Crystal Meth

Crystal Meth

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What Is Crystal Meth?

Crystal meth is an illegal street drug made in labs by combining different chemicals and medications sold over-the-counter, including cold medicine. The drug is cheap and provides a quick, powerful high, which makes it attractive to users. Casual use of crystal meth can quickly lead to addiction and a variety of serious health and social problems.

In its pure form, crystal meth is a clear to white crystalline substance that resembles long, thin shards of broken glass.

Crystal Meth Effects

Crystal meth is most commonly smoked, injected, or snorted. When smoked, it is usually done in glass pipes similar to how crack cocaine is used. On average, the full effects of the drug occur within minutes of snorting. Effects are felt nearly instantaneously when smoked or injected.

The duration of crystal meth’s effects depends on how the drug is used. If it’s injected or swallowed, the effects can last 6-8 hours. If it’s smoked or snorted, the effects can last up to 12 hours.

Short-Term Effects

  • Increased energy.
  • Euphoria.
  • Decreased hunger.
  • Hyperactivity.

Side Effects

  • Increased attention and alertness.
  • Increased heart rate (tachycardia), body temperature (hyperthermia), breathing rate (tachypnea), and blood pressure (hypertension).
  • Insomnia.
  • Aggression.
  • Increased libido.
  • Tremors.
  • Jaw clenching.
  • Teeth grinding.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Increased sociability.1,2

Life-Threatening Effects

  • Stroke.
  • Abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia).
  • Heart attack.
  • Muscle breakdown (rhabdomyolysis), which can lead to kidney failure.
  • Heart failure.
  • Seizures.
  • Hyperthermia (extremely high body temperature).
  • Sudden death.2, 3

Long-Term Effects

The longer someone uses crystal meth, the more they increase their risk of developing many physical and mental problems. These may include:

  • Teeth grinding (bruxism), causing tooth wear.
  • Psychosis.
  • Tolerance (needing more of the drug to get the same effect).
  • Dependence (addiction).
  • Extreme paranoia.
  • Major depression.
  • Compulsive skin picking (dermatillomania).
  • Memory impairment.
  • Poor concentration.
  • Withdrawal.
  • Agitation.
  • Violent or aggressive behavior.
  • Weight loss.
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Crystal Meth

Crystal Meth: Methamphetamine (contracted from N-methylamphetamine) is a potent central nervous system (CNS) stimulant that is mainly used as a recreational drug and less commonly as a second-line treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and obesity. Methamphetamine was discovered in 1893 and exists as two enantiomers: levo-methamphetamine and dextro-methamphetamine. Methamphetamine properly refers to a specific chemical substance, the racemic free base, which is an equal mixture of levomethamphetamine and dextromethamphetamine in their pure amine forms. It is rarely prescribed over concerns involving human neurotoxicity and potential for recreational use as an aphrodisiac and euphoriant, among other concerns, as well as the availability of safer substitute drugs with comparable treatment efficacy such as Adderall and Vyvanse. Dextromethamphetamine is a stronger CNS stimulant than levomethamphetamine.

Both racemic methamphetamine and dextromethamphetamine are illicitly trafficked and sold owing to their potential for recreational use. The highest prevalence of illegal methamphetamine use occurs in parts of Asia and Oceania, and in the United States, where racemic methamphetamine and dextromethamphetamine are classified as schedule II controlled substances. Levomethamphetamine is available as an over-the-counter (OTC) drug for use as an inhaled nasal decongestant in the United States. Internationally, the production, distribution, sale, and possession of methamphetamine is restricted or banned in many countries, due to its placement in schedule II of the United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances treaty. While dextromethamphetamine is a more potent drug, racemic methamphetamine is illicitly produced more often due to the relative ease of synthesis and regulatory limits of chemical precursor availability.

