How Long Does Meth Stay in Your System?

Methamphetamine is a potent central nervous system (CNS) stimulant that is mainly used as a recreational drug and less commonly as a second-line treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and obesity.

The high experienced after smoking, snorting or injecting crystal meth is described by users as powerful but also fleeting – dissipating shortly after it first hits. For this reason, many take more and more of the drug in the hope of re-experiencing that first, intense rush. Many caught in this cycle become increasingly irritable and paranoid as time passes and sleep deprivation mounts.

How long does meth stay in the body, and how long can it be detected?

  • Plasma half-life = 12-34 hours. This means that by 12-34 hours, the concentration of meth in your blood will be reduced in half.
  • Time to leave the body = 2-10 days. Generally, the heavier the user, the longer it will take for meth to leave the body.
  • Effects of meth use = 8-24 hours.
  • Detection in urine tests = up to 72 hours.

Depending upon your ability to metabolize the drug, the length of time that meth remains detectable in your system will vary.

What Factors Affect the Length of Time That Meth Is Detectable in Your Body?

  • How often you use meth.
  • Your dose at last use.
  • The functionality of your kidneys and liver.
  • The type of test used to detect the drug.

Metabolizing Meth

When an individual uses methamphetamine, the body immediately begins to metabolize the drug as it circulates in the bloodstream – first converting some of it into amphetamine.

A few hours after use, the body begins to process both the circulating methamphetamine and amphetamine. The substances are partially cleared by both the liver and kidneys, and urinary excretion of the metabolites occurs shortly thereafter. It has been reported that up to 50 percent of a dose of meth can exit the body exactly as it came in – that is to say, it is not metabolized or processed at all, with the user experiencing no stimulant effects from that specific fraction of the drug.

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