiled by the Canadian Therapeutic Products Directorate (TPD).
While individuals could bring the product back with them for personal use if traveling outside of Canada, importing the product could result in customs seizing the package.
However, some users in weight-lifting and bodybuilding forums reports of finding Yohimbe for sale in Canada in area health and fitness stores.
This is even as Health Canada has removed several unapproved yohimbine supplements from the market.
Other users report of having packages seized by customs or Health Canada, after purchasing it online.
Yohimbine HCL is available through a number of Canadian medication websites. The only restriction is that it requires a prescription to order.
Healthy individuals taking standardized Yohimbe products at recommended doses with the knowledge and consent of their physician will hardly experience serious adverse effects.
However, patients with cardiovascular, nervous system or psychological issues, should be under physician supervision before taking any Yohimbe products.