List of Drugs Banned in Canada

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Undoubtedly, medical science has advanced tremendously, and in the present world, there are amazing medicines that can cure severe diseases, which were once only treated with an operation. Although medicines have advanced, so has the usage of controlled drugs. It isn’t a surprise that humans have been using illicit substances to alter their mental state for a long time, and there have been records that show that indigenous people around the world partook in spiritual ceremonies, where extremely potent drugs were used. However, in the present times, controlled substances have become a problematic matter, as they are only used for their effects, and authorities struggle to completely restrict their flow in the market, even in countries like Canada.

1. Bath Salts

Bath Salts Canada

While it may sound like a harmless item to be used in the bathroom, it is a street name of a psychoactive substance. It is named as such because it used to be smuggled disguised as Epsom salts, commonly used for bathing. It was originally synthesized in 1920; however, the entire 20th century remained unaware of this substance until underground chemists rediscovered it in 2009, and it spread like wildfire. Like many controlled substances, it first appeared in the United Kingdom, and it was named the Monkey Dust. It is prepared using Cathinone, a naturally occurring chemical that is extracted from the shrubs of Catha Edulis.

Bath Salts chemical formula


It is mostly administered orally but people also smoke and inject it. Bath salts cause an individual to remain awake for prolonged periods of time without getting tired. In addition to wakefulness, bath salts are often used across the world to induce euphoria, empathy, and elevate sex drive. Most users also claim that they feel a sensation of rush.
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Reason for the Ban

Bath salts are classified as Schedule III drugs under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Apart from the mentioned effects, it is known to cause severe damage to the liver and kidneys, while also making the user prone to infections. Even if one tries to quit this drug on their own, they may experience severe depression and anxiety. The unnatural wakefulness leads to muscle breakdown, insomnia, mood swings, confusion, and hallucinations.

2. Benzodiazepines

Also known as Benzos, this substance is also a psychoactive substance that is prepared from a compound known as Benzene. If this particular compound sounds familiar, that is because it is used in the production of nylon, and it is extensively used in the gasoline industry to increase the octane rating of petrol. Like most chemicals, Benzodiazepine was accidentally discovered by Leo Sternbach, a Polish American chemist in 1955 in the form of Librium; however, it was made available through Roche industries in 1960. While it is not banned in Canada, it is only available under strict prescription.

Benzodiazepines Formula


Unlike other drugs on this list, this is primarily used as a depressant. It works by affecting the central nervous system and lowers the levels of neurotransmission by attaching to the gamma-aminobutyric acid-A receptors, which ultimately results in inducing a sense of calmness. It is often prescribed to patients suffering from panic disorder, agitation, seizures, muscle spasms, and as a premedication to dental procedures.
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Reason for the Ban

Overall, it may not sound like a bad substance until we see the statistics, nearly 90% of the patients who are prescribed Benzodiazepines end up abusing or overdosing. Presently, it is Schedule IV of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Since it induces a calming effect, it is often ingested with alcohol, and it is known to cause fatigue, lack of libido, social phobia, and altered self-perception.

3. Cocaine

Cocaine Canada

Easily one of the most recognized drugs in the world, and is often glamorized in high-class societies. Cocaine is a stimulant drug that strongly affects the user both physically and mentally. It is believed that it was used by indigenous people of South America for thousands of years; however, they used to chew the leaves of Erthroxylon Coca, a plant from which cocaine is extracted. Moreover, remains of this plant have been found in the tombs of Peruvian mummies. After many years of research by various physicians, it was first purified by Albert Niemann, a German chemist in 1860, which earned him a Ph.D. Modern cocaine was first synthesized by another German Chemist, Richard Willstätter in 1898; however, its medicinal properties were first introduced to the world nearly two decades ago by Vassili von Anrep in 1879.

Cocaine Formula Canada


Cocaine is snorted, and Crack, a form of cocaine is smoked in a pipe but both have almost identical effects. It immediately starts acting, and it spikes the dopamine, a pleasure chemical to unnaturally high levels. It is known to elevate alertness, while simultaneously increasing euphoria, sexuality, energy, confidence, and motor functions. It is often used at parties.
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Reason for the Ban

Cocaine and Crack are classified as Schedule I drug under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, and for very good reasons. After short-term usage, it is known to cause panic, anxiety, paranoia, twitching, dry mouth, violence, vomiting, and nosebleeds. As for long-term side-effects, it can cause depression, insomnia, delusions, respiratory problems, heart failure, and lung infection.

