recovery

How Long Does Meth Stay in Your System?

Jump to a section
Table of contents
Expand list

How Long Does Meth Stay in Your System? The Short Answer

The length of time that meth stays in your system can vary from a few days to a week. This changes from person to person, making it difficult to predict exactly when it will exit their system.

Although it is hard to know exactly how long meth will remain in your system, as a general rule meth can be detected in urine for 1 – 7 days, blood for around 3 days, in meth saliva test for up to 3 days, and hair for around 90 days.

The period that meth stays in an individual’s body is dependent on their overall health, whether they smoked it or injected it, their metabolic rate, and how frequently they use meth.

At Avenues Recovery, a leading authority in addiction treatment, we delve into the duration of methamphetamine in your body and its detection in various tests.

What is Meth?

Meth, or methamphetamine, is an extremely powerful and highly addictive stimulant that is white and odorless. The crystalline powder is bitter-tasting and is easily dissolved in water or alcohol for ingesting. Meth can be:

  • Smoked
  • Snorted
  • Injected

Crystal Meth was developed in the 20th century from amphetamine. Amphetamine causes similar symptoms to methamphetamines, such as:

  • Talkativeness
  • Increased activity
  • Sense of euphoria and pleasure.

Originally, amphetamine was used to treat different conditions, such as narcolepsy and obesity. Methamphetamine is much more dangerous, though; much larger amounts of the drug can get into the brain and overstimulate it. The effects are much longer lasting and harmful to the central nervous system.

Meth is classified as a Schedule II stimulant, making it hard to acquire. Sometimes, it is used to treat ADHD or is used as a short-term weight loss treatment, in which the doses are much lower, making it harder to misuse. In 2020, 0.9% (or 2.6 million people) reported having a methamphetamine addiction in the United States. [1]

How is Meth Processed in Your System?

Usually, people using meth either smoke it or inject it. Meth is a stimulant that influences the brain and nervous system. Meth significantly impacts how the body processes specific synthetic substances that go about as communicators between nerve cells and synapses, which are called neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters trigger different responses in the body, especially those that relate to our emotions.
The type of neurotransmitters that generally are impacted by meth: 

  • Dopamine
  • norepinephrine
  • Serotonin.

Dopamine, specifically, gets delivered in enormous amounts when you use meth. Dopamine is related to sensations of euphoria and creates a feeling of highness known as a “rush.” This allows the user to feel a heightened sense of well-being while using the drug.

After the rush, a phase known as “tweaking” can occur. When you tweak on meth, euphoria turns to dysphoria, paranoia, and anxiety. This usually happens after a meth binge. Afterward, when the dopamine in the body has been depleted, users can experience a crash. During a crash, meth users experience depression and fatigue. Prolonged use of meth can permanently damage the areas of the brain that process emotions and memories.

How Long Are the Effects of Meth?

The effects of meth commonly persist for eight to 24 hours. Smoking or injecting meth causes a high almost immediately because the drug enters the brain much faster when inhaled or injected directly into the bloodstream.

Even still, the time meth stays in your system when smoked, and the effects can vary depending on a person’s genetic makeup. For example, women are more likely than men to have longer and more severe effects from meth. Sometimes, the effects of meth can last for up to 24 hours.

How Long Does Meth Stay in the System and Show Up on a Drug Test?

How frequently someone uses meth plays a huge role in how their drug test will turn out. Occasional users using it once a month or less will test positive for 24 hours after their last use. If it is used once or twice a week, it can be detected for 96 hours after last use. Daily users can fail their meth drug testing even weeks after stopping to use methamphetamine.

Because of this, it is important to understand which type of drug test is likely to give you positive or negative results based on your consumption. For example, if meth is smoked, it can remain detectable in the bloodstream for up to 2 days in drug tests. Snorting it can stay in the bloodstream for 4 days; if injected, it can stay in the blood and urine for 2 to 3 days.

So how long does meth show up on a drug test? Well, it depends on the type of drug test performed.

How Long Does Meth Stay in Urine?

