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How Long Does Meth Stay in Your System?

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How Long Does Meth Stay in Your System?

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, saliva 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.

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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. Usually, it is smoked, snorted, or injected.

Crystal Meth was developed in the 20th century from amphetamine. Amphetamine causes similar symptoms to methamphetamines, such as talkativeness, increased activity, and a 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]

Learn more about meth addiction

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How Does Your System Process Meth?

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 is dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin.

Dopamine, specifically, gets delivered in enormous amounts when you use meth. Dopamine is related with 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 emotion and memories.

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How Long Do Meth Effects Last?

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 effects of meth 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.

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How Long Does Meth 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, and if it is 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.

Meth Urine Test

How long does meth stay in urine?

Urine testing is the most well-known type of drug testing. Positive results in a urine test generally will indicate use within a 1 to 4-day period. However, 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 rate into the urine.

With methamphetamine, the 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.

Meth Blood Test

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

Meth Saliva Test

How long does meth stay in your saliva? 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. So how long does meth stay in saliva? Well, usually, meth stays in your saliva, and tests can detect it for up to 3 days after the last use.

Meth Hair Test

Meth can stay in hair for longer periods than you'd expect - 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. Usually, though, meth is detectable for 90 days after their 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.

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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.

Treatment is available for a meth addiction. Never fear a drug test again, call Avenues Recovery today and get started on a new path forward.

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

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Sources

[1] nida.nih.gov

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