Methamphetamine (Meth): The Good, The Bad

There are several different names for meth as a street drug. You may have heard some of the most common such as: base, ice, crystal meth, shabu, whiz or goey. Being a synthetic stimulant drug, methamphetamine is a potent by-product of amphetamine. First created in 1918, the substance was used during World War II to battle fatigue and help soldiers stay alert.

Otherwise, the substance is used occasionally in medical scenarios to treat ADHD and the sleep disorder narcolepsy. In the 30’s amphetamine derivatives were also used to help individuals with asthma.

How long does meth stay in your urine

As early as 1935, the effects of this drug were found to give users a heightened sense of wellbeing and excitement whilst reducing drowsiness. Nowadays, the highs of meth are well documented and several different methods of consumption have been established.

Methamphetamine can be swallowed, snorted, smoked or injected. However, Ice (the crystalline form of meth) is usually smoked or injected. Depending on the way someone takes the drug influences the outcome to the question – how long does meth stay in your urine?. In order to get a clearer picture of how it reacts in the system, let’s discuss meth in its three main forms:

  1. Crystalline (known as ice or crystal meth) – this is a very pure form of methamphetamine which has a similar look to crystal. The main difference between this substance and the other forms is that ice has an extra refining process to get rid of impurities. The white powder has a bitter taste and stimulates the central nervous system into creating a ‘rush’ and euphoric feelings. It can be snorted, injected or smoked in a glass pipe and is classed as an illegal Schedule II substance. The smoke produced is odourless and leaves behind a residue which can be re-smoked still having effects for 12 hours.
  • How long does crystal meth stay in your urine? It depends on many factors which are discussed below however the general accepted time is 3-5 days which starts 2-5 hours after consumption.
  1. Powder otherwise known as speed – speed can either be powdered or come in tablet which is then sniffed, swallowed or injected. This form of meth will have a white or pink shade and take on a crystal form. It can be dabbed onto gums or snorted like cocaine lines. There’s also a ‘speedbomb’ which is speed rolled in cigarette paper then swallowed. With highs lasting up to 6 hours, it can affect people in just 20 minutes.
  • How long does speed stay in your urine? You can usually trace speed in urine for 2-3 days after using depending on the amount taken and a person’s metabolism.
  1. Base – also known as Pure, Wax or Point, is damp and has a liquid which has a viscous consistency. Usually its colour varies and may be white or brown depending on the batch and manufacturing process. Ranking medium to high on the potency scale, Base Meth can be either swallowed, injected or sniffed.
  • How long does Base meth stay in your urine? Base meth can be found in urine for 2-3 days after consumption depending on the amount taken and a person’s metabolism.

Base meth urine detection timeline

They are given these names based on their look and how pure they are. All forms from pill to clear liquid will vary depending on the manufacturing process and may result in a rancid smell for some batches. The drug can take on many colours such as: white, red, green, brown, orange and purple.

Tests used to trace meth

Urine tests are commonly used to detect meth which can usually work up to 72 hours depending on how heavy or potent the dose was. In more chronic users, urine tests will show positive for meth up to one week.

Tests used for tracing meth in urine

There are other tests which can be carried out such as hair follicle, blood and saliva.

Here are the other detection times depending on which test is used:


Test Detection time
Blood Depending on the consumption method, meth can be found in blood as soon as 2 hours and anywhere between 2-3 days after consumption.
Hair Hair follicle test has the longest detection time which can trace the drug in someone’s hair up to 90 days.
Saliva A saliva swab can detect meth between 1-4 days after it was taken.

Meth users normally operate on a cycle of ‘binge and crash’ meaning it takes moments for someone to become tolerant. This is what makes methamphetamine such a high-risk drug as the feelings of euphoria soon leave before the concentration of meth even starts to decrease in the blood. Therefore, individuals feel the need to take more to make the high last longer.

The processing of methamphetamine in the body is quick. After the hit, the drug gets taken straight to the liver and kidneys with over half of the amount taken leaving in the same state it entered.

