stimulant drug

Methamphetamine (also called meth or speed) is a man-made stimulant drug.[13][14] It is highly addictive and the first time experience may get the person addicted (drug dependent). Many people use it as an illegal drug, but it is also used legally by prescription to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or obesity as "Desoxyn".[13][15][16]

Pure crystal meth

INN: Metamfetamine
A racemic image of the methamphetamine compound
A 3d image of the levo-methamphetamine compound A 3d image of the dextro-methamphetamine compound
Clinical data
(METH-am-FET-ə-meen), /ˌmɛθəmˈfɛtəmn/
(METH-əm-FET-ə-meen), /ˌmɛθəmˈfɛtəmən/
Trade namesDesoxyn, Methedrine
SynonymsN-methylamphetamine, N,α-dimethylphenethylamine, desoxyephedrine
  • C. Excreted in human breast milk.
Physical: None Psychological: Very High
Very High
Routes of
Medical: oral (swallowed)
Recreational: oral, intravenous (injected) to vein, intramuscular (injected) to muscle, subcutaneous (injected) under skin, vapour inhalation, insufflation (inhaled), rectal (anal), vaginal (into vagina)
ATC code
Legal status
Legal status
Pharmacokinetic data
BioavailabilityOral: 67%[7][8][9][10]
Intranasal: 79%[7][8]
Inhalation: 67–90%[7][8][9]
Intravenous: 100%[7][10]
Protein bindingVaries widely[11]
MetabolismProcessed in (liver) CYP2D6[3][4] and FMO3[5][6]
Onset of actionOral: 3 hours (peak)[7]
Intranasal: <15 minutes[7]
Inhalation: <18 minutes[7][8]
Intravenous: <15 minutes[7]
Elimination half-life9–12 hours (range 5–30 hours) (irrespective of route)[8][7]
Duration of action8–12 hours[9]
ExcretionExits mostly through kidney
  • (RS)-N-methyl-1-phenylpropan-2-amine
CAS Number
PubChem CID
PDB ligand
ECHA InfoCard100.007.882 Edit this at Wikidata
Chemical and physical data
Molar mass149.24 g·mol−1
3D model (JSmol)
ChiralityRacemic mixture
Melting point170 °C (338 °F) [12]
Boiling point212 °C (414 °F) at 760 mmHg[12]
  • CNC(C)Cc1ccccc1
  • InChI=1S/C10H15N/c1-9(11-2)8-10-6-4-3-5-7-10/h3-7,9,11H,8H2,1-2H3 checkY

Methamphetamine has two isomers, "left-handed" and "right-handed". Left-handed methamphetamine helps fight stuffy nose and is legal. Right-handed methamphetamine makes people feel high and is mostly illegal. This page is mostly about the right-handed form.

Methamphetamine is very addictive.[14] This means that when people start taking the drug, they will want to keep taking more, even if it is making them sick.

Methamphetamine can be in pill, powder or crystal form, and can be snorted, smoked, injected, or eaten.[17][18] In its smoked form, methamphetamine is known as "ice," "crystal," "crank," "batu," "barang," "cerita," or "glass".

Eating methamphetamine (oral route) involves swallowing the tablets or powder. Injections can be done into a vein, muscle, or under a pinched bit of skin (subcutaneous). It can (usually in crystal form) be heated and the vapours inhaled using special pipes. Using tablets as a suppository means inserting them into the body not by mouth. Methamphetamine can be inserted into the rectal cavity (bum) or vagina.

Making methamphetamine


Illegal methamphetamine is made in small or medium sized labs by people looking to sell the drug. Sometimes these dealers are addicts themselves, and they selling the drug to fund their habit. Sometimes it is made to be sold to people who sell the drug either in the country where it is made or across borders (in other countries). Addicts and dealers might work together to source materials (called precursors) without raising suspicion. The people getting the precursors to meth are paid to do this, but a lot of people choose to be given crystal meth instead of money.

Methamphetamine can be made from similar chemicals, such as other amino acids. The process is extremely dangerous. With all illegal meth there is a chance that it will contain impurities which are harmful to the user. Similar drugs or precursors can be extracted from plants such as ephedraceae.



Methamphetamine has been around for a very long time, though the procedures for manufacturing the drug have changed throughout the years and made it much more potent. In Germany, in the late 1800s, amphetamine was developed, and in 1919, Japan created methamphetamine, which was easier to produce than amphetamine. The drug was widely used in combat during World War II to promote wakefulness. After World War II, there was an epidemic of methamphetamine abuse in Japan, according to the Foundation for a Drug-Free World.

Ways of using methamphetamine (routes of administration)




When methamphetamine is snorted, the crystals are ground up and made into little lines (also called rails). Then they are inhaled through the nose with rolled-up paper, rolled-up dollar bills, empty plastic pen tubes, short plastic straws, or other things that can be made into a small "tube" shape.

