How long does meth stay in your system? Read on to learn more about meth’s side effects, along with how to treat meth addiction.
Methamphetamine is a powerful stimulant drug. Originally developed as a treatment for narcolepsy, methamphetamine saw its first widespread use during World War II, when countries provided their soldiers with methamphetamine capsules to help them cope with exhaustion.1
It also became a commonly prescribed medication for ADHD under the brand name Desoxyn. But today, methamphetamine is primarily produced as an illicit drug and used for recreational purposes.2
Methamphetamine is a central nervous system stimulant. This means that it speeds up the body’s automatic functions, such as breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure.3
Methamphetamine comes in several different forms and goes by varying names. All of the drugs listed below contain methamphetamine but have different chemical byproducts that can change their appearance or potency. Common names for meth include:
While this is by no means an exhaustive list, these names refer to just a few of the different types of meth, mainly those that are illicit.
So, just how long does meth stay in your system? To put it simply, it depends. Meth lingers in urine for a different amount of time than it lingers in blood or hair.
To figure out how long meth stays in the body, we first need to consider the type of meth drug test that will be conducted. However, looking at how long meth stays in the blood will give you a good indication of when its effects have completely worn off. On the other hand, meth in urine tests is a good way to determine when the body has eliminated the drug entirely.
The half-life of methamphetamine is about twelve hours, which means that half of the drug is eliminated from the body in that period. As such, meth is almost entirely eliminated from the bloodstream in about seventy-two hours.
Unlike blood, hair follicles can hold evidence of methamphetamine use for an extended period. In some cases, hair follicles can contain traces of methamphetamine for over ninety days.
Saliva and sweat tests are typically used to determine whether meth has been used in a recent period. For the most part, methamphetamine stays in the saliva and sweat for one to two days.
How long does meth stay in urine? Meth urine tests are, by far, the most common drug test for methamphetamine. Urine is one of the body’s key methods of excreting chemicals and will contain several methamphetamine metabolites that can register a positive test for between three and five days.
How long meth stays in your system depends on a number of factors. While the numbers above give an average time span, the rate at which methamphetamine is processed depends on a variety of factors which vary from person to person.
The first factor that affects how long the substance stays in your body is your overall health. People in better health generally eliminate the drug quicker. In contrast, people who have physical health complications, such as liver or kidney disease, may take much longer to eliminate methamphetamine entirely, as these are the organs that help process out substances.
Another key component to answering this question is the dosage one takes of methamphetamine. Higher doses will remain in blood, urine, and saliva for much longer periods than if you were to take a smaller amount of meth in any form.
The purity of the meth plays another key role. Meth that is higher in purity will contain a larger dosage of methamphetamine by weight, leading to longer detection periods, while lower purity meth doesn’t have as much of the substance, meaning it will process out much more quickly.
Lastly, most people process drugs at different rates. This means that answering the question of how long meth stays in your system depends on individual genetic factors that are not easily assessed unless you have extensive experience with meth drug tests.
Learning how to get meth out of your system is simple but not easy. The best way to keep your body free from meth is to remain abstinent and resist methamphetamine use. However, there are several resources available to help if you do have meth in your system. These include:4
These therapies add a key component to getting meth out of the body, along with understanding how to get methamphetamine out of your mind, thoughts, and behaviors as well. Treating methamphetamine addiction can help you to overcome these feelings and achieve recovery.
Methamphetamine withdrawal looks different for everyone, but it generally peaks during the first twenty-four hours after the last dose was taken. This acute phase, which can consist of depression, anxiety, and troubles with eating and sleeping, will generally last for about a week.
Then, these symptoms begin to calm down, and the body will remain stable but still experience symptoms for the next two to three weeks.5
For those who have a substance abuse disorder, controlling meth use can be difficult, and can lead to facing potential consequences. Whether you’re hoping to pass a drug test for court, outpatient treatment, or concerned family members, there is likely an underlying concern that needs to be addressed.
Alta Centers provides premier substance use disorder treatment in the heart of Los Angeles. Our team has decades of experience helping people overcome meth addiction and find fulfillment in healthy coping skills. When you’re ready to take the first steps toward recovery, reach out to our team to learn more about our extensive treatment options. We’ll be with you every step of the way during recovery.