In low to moderate doses, methamphetamine can elevate mood, increase alertness, concentration and energy in fatigued individuals, reduce appetite, and promote weight loss. At very high doses, it can induce psychosis, breakdown of skeletal muscle, seizures and bleeding in the brain. Chronic high-dose use can precipitate unpredictable and rapid mood swings, stimulant psychosis (e.g., paranoia, hallucinations, delirium, and delusions) and violent behavior. Recreationally, methamphetamine’s ability to increase energy has been reported to lift mood and increase sexual desire to such an extent that users are able to engage in sexual activity continuously for several days while binging the drug. Methamphetamine is known to possess a high addiction liability (i.e., a high likelihood that long-term or high dose use will lead to compulsive drug use) and high dependence liability (i.e. a high likelihood that withdrawal symptoms will occur when methamphetamine use ceases). Withdrawal from methamphetamine after heavy use may lead to a post-acute-withdrawal syndrome, which can persist for months beyond the typical withdrawal period. Methamphetamine is neurotoxic to human midbrain dopaminergic neurons at high doses. Methamphetamine has been shown to have a higher affinity and, as a result, higher toxicity toward serotonergic neurons than amphetamine. Methamphetamine neurotoxicity causes adverse changes in brain structure and function, such as reductions in grey matter volume in several brain regions, as well as adverse changes in markers of metabolic integrity.

Methamphetamine belongs to the substituted phenethylamine and substituted amphetamine chemical classes. It is related to the other dimethylphenethylamines as a positional isomer of these compounds, which share the common chemical formula C10H15N.

 

Uses

Medical

In the United States, methamphetamine hydrochloride, under the trade name Desoxyn, has been approved by the FDA for treating ADHD and obesity in both adults and children; however, the FDA also indicates that the limited therapeutic usefulness of methamphetamine should be weighed against the inherent risks associated with its use. Methamphetamine is sometimes prescribed off label for narcolepsy and idiopathic hypersomnia. In the United States, methamphetamine’s levorotary form is available in some over-the-counter (OTC) nasal decongestant products.

As methamphetamine is associated with a high potential for misuse, the drug is regulated under the Controlled Substances Act and is listed under Schedule II in the United States. Methamphetamine hydrochloride dispensed in the United States is required to include a boxed warning regarding its potential for recreational misuse and addiction liability.

Recreational

Methamphetamine is often used recreationally for its effects as a potent euphoriant and stimulant as well as aphrodisiac qualities.

According to a National Geographic TV documentary on methamphetamine, an entire subculture known as party and play is based around sexual activity and methamphetamine use. Participants in this subculture, which consists almost entirely of homosexual male methamphetamine users, will typically meet up through internet dating sites and have sex. Due to its strong stimulant and aphrodisiac effects and inhibitory effect on ejaculation, with repeated use, these sexual encounters will sometimes occur continuously for several days on end. The crash following the use of methamphetamine in this manner is very often severe, with marked hypersomnia (excessive daytime sleepiness). 

How the drug works varies from person to person

How you might feel
Exhilarated, aroused, alert, paranoid, confused, aggressive and disinhibition.
Effects on your body
Increased heart rate and increased blood pressure.
How long it takes to work
Smoking or injecting it produces an intense high immediately.
How long the effects last
Effects can last 4-12 hours.
Common risks
Easy to want more and take larger doses over many hours or even days. Can increase risk taking, for example high risk sexual behavior. Can lead to severe psychosis and increases the chance of heart attack or stroke.

The Risks

Physical health risks

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure, raising the risk of heart attack – the higher the dose, the greater these effects.
  • In cases of overdose: stroke, lung, kidney and gastrointestinal damage can develop, and coma and death can occur.
  • There’s evidence that long-term methamphetamine use can cause brain damage, although this gradually gets better if the user stays off the drug for a long time.
  • Inhibitions are lowered and libido may be increased – this can lead to taking part in risky activities that you would not normally do, such as having unsafe sex, which itself can lead to other risks, such as catching a sexually transmitted disease or an unplanned pregnancy.

Mental health risks

Severe psychosis caused by methamphetamine have been reported in countries where there is widespread use of the drug. Psychosis is a serious mental state where you lose touch with reality and may come to believe things that are not true.

There’s evidence that long-term use can damage the brain, although this gradually gets better if the user stays off the drug for a long time.

What is methamphetamine cut with?

It’s not unusual for drugs to have things added to them to increase the weight and the dealer’s profits.

They can be cut with other amphetamines (like speed, caffeine, ephedrine, sugars (like glucose), starch powder, laxatives, talcum powder, paracetamol and other drugs with some similar effects.

Some impurities can be added by mistake, as impurities can be formed during the manufacturing process for methamphetamine.

Additional Information

weight

10g, 1g, 2g, 5g

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