Whether you’re about to take a drug test, on rehab detox, or just plain curious, you may be wondering how long meth stays in your body once taken. Knowing the specific timelines, ways to flush it out, and treatment options can help.
It is without a doubt that methamphetamines can affect your body in significant ways. Dubbed as one of the most frequently used illicit stimulants, “meth”, “crank”, or “crystal”, causes a myriad of health consequences with long-term use.
Some who go through a meth addiction may wonder, “How long does meth stay in your system?”. It is quite understandable why people are led to think about a drug’s length of stay in the body. Some of the purposes for determining this information include:
- Passing a drug test: Some individuals who have “functional addictions” would want to get through a drug test unscathed. These are mostly for employment reasons or for law enforcement clearances.
- Undergoing rehab detox: People who are going through drug rehabilitation for the first time may wonder how long they will be experiencing withdrawal symptoms. As the drug passes out of the system, the better a person will feel and would be ready to receive treatment proper.
- General information: First-time meth users, young adults, and other individuals who are curious about how they can get rid of the drug in their system may also want to know how long they need to wait.
Whether you fit into these categories of individuals or not, it would be helpful to know how long does crystal meth stay in your system, in order to protect yourself and your loved ones.
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How Long Does Meth Stay In Your System?
It is interesting to note that meth stays in certain bodily fluids for various ranges of time. The period that it stays in your blood would be different for the time it stays in urine, saliva, or any other bodily fluid. In this section, we will be elaborating each of these timelines. It is important to understand that drug tests check for metabolites (breakdown products of the drug). In the case of meth, the end product is amphetamine.
How long does meth stay in your blood?
Blood is part of the circulatory system, which means that this bodily fluid cleanses out easily compared to others. As a result, having a blood test is one of the quickest ways to detect if someone is using meth. At maximum, meth can stay in the blood for only up to 48 hours. Smaller doses will stay for shorter periods.
How long does meth stay in your saliva?
The oral area is constantly flushed out with saliva, produced by the salivary glands. Having a saliva test is one of the most common ways to detect meth use, although it is not always accurate. If someone is using meth intravenously, traces of meth in one’s saliva may be smaller compared to the blood. On average, meth remains in the saliva for up to 24-48 hours, depending on the dose.
How long does meth stay in your hair?
People who are taking a drug test may be asked to submit a hair sample to detect chronic drug use. This is relevant for people who have been using meth for months or years at a time. Since hair doesn’t reproduce quickly or renew as much as blood or saliva, the drug may stay in the follicles for up to 2-3 months after abstinence. The only downside with this test is that it is more tedious and may take time to produce results.
How long does meth stay in your urine?
How long does meth stay in urine? Urine is produced ultimately by the kidneys. Since urine is a byproduct of liquids ingested and other toxins released from the body, there may be traces of meth in the urine for as long as three days. Even if there’s no trace of meth in the blood, it is still possible to have the drug contained in one’s urine.
Now that we understood these timelines, your next question may be, “Why these timelines?” It is also helpful to know how the body processes meth.
How The Body Breaks Down Meth
For people who are wondering how long does meth stay in the system, the reason for these timelines is due to the way our bodies process drugs such as meth.
A study published in 2010 considered meth as one of the most toxic illicit substances used. This is because of its individual chemical components which are mostly corrosive and industrial products, and its ability to accumulate in the body. Whether a person takes meth orally, intranasally, or intravenously, this is a general pathway of how the drug is broken down in our system:
- Meth first enters mucous membranes: If a person snorts, inhales, drinks, or rubs meth on their gums, the first passageway to the body is through the mucous membranes. The mucous membranes are the moist areas of our body which can be exposed to outer elements.
- Meth enters the bloodstream: The next area affected is the bloodstream. When one takes meth intravenously, the mucous membranes are bypassed, and the drug goes directly in the blood, ready to reach the brain. At this point, some chemical elements which are part of the meth mixture can accumulate on any organ which the blood passes through. These include the lungs, heart, liver, or kidneys.
