How long does meth last?
Meth’s effects on the human body are serious can cause long-term, negative health effects.
Here, we explain more about how meth works in the brain and body. At the end of the article, we invite you to ask questions about meth long-term effects on the brain and body. We do our best to respond to all legitimate inquiries personally and promptly.
Meth effects on the body and brain
Methamphetamine is a very strong synthetic drug that stimulates sections in our brain responsible for pleasure. Meth stimulates the release of neurotransmitters. At the same time it prohibits their reuptake, effectively blocking their return to the nerve cells. More specifically, it affects:
- The norepinephrine system in the peripheral nervous system.
- The dopamine system in the central nervous system.
Q: But, which neurotransmitters does meth affect exactly?
1. DOPAMINE. Alterations in the dopamine system lead to impaired brain activity in individuals who use meth. Dopamine is responsible for basic functions of the body, and taking the drug can alter:
- feelings of pleasure
2. SEROTONIN. Meth also alters the function of serotonin in the body. This neurotransmitter plays an important role in regulating:
- body temperature
- motor function
- sexual activity
- sleep induction
Meth duration of action
The duration of action for meth varies depending on the dose administered and the history of drug use. Furthermore, each individual has the potential to develop a level of tolerance as a unique way to handle the presence of drugs in the system – which also influences the duration of action. In addition, the route of administration can change onset of action, as well as duration of action.
- Injecting meth. The fastest way to get meth into your bloodstream and brain through injection, almost instantly causing effects.
- Smoking meth. Smoking, on the other hand, is method of ingestion used by people who chronically take meth.
- Snorting meth. Snorting meth produces euphoria – an intense sense of well-being, or a high – but not an intense rush. Effects after snorting are usually felt within 3 to 5 minutes of ingestion.
- Oral route of administration. After an oral dose of meth, peak concentrations are detected in the bloodstream in about 3 hours after dosing. However, peak levels of the metabolites of methamphetamine are reached 12 hours later.
- Transdermal route of administration. Meth even has the potential to be absorbed through intact skin in body areas with high surface concentration.
Meth time in the body
Meth stays in the body for a significantly long period of time.
However, there are factors that influence how much time will be needed for methamphetamine to get completely eliminated. Factors include:
- urine pH levels
- amount of meth taken
- how frequently the drug is used
- user’s body mass
- rate of metabolism
- general health state
- level of hydration
…and other factors.
Meth peak blood concentrations differ depending on mode of administration. Although the half-life of meth can range greatly depending on mode of administration, it’s half-life generally stays in the range between 10 to 12 hours. But, meth and its active metabolites (amphetamine, p-OH-amphetamine and norephedrine) can be detected on drug tests way longer.
In urine-based drug tests, meth is present up to 4 days, and this period could be extended to a week with heavy and chronic use. Meth stays detectable in the blood from 24 hours and up to 48 hours. The drug can be found in hair the longest, and time periods range from months to a year depending on the level of meth usage and the length of your hair. It can also be detected in your saliva for approximately 1-2 days after the last use.
How long do meth effects last?
General effects of meth are often compared to those of cocaine. However, meth effects can last for up to 12 hours after administration.
How long does a meth high last?
A meth high tends to be progressive, meaning that it can peak over time. This prolonged euphoric effect is extremely sought out in meth users. Binge use is also very common as users try to expand the duration of effects.
Here is what the phases of meth high look and feel like:
The Rush – Lasts for 5 minutes and causes intense euphoria, fast brainstorming, sexual stimulation, hyper energetic, occupied with details, thought blending, pupils are dilated etc.
The Shoulder – Lasts for about 1 hour, during which euphoria is less tense, otherwise the remaining effects are the same.
Binge use – Lasts for 1 to 5 days, when meth is taken in order to regain or maintain euphoria. Can lead you to become dependent on meth after repeated binge episodes.
Tweaking – Lasts for 4 to 24 hours, characterized by dysphoria (extreme dissatisfaction), pupils are back to normal, scattered thoughts, strong psychological craving for meth, paranoia, anxiety and irritability, auditory hallucinations, delusions.
The Crash – Lasts for 1 to 3 days, during which you feel tired, constantly falling asleep, but still craving for meth.
Normalizing – Lasts for 2 to 7 days, when you kind of return to back to normal but still face cravings. Withdrawal , after 7 days where you have lack of energy and sudden waves of intense craving, depression, extreme tiredness and exhaustion.
Meth high effects
New methods of producing meth in the 1990’s enabled the psychogenic isomer d-methamphetamine to cause more extreme effects and enhance the experience of being high.
While a meth high gives the user a feeling of euphoria and well-being, the desirable effects are accompanied by many unwanted effects of meth use. Side effect of methamphetamine use include:
- dryness of the mouth
- long periods of no sleep
- loss of appetite
- metallic-like taste
- problems breathing
- weight loss
Not to forget that meth is highly addictive! In fact, meth addiction and physical dependence are almost unavoidable, especially with chronic use, the percentage of meth addicts seeking professional help is increasing every day.
Is your need for meth and frequency/amount of use increasing? If you feel stuck because of your meth addiction and want to quit but are unable to…there are ways to stop use in a safe and successful manner. Learn more about the addiction treatment process, rehab options, therapies and programs that can help in our GUIDE on Methamphetamine Addiction Treatment Programs and Help.
Meth duration questions
Keep in mind that when you are aware of the specific signs and symptoms of meth addiction, you can address the mental health issue sooner, and have a better chance at successful recovery.
After reading this article, is there still something that is not quite clear? Please ask us your questions about meth and its duration in the comments section and we will respond personally and promptly.
Reference Sources: Utah Department of Health: Methamphetamine
Hazardous Substances Data Bank TOXNET: Amphetamine
Photo credit: Elliot Bennett