Lantana Recovery
A modern, community-based approach to addiction treatment for Men and Women in Charleston, SC

What is Methamphetamine? | Chemistry, Use Cases, Dosage & Side Effects

Jump to Section

Methamphetamine, also known as meth, is a highly addictive stimulant drug that has gained widespread popularity in recent years due to its powerful effects on the central nervous system. This drug is used recreationally for its euphoric and energizing effects, but it can also be used medicinally as a treatment for conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and obesity. 

In this article, we will explore the chemistry of methamphetamine, its various use cases, typical dosage information, and the potential side effects of this powerful drug.

Chemical Composition 

Legal Status 


C10H15N Illegal, Schedule II PubChem CID 1206


Methamphetamine High-Level Fact Sheet

Methamphetamine is a synthetic stimulant drug that belongs to the amphetamine family of drugs. Here is some information about its chemical composition, legal status in the United States, and the drug class it belongs to.

Methamphetamine Chemical Composition

The chemical composition of methamphetamine is based on the structure of amphetamine, but it has a methyl group added to the nitrogen atom of the amphetamine molecule. This modification makes the drug more lipophilic, which means it can easily cross the blood-brain barrier and have a stronger effect on the central nervous system.

The chemical formula of methamphetamine is C10H15N and its molecular weight is 149.23 g/mol. 

Methamphetamine Legal Status 

Methamphetamine is a highly addictive and illegal drug in most countries, including the United States. It is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance, which means it has a high potential for abuse and is only legally available through a non-refillable prescription. Possession, distribution, and manufacturing of methamphetamine are all illegal and can result in severe criminal penalties.

Methamphetamine Clinical Data

Methamphetamine is a Central Nervous System stimulant drug that is clinically used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and obesity under the brand name Desoxyn, Methampex, and Methedrine.

However, on streets, it is commonly sold using names such as “meth,” “crystal,” “crank,” “ice,” “glass,” and “tina.”

Methamphetamine Use Cases:

Methamphetamine, also known as meth or crystal meth, is a highly addictive stimulant drug that is sued widely in both clinical and party settings.


In the medical field, meth is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy, a sleep disorder. It is also used to aid in weight loss and combat fatigue in people with certain medical conditions. However, the use of meth in the medical field is highly controversial and its use is highly regulated.

Performance Enhancement:

In the realm of performance enhancement, meth has been used by athletes and bodybuilders to increase energy and endurance, as well as to suppress appetite. However, the use of meth in sports is banned by most major sports organizations and can lead to severe health problems and even death.


Recreationally, meth is often used as a party drug due to its euphoric and energizing effects which can lead to increased confidence, sociability, and a feeling of being “on top of the world.” It is also used as a means of self-medication for individuals suffering from depression or other mental health issues. 

However, these effects are short-lived, and the consequences of recreational meth use can be severe and long-lasting. For example, regular use of meth with medical supervision can lead to severe addiction and can have devastating effects on the individual and their loved ones.

Methamphetamine dosages by form and strength:

Methamphetamine is available in various forms… powder, crystals, and pills, each of which has its own unique dosing instructions. 

Powder Meth

The most common form of meth is the white, odorless, crystalline powder, which is usually snorted, smoked, or dissolved in water and injected. This form of meth is typically sold in small plastic bags and is usually cut with other substances to increase its volume and reduce its potency. 

The strength of this form of meth can range from low to high, and the typical dose is around 5-15 milligrams. 


Another form of meth is the pill, which is taken orally. This form is typically prescribed by doctors for medical conditions such as ADHD and narcolepsy. The strength of this form of meth can range from low to high, and the typical dose is around 5-30 milligrams. 

Usually, for adults, doctors start with 5mg per day and then increase the dose by 5mg every week until they are at their ideal dose.


The third form of meth is the crystal or “ice” form, which is a highly purified and potent form of the drug. This form is usually smoked or injected, producing an intense, long-lasting high. The strength of this form of meth is usually high, and the typical dose is around 20-50 milligrams.