- Meth enters the brain: The chemical component that causes the neurological effects of meth enters the brain, bringing its strong dopamine-releasing capability. As this reinforces the addiction, the toxin remnants now pass again through the blood, of which organs such as the liver and kidneys attempt to clean.
- Meth toxins accumulate in the organs: The ultimate harm of how meth affects the body is the trail of toxins it leaves on organs such as kidneys, liver, lungs, and heart. Even when the addictive component is used up by the brain, some toxic traces are left to be processed by the other organs in large amounts. A study showed that the highest uptake of meth is by the lungs, liver, and brain.
The last stage is the reason why timelines can vary with how long does crystal stay in your urine, blood, or saliva. When our bodies are overloaded with the drug, the longer it takes for the system to fully get rid of traces.
Detecting Meth In Drug Test
Meth can easily be detected especially within 24 hours of use. When one wants to pass these drug screening tools, they must abstain from using meth for at least a week. Of course, these measures would not be effective for someone who has a chronic meth addiction. If hair samples are taken, it is possible to detect a prior meth addiction even after 3 months of abstinence.
Below are some guidelines you should know about drug screening for meth.
Drug Screening for Meth
- The most common types of screening for meth is through urine and saliva. Many employers do a ‘surprise’ drug screening program to prevent employees from preparing and cheating their way out of passing these assessment tools.
- Even if you have researched information on how long can meth be detected in urine or saliva, your employer may order a hair, skin, or blood drug test. This is a more in-depth evaluation that can detect even the most minute cases of drug use.
- The only sure way to pass a drug test is by going through rehab and achieving complete sobriety. Even if you passed an initial drug test through temporary abstinence, suspicions will only grow as your addictions worsen.
- Some prescription drugs like selegiline and amphetamine can also result in a positive test. Other drugs of abuse like Ecstasy are also broken down into similar metabolites that test positive when analyzing for meth use.
If you do plan to abstain from meth in order to pass a drug test, it is important to know the effects of withdrawal. At the very least, withdrawal can be very uncomfortable–but in other cases it can be seriously life-threatening. Below are some symptoms of meth withdrawal:
- Muscle pain
- Thoughts of suicide
- High blood pressure
Any of these symptoms can escalate and be dangerous if experienced without intervention. It is best to find professional rehab facilities that can help you deal with meth withdrawal symptoms safely and effectively. Talk to a Intake Coordinator
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Finding Rehab For Meth Addiction
As previously mentioned, the only guaranteed safe and effective way to completely rid of meth in your body is to go through a formal rehab. Do-it-yourself methods may work for some time, such as passing a drug test, but it doesn’t completely address the root of the addiction.
Here are some characteristics of a great meth rehab center you need to consider:
- Professional service: Find a center that is accredited by LegitScript and Joint Commission. This means that these centers adhere to the highest standards and provide professional treatments that their patients deserve.
- Variety of treatment options: There is no single-path approach to treatment. One person’s addiction story is different from another individual. Thus, a great meth rehab center will offer a wide variety of treatment options to suit the patient’s needs.
- Ready assistance: Find addiction specialists that won’t leave you hanging. They must be ready to answer questions about your healthcare insurance, employment, family involvement, or what to expect during rehab.
Does Meth Stay In Your Body? The Real Answer
There is a scientific response to this question, but there is also an answer that resonates for anyone who wants to break free from a meth addiction. The real answer to this is: Yes, meth stays in your body, for as long as you want it to. You have the decision, the power, and the commitment to make meth stay–or go away–for good.
- Drugabuse.gov – “Commonly Used Drugs Charts”.
- Nurse.plus – “Meth Withdrawal Symptoms and Treatment: What You Must Know”.
- Livescience.com – “The Circulatory System: An Amazing Circuit That Keeps Our Bodies Going”.
- Niddk.nih.gov – “Your Kidneys & How They Work”.
- Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov – “Distribution and Pharmacokinetics of Methamphetamine in the Human Body: Clinical Implications”.
- Drugabuse.gov – “How is methamphetamine manufactured?”.
Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.
Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.
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