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How Long Does Meth Stay in Your System? 

Some may ask, how long does meth stay in your system? Meth use can be dangerous, and its effects can be felt for a long time. Read on to learn more.

What is Methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine or “meth” is a stimulant that primarily affects the body’s central nervous system. It is highly addictive, dangerous, and oftentimes leads to severe short-term and long-term health complications. Because methamphetamine is very powerful and potent, a small amount of meth can result in addiction or physical dependence.

how long does meth stay in your system

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What is the Half-Life of Meth? 

Other names for meth include speed, chalk, crank, crystal, and ice. The half-life of meth is 10 hours. That means it takes 10 hours for ingested/absorbed methamphetamine to lose half of its strength. Thousands of people are driven to keep taking meth because of this half-life.1

Meth addiction is a very dangerous condition, and it can happen after ingesting methamphetamine just once. Thousands of Americans have experienced meth addiction. It's important to know how long meth stays in your system – and how to get it out of your system quickly – in the event of an emergency.2

How Long Does Meth Stay in Your System?

When the body absorbs meth, its effects reach the brain and nervous system very quickly. The effects of meth can be felt immediately. However, meth remains in the body for much longer than those short-term effects.

Depending on how much meth is taken, the time of day it is taken, and the administration method (such as taken orally, injected the IV, etc.), meth’s effects can last 8 to 24 hours.

Meth Half-Life

Because meth is so potent, it can be detected in the body for variable time frames depending on the test administered.3


Meth can be detected for the following time span, according to the type of testing conducted:

  • Hair Tests: Detected for up to 90 days
  • Urine Tests: Detected for up to 72 hours or more
  • Blood Tests: Detected for between one and three days
  • Saliva Tests: Detected for between one and four days

Factors That Influence How Long Meth Stays in Your System

Meth can stay in one’s system for shorter or longer times depending on various factors, including:

  • How the Meth Is Taken: Generally, injected meth stays in the system for longer while orally taken or inhaled meth stays in the system for less time.
  • Frequency and Duration Of Use: Those who take methamphetamine more frequently build it up in their system so that it can be detected for longer time frames
  • Dosage: Larger doses of meth can be detected for longer and affect the body for longer.
  • Drug Purity: The purer methamphetamine is, the more potent and dangerous it is.
  • Metabolism: Those with faster metabolisms often feel the effects of methamphetamine more quickly and are relieved of its symptoms more quickly.

How Long Does Meth Last?

Methamphetamine lasts throughout several distinct stages. Because it is a central nervous system stimulant, it increases how much dopamine the brain produces and can induce many physiological and psychological effects.

1st Stage: The Rush

During the Rush stage, dopamine floods the brain as the initial effects of meth are induced. This lasts for 30 minutes or so.

2nd Stage: The High

During the High stage, users can experience bursts of rapid thinking, may display obsessive behavior, and may feel increased awareness of their surroundings. This lasts for between four and 16 hours.

3rd Stage: The Binge

In the Binge phase, an individual may feel a strong craving to absorb more methamphetamine. Unfortunately, this may result in worse negative symptoms later in the process.

4th Stage: The Tweak

In the Tweak stage, the methamphetamine user can feel itchy, experience insomnia, or begin to grow paranoid. The earliest withdrawal symptoms may set in.

5th Stage: The Crash

During the Crash stage, the methamphetamine starts to wear off, and the user may experience withdrawal symptoms. They may feel their energy decline sharply.

6th Stage: The Hangover

In the Hangover stage, a methamphetamine user could experience early withdrawal symptoms like agitation or inability to focus. They may become restless and crave more meth to absorb.

7th Stage: Withdrawal

The Withdrawal stage is very dangerous and can lead to risky behavior. Withdrawal can last for several hours, days, or even weeks. Common side effects of withdrawal include an increased appetite, fever, dizziness, irritability, anger and aggression, depression, psychosis, delusions, sweating, and more.

Common Side Effects of Meth Use

Meth use can lead to many severe and negative side effects in both the short and long term. These will be detailed below.

Short-Term Side Effects

Some of the most common short-term side effects of meth use include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Hyperthermia
  • An irregular heartbeat
  • High blood pressure or higher body temperature
  • Nausea
  • Erratic and sometimes violent behavior
  • Difficulty sleeping or insomnia
  • Panic or paranoia
  • Seizures
  • Muscle spasms or sensations of itching

Long-Term Side Effects

Meth use may also lead to negative long-term side effects, including but not limited to:4

  • Tooth decay
  • Malnutrition or severe weight loss
  • Organ damage to the lungs, kidneys, and liver
  • Depression and/or anxiety
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Short-term memory issues and further brain damage
  • Stroke
  • Sores or abscesses on the skin
  • Meth addiction

How to Get Methamphetamine Out of Your System

Meth withdrawal can be incredibly dangerous because it impacts the brain and central nervous system. The best way to get methamphetamine out of one’s system is to enter a meth withdrawal management program.

In such programs, medical professionals can help patients through the
detox process. They can also help patients manage their symptoms during meth withdrawal.

Symptoms of Meth Overdose

More importantly, withdrawal management programs allow medical supervisors to watch for the symptoms of meth overdosing, which include:

  • Kidney damage or failure
  • Difficulty breathing or chest pain
  • Heart attacks or irregular heartbeat
  • An extremely high body temperature

Meth Withdrawal and Detox

The common symptoms of methamphetamine withdrawal include:

  • Increased appetite
  • Aching muscles
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Depression and/or anxiety
  • Agitation

The effects of meth withdrawal are very difficult to handle alone. It’s important for you or a loved one to seek help and treatment for methamphetamine use or addiction at the earliest opportunity.

how long does meth stay in your system

Get Help for Meth Addiction at Boardwalk Recovery

At Boardwalk Recovery, we can help patients overcome the symptoms of methamphetamine withdrawal and guide them through the detox process. More importantly, our medical professionals can ensure that patients are kept safe from themselves and others, as well as provide important counseling resources to prevent future methamphetamine use/relapses. Contact us today for more information.

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