How People Smoke Meth
Most people smoke crystal meth or ice out of specialized glass pipes. They also use a variety of homemade contraptions, such as pen cases, aluminum foil and light bulbs.
Smoking meth usually leaves brown or black residue on the pipe or makeshift pipe. Dirty aluminum foil, tubes, pipes or other contraptions can be .
When people smoke meth, they usually dont hold the meth vapors in their lungs for a long time. Theyre often aware of the damage that meth can do to their lungs.
Few people smoke meth one time per session. Most people who use the drug smoke it every 10 to 15 minutes to prevent the high from fading. The effects of meth can last between six and 12 hours, but the initial high or rush from the drug lasts for less than 30 minutes.
Some people smoke meth continuously for multiple days. Repeatedly smoking meth drains the brain of dopamine, a chemical in the brain that affects mood and happiness. When people smoke the drug for multiple days, they lose the ability to get high because their dopamine levels drop so low.
These binges change the way the brain operates. The organ reprograms itself to crave meth so it can achieve the same feelings of happiness. The more often a person smokes meth, the more addicted theyll become to the drug.
How Meth Use Affects The Body
About a million people ages 12 or older in the U.S. could be living with methamphetamine use disorder, or meth addiction, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. And about 1.9 million people might have used meth – also known as crystal, speed, or ice – in the past year.
Ongoing meth use can damage your body and mind in several ways. Halifax-based physician Naveen Gupta, MBBS, BSc, tells WebMD Connect to Care that itâs like âa ticking time bomb that can go unnoticed from both the abuser and the health care professionals.â
Here are some of the ways meth use can cause long-term damage.
Signs That Someone Is Using Crystal Meth
Its fairly easy to tell when someone has been using crystal meth. Usually, you only need to look for a few signs. You may notice:
- A breathing rate thats much faster than normal
- An irregular heart rate
- A decrease in appetite
- An increase in physical activity
This is not a drug thats easy to hide from others. If youre around people you know, theyre likely to realize theres something different about you. You may behave erratically, and sometimes people can even become violent.
You May Like: What Does It Mean When Someone Is Brain Dead
What To Do If Your Teen Is Using Methamphetamines
Drug addiction among teenagers is a scary reality for many families. There are meth addiction treatment options available because you dont have to face it alone. In Florida, a teen drug rehab called Next Generation Village can offer evidence-based treatment options to help get you, or a teen you know, back on track.
Next Generation Village offers specialized treatment options for teens and provides a comprehensive treatment program that addresses substance use disorder as well as mental health needs. Addiction can make you feel alone and scared, but help is a phone call away. Trained support professionals can help guide your way and answer any questions you may have about recovery and what The Next Generation Village can offer. to seek the help you deserve.
Medical Disclaimer: Next Generation Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.
Meth: The Binge & Crash Drug
As with many stimulants of its type, methamphetamine is most often misused in a pattern of abuse known by addicts as binge and crash. Because meths euphoric effect is short-lived, even disappearing before any significant change in the drugs concentration within the bloodstream, users will literally binge on the drug by increasing the quantity used, as they try to prolong the rush.
Some users may even engage in a method of bingeing known as a run which involves deliberately not eating food or sleeping while continuing the meth use over several days. However, bingeing on meth is not needed to become addicted many first time users are immediately hooked by the instant and intense euphoric rush that they experience.
Also Check: Is Brain Freeze Harmful
Methamphetamine Effects On Cognition
Prolonged methamphetamine abuse may make it more difficult for a person to think in a clear and productive way. Research suggests that abuse can impair decision-making skills, increase distractibility, and reduce motor speed.
Chronic methamphetamine abuse could cause memory loss. It may also make it difficult for a person to hear, process, and use information.
How Is Meth Manufactured
Methamphetamine is a purely synthetic chemical, unlike many other powerful drugs, such as heroin and cocaine, that are derived from natural plants. It is commonly manufactured in secret illegal laboratories, either in the U.S. or abroad .
Chemical ingredients from common cold remedy medications, eg. pseudoephedrine, are extracted by a meth cook to produce the drug. However, pure meth or crystal meth is rare, as additional chemicals, such as battery acid, drain cleaner, and antifreeze, are often added to strengthen the substances potency.
These chemicals, however, are potentially explosive, and, because many meth cooks are drug users themselves and likely disoriented, resulting accidents often leave the lab workers either severely burned and disfigured or killed. Additionally, running a meth lab creates a large amount of toxic waste , and those exposed to this waste risk becoming poisoned and sick.
Read Also: Vyvanse And Memory Loss
Increased Glutamate Calcium In The Brain
Increases in the neurotransmitter glutamate and calcium are often associated with neurotoxic effects in the brain as a result of the neurons being overly excited and continuing to fire to the point of actually damaging the system. If not modulated, this can result in significant damage throughout the central nervous system.
