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How does meth work?

How does meth work?

Meth is a highly addictive substance that affects both the body and the brain.  In fact, meth addictive properties make it one of the most targeted drugs in the U.S. today.  We explain how meth works below and what some of its effects can be in both the short-term and the long-term. Then, we welcome any questions or comments you may have about meth in the comments section below.

How does meth work in the body?

Meth is a stimulant that affects the brain, spinal cord, and central nervous system. Meth changes the way the body processes certain chemicals that act as communicators between nerve cells and brain cells, which are called “neurotransmitters.” The neurotransmitter most affected by meth use is dopamine. Dopamine, in particular, gets released in large quantities when you use meth. Dopamine is associated with feelings of pleasure and reward, and creates a sense of euphoria in the user known as a “rush.” During this rush, heart rate, blood pressure, and libido increase an intense feeling of well-being.

How long amphetamines in the system depend on what it is you’re taking.   But, effects of meth usually wear out within a day, or so.  During a meth binge, a post-rush phase known as “tweaking” can occur. When you tweak on meth, euphoria is replaced with possible paranoia, irritability, hallucination, and delusion. Since meth quickly depletes the body’s dopamine supply, users can experience a period of depression or “crash.” During a crash, meth users experience depression and fatigue.

How does meth affect the brain and nervous system?

Meth can have many long-lasting effects on the brain. In fact, chronic use of meth can permanently alter how the brain processes memories and emotions, leading to mood disturbances, paranoia, violent behavior, and symptoms consistent with psychosis. Long-term abuse can also damage motor skills.

How fast or quickly does meth work?

Meth works very quickly when smoked or injected, with effects felt almost immediately. After oral ingestion, meth effects occur more slowly but last longer.

How long does meth work?

How long meth works varies depending on method of administration. The effects of meth can last between four and eight hours, and residual effects may last as long as twelve hours. After effects of binge meth use can last for several days and can lead to meth cravings.

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What makes meth work better?

Meth creates a pretty long lasting and intense high on its own. As tolerance develops, users may seek ways to intensify their high. Because meth already puts great strain on the heart and circulatory system, mixing meth with other drugs is dangerous and can lead to overdose.

Does meth work for everyone?

Like any substance, not all who use meth recreationally become addicted to it. However, meth has a high addictive potential. The crash after a meth binge causes the user to seek more meth to offset those negative effects. As tolerance to meth increases, users take more and take it more often.

Furthermore, long term abuse of meth can take a great toll on the body, leading to skin lesions, tooth decay, and sometimes stroke or heart attack. Because meth also increases sex drive and decreases inhibition, it can also lead to sexually transmitted diseases.

How does meth work questions

If you have any questions about how meth works, or would like to share any feedback, please do so in the comments section below. We will try to get back to you personally and promptly.

Reference Sources: NHTSA: Methamphetamine
CDC Fact Sheets: Meth
NIDA: Drug Facts: Methamphetamine
NIDA: Drugs of Abuse: Methamphetamine
State of Utah Department of Health: Meth Abuse

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16 Responses to “How does meth work?
10:07 pm March 15th, 2014

How many days to give a clean drug test

Jose m medina jr
4:19 am May 25th, 2014

Been wondering are there permanent damage side affects?

8:02 am May 27th, 2014

Hello Jose. Yes, meth can cause long term, permanent damage to the body, brain, behavior, and psychology of a user. You can check out more about the long term effects of meth here:

5:52 pm June 26th, 2014

Hi, I started using meth a week ago and I am afraid that I’ll get addicted to it. I just inhale 2-4 fat lines of it. Will I get affected or addicted? …when it’s over i feel like using more of it, but I control myself, and I can be without it.

8:05 am June 27th, 2014

Hi Subhan. Crystal methamphetamine is a dangerous and powerful drug. At first it acts as a stimulant to the brain, but destroys the body and is associated with many serious health conditions.

It’s highly addictive and many users report being hooked on meth from the first use. So you might want to seriously consider NEVER using it again. Science shows it’s develops one of the hardest drug addictions, has many psychological and physical side effects, and in many cases, unfortunately, meth use has fatal consequences.

