What is Meth?
Methamphetamine, often known as meth, crystal, ice or Tina, is a synthetic central nervous system stimulant that is extremely addictive. Meth is a stimulant drug that can be taken orally, snorted, smoked or injected.
It affects the central nervous system and produces feelings of euphoria, increased energy and alertness. Methamphetamine use can lead to serious health problems such as heart attack, stroke and even death. Long-term effects of meth include extreme weight loss, anxiety, paranoia and violent behavior.
Meth also has a high potential for abuse and addiction due to its intense effects on the brain’s reward system. Because of this well-known abuse potential, it is classified in the US as a Schedule II substance and any recreational use is strictly prohibited.
Various Forms of Meth
There are various forms of methamphetamine:
- Powder: this white or off-white powder is usually known as speed. Powder is the least potent form of meth and is often cut with other substances such as glucose. Powder can be snorted, injected, or swallowed. Powder can also come in pill form.
- Base: this damp or oily substance has a white, yellow or brown color. Base has a higher potency than powder. It comes in various forms known as ‘pure’, ‘paste’ and ‘wax’. Base is usually injected and sometimes swallowed.
- Crystal (ice): this crystalline substance is translucent to white in appearance. Ice is the most potent form of methamphetamine and is typically smoked with a glass pipe or injected.
How Long Does Meth Stay in the System?
The high from methamphetamine can last from 8-24 hours and can be discovered in hair and urine for up to ninety days after last use. It can typically take several days for the drug to leave the system and can be detected in urine tests for up to 4 days and in hair follicle tests for up to 90 days.
The time it takes for the drug to completely leave your urine, blood or system depends on a number of factors. Although the initial high may fade, meth can stay in your system until it is completely metabolized.
Factors Affecting How Long Meth Stays in the System
The length of time that a stimulant drug remains in your body depends on several factors. These include the amount taken, frequency of use, individual metabolism and other substances present in the body. The more methamphetamine that is taken, the longer it will take to leave your body.
If meth is used frequently and or in large amounts, the presence of meth will remain in the system for a longer period of time. Taking methamphetamine with other substances present in the body such as alcohol, drugs and supplements can also affect how quickly the drug is eliminated from the system. Age and genetics are also factors to consider.
For example, a younger individual who exercises regularly with a fast metabolism will clear meth from the system quicker than an elderly individual with liver problems. All of these factors must be taken into consideration when trying to determine how long meth stays in your system.
Metabolism plays an important role as well – individuals with faster metabolisms will typically eliminate amphetamine at a faster rate than those with slower metabolisms. The speed of metabolism impacts the probability of meth being detected in a person’s body since it impacts how quickly the drug is broken down and eliminated from the body.
The higher one’s metabolism rate, the quicker the drug will be gone, thus making it less probable to be found in a drug test. On the contrary, if someone has a slower metabolism rate, then it may take more time for the drug to be eliminated from their system, increasing their chances of testing positive for meth.
Frequency and Amount of Use
Methamphetamine is a highly addictive drug and its use can have serious consequences for people who use meth. The amount and frequency of meth use can vary significantly from person to person, with some individuals using the drug on a regular basis and in large doses, while others may only use it occasionally in smaller amounts.
In 2017, 14.7 million adults older than age 12 reported some use of methamphetamine. Of the adults in this figure, 8.9 million were male and 5.8 million were female. More than 92% of methamphetamine users were over the age of 26. More than 79% of admitted methamphetamine users were Caucasian.
Age has an effect on bodily processes, including metabolism rates and the ability to clear toxins from the body. Methamphetamine is perceived as a toxin by your body.
Younger people tend to have better functioning organs such as the liver and kidneys and usually have higher metabolisms as well. In most cases it should be expected that younger people will metabolize meth at a quicker rate than people over the age of 65.
What is the Half-Life of Meth?
Meth has a half-life of 9-24 hours. This means that in this amount of time, the amount of drug in a person’s system will be reduced by half.
Effects of Using Meth
People who inject methamphetamine are at increased risk of contracting infectious diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis B and C. These diseases are transmitted through contact with blood or other bodily fluids that can remain on drug equipment.
Methamphetamine use can also alter judgment and decision-making leading to risky behaviors, such as unprotected sex, which also increases risk for infection.
Although dopamine increases brought on by using methamphetamine may have positive consequences (such as euphoria), dopamine levels can occasionally rise too high, causing undesirable effects.
Methamphetamine usage can result in excessive or high dopamine levels, which can lead to agitation, anxiety, delusions, hallucinations, mood swings, and violence. Methamphetamine abuse can potentially result in stimulant psychosis, a condition when a user experiences a psychotic break.
According to scientific studies, methamphetamine is a strong neurotoxin that can destroy brain cells (particularly dopamine neurons) and harm different brain structures.
Given that methamphetamine is one of the most addictive drugs on the globe, many users are unable to stop taking it while being aware of its harmful effects.
Long-term effects of the drug have many negative health consequences, including:
- weight loss
- severe dental problems
- skin sores from scratching
- changes in brain structure and function
- confusion and memory loss
- sleeping problems
- violent behavior
Drug Tests for Methamphetamine
It’s important to note that these are general guidelines and detection times will vary depending on the individual’s metabolism, the amount of meth used and the type of test used.
How long meth stays in the system or how long it takes for the drug to exit the system depends on several factors including the metabolism of meth, if you combine methamphetamine with other drugs and the amount and frequency of use.
Urine tests are the most common method for detecting meth and can usually be seen in the system for up to 72 hours after the last use. For heavy users, urine test can detect it for up to 10 days after last use.
Saliva tests are able to detect meth use for up to 1-3 days after last use. This test is said to be more accurate than urine tests.
Hair tests have the longest detection time and can pick up on use up to 3 months later. These tests are more expensive, but they are the most accurate and reliable.
This test can detect very small amounts of meth in a person’s system making them a great tool for detecting long-term meth use although this test is typically used in forensics testing rather than clinical or workplace settings.
Blood tests have a shorter detection window and can detect use up to 24-48 hours after last use. These tests are not commonly used due to the short detection window and invasiveness.
The Process of Clearing Meth and Stimulant Drugs from Your System
It is always advised to stop using meth as soon as possible if you want it to completely clear from your system, regardless of the dosage or method by which it was used.
It is also important to note that there will be variations in clearance rates may occur based on individual characteristics such as age, usage, metabolism, liver and kidney function, etc.
Effective treatment for meth requires professional help by way of medical detox and or counseling. While detoxing from meth it is important to stay hydrated, to exercise and eat a balanced diet.
Exercise can aid in reducing the amount of drugs in your system as it helps flush out toxins and increase blood flow throughout the body. Eating healthy foods that are high in protein, fiber and vitamins can help support your body’s natural detoxification process.
Also getting adequate sleep is essential for proper detoxification as it gives your body time to repair itself and restore balance. Taking these steps can help you eliminate meth from your system safely and effectively.
Treatment for Meth Addiction
If you or a loved one are struggling with meth addiction, don’t wait any longer to get help. Luxe Recovery Center in Los Angeles offers comprehensive treatment for meth addiction. Our team of experienced professionals will provide you with the tools and resources needed to make a full recovery.
Contact us today to learn more about our programs and how we can help you or your loved one take back control of their life.
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