Methamphetamine generally stays in the system between 1-4 days, but those who use it chronically may have it in their body for a longer period of time. There are different factors that can affect the time, which we’ll describe ahead.

Short for methamphetamine, meth is a synthetic chemical commonly manufactured in illegal, hidden laboratories by mixing various forms of amphetamine or derivatives with other chemicals to boost its potency. The meth “cook” extracts ingredients from common pills for cold remedies, and combines them with substances such as battery acid, drain cleaner, lantern fuel, and antifreeze. It is taken in several ways; in its powder form it can be ingested, injected, or snorted, and when in rock form, it is usually smoked.

In some cases, doctors will prescribe methamphetamine as treatment for certain conditions like attention deficit disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, narcolepsy, and obesity. In these cases, it is generally non-refillable.

Most of the time, meth is used recreationally as a stimulant in order to get high. When it is smoked or injected, it only takes a short time for an intense rush and high to kick in, but it doesn’t last very long. When meth is ingested or snorted, the euphoric high can last even longer—up to a half a day.

Meth can stay in the body longer than other drugs, with a half-life of up to twelve hours. The exact amount of time varies from person to person, as factors such as body mass, amount taken, frequency of use, metabolism, and urine pH levels, among other things. Meth levels reach their peak blood concentration differently, and this depends on the method in which it was taken. Generally, it stays in the blood for approximately 24-48 hours. Peak concentration for ingesting happens in around three hours, while smoking and snorting will take anywhere from two to three hours.

The longest amount of time that meth can be detected is with hair. Even after it grows out after use, meth can be detected anywhere from months to years. This will depend on the hair length and severity of usage, and typically, one inch of hair is representative of about 30 days in meth testing.

In a urine test, meth can show up between one to four days after what’s considered “casual” use, and chronic or heavy use can make this period last even longer. When tested using saliva, meth only stays in the system between one to two days. With sweat, it can be detected anywhere between two hours and one week after use.


If you or someone you know is struggling with a meth problem, contact Treatment Now for advice and treatment options.


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