How to identify patterns of meth abuse

Here are some patterns you can watch out for which signal meth addiction in either yourself or someone you care about:

  • People who use meth regularly will usually be referred to as slang terms such as a ‘meth head’ or ‘Speed freak’. Someone who reacts violently to meth is called a ‘Meth monster’.
  • Someone who is hooked on methenamine may exhibit some symptoms. You may notice they are: anxious, nervous, talking constantly, have intense mood swings, quick to become irritable, feeling without a purpose, repetitive actions like picking at the skin, withdrawing socially and from responsibility.
  • If someone combines alcohol with meth you might see a jerking movement in their eyes when they look out to the side.
  • A long-term meth user may appear malnourished and look unkempt. A chronic user’s mood swings can be extreme, one moment they can be calm and the next hostile.
  • A deadly hit of d-methamphetamine will cause heart rate to peak quickly until the user has as heart attack or stroke. These are the obvious signs a choric addict has overdosed.

Interesting fact: Now we’ve answered the question ‘how long does meth stay in your urine?’, what about meths metabolites (by-products)? Even though the average time the substance leaves your urine is 72 hours, did you know that it’s metabolites can be traced in the body for 2-4 days.

What influences how long meth stays in your urine?

Factors that influence meth stay

The answer differs depending on the user and there’s no hard or fast rule. There are however some influencing factors that affect the amount of time it takes for meth to leave your body. These are:

  • The more someone consumes the longer meth will leave the system.
  • If used more consistently and there’s continual ingestion meth will usually linger in the body for longer.
  • Someone’s metabolism (metabolic rate) will largely dictate how quickly the body processes drugs such as crystal meth. An individual’s age, weight, body mass and health will all play a part in their metabolism.
  • How tolerant someone is will affect how often they need to take meth alongside how physically healthy they are. Those who abuse substances regularly will usually have a high tolerance to meth.
  • How it is consumed can influence elimination time. For example, sniffing meth can take your body 4 days until all traces are excreted. Smoking takes between 3-5 days and via injection the substance stays in the body for at least 72 hours.

Risks of taking meth

Some of the potential side-effects meth can use in its different forms are:

  • Rapid heart beats
  • Shakes and tremors
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Raising body temperature
  • Increased breathing rate
  • Dilated pupils
  • Cleaning of the jaws
  • Grinding teeth
  • Sickness/nausea
  • Little appetite
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Becoming paranoid

The short-term effects from being high on methamphetamine are:

  • Boost of energy
  • Heightened euphoria and comfort
  • Being more alert and attentive
  • Talking more with confidence

Some people react aggressively to more potent hits of meth but this varies depending on the individual. Several factors affect someone’s reaction to the drug and it can be down to their health, weight, what foods they’ve eaten, how potent the dose is and if they’ve combined it with any other substances.

More chronic users who take too much meth will often experience some negative side-effects such as hazy vision, shakes, uneven breaths and may collapse. If someone is injecting then the risk of viruses like hepatitis B, C or HIV can occur. Someone may also experience collapsed veins or abscesses as a result.

Long-term damages sustained meth use causes:

  • Increased hostility
  • Struggling to become motivated
  • Depression
  • Lack of concentration
  • Diminished memory
  • Developing psychosis and hallucinations
  • Insomnia

What’s the best course of treatment for meth abusers?

Due to the intense high and low cycle of Methamphene, users must use the drug every day to keep on feeling the positive effects. This means it becomes a part of their daily routine and a very hard habit to kick. To successfully complete a detox, a longer time is needed as withdrawal symptoms won’t appear until 90 days after the last dose.

This means addicts need to be in an environment to cater for their physical wellbeing and emotional health during the time of withdrawal. Often, rehabilitation centres will incorporate CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) to help retrain someone’s thought patterns, behaviour, expectations, and give them a better handle on stress triggers.

Need help detoxing from meth? Look no further…

If someone wishes to withdraw from meth, professional help is required. This is because the possible side-effects and damages to an individual’s health can become riskier during the recovery phase.

Additionally, individuals may experience psychological changes when going through detox therefore should combine therapy with more holistic avenues of treatment.

Meth addiction treatment at BLVD

Several rehabilitation centers will have services and facilities to help treat meth addiction and you can receive support every step of the way with the dedicated counsellors at BLVD.

The residential and outpatient services offered at BLVD Treatment Centers are a great option. Tailored to fit your specific needs, you can seek solace in the undivided attention of our experienced counselors.

When opting for the residential rehab option, you can take advantage of:

  • Individualized Detox Treatments
  • Chef-Prepared Gourmet Meals
  • Medically-Assisted Detox
  • A Comprehensive Aftercare Plan
  • Convenient Transport Services

You’ll get the help and support you need at one of our centers located in: Hollywood, Portland, Orange County, San Diego, West Los Angeles, Give our team a call to see how we can help on 8885376671.