4. Fentanyl

Fentanyl Canada

The first drug on the list that is based on opioids is Fentanyl. This substance is also relatively new, as it was first made available in the market as anesthesia in 1959. As for its production, it is credited to a Belgium physician, Paul Janssen, owner of Janssen Pharmaceuticals. Over the years, it has been tested with other drugs, and Fentanyl patches were also developed for easy relaxation. It is prescribed to patients in some parts of the world to treat pain.

Fentanyl formula Canada


When it comes to recreational uses, Fentanyl is sold in heaps in the drug market, as it is easier to produce, and people often describe it as fake heroin. It comes in the form of tablets, gel, injections, and skin patches. Being opioid-based, it causes intense pleasure, treats severe pains, calmness, and makes users’ mental state mellower.
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Reason for the Ban

Fentanyl is a Schedule I drug in Canada because despite it being used as a painkiller, it is 100 times more potent than Morphine, a drug used by healthcare to treat pains in cases such as broken bones or severed limbs. Therefore, overdosing on this substance is very easy, and there have been numerous cases of a Fentanyl overdose. In 2016 alone, there were over 800 deaths in Canada due to overdose. It is known to causes severe constipation, sexual disorders, abrupt menstrual cycles, and depression.

5. Heroin

Heroin Canada

Derivative of morphine, this drug is associated with parties and homeless people because it causes one to sell everything in their possession just to obtain this substance. It is extracted from the plant, opium poppy, and interestingly, this very plant has been used for this very purpose from at least 3400 BC. The modern heroin that is available today was first synthesized by an English lecturer, C. R. Alder Wright in 1874. It may come as a surprise but from 1889 to 1910, heroin was marketed as a non-addictive cough suppressant. Authorities in North America and the United Kingdom realized that people were becoming addicted to this substance, and a ban was placed on Heroin in 1930.

Heroin Formula Canada


This controlled, bitter powder is used by addicts to exclusively induce euphoria. It is not just any euphoria, according to scientists, heroin shoots dopamine levels to 200%, to put that into perspective, orgasm only increases dopamine levels by 25% to 30%. It basically hijacks the brain to induce pleasure beyond its natural capacity, and it is administered either by smoking, oral ingestion, snorting, injections, or anal insertion.
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Reason for the Ban

Unsurprisingly, heroin is Schedule I in the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act due to its instant addiction. Although just a single dose is enough to make people addicted to it, long-term usage can lead to neurological changes in the brain, resulting in a lack of cognitive abilities, inability to control mood, cold flashes, vomiting, and muscle cramps. Moreover, it increases a person’s tolerance as well; therefore, more heroin is required in each session for the user to achieve the same results. Also, it is extremely easy to overdose on Heroin.

6. GHB

GHB Canada

GHB or Gamma Hydroxybutyrate is a depressant similar to Benzodiazepines, which oddly enough occurs naturally in our body. Its physical creation is credited to a Russian chemist, Alexander Zaytsev, who published his research on it in 1874; however, it was not available in the market until 1964 as an anesthetic. Even after such a long delay after its discovery, it was not used in the majority of Europe because of its seizure-inducing properties. Despite this, it was still legal to use in France and Italy until 2006.

GHB Canada Formula


Users describe that GHB induces euphoria, increased sex drive, and tranquility. While other substances are known to create the same results, GHB is also known for its perception-altering properties. Surely enough, it is quite popular at raves and nightclubs. In addition to its recreational use, athletes also used to administer it in the past because it was considered anabolic.
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Reason for the Ban

This compound, which is a Schedule I substance in Canada, is banned because its strength is nearly impossible to predict, even the people who synthesize it are unsure. What makes it extremely dangerous is that when overdosed on GHB, it can significantly lower the breathing resulting in alarmingly low heart rate, which often leads to coma and death. Moreover, it has been used by predators to spike drinks of victims.

7. Ketamine

Ketamine Canada

Ketamine is a form of anesthetic drug that is used by the medical world. Like most drugs, this was designed with an aim to help humanity. In 1962, Calvin Stevens, an American chemist, synthesized Ketamine for the first time. Before approving it for hospital use in 1970, it was used on animals and human prisoners. The first patient to be administered Ketamine was a soldier that was injured in the Vietnam war.

Ketamine Canada Formula


Since it is an anesthetic, users often use it to alter their mental state, which they often describe as dissociation from the physical body or a trance-like state. Ketamine is either smoked, snorted, or injected. Hallucinations, euphoria, and floating sensation are some of the common effects of this substance.
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Reason for the Ban

Like most controlled substances, Ketamine is also a Schedule I drug. While addicts argue that it causes them to align with the universe, it can cause terrible conditions like bladder inflammation, painful urination, incontinence, impaired memory, social anxiety, attention deficit, seizures, and even death.

