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How Does Meth Work?

Methamphetamine comes in several forms and can be smoked, snorted, injected, or orally ingested. The preferred drug method varies by geographical region and has changed over time. Meth use may include a form of administration known as plugging. Also called “booty bump meth,” this involves inserting meth into the rectum. However, crystal meth smoke produces a long-lasting high.

Smoking or injecting methamphetamine puts the drug very quickly into the bloodstream and brain, causing an immediate, intense “rush” and amplifying the drug’s addiction potential and adverse health consequences. The rush, or “flash,” lasts only a few minutes and is described as highly pleasurable. Snorting or oral ingestion produces euphoria—a high, but not an intense rush. Snorting produces effects within 3 to 5 minutes, and oral ingestion has effects within 15 to 20 minutes. [1]

What does meth feel like? As with many stimulants, methamphetamine is often misused in a “binge and crash” pattern. Because the pleasurable effects of methamphetamine disappear even before the drug concentration in the blood falls significantly, users try to maintain the high by taking more of the drug. In some cases, people indulge in binging, known as a “run,” preceding food and sleep while taking the drug for up to several days.

Crystal Meth Smoke
As with many drugs, tolerance to crystal meth smoke’s pleasurable effects develop when taken repeatedly.

Crystal Smoke Slang Names

Meth slang names include:

  • Scooby
  • Rocket fuel
  • Yaba
  • Batu
  • Hot ice
  • Poor man’s cocaine (crystal meth)
  • White cross
  • Glass
  • Chalk
  • Pookie
  • Christina
  • Croak
  • Tweak
  • Crank
  • Speed
  • Cotton candy
  • Trash
  • Garbage

Smoke Crystal

Smoking any illegal drug is risky because you can never know what’s in it or how it was made. Crystal methamphetamine is an illicit drug. Crystal methamphetamine is a Schedule II substance under the Controlled Substances Act. Schedule II drugs, which include cocaine and PCP, have a high potential for abuse. Abuse of these drugs may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence. [2]

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How to Smoke Crystal

Crystal methamphetamine is typically smoked using glass pipes similar to pipes used to smoke crack cocaine. Crystal meth also may be injected. A user who smokes or injects the drug immediately experiences an intense sensation followed by a high that may last 12 hours or more.

Effects of Smoking Crystal Meth

Crystal smoking is used by individuals of all ages and is increasingly gaining popularity as a club drug. It is difficult to determine how many individuals in the United States use crystal methamphetamine because most illicit drug use surveys do not distinguish between crystal methamphetamine and powdered methamphetamine. Those surveys that draw such a distinction reveal that the use of crystal methamphetamine is prevalent. According to the University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future Survey, nearly 5% of high school seniors in the United States used Crystal meth smoke at least once in their lifetime. [3] The adverse effects of crystal meth smoke include:

  • Meth users’ body temperatures can increase to such extreme levels that they risk passing out or dying.
  • Side effects of smoking crystal meth include mood changes, anxiety, confusion, insomnia, and violent outbursts.
  • Looks can drastically change. A user might age rapidly. They could have dull skin and get pimples and ulcers that are difficult to heal. They could have decaying, damaged, or discolored teeth and a dry meth mouth. The heart can be impacted by meth. Lung damage may result from continued meth usage.
  • Meth users could develop paranoia. They could perceive and hear unreal things. They could consider harming themselves or other people. Additionally, they could have bug bites on or under their skin.
  • Meth users are more likely to get HIV and AIDS. The substance may impair judgment and lower inhibitions. When using the drug, a person may be more prone to participate in harmful activities, such as unsafe sex.

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Numbness After Smoking Crystal

After smoking meth or experiencing any type of loss of feeling in the extremities, many people report having numb fingers. Numbness that follows meth use can occur for several causes, but blood vessel constriction is the most typical. However, this is not a harmless side effect; the real cause can be much more severe, like consuming meth can worsen your heart condition. One potential side effect of crystal meth smoke is numbness, but many more might have far more detrimental long-term impacts on one’s health and well-being.

What Causes Numbness After Smoking Crystal Meth?

You may have blood circulation problems that can cause numbness, pain, or discoloration in your fingers or toes when abusing crystal meth smoke. Furthermore, Whether snorted, smoked, or injected, methamphetamine rapidly crosses the blood-brain barrier, where it can exert powerful effects on several neurochemical systems. Chronic methamphetamine abuse has a devastating impact on the central nervous system. The degree to which addicts will tolerate the dysfunction in the way they think, feel, move, and even look is a powerful testimony to the addictive properties of this drug. [4]

Chest Pains After Smoking Crystal

A typical sign of a methamphetamine overdose is chest discomfort. This substance is a potent stimulant that makes the heart work very hard. Chest discomfort might result after an overdose because the heart is under excessive pressure. This can be a risky symptom and might even be a warning sign for a heart attack or cardiovascular collapse.

Smoking crystal is associated with many negative health consequences, including the potential for transmission of hepatitis.

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Crystal Meth Sores

People refer to the possible physical side-effects of crystal meth smoke as “meth face.” Following prolonged meth usage, a person’s appearance may radically change. Premature aging and skin blemishes are only a couple of the impacts that might occur.

Picking at the skin is a typical side effect of crystal meth addiction that frequently results in lesions. Picking often might result in open sores that are prone to infection. There may be blemishes on the skin that mimic acne or a rash, or the skin may seem discolored. In addition, using meth might result in skin hardening, black patches, and wrinkles.

