Methamphetamine or popularly known as meth is a powerful synthetic central nervous system stimulant. It can generate short but rapid euphoric high, causing the user to seek more because of the sudden crash.
The drug contains extreme addictive properties and deadly effects on the body. For this reason, the Food and Drug Administration classified meth as Schedule II substance under the US regulations for drugs. Possessing and selling of the drug makes it highly illegal in the country.
How users take Meth
Users usually smoke meth in a small glass pipe or prepare it for intravenous injection. Even though the two methods are different from each other, it can both reach the brain very quickly. Compare to smoking meth, injecting it directly into the bloodstream is the fastest way to get high, as it reaches the brain more rapidly.
When the drug rushes to the brain quickly it immediately causes euphoria. Along with this intense ecstasy sensation, users will often show signs of active energy. Some of the health effects of Meth abuse are as follows:
- Feelings of euphoria
- Excessive talking
- Increased energy
- Mood changes
- Disordered thought
- Loss of appetite
- Teeth grinding or bruxism
- Dry mouth often accompanied with bad breath
Long-term abuse of meth can cause:
- Heart disease
- Communicable diseases
- Probable neurotoxicity
- Cognitive problems (like poor memory, impede processing of thoughts, and motor incoordination problems)
- Methamphetamine-induce psychosis (such as hallucinations, paranoia, and delusions)
- Psychomotor retardation and anhedonia (unable to feel pleasure)
However, when long time users suddenly stopped or decreased their meth intake, it can lead to withdrawal symptoms. This can lead to intense cravings, where users need to take more of the drug, suffer ‘crash’ and do the cycle again. Sign and symptoms of withdrawal include:
- Increased appetite
- Unable to feel pleasure (anhedonia)
- Inability to concentrate
- Muscle weakness
- Suicidal thoughts
Factors that affect the Length of Time for Detecting Meth
There are several factors that play a vital role in detecting meth in the system. Usually, it takes about 2-10 days for the body to excrete all traces of the drug. However, these several factors can determine how fast the body can flushed meth or how long the meth stays in the system.
- How often you use methamphetamine
- The dosage you usually take
- How healthy your kidneys and liver functions
- The type of test used to detect meth
How the body Metabolize Meth
One of the most important factors for detecting meth is how the body metabolizes the drug. When users take meth, the body immediately starts to metabolize the drug. Here are the stages on how the body metabolizes meth:
- The time meth reaches the bloodstream, the body makes it first initial process converting some of the drugs into amphetamine.
- After a few hours from the last dose, the body starts to process the amphetamine and the remaining methamphetamine circulating in the system.
- These substances passed through the liver and the kidneys. Users will then excrete the drugs in the urine shortly after.
- However, 50% of a meth can flush out from the body exactly as it came in. Meaning, the body does not metabolize or processed the drug. Users did not experience any stimulating effects from that specific fraction of meth.
Meth and Various Drug Tests
Meth, a fast-acting stimulant does not linger in the system for very long. Depending on the dosage of the drug, it can last for about 8-24 hours. The user’s body chemistry can also affect the duration of meth in the system. The drug has a plasma half-life of 12-34 hours. This means that it usually takes 12-34 hours for the body to process meth by half in the user’s blood.
Urine test typically detects meth up to 72 hours from the last drug intake. But for heavy, long-term meth users can still linger in the system and the test can detect the drug up to a week. When users ingest the drug, the liver and kidney can immediately process it. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, up to 54% of the drug passes out of the body unchanged.
A saliva swab can detect meth from 1 to 4 days after the user’s last dose.
Synthetic drugs including meth can stay in the user’s hair for a longer period of time. The test can turn out positive for meth up to 90 days from the last use.
In summary, drug tests can detect meth in different ways which include:
- Blood Test = 12-34 hours
- Saliva Test = 1 to 4 days
- Hair Test = 90 days from the last use
- Urine Test = up to 72 hours
- Time to leave the body = 2-10 days but chronic heavy use makes it longer to leave the body
- Effects of meth use = 8-24 hours
Experts consider methamphetamine as one of the most dangerous recreational drugs. Any suspected addiction of your loved one to this drug should be treated immediately. Recovering from meth addiction is not an easy journey, but still possible.
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