There are people who discuss how to grow ephedra and much of the best advice is use very sandy soil with good drainage. The ephedra can also handle a lot of sun as well and low moisture, so the desert is the perfect environment to grow your plant. There are many pictures on the Internet to give you an idea of what a healthy plant looks like. It’s also called ma huang.
The meth plant is not exotic. It currently grows prolifically in the deserts of the Southwest. Many cops will have us believe that the most common and best source for manufacturing meth is through the synthetic means. However, you get more from the actual source of the phytochemical instead. Here is an article making that case: http://www.erowid.org/archive/rhodium/chemistry/ephedra.html
I think the plant works better than any synthetic means. Nobody would have discovered the effects of meth had the plant ever existed. The discovery of meth took place like every discovery of drugs occurred. Some damn fool ate it and talked about the effects. Since he didn’t die and liked it, other people tried it. Word of mouth spread and the chemists started studying it. Before long they extract the very phytochemical that made the plant unique and you got meth.
I actually ordered ephedra over eBay one time. The seller insisted on calling it ma huang, but I knew they were the same thing. I made a tea from a 5 inch stick and my heart was thrown into adrenaline mode. It was quite a strong rush and a little too hard on my body. It wasn’t the most desirable thing to consume, but this was because I didn’t consume pure meth.
I can compare the difference between ephedra plant and actual ephedrine, because in the 1990s, ephedrine was still legal. It could be found in acetabolan, which I consumed somewhat frequently. I liked the extra energy of ephedrine, it was very different from coffee. Also, the ephedrine acted different from ephedra because it was pure. I think the ephedra plant has natural properties in it that reduce its addictive ness.
Since 75% of drugs come from plants! this is just another example. People are just more willing to experiment with plant extracts than weird chemical concoctions. It just feels more natural that a living organism produced these properties.
In my opinion, the desert is a nasty hot dry sunny place. Ephedra most likely developed to enhance the properties of the desert when eaten. People would have found the effects of ephedra as terrible in an already hot and dry climate, as the plant brings the problem out further. Ephedra doesn’t want to go extinct, so created defenses against being eaten. However, ephedra never factored in the genius nature of chemists who know how to extract the addictive stuff.
I found Acetabolan to be more addictive than ephedra by itself. This is a similar comparison between the coca leaf and cocaine, heroin to the poppy, tobacco to nicotine. When the extracts are removed from the plant, then the real fun begins. All the plants defenses are thrown in a garbage pile.
Humans have become experts at extracting specific properties from raw material. Whether it be gold from rock or phytochemicals from plants, we have done a lot of work so far. But some work is best done in the right location. Location is key, and the deserts are the best places to find the source for the meth epidemic.