Methamphetamine use can cause stimulating psychosis that can occur with a variety of symptoms (for example, acute methamphetamine poisoning is largely controlled by treating symptoms and treatments may initially include administration of activated charcoal and sedation). Research is also continuing on the development of drugs and other new treatments for the use of methamphetamine, including vaccines and non-invasive stimulation of the brain using magnetic fields. In studies of people who used methamphetamine long-term, serious changes also affected areas of the brain related to emotions and memory. Methamphetamine is a chiral compound with two enantiomers, dextromethamphetamine and levomethamphetamine.
Methamphetamine belongs to the chemical classes of substituted phenethylamine and substituted amphetamine. Taking even small amounts of methamphetamine can cause many of the same health effects as other stimulants, such as cocaine or amphetamines. The highest prevalence of illegal methamphetamine use occurs in parts of Asia and Oceania, and in the United States, where racemic methamphetamine and dextromethamphetamine are classified as Schedule II controlled substances. At low to moderate doses, methamphetamine can raise mood, increase alertness, focus and energy in fatigued people, reduce appetite and promote weight loss.
Methamphetamine use can also impair judgment and decision-making, leading to risky behaviors, such as unprotected sex, which also increases the risk of infection. Withdrawal from methamphetamine after heavy use can result in post-acute withdrawal syndrome, which can persist for months beyond the typical withdrawal period. Read the Medication Guide provided by your pharmacist before you start using methamphetamine and each time you refill it. People who inject methamphetamine have a higher risk of contracting infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis B and C.
At room temperature, the methamphetamine-free base is a clear, colorless liquid with a characteristic smell of geranium leaves. Crystalline methamphetamine is a form of the drug that looks like shards of glass or shiny bluish-white rocks.