How Long Does Meth Stay In Your System?

What Is Methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine, also known under the brand name Desoxyn or street names meth, crank, crystal, glass, ice, and speed, is a stimulant drug that speeds up the body’s systems. After marijuana, meth is the second most popular illicit drug in the world, it’s also because of how long does meth stay in your system that makes it popular. it can provide you effects for hours. Methamphetamine is classified as a Schedule II drug in the United States, meaning that it’s considered a drug with a high potential for misuse, with use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence[1].

Though most often used illicitly as a recreational drug, it is also available in prescription form as Desoxyn, which is used for treating ADHD and the short-term treatment of obesity.

Determining exactly how long methamphetamine is detectable in the body depends on many variables, including the type of test used, the method of use, and a person’s unique physical characteristics. Methamphetamine can be detected for a shorter period with some tests but can be visible for up to three months in others.

How Long Does It Take To Feel Effects?

Once the effects of meth wear off, it doesn’t mean the meth in your body is gone. How long does meth stay in your system? it depends on several determinants.

The effects of methamphetamine begin rapidly after intravenous use or when it is smoked. The primary effects last from four to eight hours, with residual effects lasting up to 12 hours. Amphetamine (a methamphetamine metabolite) is detectable in drug tests long after the person feels back to normal. The effects of methamphetamine vary widely between prescribed therapeutic doses compared to dosages usually used by people who misuse meth. Prescription doses of 10mg to 30mg can improve reaction time, relieve fatigue, enhance cognitive function testing, increase subjective feelings of alertness, increase time estimation, and increase euphoria. However, a larger dose of meth can cause the following effects:

  • Agitation
  • Depressed reflexes
  • Inability to focus attention on divided attention tasks
  • Inability to follow directions
  • Inattention
  • Increased reaction time
  • Motor excitation
  • Poor balance and coordination
  • Restlessness
  • Time distortion

Duration Of Effects From Meth

After a person takes meth, they often experience several stages of a meth high before crashing. The duration of these effects can vary. However, they generally occur in a predictable order as your body gets exposed to the drug and starts to break it down.

How Long Does The Effects Of Methamphetamine Last?

1st Stage: The Rush

The first stage occurs after you initially ingest meth and is referred to as “the rush.” This occurrence is a result of a sudden flood of dopamine into the brain. During this time, your heart quickens, pupils dilate, and your blood pressure and metabolism increase. The first stage can last up to 30 minutes [3].

2nd Stage: The High

After the initial rush, you will experience the second stage: the high. The high from meth can last from four to 16 hours [3] and is characterized by hyperactivity and rapid thinking patterns. Other visible side effects of someone who has used meth and is experiencing a high include:

  • Aggressive or obsessive-compulsive behavior.
  • Confusion.
  • The lack of ability to form coherent sentences.

3rd Stage: The Binge

It is common for someone who abuses meth to go through the next stage, called binging, to avoid crashing when the high wears off. Binging can last from three to 15 days[3], during which the person often avoids eating. In a recent study of meth users, 67% used meth several times a week, and 23% tried never to leave their binge by using it multiple times per day, every day.

4th Stage: The Tweak

The last stage of meth intoxication, sometimes considered the most dangerous[3], is tweaking. During tweaking, the high has worn off, and side effects like itching are common. Further, a person can become increasingly frustrated, paranoid, and unstable due to going several days without sleep. People going through this stage are typically unpredictable. Some individuals develop meth psychosis and are at higher risk for self-harm.

5th Stage: The Crash

During a meth crash, the body finally shuts down after being overstimulated from the meth high. This stage can last from one to three days[3] and involves excessive fatigue and sleep. Crashing also occurs when you stop taking meth. For most meth users, they experience their crash within the first ten days of quitting.

6th Stage: The Hangover

A meth hangover often follows the crash. After sleeping for several days after getting high, the person often suffers[3] from dehydration, hunger, and mental and physical exhaustion. This stage lasts for up to 14 days. During a meth hangover, a person may attempt to take more meth to feel better.

7th Stage: Withdrawal

Meth withdrawal can be a slow process and ongoing for up to 90 days[3] before a person even begins to recognize their symptoms. Withdrawal is linked to symptoms like depression, lack of energy, and lack of pleasure. Cravings are also common during this time, leading many people to continue to make meth. The vast majority (95%) of all participants experienced cravings for up to seven weeks, so most people can expect their desires will calm down in the first or second month after stopping meth use.

The half-life of methamphetamine is an average of 10 hours. This means it takes about 10 hours for half of the ingested dose to be metabolized and eliminated from the bloodstream. 