It is important to note that the above-mentioned dosages are general guidelines and that the ideal dose may vary depending on factors such as the individual’s tolerance, the form of meth, and the individual’s medical history. It is crucial to follow the dosing instructions provided by a healthcare professional and not to self-medicate to avoid methamphetamine overdose

Methamphetamine Side Effects:

Methamphetamine, a highly addictive and dangerous stimulant drug, is widely used recreationally for its euphoric and energizing effects, but its use can lead to severe side effects, both in the short and long-term.

Common Side Effects on Methamphetamine:

Common side effects of meth use include increased heart rate and blood pressure, as well as a risk of stroke and heart attack. It can also cause skin sores, dental problems, and a weakened immune system. Other common side effects include anxiety, insomnia, and paranoia. These side effects are usually short-lived and can be treated with the proper medical care.

Serious Side Effects on Methamphetamine: 

However, serious side effects can also occur as a result of meth use. These can include seizures, hallucinations, and psychosis. Methamphetamine can also cause severe damage to the liver, kidneys, and lungs. These side effects can be life-threatening and require immediate medical attention.

Methamphetamine Long Term Effects:

The long-term effects of meth use can be even more devastating. Long-term use can lead to permanent damage to the brain, including memory loss and cognitive impairment. Meth can also have severe psychological effects, including paranoia and aggression. Users may also develop severe addiction, which can lead to significant social and economic consequences, such as losing their job, home, and family.

In conclusion, the use of meth should be avoided at all costs. The side effects of meth are severe and can be life-threatening. 

Methamphetamine Addiction: 

Methamphetamine addiction is characterized by a strong desire to use the drug and difficulty in controlling its use. Meth users may experience withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop using the drug, including depression, anxiety, and fatigue. 

These symptoms can make it difficult for users to quit and can lead to a cycle of addiction. The addiction to meth can be physical, psychological, or both. It can be difficult for individuals to quit using meth on their own and requires professional help to overcome the addiction.

Types of Drug Treatment for Methamphetamine Addiction

Treatment for methamphetamine addiction typically involves a combination of therapy and support groups. Behavioral therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, and contingency management, are commonly used to help individuals overcome addiction. 

These therapies can help individuals understand their addiction, identify triggers, and develop coping strategies to deal with cravings. Medications such as antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications may also be prescribed to address some of the psychological symptoms associated with meth addiction.

In addition to behavioral therapies, going for a medically assisted detox can help manage the withdrawal symptoms to increase the chances of recovery. These programs offer medical as well as emotional support to individuals during the difficult withdrawal period.

It’s important to note that treatment should be tailored to the individual, as everyone’s experience with addiction is unique. A comprehensive assessment by a healthcare professional is important to determine the best course of treatment.

Methamphetamine Withdrawal:  

Methamphetamine withdrawal refers to the physical and psychological symptoms that can occur when an individual who is dependent on methamphetamine stops using the drug. Withdrawal symptoms can vary in severity and duration, depending on the individual and the length of their addiction.

Some common methamphetamine withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Fatigue and decreased energy
  • Anxiety, depression, and irritability
  • Difficulty sleeping or insomnia
  • Increased appetite
  • Increased cravings for methamphetamine
  • Psychotic symptoms such as paranoia, hallucinations, and delusions
  • Agitation and restlessness

It’s important to note that withdrawal symptoms can be severe and can lead to relapse if not properly managed. It is highly recommended for individuals to seek professional help for withdrawal management, such as a medical detoxification program.

Commonly Seen Methamphetamine Drug Combinations: 

Methamphetamine is a highly addictive stimulant drug that can have severe short and long-term health effects. Mixing meth with other drugs can increase the risk of negative interactions and unpredictable effects. Some of the commonly seen methamphetamine drug combinations include

  1. Methamphetamine and cocaine (referred to as a “speedball”): This combination can have dangerous effects on the cardiovascular system. The stimulant effects of meth can cause increased heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature, while cocaine can constrict blood vessels and cause heart attacks or strokes. Together, these drugs can put a significant strain on the heart and increase the risk of death.
  2. Methamphetamine and alcohol: This combination can lead to an increased risk of liver damage and other harmful health effects. Alcohol is a depressant, while meth is a stimulant, so together, these drugs can cause a dangerous imbalance in the brain and body. The combination of meth and alcohol can also increase the risk of overdose.
  3. Methamphetamine and marijuana: This combination can lead to increased anxiety and paranoia. Marijuana is a depressant that can slow down the body and mind, while meth is a stimulant that can speed up the body and mind. Together, these drugs can create a state of confusion and disorientation, which can increase the risk of accidents or other dangerous situations.
  4. Methamphetamine and Nicotine: Nicotine is a stimulant found in tobacco products that can increase heart rate and blood pressure, while meth is a highly addictive stimulant that can have similar effects on the body. 

