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How Long Does Meth Stay in Your System?

The high experienced after smoking, snorting, or injecting crystal meth is described by users as powerful but also fleeting—dissipating shortly after it first hits. Indeed, the subjective and physiological effects—both the “high” experienced by users of meth and the short-term side effects they experience—of a single 35 mg dose of meth peak within 5-15 minutes and will diminish over approximately 8 hours.1 This same dose is detectable in blood for up to 48 hours and would likely be detectable in urine for up to 87 hours.1

A typical usage pattern sees meth users attempting to reexperience that first, intense rush by repeating multiple doses a day in a period of binge lasting around 4 days. In controlled clinical experiments, where a single, low dose (10 mg) is repeated over 4 days, the drug may be detectable in urine for up to 7 days.1

The time meth can be detected in urine is dependent on how much and how often the person used and the functioning of their liver and kidneys.1


How Long Can Meth Be Detected in the Body?

Depending upon your usage pattern as well as your ability to metabolize the drug, the length of time that meth remains detectable in your system will vary. Approximate detection time ranges for urine, blood, and saliva tests are listed below.

  • Urine: Meth can be detected in the urine approximately 2 to 5 hours post ingestion and anywhere from 3 to 7 days following the last dose.1,14,15
  • Blood: Meth can be detected by a blood test within 1-2 hours following ingestion and for up to 1-3 days following the last dose.1,14
  • Saliva: Meth can be detected by a saliva test within 30 minutes to an hour after ingestion and for up to 3 days following the last dose.1,14

In less than five minutes, see if your loved one—or you—may be addicted to crystal meth. Take our online confidential survey.

What Factors Affect the Length of Time?

  • How often you use meth.
  • The amount of meth you use.
  • Your dose at last use.
  • The functionality of your kidneys and liver.
  • Your age and overall health are factors as well.
  • The type of test used to detect the drug.
  • Other substances used may impact the way the liver processes meth. For example, regular, heavy alcohol use will slow down the liver’s ability to metabolize meth and other drugs.16

Metabolizing Meth

closeup of mans face in dark room

When an individual uses methamphetamine, the body immediately begins to absorb the drug into the bloodstream where it’s circulated and distributed into the organs. There is a high uptake in the lungs and brain, as well as the liver and kidneys.17 The liver metabolizes the drug into two major metabolites, one of which is amphetamine.17 Urinary excretion of the metabolites occurs shortly thereafter.

It has been reported that up to 54% of a dose of meth can exit the body exactly as it came in; that is to say, it is not metabolized or processed at all, with the user experiencing no stimulant effects from that specific fraction of the drug.5,17


Effects and Health Risks

Immediate and short-term effects of methamphetamine abuse may include:5,6,7-13

  • Increased energy.
  • Feelings of euphoria.
  • Sweating.
  • Excessive talking.
  • Diminished appetite.
  • Teeth grinding.
  • Itching.
  • Disordered thought.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Mood changes.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.

After stopping regular use of meth, users will likely experience a withdrawal syndrome that includes some or all of the following symptoms: poor concentration, insomnia, irritability, motor and cognitive impairments, and inability to feel pleasure.


What to Expect

man and his wife in therapy

Is crystal meth abuse an issue that you want to resolve safely and effectively? If so, drug rehab can help.

Comprehensive addiction treatment programs aim to help individuals build a strong foundation in recovery well before cravings kick in. They often use some combination of any of the below techniques throughout the recovery program:

The benefits of luxury

Changes in Priorities in Treatment PreferencesRecovery Brands sent out a survey in 2016 asking people leaving a rehab program what facility features they viewed as the most valuable aspects to take into account when looking for treatment. The highest-rated consideration was the center’s financial policies, such as insurance accepted, financial support, and payment options. They also prioritized clinic offerings (quality of housing, recreation, room quality, etc.) significantly more after experiencing treatment. People looking for treatment will want to look at a facility’s payment policies as well as the program’s offerings to assist them in their final facility choice. Read more

Types of Meth Rehab Centers

Luxury and executive meth rehab programs offer a wide range of luxurious amenities in addition to providing addiction treatment. Both of these treatment types come at a relatively higher price tag, as a result, with executive rehab tailoring its structure specifically for business professionals who want to stay involved in their work during their time in rehab.

Many more traditional rehab programs offer the same high-quality addiction treatment but at lower prices that may be more affordable for your budget.


Sources

  1. Cruickshank, C.C., Dyer, K.R. (2009). A review of the clinical pharmacology of methamphetamine. Addiction, 104, 1085-1099.
  2. Recordati Rare Diseases Inc. (n.d.). Desoxyn Drug Insert/Information.
  3. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2019). DrugFacts: What is methamphetamine?
  4. Salo, R., Flower, K., Kielstein, A., Leamon, M. H., Nordahl, T. E., Galloway, G. P. (2011). Psychiatric comorbidity in methamphetamine dependence. Psychiatry Res, 186(2-3), 356-61.
  5. Kaye, S., McKetin, R., Duflou, J., Darke, S. (2007). Methamphetamine and cardiovascular pathology: a review of the evidence. Addiction, 102(8), 1204-11.
  6. Zapata, L. B., Hillis, S. D., Marchbanks, P.A., Curtis, K. M., Lowry, R. (2008). Methamphetamine use is independently associated with recent risky sexual behaviors and adolescent pregnancy. J Sch Health, 78(12), 641-8.
  7. Sekine, Y., Ouchi, Y., Sugihara G., Takei N., Yoshikawa, E., Nakamura, K., et al. (2008). Methamphetamine causes microglial activation in the brains of human abusers. J Neurosci, 28(22), 5756-61.
  8. Scott, J. C., Woods, S. P., Matt, G. E., Meyer, R. A., Heaton, R. K., Atkinson, J. H., et al. (2007). Neurocognitive effects of methamphetamine: a critical review and meta-analysis. Neuropsychol, 17(3), 275-97.
  9. Grant, K. M., LeVan, T. D., Wells, S. M., Li, M., Stoltenberg, S. F., Gendelman, H. E., Carlo, G., et al. (2012). Methamphetamine-associated psychosis. J Neuroimmune Pharmacol, 7(1), 133-39 .
  10. Newton, T. F., Kalechstein, A. D., Duran, S., Vansluis, N., Ling, W. (2004). Methamphetamine abstinence syndrome: preliminary findings. Am J Addict, 13(3), 248-55.
  11. Huestis, M.A., Cone, E.J. (2007). Methamphetamine Disposition in Oral Fluid, Plasma, and Urine. Ann N Y Acad Sci, 1098, 104-121.
  12. Oyler, J.M., Cone, E.J., Joseph, R.E., Moolchan, E.T., Huestis, M.A. (2002). Duration of Detectable Methamphetamine and Amphetamine Excretion in Urine after Controlled Oral Administration of Methamphetamine to Humans. Clinical Chemistry, 48(10), 1703-1714.
  13. Weathermon, R., Crabb, D.W. (1999). Alcohol and Medication Interactions. Alcohol Res Health, 23(1), 40-54.
  14. Wagner, D.J., Sager, J.E., Duan, H., Isoherranen, N., Wang, J. (2017). Interaction and Transport of Methamphetamine and its Primary Metabolites by Organic Cation and Multidrug and Toxin Extrusion Transporters. Drug Metabolism and Disposition, 45(7), 770-778.

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