What Is Meth Made Of
Meth is commonly made in small batches at the home of the cook. The drug contains many ingredients which are used in everyday households. These ingredients can include battery acid, gasoline additives, drain cleaners, acetone and over the counter medication like Sudafed. The lab itself will use materials like Epsom salts, paint thinner and brake cleaner.
The purpose of this site isnt to teach you how to make meth. Instead, well just cover the basics of what meth is made of.
Generally, a cook will use cold medicine tablets like ephedrine, ground down into powder form. The ephedrine must be separated from the other ingredients in the tablet, so a solvent is used to do this. Hydriotic acid and red phosphorus are then mixed with the pure ephedrine.
Once the chemicals are combined, the red phosphorus is then filtered out and set aside, and the mixture which remains is neutralized with lye. A substance is added which will turn the meth to a liquid, and hydrogen chloride gas is added to the mixture. This forms a crystal-like salt. This salt is filtered, and the result is methamphetamine.
Read Also: How Do Steroids Affect The Brain
Crystal Meth & Stomach And Digestive Issues: How Meth Damages The Stomach
The toxins found in meth can foundationally alter your bodys functionality and overall digestive health. Since meth is a lethal poison, the body will instinctively try to eliminate the substance from your system as quickly as possible.
This often results in meth stomach pain, diarrhea and other digestive issues. In addition, meth is known to have a dampening effect on your appetite, causing disruption to your normal digestion process and stalling the manner in which your body processes food when you begin eating again.
Other known stomach and intestinal issues caused by meth use include:
- Intestinal ischemia
This refers to the condition where your blood vessels become constricted to the point that the intestines stop receiving enough oxygen, and their ability to properly function is compromised.
This can cause diarrhea, intestinal cramping and even result in your digestion slowing down or even stopping completely. This can lead to reduced nutrient absorption, as the normal digestive functions of your gut are disrupted.3
- Increased risk of developing blood clots
Recent studies have indicated that consistently using meth can contribute to intestinal issues by blocking blood flow, resulting in necrosis and the presence of ulcers and perforations in the stomach and intestines.
This can also lead to an increased potential for the development of gangrene in the gastrointestinal system, which can leave you struggling with long-term stomach pain and serious digestive issues.3
Methamphetamine: The Immediate Effects
The immediate effects of taking methamphetamine and, in particular, crystal meth include:
- An intense sensation of euphoria this can last for 30 minutes or longer
- Feeling awake and alert
- Feeling extremely confident in oneself
- Feeling motivated to accomplish goals and tasks
- Experiencing a sense of an improved intellect and problem-solving abilities
The immediate effects of using meth make this a very attractive drug for recreational substance abusers. Theyre often just curious about the meth high theyve heard so much about, wondering what all the fuss is about, and how it will feel just the once. However, once these recreational users know how it feels, theyre likely to continue to experiment.
Recommended Reading: Serotonin Metabolite
Alterations In The Bbb Permeability
As shown in , METH induced significant and widespread BBB leakage. Compared to saline-treated controls, both EB and albumin immunoreactivity increased strongly in both METH groups and the changes were significantly larger when the drug was administered at 29° than 23°C. At the time when brains were taken, these two subgroups of animals had significantly higher NAcc and muscle temperatures compared to controls . Moreover, the amplitude of temperature response in both locations was significantly stronger at 29°C than 23°C. While the changes in EB occurred in each brain structure, there were some between-structural differences. The cortex showed minimal EB content, followed by the hippocampus, thalamus, and hypothalamus, which all had a higher EB content than cortical tissue. However, the increase with METH-23°C was stronger in the cortex and hippocampus and weaker in hypothalamus and thalamus . Similar differences were seen with METH-29°C the increase was greatest in the cortex , followed by hippocampus , hypothalamus , and thalamus .
The Effects Of Meth On The Liver And Gastrointestinal System
- Methamphetamine abusers sometimes use needles to inject the drug, and they may also share needles with other users due to the expense and difficulty of obtaining new needles each time they use meth.
- The practice of needle sharing can easily spread blood-borne diseases from one user to another, and hepatitis B and C are two commonly transmitted conditions.
- Hepatitis, an inflammation of the liver, can cause progressive damage over time and may lead to jaundice, cirrhosis, bleeding, and nervous system damage.
- The blood vessel constriction caused by methamphetamine use can cut off blood flow to the bowel, potentially leading to the death of bowel tissue. This can cause perforation of the intestinal wall and peritonitis, potentially fatal infection of the abdominal cavity that can progress to septic shock.
Read Also: Brain Eating Amoeba Shower
Meths Effect On Your Immune System
Research shows chronic methamphetamine abuse can significantly affect your immune system. Meth can alter your immune cells and disrupt their signaling pathways. It may suppress white blood cells that fight bacteria and viruses. This can lead to poorer immune system functioning and increased risk of infections.
