I tried meth once, out of curiosity more than anything else. It was actually a pinkish hue. That surprised me since I just had assumed all meth was blue. Thanks, Breaking Bad. And it was a powder. It seemed almost like a liquid but that was probably because it was hot. I mean, middle-of-summer-in-Texas hot.
Someone told me to smoke it. I thought – well it’s a powder, so I’ll just snort it. It seemed easier that way.
I took a deep breath and did it. I instantly felt that I would regret it. The first thing I noticed was that weird tunnel vision it gave me and then I had this feeling that my IQ had doubled! It was like I was living in the movie Limitless.
I could tell when the peak had come and gone since that clear and stimulated feeling started to fade. It sort of felt like it was never going to end like the meth was stuck in my system.
Somehow, I ended up at home. I had another minor meltdown, well maybe more than minor.
What is Methamphetamine?
Methamphetamine or meth is a stimulant drug that speeds up the body’s central nervous system and provides a boost of energy. It comes in a pill or powder that can be smoked, snorted, or injected. While methamphetamine is occasionally used to treat ADHD or obesity, it is often abused and highly addictive.
Because of its desirable and fast-acting high, people have also created crystal meth or ice. This crystalline form of methamphetamine is more concentrated and therefore, leads to addiction faster. Those who become hooked on this drug find that their bodies come to rely on meth and often need to go to a meth addiction rehab.
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How Long Is Meth in Your System?
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 meth remains. 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:
- Dosage – Higher dosages generally stay in your system longer.
- Potency – The stronger the meth, the longer it will take to metabolize.
- Polysubstance abuse – The presence of other substances may impact the body’s ability to metabolize meth.
- Route of administration – Different means of administration may impact how quickly the body is able to start the meth metabolism process.
- Tolerance – Those with a high tolerance will often take larger dosages and take longer to eliminate meth from their system.
- 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.
- Body chemistry – A person’s body chemistry can heavily impact both how they react to the drug as well as how they are able to break down meth.
- Age – Generally, as people get older, their metabolism slows down.
Meth Metabolism & Half-Life
Along with the differences in the drug itself, metabolism plays a huge part in how long meth lasts in your system. The half-life of meth, or the time it takes the body to metabolize half of the meth in its system, is around 10 to 11 hours.1
During this time, methamphetamine is easily absorbed by the blood and then distributed to various organs in the body. The liver is largely responsible for the metabolism of methamphetamine as liver enzymes break down methamphetamine into the byproducts amphetamine and para-hydroxymethamphetamine (p-OHMA). These metabolites as well as unchanged methamphetamine are eliminated from the body through urine and waste.2
How Long Will Meth Show Up on A Drug Test?
Although meth and crystal meth stay in your system for several days, once the effects wear off, it is hard to tell. Drug tests are used to check for the presence of methamphetamine in the body, and different tests have different meth detection times.
This type of drug test is commonly used because it is non-invasive, and meth stays in urine for several days. In fact, methamphetamine can be detected in urine up to seven days after the last dose was administered.3
More invasive and with a shorter meth detection time, these tests can identify methamphetamine in blood up to two days after the last use.3
These tests are not as popular because meth in saliva is only detectable about one day after it was last administered, but there are some cases where meth has been detected in saliva as much as three days later.3
Hair drug tests have by far the longest methamphetamine detection time with an average of 90 days. In some case, traces of meth can be found in hair as far back as 120 days as well.4
While a positive drug test for meth may sometimes be a result of a false positive, these tests generally tend to be accurate. There is not a lot you can do to avoid testing positive if meth is in your system within the chosen drug test’s timeframe.
Regardless of how long it takes for meth to leave your system, this drug can have serious long- and short-term effects including addiction. If you are struggling with meth use or someone you know is showing signs of meth abuse, get help. Ignoring the problem will only make it worse and could have a devastating impact on several people’s lives.
At Vertava Health Texas, formerly the Treehouse, we want to help. Our drug rehab in Scurry provides comprehensive care and support in recovery to help people live out their best futures. Find out more today and get started.