Methamphetamine: characteristics of this destructive drug

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

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


Methamphetamine: a stimulant and addictive drug

This substance is a potent psychostimulant that has a structure similar to dopamine, a neurotransmitter generated by our body. Although there are other stimulants such as cocaine or MDMA that are consumed very frequently, their effects are very different.

Methamphetamine belongs to the phenethylamine family and the amphetamine group. The origin of its synthesis is in Japan, in 1919, but it did not appear in Europe until 20 years later. It seems that during World War II, the Nazi party used methamphetamine to stimulate their 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 is also among those that generate a more intense addiction. The effects of abuse of this substance can be dramatic, especially on a physical level, as it is considered a predatory drug.


Chemical composition

The chemical composition of methamphetamine is related to amphetamine sulfate, since its synthesis is carried out through the addition of a methyl group in the nitrogen atom of amphetamine.

This drug usually comes in the form of colorless transparent crystals, and can appear with different degrees of purity depending on the method used for its production. Although this drug is often confused 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 the methamphetamine crystal and the MDMA crystal

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


Differences between methamphetamine and cocaine

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

Regarding cocaine, methamphetamine has a number 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. It takes approximately 12 hours for a person’s body to remove 50% of this synthetic substance; instead, to eliminate the same percentage of cocaine it takes an hour. Both drugs can be smoked, but the duration of the methamphetamine effect is much longer.


Side effects of this substance

The effects of methamphetamine are devastating. On 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:



Methamphetamine as a medicine

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

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



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