When methamphetamine is snorted, its effects last longer than when it is smoked or injected. The effects can last as long as twelve hours.[19] However, it takes longer to feel the effects,[18] and there is not as strong of a "rush" (a very happy feeling called euphoria).[20]

Snorting methamphetamine can damage the nasal septum on the inside of the nose. Also, if people share the same snorting tube, they can get infections.



When methamphetamine is smoked, the crystals are placed into a glass pipe (called a "meth pipe") or a hollowed-out lightbulb. The crystals are warmed up from underneath by a flame (like from a lighter or matches). The methamphetamine is not actually "smoked" this way; it is heated up until it melts. When it melts, it turns into a gas that the user then breathes in.

Smoking methamphetamine causes euphoria to happen very quickly in the person using it, and causes strong euphoria. However, the vapor (gas) can damage the lungs.



Methamphetamine can be mixed with water, then put into a needle and injected. Methamphetamine can be injected under the skin (this is called "skin-popping"); into a muscle (intramuscular injection); or into a vein (intravenous inection). Injecting methamphetamine into a vein causes the quickest, strongest euphoria.

Injecting methamphetamine can damage the body in many ways. It is very addictive. People can get infections (including HIV, hepatitis C, and many others) from dirty needles. People sharing a needle can also cause diseases in their blood.



If methamphetamine is eaten, it gets absorbed into the body from the digestive system. Although the effects take longer to be felt when compared to other routes of administration (between fifteen and forty five minutes), they tend to outlast the highs achieved through smoking, injecting, and snorting. The onset is comparatively gentler, but can cause gastrointestinal problems for the user and is not considered one hundred percent safe. The body naturally filters out some toxins when methamphetamine is ingested orally, but due to the potency of the drug, addiction is still a strong risk factor.



Desired effects


Desired effects are the things people want to feel when they take methamphetamine. These include:

  • Euphoria
  • Having a lot of energy
  • Being able to stay awake for a long time
  • Losing weight
  • numbing emotions

Adverse effects


Adverse effects are the bad things that using methamphetamine can cause. Methamphetamine has many adverse effects. For example:



Methamphetamine is very addictive.[14] This means that when people start taking the drug, they will want to keep taking more, even if it is making them sick or depressed.[21]

One of the reasons methamphetamine users who quit the drug go back to using it is the craving to use more because of how good it feels. The euphoria is so strong that many users claim to have an uncontrollable urge to get more of the drug after using it.[22] Cravings to use more methamphetamine can make the user obsessed with getting more and getting the same high.

When people are addicted to methamphetamine, they can also have withdrawal symptoms when they do not take the drug after the high goes away. Withdrawal symptoms can include a wide range of feelings of emotional pain or suffering. Without methamphetamine, addicts can feel anhedonia. This means they cannot feel good without using the drug.


Methamphetamine can make a user psychologically dependent. This means that without using the drug, someone who is dependent experiences withdrawal symptoms. These include depression, anxiety, paranoia, not being able to sleep and other symptoms involving what's going on in the user's head. These symptoms are more intense in methamphetamine users than other drug users.

Physical dependence is when a user experiences withdrawal symptoms like, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cold sweats, muscle and joint pain and other symptoms involving negative things happening to the user's body. Some who are physically dependent report pain all throughout their body and not going away for days or weeks. Physical dependence is more common among people who use opioids (strong, addictive pain relievers that can cause euphoria in non-medical situations) like morphine, heroin, oxycodone, hydrocodone and fentanyl. Physical dependence doesn't happen in users of stimulant drugs like methamphetamine.



Overdosing (commonly called "OD'ing") on methamphetamine (taking too much) can make a person very sick. Some of the symptoms of methamphetamine overdose are very dangerous, and can even kill a person. Methamphetamine overdoses resulting in the user dying are very rare, but in once instance in Thailand, a dose of 200mg in 2 people's systems was enough to kill them. Overdosing on the drug can cause:[23]

"Meth Mouth"

A suspected case of meth mouth

"Meth Mouth" is a term used to describe destroyed or decayed teeth in people that use methamphetamine. Meth mouth can happen very quickly. A new addict can go from having healthy teeth to losing all of their teeth in as little as one year. The decay (rotting teeth) is not caused by methamphetamine itself, but by users not brushing their teeth, having a lot of sugary drinks, and having dry mouth.

Life expectancy

The life expectancy of a methamphetamine addict is 5–10 years.[24]

Other effects on the body


Methamphetamine's effects on the body can include:[25]

Effects on feelings and behavior


Methamphetamine's effects on feelings and behavior can include:[25]

Long-term effects


Taking methamphetamine for a too long can cause Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease. In fact, a teenager taking methamphetamine can show symptoms similar to Alzheimer's.[26]

People who take methamphetamine over a long period of time time often have serious psychological problems, such as:[23]

  • Mood swings (very quick changes in mood like quickly going from calm to angry)
  • Delusions (believing things that are not true)
  • Very bad paranoia

Co-occurring disorders


Some of the mental health disorders that often occur with methamphetamine addiction include:


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