Together, these drugs can put a significant strain on the cardiovascular system, which can increase the risk of heart attacks, strokes, or other cardiovascular complications.

Mixing meth with any substance can be dangerous and unpredictable, which is why it is recommended to avoid any combination of drugs and always consult with a medical professional before use.

Methamphetamine Facts and Statistics:

Despite its high tendency for dependence and addiction, the use of methamphetamine is highly prevalent in the United States. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), in 2020, approximately 2.6 million Americans aged 12 and above had used meth in the past year. Meth is particularly common in rural areas and the West and Midwest regions of the country.

Moreover, the number of meth-related emergency department visits rose from about 67,000 in 2005 to about 113,000 in 2019. In 2020, approximately 23,837 people died from methamphetamine overdose.

Most of these deaths were caused by the misuse of non-prescribed Methamphetamine drugs. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), in 2020, an estimated 1.5 million people aged 12 or older had a methamphetamine use disorder in the past year.

Methamphetamine History and Cultural Impact: 

Methamphetamine, also known as meth, has a long history dating back to the late 1800s when it was first synthesized by a Japanese chemist. Initially, it was used as a decongestant and a stimulant to treat conditions such as narcolepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). During World War II, both the Axis and Allied powers distributed meth to their soldiers to increase their stamina and alertness.

In the 1970s, meth began to be heavily used and abused recreationally, and by the 1980s, it had become a major problem in the United States. The “War on Drugs” policies of the 1980s and 1990s led to stricter laws and penalties for meth production and distribution, causing a decrease in the number of meth labs. However, in recent years, there has been a resurgence of meth use in the US, with the drug often being smuggled in from Mexico.

Methamphetamine has had a significant cultural impact, particularly in the United States. It is often depicted in popular culture as a drug associated with criminal activity and has been a frequent subject in television shows and movies such as “Breaking Bad” and “The Wire.” Methamphetamine’s impact on society is also significant due to the physical and mental health issues it causes, as well as the strain it places on the criminal justice system.

Methamphetamine Identifiers 

Here is a list of Methamphetamine identifiers:

Identifier Name Identifier ID
CAS Number 537-46-2 

(dl)-Methamphetamine hydrochloride 300-42-5 

PubChem CID   1206
DrugBank DB01577 
ChemSpider 1169 
KEGG D08187 
ChEBI 6809 
ChEMBL 1201201
CompTox(EPA)    DTXSID8037128 
ECHA InfoCard    100.007.882

Bottom Line: Methamphetamine in the United States 

 In conclusion, Methamphetamine is a highly addictive stimulant drug that has a long history dating back to the late 1800s. It has been used for both medicinal and recreational purposes, and its abuse has led to it becoming a major problem in the United States. 

The drug can have a range of negative effects on physical and mental health, and its use can lead to addiction. It is also associated with criminal activity and places a strain on the criminal justice system. 

Despite the negative consequences, it is still widely used and abused, and it is essential to understand the dangers of this drug and to seek help if needed. It is important to be aware of the signs of methamphetamine abuse and to take steps to prevent it.


Warren Phillips

Warren is a Licensed Master Social Worker, who specializes in substance abuse and mental health treatment. Clinically, Warren has developed a therapeutic skillset that utilizes a strengths-based perspective, Twelve Step philosophies, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Motivational Interviewing.

Related Articles
Addiction Treatment
Contact Form
We’re here to help you or your loved one on their path to sobriety

Chat with us.

Reach out now and join our supportive community

Charleston South Carolina

Charleston South Carolina

Located on the historic peninsula of Charleston, South Carolina, Lantana Recovery takes a modern approach to Substance Use Disorder treatment, offering intensive clinical care while also immersing our clients in local Charleston culture.