When taken orally, concentrations of methamphetamine peak in the bloodstream between 2.6 and 3.6 hours, and the amphetamine metabolite peaks at 12 hours. However, if meth is taken intravenously, the elimination half-life is slightly longer at about 12.2 hours[2]. 

Methamphetamine is metabolized by a liver enzyme and is excreted by the kidneys in urine. It is metabolized (or broken down) into amphetamine and 4-hydromethamphetamine.

 You may be wondering how long meth stays in your system, particularly if you are ready to rid your body of the drug.
 You may be wondering how long does meth stay in your system, particularly if you are ready to rid your body of the drug.

Average Meth Detection Times By Type Of Drug Test

Various testing methods have different estimated ranges of times or detection windows, during which meth can be picked up after a person has taken the drug[2].

  • Urine: Meth is typically detectable in urine for one to four days but may be noticeable for up to a week after heavy, chronic use. A urine test typically shows a higher concentration of meth than other drug tests because the drug’s metabolites are eliminated through urine.
  • Blood: Blood tests can detect meth most quickly after being used, typically one to three days after last use.
  • Saliva: Meth can be detected in saliva for one to four days after the last use.
  • Hair: A hair follicle test can detect meth in your system for up to 90 days.

How Long Does Meth Stay In Your System & Factors

Because there are many factors at play, how long meth stays in your system can vary. While typically, the meth high lasts less than a day, methamphetamine stays in your system for longer. As the body metabolizes meth, the effects wane, and the user experiences meth withdrawal, but some of the meths remain. It generally takes about half a day for the body to metabolize half of the meth in its system, but in some cases, traces of meth may even be found in your system months later.

Factors that impact how long meth stays in your system may include:

  • Potency: The stronger the meth, the longer it will take to metabolize.
  • Tolerance: Those with a high tolerance will often take larger dosages and take longer to eliminate meth from their system.
  • Polysubstance abuse: The presence of other substances may impact the body’s ability to metabolize meth.
  • Body chemistry: A person’s body chemistry can heavily impact both how they react to the drug and how they can break down meth.
  • Route of administration: Different means of administration may impact how quickly the body can start the meth metabolism process.
  • Dosage: Higher dosages generally stay in your system longer.
  • Health of liver and kidneys: Because the liver and kidney play a vital role in the metabolism of meth when they are not working at their best, it will slow down metabolism.
  • Age: Generally, as people get older, their metabolism slows down.

Factors That Affect Detection Time

The timetable for detecting methamphetamine in the human body depends on the individual’s health, metabolism, age, physical activity, and frequency of use, making it difficult to determine how long meth will show up on a drug test.

  • Overall health: Your overall health, including liver and kidney function, can play a role in how quickly meth is processed and cleared from your body.
  • Frequency of use: People who use amphetamine very frequently will have longer detection times than those who use the drug one time.
  • Metabolic rate: People with a high metabolism tend to process and excrete amphetamine quicker than those with a slower metabolism. Age, activity level, and overall health can all play a role in your metabolic rate.
  • Smoking vs. injecting: Whether you take the drug orally or intravenously can impact detection time. If you take it orally, it will be eliminated slightly more rapidly than if you inject the drug. On the other hand, if you’ve been prescribed Adderall and take it as prescribed, the drug will likely remain in your bloodstream for more extended periods.
Determining exactly how long does meth stay in your system depends on many variables, including the type of test used and metabolism.
Determining exactly how long does meth stay in your system depends on many variables, including the type of test used and metabolism.

Symptoms Of Overdose

One of the main reasons for how long meth remains in the system is the risk of overdose. Here are some symptoms of a meth overdose:

  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Extremely high body temperature
  • Heart attack
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Kidney damage or failure
  • Paranoia
  • Seizures
  • Severe agitation
  • Stroke

Getting Help For Meth Addiction

Being worried about failing a drug test can be a red flag that your substance use is spinning out of control. If you or someone you know struggles with meth, help is available. At We Level Up, our staff of professionals offers several treatment programs that fit your individual needs. Contact us to learn more about how long does meth stay in your system and what treatment program could work for you. Make this your opportunity to reclaim your life. Call today to speak with one of our treatment specialists. Our specialists know what you are going through and will answer any of your questions.

Your call is private and confidential, and there is never any obligation.

Sources

[1] National Institute on Drug Abuse. Methamphetamine.

[2] National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. April 2014 (Revised). Drugs and Human Performance Fact Sheets. 

[3] Drug-Free World – https://www.drugfreeworld.org/drugfacts/crystalmeth/the-stages-of-the-meth-experience.html

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