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How Long Does Crystal Meth Stay in Your System?

For those beginning their recovery from meth addiction, they may wonder “how long will crystal meth stay in my system?” This question can be important when considering a detox program so that a person understands what will happen after they quit using meth. Quitting meth use alone can be challenging and many people relapse within a few days when they don’t have professional support.

Believe Detox Center in Los Angeles, California, is here to help clients remain safe and sober as they manage methamphetamine withdrawal symptoms in early recovery.

Drug Testing for Crystal Meth

One way to learn how long crystal meth stays in a person’s system is to examine the results of drug testing. Past and present meth use can be detected through various methods. Urine and saliva tests are some of the most common types of drug tests, as they are the easiest to obtain samples and get results.

Meth use can appear on a saliva test for about two days after use, while urine testing can detect meth use for up to four days after use. Blood testing has similar results as urine and saliva; blood tests can detect use for about three days. Hair testing can result in a positive test for up to 90 days after using meth.

While these tests show how long signs of meth use remain in the body, they don’t measure how long the effects of the drug last. Furthermore, these results don’t say very much about how long withdrawal symptoms can last. These factors might be more important to those in recovery from meth addiction.

Effects of Crystal Meth

Crystal meth is a stimulant drug, which means that it increases brain activity. Stimulants increase a person’s wakefulness and physical activity. These drugs also increase a person’s body temperature, blood pressure, and heart rate. Prescription stimulants treat disorders like narcolepsy and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). They can also help with weight loss by suppressing a person’s appetite.

However, crystal meth (a common slang term for “methamphetamine”) is a potent stimulant drug that also creates feelings of euphoria, invulnerability, confidence, and other powerful emotions. This is because meth use “hijacks” the brain’s reward circuit, which creates positive feelings and pleasure to reinforce certain behaviors.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “methamphetamine use releases very high levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the reward circuit, which ‘teaches’ the brain to repeat the pleasurable activity of taking the drug.” In addition, the release of dopamine in the brain’s reward circuit “is a defining feature of addictive drugs.” Thus, a person can get trapped in the cycle of addiction. Since meth is so potent, some users become addicted after their first time using the drug.

How Long Do These Effects Last?

While crystal meth use could be detected for months after quitting, the effects only usually last only a few hours. However, in some cases, people remain high for days after using. The amount of time these effects last depends on some of the following factors:

Method of Use

How a person uses crystal meth influences the effects. Crystal meth comes in a variety of forms, like pills, powder, and chunks of varying sizes. A person can mix powdered meth in a liquid and consume it orally or inject it directly into their veins. Some people snort crystal meth powder. Other uses smoke or swallow chunks of meth. Some people even take crystal meth rectally.

When swallowing crystal meth, a person might not feel the effects until two to four hours later. However, smoking, snorting, injecting, or rectal use have rapid effects which occur within minutes.

Polysubstance Abuse

Many people abuse crystal meth with other substances. This is called “polysubstance abuse.” Polysubstance abuse can be even more dangerous since the effects of different drugs are felt simultaneously. Some people use meth with other stimulants, like cocaine, to enhance the effects. Still, others could use meth with opiates, which can be extremely dangerous. However, one of the most common forms of polysubstance abuse involves mixing illicit drugs with alcohol.

Alcohol use can inhibit the person’s ability to metabolize meth. This increase the amount of time that crystal meth stays in the system.

Individual Factors

Each person will metabolize crystal meth differently due to their overall health and metabolic rate. In other words, a person with a higher natural metabolism will process meth more quickly. Thus, some people get meth out of their system faster than others.

In addition, a person’s level of addiction and habits surrounding substance abuse influence how long meth stays in their system. For instance, a person who only uses meth once and never again might expel the substance within a few days. However, chronic, long-term meth use can leave traces of meth in the body for months after quitting.

Recovery for Crystal Meth in Los Angeles, CA

It’s no secret that addiction to crystal meth has devastating effects on a person’s physical and mental well-being. This highly addictive substance is so powerful that many people fear they won’t be able to quit, and they lose all hope of recovery. However, Believe Detox Center in Los Angeles, California is here to help you or a loved one quit crystal meth for good. Contact us today to learn more about our high-quality detox and drug rehab services.

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