6:40 pm July 14th, 2014

My boyfriend has been using since before we’ve got together. I came from a family who abused the drug and swore to myself I wouldn’t ever be with someone who used. I’ve cried to him countless times. He refuses to seek help but wants to overcome this by himself after using for 3 years. His bursts of outrage, paranoia, false accusations, and inability to trust me are ruining the relationship, not just between he and I but both of our families. I’ve seen him crash for a whole day. Told him I’d stick by his side through it and he couldn’t handle the withdraws so he went back. He wakes up in the morning hits a fat line, then another around noon. Before he comes to bed he takes a zanex to be able sleep with me. I need to know the affects the dope and bar could have on him. Especially considering one is an up and the other is a downer.

4:42 am October 9th, 2014

no meth is that great cause normal a,fetame can’t cross the brainbarrier easily, meth can walk through, that’s the difference, so the high is highhh, more effective and well , ain’t shit to f*ck with. And the list of teethproblems comes from poor hygiene, not the meth. Never cleaning youself on a propably poor sugarfree dieet and too few calcium etc intake , makes your teeth , well fall out?… But the meth ain’t doing it, besides destroying live, brain , life. and fast. Heroine ain’t toxic at all, they have or had teethproblems, but they nearly feed themselves and hygiene is low. But the heroine nearly damages cells, coke and alcohol are way more toxic.

7:38 am November 13th, 2014

ADHD is real and something ive struggled with forever. Have been diagnosed with ADD since I was a little kid. I have been Taking Adderall for years and without it I wouldn’t have been able to focus enough to pass high school (manly math). My doctor is very open minded and understanding and we need more people like this to treat people with true ADD/ADHD. Have been going to the same psychiatrist for years and he’s absolutely awesome! I’m currently enrolled in full time school (never thought I could be) and I’m perfectly fine. ADHD is real. Anyone who disagrees needs to read up on their scientific psychiatric literature and studies!

crystal g
5:44 am December 21st, 2014

I have not read yet the many other ways illegal method use destroys us. I am a second generation drug addict. While I have been clean for almost 8 years after using method among other narcotics for 8 years, my mother and sister still use method. My mother was very absent from our lives due to her method use, and it continue to rob families, destroying logical thinking, reasoning beyong primitive thought as expressed in on of the previous comments, and currently my 56 year old mother has begun to show strong consistent signs of scitizophrenia from long term use. Her actions have lead to permenant damage and I will be forced to experience it and watch her suffer. The use of meth is nothing to play with and should be handeled as if the devil is trying to destroy your life. Get away, get help, take it seriously.

4:09 am January 13th, 2015

how much meth does it take to injest and test positive the next day

8:49 am February 24th, 2015

My fiance swallowed a gram of meth never done it before in his life it’s a long story on why he did this but what signs do I need to look for? What can I do for him at home please email me back hope u have a blessed day

4:20 pm March 2nd, 2015

Hello Starr. Call the Poison Control Center on 1-800-222-1222 to talk to a poison expert, get advise on what to do next and what are the possible risks.

6:00 am April 2nd, 2015

I am a recovering, and sadly relapsing, addict of meth. I was strung out bad on it about 2 years ago, and up until a couple weeks ago I was clean and sober. I was recently asked if I could pass a drug test if asked to take one for personal family reasons. I was an avid shooter before, but only snort it now. I’m just wondering if anyone knows about how long the drug will stay in my system if I only snort at most 3 small lines a day. I’ve only had 1 today and it was about 4pm. I’m not sure when my drug test will be, if I actually have one, but I’m not doing any more for now, at least until I have the drug test. Can anyone help me out with some answers please?

11:15 am May 19th, 2015

How could methamphetamine use possibly lead to any sexually transmitted disease?

3:50 pm May 19th, 2015

Hi Isabella. You can read more about your question in this medical study: and if you are looking for more info, you can find many more scientific studies in medical journals on the internet.

9:51 pm July 20th, 2015

Last week my friend told me a magical drug …. I snoted 4-5 line … ate nothing for 3 days … drank liters of water …… no sleep …. I got so frustrated … now I m neva gonna do meth again … good news is I’ll never do chemical in my life again … bcoz meth is soooo bad .. pls dont do it … only a man who have done it can tell u … pls dont do it even once ….

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