How Long Does Meth Stay in Your System
Many people assume that when the effects of a drug wear off, the substance has left the body. However, this is far from true. The high from methamphetamine lasts for a few minutes to a few hours but the drug can remain in the body for a much longer period.
Even after the effects have worn off, your liver needs to break down the meth so it can be eliminated from your body.
So how long does meth stay in your system? This isn’t an easy question to answer since there are several factors involved including the type of test being carried out.
If you’re reading this, you may be curious about what it would be like getting meth out of your system in treatment or how to pass a drug test for meth.
Maybe you’ve taken meth for the first time and you’re wondering how long the effects will last. Whatever the case, you’ve come to the right place for information.
Methamphetamine vs Amphetamine
First, we need to discuss the difference between methamphetamine and amphetamine. Both are central nervous system (CNS) stimulants and both can be prescribed by doctors for legitimate medical purposes.
Amphetamine is used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy while methamphetamine is approved for treating obesity and exogenous obesity. However, meth is also used as a recreational drug due to its potent effects.
Methamphetamine has a higher potential for abuse than amphetamine and it’s more likely to lead to dependence. It’s also more toxic than amphetamine which means it can do more damage to your body with long-term use.
What Are The Different Types Of Amphetamine?
There are four different types of amphetamine which include:
Each type of amphetamine has a slightly different chemical structure and they all work in similar ways. They’re all CNS stimulants that increase the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. This leads to the effects such as increased alertness, wakefulness, and euphoria.
It is very common for people to abuse amphetamines by taking them in higher doses than prescribed or taking them without a prescription. When amphetamines are abused, they can be taken orally, smoked, snorted, or injected.
Once a person builds tolerance, Adderall and other amphetamines could be used as a gateway to other harder drugs due to the users requiring a stronger dosage.
How Long Do the Effects of Meth Last?
People who use meth often go through several stages of a high before they crash. The duration of the effects will vary depending on several factors but the order in which they occur is pretty predictable.
Stage 1: The Rush
After you inject meth, dopamine floods the brain. Your heart rate, blood pressure, and metabolism speed up, and your pupils dilate. This stage lasts for 30 minutes or less.
Stage 2: The High
After the initial rush, the high sets in. A high caused by meth can last for 4 to 16 hours. Rapid thinking patterns and hyperactivity are common during this time.
When you’re high on meth, you may also be confused and unable to form sentences that make sense. In addition, aggressive or obsessive-compulsive behavior may occur.
If you snort meth or take it orally, it will take a bit longer to reach the brain and you’ll experience euphoria without the rush. You’ll feel the effects in about five minutes if you snort meth and 1 to 20 minutes if you take it orally.
Stage 3: The Binge
Many people who abuse meth dread the thought of crashing. To keep the high going, they binge on the drug. Binging can last for between 3 and 15 days and during that time, you may not eat much.
Some people use meth several times a day every day so the high never wears off.
If you fall into this category, you’re putting yourself at risk of overdose. You’ll need to undergo medical detox for meth withdrawals followed by rehab and aftercare.
Stage 4: The Tweak
This can be the most dangerous stage after using meth. It’s when the high wears off and some side effects start to kick in. You may go several days without sleeping and experience paranoia, frustration, instability, and unpredictability as a result.
Some people develop meth-induced psychosis and this puts them at risk of self-harm.
Stage 5: The Crash
This can last for one to three days and it’s characterized by extreme fatigue and lots of sleep. This happens because being high overstimulates the body and forces it to shut down.
A crash will also occur within ten days of ceasing meth use but what happens during this stage should not be confused with meth withdrawal.
Stage 6: The Hangover
This stage can last for up to two weeks. You may sleep for several days and experience hunger, dehydration, and both mental and physical exhaustion. You may be tempted to take more meth in an attempt to feel better.
Stage 7: Withdrawal
Meth withdrawal can be very slow. It is characterized by a lack of pleasure, low energy, and depression. Cravings can be strong for the first few weeks and without professional support, many people continue taking meth.
Understanding the Half-Life of Methamphetamine
Soon after you take meth, it enters your bloodstream and your body begins to process it. Your liver will break the drug down into metabolites and your kidneys will filter these chemical compounds out of your blood. This waste will go to the bladder and eventually be excreted in the urine.
You’ll come across the term “half-life” anytime you research the elimination of substances from the body.
You may want to know about the meth half-life if you’re entering treatment for a meth use disorder and you’re curious about when you may start experiencing withdrawal symptoms. The half-life is the length of time it takes for the amount of the drug in your blood to be reduced by half.
When compared to cocaine which is also an addictive stimulant, meth has a much longer half-life. Fifty percent of cocaine is removed from the body in an hour.
Because meth has a long half-life it can stay in the body for days after you last used it. Even though you may no longer be feeling the effects, meth would still be in your body.
Meth has an average half-life of ten hours. This means it may take this length of time for half of the dose to be metabolized and removed from the bloodstream. However, not all tests are the same and the detection windows can vary.
