Crystal meth, the purest form of methamphetamine, is one of the most popular recreational drugs in the United States. Crystal meth is quickly growing in popularity as opioid accessibility goes down, as people become more isolated, and as lifestyles change. In 2018-2019, an estimated 1.6 million people used methamphetamines like Crystal. In the 2019-2020 period, that rose to 2 million. Of those, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports over half are addicted, with more than 1 million Americans showing symptoms of methamphetamine use disorder.
According to the CDC, the rising popularity of crystal meth, which was once slowed by negative media depictions by shows like Breaking Bad, heavily tracks to rising opiate and pain pill controls intended to reduce opiate addiction. But, without also offering proper addiction treatment, many of the people originally addicted to opiates are simply pushed towards new drugs. Today, 0.4% of the U.S. population has a methamphetamine addiction.
If you or a loved one is using, considering, or addicted to Crystal meth, it’s important to understand the drug, how it works on your body, and how long it stays in your system. And, if you’ve used and are facing a drug test or medical checkup, understanding what the results will be and what your options are can help you to make the right decisions for your health and your career.
What’s the Difference Between Meth and Crystal Meth?
Crystal meth is quite simply a very pure form of methamphetamine, which forms in a crystalline structure. It’s sold this way to show that it is pure. However, it’s the same substance you’d get in a paste, putty, or powder. The effects are the same, albeit stronger. So, crystal meth can stay in your system longer than a weaker form of the same drug.
In fact, while all meth is generally smoked or injected, crystal meth can have effects as long as 24 hours following the initial dose with the same intake methods. A weaker form of the same drug would not have the same effects.
Methamphetamine Half Life
Half life is a common term used to explain how long drugs can be effective and how long they stay in your system. It describes the rate of metabolism, in which the “half life” is the duration between initial injection and the point at which the amount of substance in your system halves. This rate is normally constant, meaning that it takes the same time to get from “half” to “quarter” to “an eighth”.
Here, meth has a mean half life of about 12 hours, meaning that it takes your body 12 hours to halve the amount of the substance in your system, another 12 hours to quarter that volume, and so on.
Of course, the mean is the “average” achieved by adding all metabolic half-lives of meth and achieving an average. In actuality, meth will have a half life ranging from 5 to 30 hours. Absorption and metabolism heavily depend on whether the substance has been injected, snorted, or smoked. You also have to consider the purity of the meth. In the case of crystal meth, you’re almost always looking at the higher timelines, because you’re dealing with a very pure form of the drug.
So, how long does crystal meth stay in your system? That mostly heavily depends on the volume and strength of the. meth taken and how. If you take a prescription recommended dose of 30mg it’s halved to 15 in your system within 12 hours. By 24, you’re down to 7.5. At 60 hours, you’d have slightly less of a milligram of drug left in your system.
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How Long Does Meth Show Up on a Drug Test?
Drug tests can be incredibly sensitive to both drugs and the reactions drugs create in your blood and body. So, a drug test tuned to look for reactions to meth might be able to detect the drug in your system even after a considerable time without use.
However, in most cases, you can expect the following averages for drug detection times:
*1-time use (light to moderate) – 72 hours after final dose
*Heavy use – Up to 10 days after final dose
*3-5 days after final use
*3-5 days after final use
*90+ days after final use
Here, chronic users might have even longer detection times, simply because of the prevalence of the substance in their system. The more you use, the longer it takes for your body to rid itself of the substance. Unfortunately, there is no way to get meth out of your system faster. Popular street tips like baking soda bombs, dying your hair, or drinking a large amount of water do not help. The only thing that will help you get a clean drug test is not doing drugs long enough before the drug test.
What Affects How Long Crystal Meth Stays In Your System?
In most cases, factors like your existing health, overall usage, and type of usage are the largest contributing factors.
- Metabolic Rate – If you have a high metabolic rate, you’ll process drugs much more quickly. Gender, age, activity level, and health will play a role. An 18–25-year-old man will most likely metabolize meth much more quickly than nearly any other demographic.
- Body Fat – Lipids naturally retain substances and store them. This means that individuals with a higher percentage of body fat will retain drugs much longer. This, and naturally slower metabolisms, is why women typically show up positive on drug tests for longer than men.
- Frequency of Use – The more you use, the harder it is for your body to metabolize the drug. System saturation means your body will retain the drug for longer. Heavy, frequent, and long-term use mean meth will stay in your system for longer.
- Health – The health of your liver and kidneys will play a large roll in how long crystal meth stays in your system. This is impacted by total drug use, your health, infections, food, etc.
- Usage – Injecting crystal meth means it will stay in your system much longer than someone smoking or using the drug orally. This isn’t true with prescription amphetamines designed for slow release with oral tablets but is true of crystal meth.
If you or a loved one is using meth, it’s important to get help. Crystal meth is strong, extremely addicting, and damages the nerves, organs, and gastrointestinal system. Methamphetamine blocks the re-uptake of dopamine, while causing the brain to release more. This results in a significantly high concentration of dopamine, leading to the classic effects of euphoria, wakefulness, and high. Over the long-term, this is extremely toxic to nerve terminal endings. For many people, meth quickly moves from a form of self-medication and escapism to an uncontrollable habit that ruins their life, health, relationships, and finances. There is help. Methamphetamine addiction treatment uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Medication Assisted Treatment, 12-Step Based Treatment, and Life Skills Training to help individuals overcome addiction and build a new, happy life without drugs.
If you or a loved one is struggling, it’s never too late to get help. If you seek out addiction treatment, you’re also protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Affordable Care Act – you can’t lose your job except under a moral clause or proof that addiction previously affected your work, because drug addiction is classified as a disability.
If you or your loved one needs help with Crystal Meth addiction, please contact Laguna Shores today, We are here to support you. Reaching out for help with addiction takes courage – but you can do it.