Methamphetamine is a drug consisting of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, which are substances found in some cold medicines. It is often cut with products such as muriatic acid, ether, sulphuric acid, insecticides, solvents, fertilizers, iodine or detergents.

Methamphetamine is the most common substance in pills that are presented or sold as speed or ecstasy.

Given that methamphetamine is manufactured in clandestine labs, you can never be sure what it actually contains.

A dose of methamphetamine can contain:

  • Pure methamphetamine
  • Methamphetamine cut with other products
  • Everything else but methamphetamine

In using the drug, the person might:

  • Feel nothing at all
  • Feel what you expected to feel, either partially or completely
  • Feel an extremely strong effect

This effect can be dangerous, even toxic.

What it is calledAppearance  Characteristics 
  • Crystal meth
  • Tina
  • Ice
  • Chalk
  • Meth
  • Crystal
  • Crissy
  • Crank
  • Speed
  • Shards
  •  Glass
  • Go
  • Whizz
  • Dope
  • Pills (speed)
  • Crystalized white powder (crystal meth)
  • Fine transparent crystals (ice)


Depending on its form, methamphetamine can be swallowed, smoked, injected or inhaled (snorted).

Effects of methamphetamine

In small doses, methamphetamine produces euphoric and stimulating effects similar to amphetamines. However, it is much stronger and more likely to create a dependency or be toxic.

Methamphetamine can cause:

  • Hallucinations
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Delusions of grandeur, euphoria
  • Excitement and stimulation
  • Reduced fatigue
  • Enhanced mental capacity, increase in self-confidence and sensory perception (auditory, tactile, visual and sexual)
  • Dry mouth
  • Perspiration
  • Palpitations
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Panic
  • Shaking
  • Paranoia
  • Mental confusion
  • Fever
  • Grinding of teeth, which can cause damage to the mouth and teeth
  • Chest pain
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Seizures (stiff body with jerky and involuntary muscle spasms)
  • Cardiovascular problems 

Risks associated with methamphetamine and possible consequences

Physical and psychological problems

Given the intensity of the effects it produces, methamphetamine can cause:

  • General fatigue
  • Aggressiveness
  • Depression leading to suicidal thoughts

Like some other synthetic drugs, methamphetamine can harm certain parts of the brain. Such damage can sometimes be permanent.

When used in the form of crystal meth, methamphetamine can also cause permanent effects in the long term:

  • Difficulty completing complex tasks
  • Symptoms of psychosis, such as delirium and paranoia

Occasionally, crystal meth can also cause:

  • Low blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Death


Given that methamphetamine is stronger, the risk of developing a psychological dependence is higher than with amphetamines. Dependence can occur very quickly in people who consume the drug in the form of crystal meth.

Psychological dependence means that the user needs to take the drug more often in order to feel better about himself or herself, relax, calm down, feel stimulated or have the courage to face problems.

To learn more, read the Addiction section of Problems Associated with Alcohol Consumption and Drug Use.

Consequences associated with safety and law

Drug possession is illegal. Simply possessing a small quantity can lead to fines and a criminal record. These consequences also apply to people younger than 18. To learn more, consult the Éducaloi website This hyperlink will open in a new window..

Help and resources

Last update: September 13, 2017


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