Urine testing is the most well-known type of drug testing. Positive results in a meth urine test generally will indicate use within a 1 to 4-day period. However, how long meth stays in urine depends on a variety of factors. In fact, it could be as much as a week or longer for heavy chronic users, and the pH of the urine influences the rate of excretion into the urine.

With methamphetamine, the meth urine test can yield inaccurate results. This is because it can also detect drugs that are not meth and still show positive results. This is called a false positive, and it can be caused by taking other over-the-counter medications or prescribed drugs near your urine test date.

How Long Does Meth Stay in Your Blood?

Meth can be detected in a meth blood test for about 3 days. To determine how long methamphetamine stays in your blood, a sample is drawn from a vein in the arm, and it is usually painless. To yield a positive result on a methamphetamine blood test, a person must have more than 20 ng/mL in their blood.

How Long Does Meth Stay in Your Saliva?

Usually, meth stays in your saliva, and meth in saliva tests can be detected for up to 3 days after the last use. Knowing how long meth stays in your saliva will affect whether one uses a meth saliva test to detect methamphetamine. Saliva testing has a relatively short window of detection for meth because of the high possibility of contamination. This is why saliva tests, for all kinds of drugs, are usually performed during roadside testing to see if a person is under the influence. Saliva tests are also popular for employers, especially since the administrator can watch as the sample is taken to avoid tampering.

How Long Does Meth Stay in Your Hair?

Meth is usually detectable for 90 days after last use. Hair testing has the longest detection window, even though it is the least common. On one occasion, a test detected meth use even 153 days after the last use. In 16% of users, it was detected even after 120 days. Hair tests can also tell how long meth users have been using it and when they quit based on the length of the hair where it exited their system.

How long does Meth stay in your system

 

Understanding Methamphetamine and The Body

Methamphetamine is an illicit, highly addictive, and dangerous drug that affects many Americans every year. It can produce a euphoric feeling, but can eventually turn to irritability and depression.

The amount of time that meth stays in your body relies upon a few elements, such as their overall health, whether they smoked it or injected it, their genetic makeup, and how frequently they use meth.

Knowing the length of time meth stays in your system can help predict how well you will perform on various drug tests. In addition, being aware of what exactly meth is and how it is processed in your system will allow you to avoid its use or gain awareness of it.

Meth Withdrawal 

 

The severity and duration of withdrawal can differ from person to person based on their unique situation and the amount of meth they used. However, meth withdrawal symptoms during drug detox treatment generally include two phases: 

Acute Phase: This happens right after the last dose and lasts a few days. During this time, common symptoms include dehydration, headaches, chills, and other short-term symptoms.

Post-Acute Phase: This phase can last for a few weeks or even months. It includes symptoms like anxiety, depression, and weight gain.

While withdrawal from meth doesn't typically lead to fatalities, there's a heightened risk of suicide during this phase. Instead of abruptly stopping meth use, it's advisable to take a gradual tapering approach under professional supervision. This careful withdrawal helps manage the intensity of cravings and significantly reduces the risk of suicide. For a safer and more effective recovery, it's highly recommended that individuals seek support in a competent rehab program with comprehensive treatment and experienced medical management. If you or someone you know is grappling with methamphetamine use, don't hesitate to reach out to Avenues Recovery, where experienced professionals can provide the necessary guidance and support.

To learn more about detecting illicit substances in drug tests, including how long fentanyl stays in your system, read our online resources.

 

Back to top

Sources

[1] nida.nih.gov

Related Reading

How Long does Cocaine Stay in your System?
How Long Do Opiates Stay in Your System?
How Long Does Fentanyl Stay in Your System?
How Long Does Heroin Stay in Your System?
How Long Does Suboxone Stay in Your System?
How Long Does Alcohol Stay in Your System?
How Long Does Marijuana Stay in Your System?
How Long Does Vicodin Stay in Your System?
How Long Does Meth Stay in Your System?

Check your insurance

Thanks,
We received your insurance request!

We will get back to you shortly. While you wait... you may find our resource blog helpful. Take a look below:

VIEW ALL ADDICTION RESOURCES