The chemical n-methyl-1-phenyl-propan-2-amine is called methamphetamine, methylamphetamine, or desoxyephedrine. The shortened name is simply 'meth'. When it is in its crystalline form, the drug is called crystal meth, ice, Tina, or glass. See the table below for other street names of the drug. Methamphetamine is a highly addictive stimulant.
How Is Crystal Meth Used?
Usually crystal meth is smoked in glass pipes, similar to how crack cocaine is used. It may be injected (either dry or dissolved in water), snorted, swallowed, or inserted into the anus or urethra.
Why Is Crystal Meth Used?
Females often take crystal meth because it can cause extremely rapid weight loss. However, the effects are short term. The body builds up a tolerance to the drug so weight loss tapers off and stops around six weeks after taking the drug. Also, weight that is lost is regained once a person stops taking methamphetamine. For these reasons, combined with how addictive the drug is, methamphetamine tends not to be prescribed by doctors for weight loss.
Some people take meth because of the long-lasting high that it gives. Methamphetamine causes numerous neurotransmitters to be released in the brain, producing a sense of euphoria that may last as long as 12 hours, depending on how the drug was taken.
Methamphetamine is popular as a stimulant. As a stimulant, methamphetamine improves concentration, energy, and alertness while decreasing appetite and fatigue.
Methamphetamines are also taken by people who are feeling depressed. They may be taken for their side effect of increasing libido and sexual pleasure.
What Are the Effects of Methamphetamine Use?
This is a list of effects associated with pure methamphetamine use. Because of how it's made, crystal meth is never pure, so the dangers associated with taking the street drug extend beyond these effects.
Common Immediate Effects
- Increased energy and alertness
- Diarrhea and nausea
- Excessive sweating
- Loss of appetite, insomnia, tremors, jaw-clenching
- Agitation, irritability, talkativeness, panic, compulsive fascination with repetitive tasks, violence, confusion
- Increased libido
- Increased blood pressure, body temperature, heart rate, blood sugar levels, bronchodilation
- Constriction of the walls of the arterties
- In pregnant and nursing women, methampetamine crosses the placenta and is secreted in breast milk
- Tolerance (needing more of the drug to get the same effect)
- Drug craving
- Temporary weight loss
- Withdrawal symptoms including depression and anhedonia
- "Meth Mouth" where teeth rapidly decay and fall out
- Drug-related psychosis (may last for months or years after drug use is discontinued)
- Brain damage
- Sensation of flesh crawling (formication)
- Paranoia, hallucinations, delusions, tension headache
- Muscle breakdown (rhabdomyolysis) which can lead to kidney damage or failure
- Death due to stroke, cardiac arrest or elevated body temperature (hyperthermia)
Where Does Crystal Meth Come From?
Methamphetamine is available with a prescription for obesity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and narcolepsy, but crystal meth is a street drug, made in illegal labs by chemically altering over-the-counter drugs. Making crystal meth usually involves reducing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, found in cold and allergy medicine. In the US, a typical meth lab employs something called the 'Red, White, and Blue Process', which entails hydrogenation of the hydroxyl group on the ephedrine or pseudoephedrine molecule. The red is red phosphorus, white is the ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, and blue is iodine, used to make hydroiodic acid. Making crystal meth is dangerous to the people making it and dangerous to the neighborhood where it's being made. White phosphorus with sodium hydroxide can produce poisonous phosphine gas, usually as a result of overheating red phosphorus, plus white phosphorus can autoignite and blow up the meth lab. In addition to phosphine and phosphorus, various hazardous vapors may be associated with a meth lab, such as chloroform, ether, acetone, ammonia, hydrochloric acid, methylamine, iodine, hydroiodic acid, lithium or sodium, mercury, and hydrogen gas.
Street Names for Crystal Meth
|Poor Man's Cocaine|