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Crystal Meth Detection Time – How Long Does Crystal Meth Stay In Your System?

Dr. Richard Foster, LICDC-CS

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Richard Foster, LICDC-CS

March 19, 2019

There are many factors that contribute to how long crystal meth stays in the system. These include health, age, amount, and frequency the drug is used.

Crystal meth has a shorter half-life, meaning that it will be eliminated from the body faster than the same drug in a different form. How long crystal meth is detectable in the body will depend on the type of testing and many other personal factors.

The Half-Life Of Meth

The half-life of meth, or when half of the drug has left the system, can affect how long meth is detectable in a person’s body. Meth’s half-life is fairly long and is anywhere from 10 to 12 hours in the average person.

How someone uses crystal meth can impact how long the half-life of the drug. Someone who smokes meth will have the drug in the system for a shorter amount of time than someone who injects meth.

How Long Does Crystal Meth Stay In Your System?

Methamphetamine can be detected in the body as soon as one hour after use and up to 72 hours after use in most people. The metabolites of methamphetamine will stay in the body anywhere from two to four days.

Methamphetamine is a dangerous and highly abused drug that has become more and more popular in recent years throughout the country. Methamphetamine, or meth, is a stimulant that is often sold as a powder or in pill form.

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Crystal meth is a smokeable form of methamphetamine that resembles clear crystals. Common names for meth include crystal, ice, speed, and crank.

How Is Methamphetamine Metabolized?

The metabolization of methamphetamine begins almost immediately after it’s ingested. Metabolism is the process of how quickly the body can break down and use or rid itself of substances. Once in the body, meth quickly passes the blood-brain barrier and increases neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine.

When passing through the liver, much of methamphetamine is converted into amphetamine and then passed through the kidneys. Meth is excreted through the urine.

Types Of Drug Tests Used To Detect Crystal Meth

There are a few different ways to test for crystal meth in the system. Each way will vary as far as detection time goes. Some tests simply measure for a positive or negative result, whereas others test for any level of crystal meth present.

The most common ways to test for crystal meth in the body include:

Urine Tests

Urine tests are one of the most common ways to test for methamphetamine in the body and require individuals to urinate in a cup. The contents are then analyzed to determine the presence of meth in the body.

Meth can be detected through urine as soon as two hours and up to five days after the drug was last used.

Blood Tests

Blood tests are often used by law enforcement as well as substance abuse treatment facilities. Blood testing is an invasive method of testing for meth in the system and often requires consent.

Methamphetamine can typically be detected in the blood after one to two hours of use and one to three days after the drug was last taken.

Hair Follicle Tests

Hair is a less common way to test for methamphetamine in the body and can detect meth in the system for as long as 90 days after the last use.

Saliva Tests

Saliva tests require the mouth to be swabbed with cotton and then tested for the presence of methamphetamine. Saliva can detect meth in the system up to 10 minutes after use and up to four days after the last dose was taken.

Factors That Affect How Long Crystal Meth Stays In The Body

There are many factors that contribute to how long crystal meth will be detectable in someone’s body, including:

  • mode of intake
  • frequency of use
  • amount used
  • age and health
  • height and weight

Mode Of Intake

If someone smokes or snorts meth, the drug will stay in the body for a shorter amount of time than if someone injected meth.

Frequency Of Use

How often someone uses crystal meth can impact how long the drug is detectable in the body. For example, a person who uses meth on a daily basis will have much more of the drug in the body than someone who uses it only once.

Amount Used

How much meth is used is also a factor. When used regularly and in larger quantities, meth will stay in the body for a longer period of time.

Age And Health

Being healthy can play a role in how quickly your body is able to get rid of substances. Healthy individuals have healthy organs and other body systems that are responsible for eliminating toxins. This elimination occurs faster and more efficiently in healthy people.

A person’s age can also influence how long methamphetamine will stay in the system. Age can impact how drugs are metabolized in the body. Younger people tend to have faster metabolisms than older individuals. This makes it easier for the body to eliminate toxins and substances.

Height And Weight

How tall someone is and how much they way can influence how long crystal meth stays in the body. People who are taller and weigh more will have substances in their body for longer than people who weigh less and are shorter.

All of these factors can influence how quickly a person eliminates crystal meth from the body.

How Long Do The Effects Of Meth Last?

Meth can be felt shortly after using it and its effects are felt in stages. The first stage, known as “the rush,” is the most intense stage of using this drug. The heart races, blood pressure raises, and pupils dilate as dopamine floods the brain.

The rush can last anywhere from five to 30 minutes and is followed by “the high” stage. This stage can last four or more hours and is when a person experiences quick thinking and hyperactivity.

After the high phase comes the crash phase. This is when the drug is eliminated from the body and the high is gone. This phase is uncomfortable and often leads to a “binge” pattern, or using the drug over and over to avoid crashing.

The last stage that some experience is the tweaking stage, which can be dangerous. Frustration and paranoia, as well as lack of sleep, can make people unreliable. This is the stage in which some people experience meth psychosis, a mental health condition brought on by the drug.

Getting Help For Crystal Meth Addiction

If you or a loved one is suffering from an addiction to crystal meth, seeking treatment is the best possible choice you could make. A medically supervised detox is often the first step for many people with a meth use disorder, as withdrawal from this drug can be difficult and uncomfortable.

A medically supervised detox program provides any needed medical support and ensures patients are comfortable throughout the withdrawal process. Once this is successfully completed, most individuals go on to a treatment program, often inpatient.

Inpatient treatment is often seen as the most successful form of treatment for drug and alcohol addiction. This type of treatment requires patients to live at the facility for several weeks or months.

If you would like to learn more about how long crystal meth stays in your system or about the treatment options available for crystal meth addiction, contact our treatment specialists today. - Meth Metabolism in the Body: How Meth Affects the Brain (INFOGRAPHIC)

National Institute On Drug Abuse - What is methamphetamine?

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