Crystal Meth Psychosis

Chronic meth abuse commonly leads to psychosis, with positive and cognitive symptoms similar to schizophrenia. [5] Methamphetamine is a compound (amphetamines and derivatives) used recreationally for its ability to temporarily induce a variety of desirable effects, including:

  • Increased energy levels
  • Positive mood
  • Euphoria
  • Reduced appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Enhanced mental acuity
  • Social and sexual disinhibition

According to the United Nations World Drug Report, 0.3 and 1.3% of the world’s population uses amphetamine-type stimulants. Amphetamine abuse has many repercussions, including violence, criminal behavior, incarceration, recidivism, and the transmission of HIV. Repeated administrations, or administration of high doses of methamphetamine, commonly lead to psychosis, where symptoms typically include paranoid delusions, auditory hallucinations, increased activity, and odd speech. [5]

Crystal meth smoke causes an overflow of dopamine in the striatum, which leads to excessive glutamate release into the cortex. Excess glutamate in the cortex might, over time, cause damage to cortical interneurons. Damage to cortical interneurons dysregulates thalamocortical signals and might present psychotic symptoms as seen in schizophrenia. [6] Find out more about the signs and schizophrenia treatment.

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Crystal Meth Addiction Treatment

The mainstay of treatment for the problems associated with chronic methamphetamine abuse is abstinence. However, by recognizing the manifestations of chronic abuse, clinicians will be better able to help their patients get treatment for their addiction and deal with the neurologic complications related to regular abuse.

How long does meth stay in your system? If you are addicted to drugs such as crystal meth, your first step in recovery should be a methamphetamine detox in a safe and medically supervised setting.  That is why We Level Up is here for you.  We Level Up detox center medically assists patients in clearing their systems of addictive substances, such as alcohol and addictive substances.

For anyone who suffers from addiction, we know that just the thought of having to stop using can cause severe mental distress. Inpatient rehab will help you manage the medical detox process.

The most effective treatments for methamphetamine addiction at this point are behavioral therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral and contingency management interventions. For example, the Matrix Model—a 16-week comprehensive behavioral treatment approach that combines behavioral therapy, family education, individual counseling, 12-step support, drug testing, and encouragement for non-drug-related activities—effectively reduces methamphetamine misuse.

Although medications have proven effective in treating some substance use disorders, there are currently no medications that counteract the specific effects of methamphetamine or prolong abstinence from and reduce the misuse of methamphetamine by an individual addicted to the drug.

Medically-Assisted Detox

Medical detox is often considered the first stage of treatment. It will help you navigate the complicated process of meth withdrawal, but it doesn’t address patterns of thought and behavior contributing to drug use. Various treatment approaches and settings can help provide the ongoing support necessary to maintain long-term sobriety after you complete detox.

How long does crystal meth stay in your system? Cravings are very common during detox and can be challenging to overcome. This often leads to relapse. Constant medical care provided during inpatient treatment helps prevent relapse. Clinicians can give necessary medication and medical expertise to lessen cravings and the effects of withdrawals.

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Several different modalities of psychotherapy have been used in the treatment of mental health disorders along with crystal meth addiction, including:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – An effective treatment that involves changing both the patterns of negative thoughts and the behavioral routines which are affecting the daily life of the depressed person for various forms of depression. Cognitive behavior therapy has been evaluated as particularly effective for treating Methamphetamine addiction and co-occurring disorders of depression and anxiety.
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy – A comprehensive mental health and substance abuse treatment program whose ultimate goal is to aid patients in their efforts to build a life worth living. The main goal of DBT is to help a person develop what is referred to as a “clear mind.” 
  • Person-Centered Therapy – A strategy that allows and encourages clients to understand and resolve their concerns in a safe, supportive environment.
  • Solution-Focused Therapy – An approach interested in solutions that can be quickly implemented with a simple first step leading to further positive consequences.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Drug abuse and mental health disorders often co-occur. In many cases, traumatic experiences can result in a mental health disorder and substance abuse. Dual diagnosis rehabilitation treats both of these issues together. The best approach for the treatment of dual diagnosis is an integrated system. This strategy treats both the substance abuse problem and the mental disorder simultaneously. Regardless of which diagnosis (mental health or substance abuse problem) came first, long-term recovery will depend mainly on the treatment for both conditions done by the same team or provider.

We Level Up thorough approach to rehabilitation supports several levels of care to ensure the best possible outcome for every patient who enters our doors.  From an intensive and more supportive atmosphere for those in the early days of recovery to a comfortable residential-style living dynamic upon completion of detox, We Level Up is here to help guide you down the safe, medication-assisted treatment and results-based path to sobriety.

Methamphetamine is made from chemicals you would never think to put in your body. Smoking Meth attacks the body and the mind of the user.

If you or a loved one is struggling with crystal meth smoke addiction or a high-functioning meth addict, call today to speak with one of our treatment specialists. Your call is private and confidential, and there is never any obligation. The We Level Up treatment center network offers nationwide facilities to choose from. Connect with one of our rehab specialists.

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[1] What are the long-term effects of methamphetamine misuse? – Institute on Drug Abuse
[2-3] What is crystal methamphetamine? – Drug Intelligence Center
[4] Neurologic manifestations of chronic methamphetamine abuse – Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)
[5-6] The neurobiology of methamphetamine-induced psychosis – Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)