Psychedelic Drug Laws in Ecuador

By Phil Dubley Fact-Checked By Tripsitter Legal Team · Last Updated: March 06, 2023
Last Updated: March 06, 2023

Although psychedelics are illegal in Ecuador, the country has proven to be one of the most advanced Latin American countries on the subject. 

This article will delve into the legality of psilocybin and other psychedelics in Ecuador, such as LSD, MDMA, and more. In addition, we will tell you what species of magic mushrooms grow wild here.

Summary of Psychedelic Drug Laws in Ecuador

  • Psychedelics are illegal for recreational use in Ecuador.
  • Possession of any substance is decriminalized in small quantities.
  • Cannabis is legal for medicinal use but remains illegal for recreational purposes.
  • Buying magic mushroom grow kits and spores is not prohibited.

Are Magic Mushrooms Legal in Ecuador?

No, magic mushrooms are illegal in Ecuador.

Psilocybin is considered a Schedule I substance in Ecuador’s Law 108 of 1990. In this country, the penalties are governed by quantity and not by substance, and for possessing small amounts, you can spend two to six months in prison.

However, under the 2008 reform, article 364 of Ecuador’s constitution prohibits the criminalization of drug users, so penalties will only apply if drug trafficking is suspected. In other words, instead of putting you in prison, the state will offer you treatment for rehabilitation.

Moreover, psychedelics are increasingly being investigated for their multiple therapeutic benefits. Organizations such as Johns Hopkins Medicine have recently advocated for psilocybin’s reclassification after publishing some groundbreaking research on the role of psilocybin in the treatment of depression, anxiety, and addiction. 

The Hopkins research group argues it has a low potential for abuse and clear evidence of medicinal value, which no longer fits the definition of illegal substances in most countries worldwide. 

Where to Buy Magic Mushroom Spores in Ecuador

Technically, magic mushroom spores are legal in Ecuador since they do not contain any psilocin or psilocybin, nor is there any law that specifically prohibits them. However, keep in mind that if the authorities discover you are cultivating mushrooms, they may charge you with drug trafficking.

Still, no law prohibits the possession or purchase of spores, so you can freely get them through the internet.

Do Magic Mushrooms Grow Wild in Ecuador?

Yes, magic mushrooms grow naturally in Ecuador.

Magic mushrooms grow wild almost anywhere in the world (except in Antarctica). In Ecuador, at least seven species of magic mushrooms grow naturally. Below are some of the most commonly found within the country.

Psilocybe zapotecorum 

This species usually grows near coffee plantations in subtropical forests. In Ecuador, there are records of these fungi near “Bosque Protector de Los Cerdos” in the province of Imbabura.

Psilocybe yungensis

This species also grows in subtropical forests, specifically in humid temperate zones. It is usually found on decaying logs and rarely on hummus. 

Psilocybe subcubensis 

Like the better-known Psilocybe cubensis, this species grows on cattle and horse manure in tropical and subtropical areas.

What Are the Medicinal Uses of Shrooms?

There is a strong trend toward legalizing magic mushrooms in the United States and many European countries. Psilocybin has been discovered to have numerous therapeutic benefits, leading authorities to rethink its legal status.

One of the most surprising discoveries was that psychedelics such as LSD, MDMA, and psilocybin could help treat treatment-resistant depression. This refers to depression that was not effectively treated using conventional methods. 

Many patients even report improvements after the first treatment, outperforming many antidepressant drugs. Furthermore, the effects of psilocybin on depression can last for months.

Psilocybin has also proven helpful in patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The leading theory is that psilocybin alters the function of the amygdala and promotes the reconsolidation of fear-based memories to diminish the fear response associated with trauma-related anxiety.

Moreover, many terminally ill patients overcame their existential anxiety in clinical trials involving psilocybin. 

Although there is still no hard evidence about how they do it, many people claim that magic mushrooms help them deal with cluster headaches. This type of headache is usually long-lasting and tremendously debilitating.

Psychedelics can also help temporarily deactivate cravings, helping many people break out of addiction. They do this by temporarily suppressing the brain’s default mode network (DMN), an area of the brain responsible for rumination and negative thoughts.

Finally, it is worth noting that psychedelics can also stimulate creativity and boost problem-solving abilities.

Is LSD Legal in Ecuador?

No, LSD is illegal in Ecuador.

Like psilocybin, LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) also belongs to Ecuador’s Schedule I psychotropic substances, which means it’s considered potentially dangerous. There are reports of people being charged with drug trafficking after getting caught with any amount of LSD. 

Minimum sentences range from two to six months in prison, while maximum sentences range from ten to thirteen years.

Is DMT Legal in Ecuador?

No, DMT is illegal in Ecuador.

DMT (dimethyltryptamine) is the main ingredient of several well-known mixtures, such as bufo toad venom, ayahuasca, and changa. This substance is also considered a Schedule I psychotropic substance and carries the same penalties as LSD.

If the police catch you with small amounts, you’re unlikely to spend more than six months in prison, but you can spend up to thirteen years for larger quantities. 

Is MDMA Legal in Ecuador?

No, MDMA is illegal in Ecuador.

MDMA, also known as ecstasy, is common among teenagers and highly illegal in Ecuador. Like LSD and DMT, it’s categorized as a Schedule I substance and carries penalties ranging from six months to thirteen years in prison, depending on the amount.

However, this psychedelic also has numerous therapeutic benefits. For this reason, countries such as Canada have already legalized MDMA-assisted psychotherapy.

Is Ketamine Legal in Ecuador? 

There appears to be no regulation regarding ketamine in Ecuador, but most likely, it’s considered illegal here.

There is no mention of ketamine within Ecuador’s drug laws. However, you should consider the substance illegal for recreational use, considering other psychedelics and dissociatives are mostly forbidden here.

Many countries are moving to legalize ketamine for therapeutic use in treating depression and PTSD.

Is Marijuana Legal in Ecuador?

Marijuana is only legal for medicinal use in Ecuador.

In 2019, the National Assembly of Ecuador approved the Organic Integral Penal Code reform, which authorizes using and cultivating cannabis for medicinal or therapeutic use. Cannabinoids such as delta 8, delta 9, and delta 10 are not specifically mentioned but are held to the same regulations. The total THC content must not exceed 1% in order to be legal in Ecuador outside the registered medical program. 

Although recreational use of the herb is still illegal, it’s decriminalized, so you can possess up to 10 grams without any significant consequences.

What’s the Difference Between Legalization & Decriminalization? 

Legalization and decriminalization may be similar concepts, but some key differences exist.

Decriminalizing a substance means reducing the penalties and fines for possession or use. Still, this doesn’t make the substance legal, and its sale would be prohibited.

On the other hand, legalization refers to eliminating all penalties, thus also creating a regulatory framework for its sale. This measure goes against the interests of drug traffickers and helps solve the problem of black markets and substance adulteration.

Key Takeaways: What’s the Future of Psychedelics in Ecuador?

Luckily, Ecuador is one of the Latin American countries with the most progressive policies on drugs. Although psychedelics remain mostly illegal, possession is decriminalized, penalties depend on quantities, and medical marijuana is legal.

Even so, psychedelics seem far from being legalized for medicinal use, so we will have to wait for research to progress worldwide.