Detecting Meth in Drug Tests
A lot depends on the type of test you get. Blood tests can detect methamphetamine one to three days after use. Blood tests are administered in emergency situations or for diagnostic purposes.
Meanwhile, saliva tests can detect meth one to four days after use. Since it just involves a swab of the inside of the cheek, saliva testing is easy. However, it is less effective after three days.
Hair testing is less common but it may be used in job screening or criminal investigations. Methamphetamine can be detected in hair up to 90 days after use.
However, hair testing is only meant to detect long-term drug use since meth only shows up in hair three to five days after use.
What many people want to know is how long does meth stay in urine. Urine testing is the most common type of test for drugs partly because urine is easy to collect.
Meth can show up in urine within two hours after use. It can typically be detected one to four days after ingestion but heavy meth users may have the drug in their urine for up to a week. Urine tests may be used to screen job applicants or check for drug use on the job.
How Long Does Meth Stay in Your System? Here Are the Factors Involved.
A number of factors influence meth half-life and metabolism and as a result, detection time varies from one person to the other. Your overall health and the amount of meth you use will play key roles.
If you use large amounts of meth frequently, it will take longer for your body to eliminate the drug. However, if you took a single dose of meth, it may be detectable in your urine for about 24 hours.
Meanwhile, frequent, high doses may result in a concentration of meth that’s detectable as many as four days after use.
If you’re generally in good health, your liver and kidneys may be better able to rid your body of toxins. This means you’ll be able to eliminate meth faster than a meth user who is in poor health.
There are several other things that will help to determine how long meth stays in your body. That’s why it’s difficult to predict how treatment will go or if a person will pass or fail a drug test. Factors include:
- How the drug was taken. If you choose to use meth intravenously, it will be detectable in your system for longer than if you consumed it orally.
- Whether you used other substances. Taking other illicit drugs or drinking alcohol while taking methamphetamine can affect the way your body metabolizes the substance. Mixing substances increases the likelihood that you’ll harm your liver and compromise its ability to eliminate toxins.
- How old you are. Metabolism slows down with age. The older you get, the longer it will take for your body to get rid of harmful substances. The younger you are, the more likely it is that you will be able to eliminate the meth quickly.
- How acidic your urine is. The pH of your urine will help to determine how long meth is detectable. A pH of 7 is neutral while a pH of 4 is highly acidic. The more acidic your urine is, the shorter the detection time will be.
Drugs That Can Cause False-Positive Test Results
You may be wondering if you can get a positive methamphetamines drug test result even though you haven’t used the drug. Some over-the-counter medications or prescription drugs can lead to false-positive test results for meth or other drugs.
Some of the medications you need to be wary of are:
- Cold medicines. Some of the ingredients in cold and allergy medicines can lead to false positives. Be careful with cough medicines containing brompheniramine.
- Norpramin, Elavil, or Anafranil. These are tricyclic antidepressants used to treat bipolar disorder or depression.
- Wellbutrin and Zyban. These are brand names for bupropion, a drug used to treat depression and seasonal affective disorder as well as help people quit smoking.
- Thorazine and Compazine. These and other phenothiazines are used to treat schizophrenia.
- Inderal LA or Innopran XL. These are brand names for propranolol which is prescribed to treat irregular heart rhythms and high blood pressure.
Wondering How to Flush Meth Out of Your System?
Perhaps you’re reading this because you want to detox from meth at home or get the drug out of your system quickly so you can pass a drug test.
You may be disappointed to hear this but there’s nothing you can do to get meth out of your system faster. It simply must be processed by your liver before it leaves your body.
The only thing you can do to help your liver metabolize meth is to stop taking it. Drinking water and exercising may help to boost your metabolism but they are not magic cures.
If you are worried that you’ll fail a meth test requested by an employer or potential employer, this suggests that your drug use could be out of control. It’s important that you seek help if you use meth heavily or frequently.
Methamphetamine withdrawal symptoms can be severe even though they’re not typically life-threatening. Therefore, going through medical detox for meth withdrawals is a much better idea than trying to do it alone.
Professionals can help you to get the drug out of your system and prepare your mind and body for recovery.
Get Help from The Discovery House in Los Angeles
Regardless of how long it takes for meth to be eliminated from the body, it is a dangerous drug that has both long and short-term effects including addiction.
Our highly trained addiction treatment professionals are ready to help you beat your methamphetamine habit.
We understand how hard it can be to stop using a highly addictive substance like meth and we can provide the support you need during this challenging but fulfilling journey towards sobriety.
When you’re living a drug-free life, you won’t need to worry about failing drug tests or getting meth out of your system quickly.
Our meth addiction treatment program will be customized to meet your needs from detox through to aftercare. We’ll help you get to the root cause of your addiction and then assist you in developing strategies to maintain your sobriety.
We accept several forms of insurance and we’ll gladly answer any questions you have about getting meth out of your system in treatment. Contact us today to learn more.