Methamphetamine is a stimulant drug. Methamphetamine is a type of amphetamine. Amphetamines occur naturally in some plants, for example in the leaves of the khat plant of Northeast Africa and southern Arabia.
Since the late 19th century, people have produced synthetic amphetamines by combining various chemicals. By the 1930s these synthetic amphetamines were being used commercially to treat colds. Amphetamines have been used to increase energy levels and to combat fatigue. They have been used by military forces since the Second World War.
They have also been used by students, athletes, truck drivers and others to increase energy and prevent fatigue. Amphetamines, however, can be addictive and have negative side effects. As a result laws have been passed against the production, use and distribution of many amphetamines.
Methamphetamine is an illegal synthetic amphetamine. The drug was first isolated in Japan in the 1880s. It is one of the most widely abused illegal amphetamines.
Methamphetamine is a white, bitter-tasting, water-soluble powder. Users either snort, smoke or inject the drug. Nicknames for the drug include meth, ice, crystal and speed. The drug is called ‘shabu’ in some parts of East Asia.
Methamphetamine use causes feelings of pleasure and euphoria. The drug works by increasing the release of the chemical dopamine in the brain while blocking the reuptake of dopamine. The leads to elevated levels of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is associated with feelings of pleasure.
Long-term methamphetamine abuse can cause lasting brain damage. Studies of methamphetamine users have shown that the drug causes damage to areas of the brain that handle emotion and memory. Methamphetamine abuse is also associated with impaired motor skills and difficulties with verbal learning.
Methamphetamine can be addictive. Physical changes associated with chronic abuse include weight loss and serious dental problems (“meth mouth”). The drug can also cause users to experience psychotic symptoms such as paranoia, hallucinations and delusions such as the sensation of insects crawling under the skin.
Methamphetamine abuse is often associated with the spread of infectious diseases.
Methamphetamine users may be more likely to engage in risky sexual behavior while intoxicated, making them more vulnerable to STDs. Those who inject the drug are at risk of HIV/AIDS, hepatitis and other blood-borne infections.
Methamphetamine is a powerful synthetic stimulant drug that is used in some parts of the world for its stimulant and euphoria-inducing effects. The drug, however, can have a number of unfavorable side effects, including addiction, brain-damage, and physical disfigurement.