8. LSD

LSD Canada

Lysergic acid diethylamide or Acid is one of the most popular psychedelic drugs in the world, which was made famous during the 1960s hippie movement. LSD was discovered accidentally in 1938 by Albert Hofmann, a Swiss chemist while researching ergot alkaloid derivatives, a form of fungus. During his research, Hofmann ingested the fungus, while nothing happened during the first hour, Hofmann begin to experience hallucinations and was terrified during his bicycle ride home. Following this, he intentionally ingested the mentioned chemical and experienced the same effects, and it was launched as a psychiatric drug in 1947 by Sandoz Laboratories.

LSD Formula Canada


As for the physical effects, LSD is known to dilate pupils, extremely reduce appetite, and induce wakefulness. However, the real purpose of this drug according to users is spiritual because LSD induces visual, hearing, and sensory hallucinations, which are referred to as a trip. A typical trip lasts anywhere from 7 to 10 hours, but it varies on person and dosage. Additionally, it is known to cause a permanent shift in perception and thought processes.
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Reason for the Ban

Undoubtedly, LSD is a Schedule III drug of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. LSD also increases one’s tolerance, meaning a user needs to increase their dose with each session to get the desired results. It causes paranoia, a distorted sense of self, disorganized speech, and behavior. Since it is a psychedelic drug, people often have a negative trip, which often leads to traumatic experiences and self-harm.

9. Magic Mushrooms

Magic Mushroom Canada

The scientific name for this substance is Psilocybin mushroom, and similar to LSD, these are also psychedelic drugs; however, these have been used by humans since the stone age. The oldest records of these magic mushrooms can be found near Villar del Humo in Spain, and according to experts, these dates back to at least 6,000 years. Moreover, these have also been used in spiritual sessions among various groups of indigenous people. 1799 dates the first use of these mushrooms in the modern world, it was ingested by a child during breakfast, and he couldn’t stop laughing.

Magic Mushroom Formula


Magic mushrooms cause visual and sensory hallucinations, which include increased visual contrast, halos, morphing of the objects, and an altered sense of space and time. In addition to these, laughing fits, muscle relaxation, and lack of concentration are also experienced, although these are depending on the surroundings of the individual.
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Reason for the Ban

Similar to LSD, magic mushrooms are also Schedule III substances; however, presently, there is no study that states the negatives of these mushrooms. Moreover, these are used by psychiatrists to allow their patients to shift their perception of life.

10. MDMA

MDMA Canada

Also known as Ecstacy or Molly, it is one of the most popular party drugs in the world. This psychoactive drug is used in high amounts at raves, nightclubs, and music festivals. In the early 1900s, chemists around the world were trying to develop an efficient drug to stop bleeding, and during this process, a German chemist, Anton Köllisch, working for Merck Group synthesized MDMA first time in 1912; however, Merck Group was not interested in MDMA and dismissed it. Many chemists tried synthesizing MDMA in different forms, but the present-day MDMA can be traced to Alexander Shulgin, an American chemist, in 1965. Despite synthesizing MDMA, he was unaware of its psychoactive properties and only happened to become aware of them by his students, who were using it as a recreational drug.

MDMA Canada formula


Often described as party fuel, this drug enhances users’ sensory experience, which is often accompanied by flashing lights and loud music at parties. It is stated that MDMA also boosts pleasure sensations, provides energy, and induces empathy. It is often seen that it makes people confident to socialize. MDMA is administered orally, and it comes in the form of tablets.
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Reason for the Ban

Since there is no medical use of this drug, it is classified as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Once the mentioned effects fade, users may experience paranoia, depression, hallucinations, and delusions. As for physical ill-effects, MDMA can cause high blood pressure, liver damage, compromised kidneys, lack of sex drive, damage to brain cells, fatigue, and in some rare cases diabetes and epilepsy.

11. Methamphetamine

Methamphetamine Canada

True credit for this drug can be given to Japan, as it was synthesized by Nagai Nagayoshi in 1893, and then, in 1919, a form of this drug called methamphetamine hydrochloride was also developed by a Japanese pharmacologist, Akira Ogata. While the Japanese created this substance, it was mostly used by German Nazis during the second world war, and it was called Stuka tablets. It is a form of central nervous system stimulant.

