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Difference between meth and amphetamine

Discussion in 'Methamphetamine / Meth' started by Sparkster, Oct 15, 2014.

  1. Sparkster

    Sparkster Community Champion

    Obviously, meth and amphetamine are closely related and are also closely related to MDMA and Ecstasy. However, meth is something I have been trying to learn about recently and it seems quite complicated. Despite being widespread in the US there is very little meth on the streets of the UK with only 17,000 people in the UK known to have taken meth. What are the real differences between meth and amphetamine? Can meth be created from amphetamine? And what are the differences in the dangers of taking them? Are meth and amphetamine really any different?
  2. Askani

    Askani Active Contributor

    From what I understand Uppers keep you awake and focused with an eventual comedown that causes fatigue. Meth is a stronger form of amphetamine that does the same, but gives the user a stronger sense of euphoria. They are essentially the same drug just in different strengths. Hope that helps. I am no expert or anything.
  3. 420nosmoke

    420nosmoke Member

    Chemically speaking, the only difference between methamphetamine and amphetamine is a methyl group (CH3)!

    I am not sure why meth is rarely used in the UK. Here in the US most of the meth is manufactured in mass quantities in "superlabs" in Mexico, then smuggled over the border.

    There is not a huge difference between meth and amphetamine. Subjectively, amphetamine is "dirtier" feeling and has a bit more physical side effects. In meth, when you intend to abuse it, the high is just better and "cleaner". So most manufacturers have an incentive to make meth rather than regular amphetamine. They can be made the same way, meth is just one extra step. Street amphetamine (powder form) does exist, just rather uncommon compared to meth. Nowadays when most kids do amphetamines they do it in the form of Adderall. This is a pill that you just take orally or sometimes snort. With meth, you can smoke or inject it, obviously giving you a much stronger high and a huge dose at once. This contributes to its addictive quality of course.
  4. Profit5500

    Profit5500 Senior Contributor

    So meth is not as attrocious to deal with then amphetamine? Then how come its illegal to be in possession of meth or if I am mistaking this whole difference thing.
  5. Jen S.

    Jen S. Guest

    The main difference is the addition of the methyl group that gives methamphetamine its name. The methyl group is like a VIP pass to the brain; it allows the meth to travel faster than amphetamine across the blood-brain barrier and thus makes meth more potent than amphetamines.
  6. Profit5500

    Profit5500 Senior Contributor

    Okay that makes sense I could now understand the main difference between the two. So basically the addition of methyl that is used in the methamphetamine is not the same as the amphetamine?
  7. Jen S.

    Jen S. Guest

  8. Sparkster

    Sparkster Community Champion

    Okay, now that's interesting and makes sense. So, the addition of the methyl group doesn't actually make the drug any purer, stronger or more potent, it just allows it to get into the system quicker for a stronger quicker buzz. I'm guessing meth comes in many forms (powder, crystal, etc). I'm curious about the side effects and dangers of meth use, they seem to be a lot more extreme and more dangerous than amphetamine use.

    I'm also curious about the way it's made, I've read that producing meth can be dangerous, giving off dangerous chemical fumes and having high risks of explosions.
  9. 420nosmoke

    420nosmoke Member

    Yeah I think it's mostly that the high is more addictive because of how it hits the brain differently, so people tend to ingest way more of it than they would with regular amphetamine. And taking in such a high dose makes you unable to sleep for several days so people stay up and smoke more. That extreme sleep deprivation is a large contributor to the psychosis, erratic behavior etc. associated with meth, though it's also the meth itself too. Meth also dries out your mouth and skin really bad which is why the stereotypical meth addict has terrible teeth and skin. It's also an extreme appetite suppressant so users usually lose a lot of weight.
  10. Jen S.

    Jen S. Guest

  11. Sparkster

    Sparkster Community Champion

    According to everything I've read, normal amphetamine (not meth) can also be injected or smoked rather than being consumed orally. I'm guessing it would have to be prepared in some way first though. You're unlikely to get meth on the streets of the UK, although it has been reported that meth has been sold as speed in Glasgow.

    The one drug that seems to have become the most popular in this part of the UK is Mephedrone (M-CAT, Meow Meow), whereas meth just never seemed to become popular. There is still also plenty of amphetamine (base) around but it's not as popular as it used to be.
  12. Sparkster

    Sparkster Community Champion

    Yes, I have seen these before and the effects are quite shocking. However, I've also seen these exact same images under several different descriptions, including "amphetamine face", "meth mouth", "long-term crack use", etc.

    So, what about 'crystal meth' rather than just meth. I'm guessing it's just a refined more purer version of the drug, like crack is to cocaine?
  13. Rob93FL

    Rob93FL Senior Contributor

    In its salt form, methamphetamine hydrochloride, meth appears as crystals or shards, hence the nicknames "crystal" and "shard." It can also appear as a powder, but that's only when it isn't dried slowly enough to allow the crystals to grow. In its freebase form (without the hydrochloride salt), it is a caustic oil that you really can't do anything with.
  14. Sparkster

    Sparkster Community Champion

    That's quite interesting, thanks for the explanation. You say it can appear as a powder if it isn't allowed to dry slowly enough. Does this also decrease the potency of the meth?
  15. Rob93FL

    Rob93FL Senior Contributor

    Crystallized methamphetamine and powdered methamphetamine are identical chemicals, and thus have identical effects. The only thing that would make them any different would be the quality, cuts, and route of administration.
  16. Sparkster

    Sparkster Community Champion

    Okay, so there's not really much difference. Is it only crystal meth that can be smoked or can powdered meth also be smoked?
  17. Rob93FL

    Rob93FL Senior Contributor

    Powdered meth is crystal meth; the crystals have just been broken down via crushing it and/or from errors in the drying process. Regardless of what form it is in, it will turn into a liquid and then produce smoke, so it doesn't matter whether it's powder or crystal.
  18. Sparkster

    Sparkster Community Champion

    Okay, what I'm confused about now is the difference between amphetamine and meth - I know that meth is just amphetamine with the extra methyl group added but as far as I am aware, amphetamine in any form (other than meth) cannot be smoked. However, I have seen a UK documentary where people in Glasgow were claiming to be smoking Speed - when asked if it was meth, they said no, it's speed - wouldn't that be the same thing?
  19. Rob93FL

    Rob93FL Senior Contributor

    The structures are very similar. You're right, the difference is that the amine in methamphetamine is methylated (-CH3), which makes it more lipid-soluble than other amphetamines. Because of that tiny structural difference, methamphetamine is able to cross the blood-brain barrier more quickly. Comparing methamphetamine to amphetamine is similar to comparing heroin to morphine: heroin is to meth as morphine is to amphetamine.

    As far as "speed" goes, that's just slang. The problem with slang is that it differs from area to area. In one area, people might refer to meth and speed as separate entities, while in another area people will use them interchangeably.
  20. Sparkster

    Sparkster Community Champion

    Thanks for the great explanation, that makes things a bit easier to understand. According to the UK government there have only ever been about 17,000 people in the UK known to have used meth. However, the figures for amphetamine are a lot higher. I'm now starting to think that maybe a lot of the amphetamine on the streets of the UK is actually meth and that people just don't realize it.