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Methamphetamine: characteristics of this destructive drug

Methamphetamine: characteristics of this destructive drug

July 19, 2024

Since ancient times, the human being has always consumed psychoactive substances They alter the nervous system in different ways: they excite us and make us feel more energetic, make us hallucinate or relax us and take us to a state of trance.

Around 3000 BC, products of this type were already used, but drugs have evolved over time. Nowadays not only natural drugs are consumed, but the human being has created different synthetic psychoactive substances with powerful effects for consumers. In this sense, one of the most popular drugs, especially in the United States and some European countries, es is methamphetamine (deoxiefedrine), also called "crystal meth" or "ice" . Next we will see its characteristics and effects.


  • Related article: "Types of drugs: know their characteristics and effects"

Methamphetamine: a stimulant and addictive drug

This substance is a powerful psychostimulant that has a structure similar to dopamine, a neurotransmitter generated by our body. Even though there are other stimulants such as cocaine or MDMA that are consumed with great frequency, their effects are very different.

Methamphetamine belongs to the phenethylamine family and the amphetamine group . The origin of its synthesis is found in Japan, in 1919, but it did not appear in Europe until 20 years later. It seems that during the Second World War, the Nazi party used methamphetamine to stimulate its troops and, in this way, get them to believe themselves invincible. The drug used by the German army was called "Pervin".


On the other hand, methamphetamine is one of the drugs that causes the most suffering, and also is among those that generate a more intense addiction . The effects of the abuse of this substance can be dramatic, especially at the physical level, because it is considered a predatory drug.

  • Related article: "The 10 most addictive drugs in the world"

Chemical composition

The chemical composition of methamphetamine is related to amphetamine sulfate, since its synthesis is done through the addition of a methyl group on the nitrogen atom of amphetamine. Its chemical formula is C10H15N .

This drug usually comes in the form of clear, colorless crystals , and can appear with different degrees of purity depending on the method used for its production. Although it is common to confuse this drug with MDMA, they are two different substances and their effects are totally different.


Differences between drugs

Let's look at some of the aspects that serve to distinguish between methamphetamine and other drugs.

Differences between methamphetamine crystal and MDMA crystal

There is usually some confusion with this drug, because it is possible to find crystal of MDMA and methamphetamine. Although their appearance is similar, it is necessary to distinguish their effects. Although the effects of methamphetamine are stimulating and euphoric, those of MDMA are empathetic, that is, they induce empathy, with less marked stimulant consequences.

The doses of these substances also usually vary: the average dose of this last drug is 75-150 milligrams and that of methamphetamine is 12-30 milligrams. Making a mistake and taking 75 grams of methamphetamine can cause very serious effects , such as hyperstimulation, agitation, nervousness, anxiety and paranoia.

Methamphetamine produces a very pronounced insomnia effect It can last up to a day, while it is possible to lie down and fall asleep after a few hours after the effect of MDMA has ended. Methamphetamine, in addition, is much more addictive than this last drug.

Differences between methamphetamine and cocaine

Methamphetamine releases large amounts of dopamine in the brain and central nervous system, as do cocaine and ecstasy. However, unlike those substances, the first has a much longer release time and its effects can last from six to 12 hours in a single dose.

Regarding cocaine, methamphetamine presents a series of differences. As mentioned, methamphetamine is a stimulant drug, just like cocaine. However, the latter is also a local analgesic. Cocaine is derived from the plant and methamphetamine is a designer drug. Approximately, a person's body takes 12 hours to eliminate 50% of this synthetic substance; instead, to eliminate the same percentage of cocaine one hour is needed . Both drugs can be smoked, but the duration of the effect of methamphetamine is much greater.

Side effects of this substance

The effects of methamphetamine are devastating.At a social level, the person is seriously damaged, but on a physical level, the abuse of this substance can lead to serious problems of malnutrition and health. Among its side effects we can find:

  • Emaciated physical appearance.
  • Tremors
  • Disturbed sleep patterns.
  • Convulsions
  • Memory loss.
  • Loss of appetite
  • Repetitive motor activity.
  • Sensitivity to light.
  • Humor changes.
  • Respiratory problems.
  • Psychosis: paranoia and hallucinations.
  • Emotional disorders
  • Serious dental problems.
  • Death.

Methamphetamine as a medicine

There is also some confusion because methamphetamine can be used to create medicines ; however, nothing has to do with the molecule found in pharmacies with this highly addictive drug.

Some medications such as the Vicks inhaler contain L-methamphetamine, which is a chiral molecule of the dangerous and illegal drug, namely D-methamphetamine. Both are asymmetric molecules that mirror one another, but their effects are completely different. While one is treated for nasal congestion, the other causes serious health effects.

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