Methamphetamine Chemical Formula


Common names on the market for this drug are crystal meth, ice, chalk, and crank. This is available in the form of powder, crystals, and tablets. It is used to enhance alertness, concentration, libido, reduce appetite, and, most importantly, wakefulness. The last effect is the reason why it was used by German troops, as they would not sleep for 3 days straight, and it made them an extremely dangerous force. Interestingly, it is used medically to treat obesity and ADHD.
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Reason for the Ban

While it did give soldiers and regular addicts a huge boost of energy, once it fades, the true side-effects of it surface. Crystal meth halts the production of certain chemicals produced by the brain, which are essential to the function, and depending on the duration of usage, it can be permanent. Loss of memory and finger dexterity are common among the users, in addition to aggression, paranoia, dangerous sexual activities, and hallucinations. When it comes to damaging the physical body, methamphetamines can cause heart attack, stroke, respiratory problems, chronic constipation, permanent itchy skin, and in some cases, death, which is why it is classified as a Schedule I drug in Canada. Another common side-effect among methamphetamine users is tooth decay.

12. Phencyclidine

Phencyclidine Canada

More commonly known as PCP or Angel Dust, is a form of synthetic drug that is used recreationally for its mind-altering properties. It was first synthesized in 1926 by Parke Davis Laboratories in Detroit; however, it was not until the 1950s that it was utilized as an anesthetic under the name, Sernyl. Despite the delay of its introduction to the market, it was banned to be used on humans in 1965, and nearly a decade following that in 1978, it was also disallowed for animal use after being used as a tranquilizer. Also, it became the most popular street drug in the United States in the 1970s.

Phencyclidine Canada Formula


Micro doses of PCP are known to create a numbing effect followed by relaxing of the muscles; however, it is exclusively used by addicts for recreational purposes. It comes either in the form of tablet or powder, and it is administered orally or it is snorted, respectively. Addicts are also seen smoking it by combining it with cigarettes or herbs such as oregano. According to the users, along with euphoria, it creates a sense of detachment from the surroundings and dissociates the mind from the body. Hallucinations, distortion of time, floating-like sensations, and inability to speak are some of the common effects of PCP.
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Reason for the Ban

PCP like most drugs on this list is a Schedule I substance in Canada, and it is white in color; however, since it is created illegally, usually it is contaminated, which results in dark brown color with an unidentified dose that makes it even more lethal. While most drugs make individuals agitated and induce paranoia, PCP is known to trigger terrifying behaviors. It is known to cause users to injure themselves, cause vehicular accidents, kill others, and even commit suicide. Even if an individual doesn’t experience these violet effects, increased heart rate, vomiting, and blurred vision are a guarantee.

13. Salvia

Salvia Canada

Salvia Divinorum is a naturally occurring psychedelic, and it comes from the sage family of plants known as Lamiaceae. Interestingly, there are almost 1,000 species of this plant, and Salvia is the largest one among them. While this plant has been used by Mazatecs in religious rituals for thousands of years, the exact record of this usage is unknown. The first account of it was recorded in 1832 by George Bentham, an English Botanist. It has relatively long tulip-shaped flowers that are usually violet in color.

Salvia Canada Formula


Since it is a plant, there are many ways of administration such as making tea out of it, chewing the leaves, or smoking it. The compound known as Salvinorin A is what causes the desired effect, which is a trance-like state with dissociation from the mind and body; however, it doesn’t induce euphoria.
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Reason for the Ban

Given the effects, it may sound like Salvia is strictly prohibited; however, it is a Schedule IV drug under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, which states that these drugs are used for medical purposes and has fewer chances of abuse.

14. Codeine

Codeine is generally sold as a cough syrup; however, it is also used to treat pain in some cases. It is an opioid-based medicine that is made from the opium poppy, the plant that is also used to create heroin. Usage of opium to provide relief from pain has been ongoing for hundreds of years, and codeine was among one of these medicines. It was created by a French chemist, Pierre Robiquet in 1832, and in the last two centuries, codeine has become one of the most used opiates in the world. Interestingly, codeine is not directly extracted from opium but is synthesized using morphine.

Codeine formula Canada


In recommended doses, codeine only works as a pain killer and cough reliever; however, if it is ingested in higher doses, it is known to cause euphoria that lasts anywhere from 20 to 60 minutes depending on the dose. Interestingly, it is also used by heroin addicts during their withdrawal period. Usually, it is drunk on its own but people are seen to mix it with sodas and energy drinks.
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Reason for the Ban

It is classified as a Schedule V substance in Canada, as it is available under prescription. The abuse of codeine is notorious in African countries, and to avoid a similar problem, it is strictly sold under prescription only. Additionally, long-term reliance on codeine can result in mood swings, depression, memory issues, insomnia, chronic constipation, sexual problems, and cardiac arrest.

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