How Long Does Methamphetamine Stay in Your System?

Methamphetamine, or ‘meth’, has gained a notorious reputation in the past 20 years as one of the most addictive drugs on the streets. Although the opioid crisis has overshadowed meth use in the news, meth still has a devastating impact on many communities.

We know that meth’s body and brain effects make it highly addictive. But few people understand how long it lasts in the body.

How long meth stays in the body is not the same for everyone. Several things can influence this timeframe, and if you are concerned about a drug test, you have even more factors to consider.

Not to worry; in this article, we will break down meth’s time in your system including drug test times.

How Long Does Meth Cause Effects?

When smoked or injected, meth’s effects can be felt almost immediately. The primary effects of meth will last for about 4 to 8 hours, but residual effects might be felt for up to 12 hours.

Although meth’s noticeable effects only last for about 12 hours, the drug stays in your body long after its effects have worn off. Side effects can also continue for much longer.

In addition to the euphoric ‘high’ that many users report feeling, meth has many negative side effects. Side effects of meth abuse may include:

  • Restlessness
  • Agitation
  • Itching
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure

Using meth is extremely hard on your body, and this drug stays in your system longer than you might think. Side effects can continue for months or years, depending on your level of abuse.

How Long Does Meth Stay in Lab Tests?

Meth is commonly checked for by lab tests. There are several reasons why you might be subject to drug testing – including at-work drug screening, pre-employment testing, and testing that is conducted for legal reasons.

How long meth remains detectable by drug tests will depend on several factors. The factors that influence meth detection times include:

  • How you used meth: The heavier the meth use, the longer it will show up on lab tests. Meth can actually ‘build up’ in a user’s system over time, which means detoxing fully from the drug takes longer.
  • Metabolism: People with fast metabolisms also process drugs like meth at a faster rate. Things like age, weight, genetics, and overall health can all influence how fast your metabolism is.
  • Other substance abuse: Many meth users also use or abuse other drugs, including alcohol. This can often deteriorate your health, especially that of your liver, which is a key organ when it comes to processing meth.
  • The type of drug test: There’s no way to be sure what kind of test you will be given. Different tests can detect meth for different durations of time.

Let’s take a look at the four main kinds of drug tests:

How Long Does Methamphetamine Stay in Your Urine?

Urine testing is the most widespread and common form of drug testing. It is especially common in the workplace. Drawing a urine sample is not invasive, it is cheap, and urine has a fairly long detection window for most drugs.

Meth can be detected in a urine sample for 3 to 4 days after the last time taken. Heavy use could make it last for up to a week in the urine.

How Long Does Methamphetamine Stay in Your Hair?

Anyone thinking about trying to plan their meth use around a potential drug test will be disappointed to learn about hair testing. This testing method can find past drug use for several months.

In fact, hair testing has been known to find meth for up to 6 months after the last dose. So, why don’t all testers use hair tests?

Although hair tests have a very long detection window, it can take a few weeks for drugs to show up on them. Furthermore, hair tests require the removal of hair from the head or body, which makes it an invasive method of testing. Finally, hair tests are less accurate than some other test types, and are more expensive.

Despite these downsides, it is not unheard of to encounter a hair test, even in a workplace.

How Long Does Methamphetamine Stay in Your Blood?

Blood tests use a blood sample to check for illicit substances. Blood tests are very accurate. Detection times vary, mainly according to a drug’s half-life. Meth’s half-life is around 11 hours, and it can be detected in the blood for 1 to 3 days. 

Because of their accuracy, it is common for blood tests to be used in legal settings. These tests are more invasive than others, and have a short detection window. For these reasons, they are less common in workplace drug tests.

How Long Does Methamphetamine Stay in Your Saliva?

Saliva testing can detect past meth use for 24 to 48 hours after the last dose. To take a saliva sample for a drug test, a simple cotton swab from inside the cheek is all that is needed. These easy-to-administer tests are sometimes used by police officers in the field.

When it comes to drug testing at work, there is little reason for employers to choose saliva tests over urine samples. Urine provides better detection times, better accuracy, and the tests are cheaper.

Can You Speed up Methamphetamine Detox?

There is no safe way to speed up your body’s detox process from meth. You may find kits of products that advertise themselves as ‘detox aids’. The truth is, nothing can speed this process up, and many of these products can be dangerous to use.

The only safe place to undergo meth detox and withdrawal is at a certified detox center. Here, you will be given the support and care you need during the difficult process of withdrawal.

Everyone’s meth detox looks different. The factors discussed above, including a user’s frequency of use and dosage, will all play a role in this process.

Get Treatment for Methamphetamine Abuse

Are you ready to put your meth abuse in the past? If so, call your Northeast Addiction Treatment Center today. We can help you with the recovery process, from start to finish. There has never been a better time to give us a call.

Remember, meth overdose can be fatal. No amount of meth use is ‘safe’ or ‘under control’. This drug is notorious for making addicts out of people who previously have not had substance abuse issues. If you or someone you know has been using meth, call now.

Ready to make a change? Talk to a specialist now.