Meth abuse can cause mouth abrasions and mucous membranes to dry out, decreasing natural barriers against infection. People who abuse meth are at greater risk for diseases like hepatitis B and C and HIV. If you inject meth and share needles, it increases your susceptibility to these illnesses. Meth also greatly clouds your judgement and makes you less inhibited, which can lead to risky behaviors like unprotected sex. During the COVID-19 pandemic, studies found that meth users were at higher risk of infection and death from the disease due to their compromised immune system.
How Does Meth Work
Neurons are brain cells that both transmit and receive chemical messages called neurotransmitters, that generate our thoughts feelings and actions.
One important neurotransmitter is noradrenaline noradrenaline is the fight or flight chemical that prepares us to respond to threats. It increases heart rate and blood pressure, widens air passages in the lungs, dilates the pupils to improve vision and narrows blood vessels in organs that arent needed for defence, such as the stomach.
Another important neurotransmitter is dopamine, dopamine controls our movements, keeps our attention focused, and our memory working well. Its also the key chemical responsible for those wonderful feelings of pleasure when we engage in everyday things that are necessary for our survival, such as eating, drinking, and sex. When we feel good were very likely to do these things again and again.
Now, along comes meth. Meth works by forcing neurons to release noradrenaline and most of their stored dopamine all at once. In fact, meth raises dopamine levels by more than ten times that of any pleasurable activity. In this way, meth causes people to feel energetic, awake, and alert, with an intense rush of pleasure or euphoria thats unequalled by any natural activity. This powerful euphoric effect is a major reason why people can become dependent on meth so quickly.
Recommended Reading: Why Do People Get Brain Freeze
The Effects Of Meth On The Immune System
- Meth usage can also affect the functioning of bodily systems in more subtle ways. Using meth has the potential to suppress the immune system and may reduce the bodys ability to resist and fight off disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and fungi. This can leave meth users chronically vulnerable to various infectious illnesses.
- Worse still, needle sharing among users who inject meth can also spread HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. HIV degrades the cells of the immune system over time, and this can leave meth users even less protected from contracting any number of diseases.
Related Questions Answered On Yanswers
- after using meth does your brain recover from the brain damage?
- Q: My ex boyfriend has been on meth for about 4 years and looks absolutely terrible, but whats worse is Im sure he has some brain damage due to the amount he has used. I am worried that he will never recover even if he stops using. Do you think his brain can recover from Meth use. I will never see him again romanticly but would like to know if he will ever be the way he used to be before all the drugs? Please help
- A: I heard once damage is dealt within the brain, it cannot go back to normal Whats done is done. The brain and heart are the only two organs in t he body that do not repair themselves.I could be wrong.I hope I helped
- does smoking crystal meth make your brain bleed?
- A: Generally speaking no. The high is caused because the drug increases level of the chemical dopamine in the brain. Perhaps with an acute overdose the brain would bleed. Im not sure. It would be a very serious adverse reaction, if not fatal overdose.
You May Like: Can Propranolol Cause Memory Loss
Mood Emotions And Mental Health
Both freebase and powdered cocaine can cause long-term damage to mental health, which appears in the form of mood or emotional disturbances. Because the drug directly interferes with dopamine being reabsorbed by neurons, one of the symptoms of a cocaine comedown is serious depression.
If the brain does not reach its original equilibrium then a person who has struggled with cocaine abuse for a long time may develop permanent depression and require ongoing mental health treatment.
Other serious long-term changes to mood and mental health include:
- Auditory hallucinations
People who have an increased potential to develop psychosis or schizophrenia are more likely to trigger this condition if they binge cocaine in powdered or freebase form.
Cocaine increases stress hormones like cortisol in the brain, which can in turn raise blood pressure permanently, damaging the cardiovascular system. Even if the person does not develop psychosis or paranoia, they could develop anxiety, panic disorders, or problems with aggression or violence.
The Deadly Effects Of Meth
The short-term and long-term impact of the individual
When taken, meth and crystal meth create a false sense of well-being and energy, and so a person will tend to push his body faster and further than it is meant to go. Thus, drug users can experience a severe crash or physical and mental breakdown after the effects of the drugs wear off.
Because continued use of the drug decreases natural feelings of hunger, users can experience extreme weight loss. Negative effects can also include disturbed sleep patterns, hyperactivity, nausea, delusions of power, increased aggressiveness and irritability.
Other serious effects can include insomnia, confusion, hallucinations, anxiety and paranoia. In some cases, use can cause convulsions that lead to death.
In the long term, meth use can cause irreversible harm: increased heart rate and blood pressure damaged blood vessels in the brain that can cause strokes or an irregular heartbeat that can, in turn, cause cardiovascular collapse or death and liver, kidney and lung damage.
Users may suffer brain damage, including memory loss and an increasing inability to grasp abstract thoughts. Those who recover are usually subject to memory gaps and extreme mood swings.< p>
Recommended Reading: Can Diabetes Cause Memory Loss