Difference Between Methamphetamine and Amphetamine

Many people often mix up methamphetamine and amphetamine. This is not surprising, since they are quite similar, and are, for all intents and purposes, the same drug. Keep reading to learn the difference between methamphetamine and amphetamine.


One of the most addictive drugs known to humans is methamphetamine, or "meth". Also related to methamphetamine is amphetamine. Amphetamine and methamphetamine are both psychostimulants, meaning that they increase your ability to stay awake. Both methamphetamine and amphetamine stimulate you and can even increase focus. When these two drugs are used, they raise the levels of norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain. These chemicals can help induce euphoria. Additionally, the "trip" one experiences when under the influence of amphetamine and methamphetamine is caused by distorted sensations, which can produce an interesting effect that many enjoy. These drugs are often used to escape everyday life.

When used properly, amphetamine can be quite useful. It can be used in drugs that treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder by helping the patient to focus. At one point, amphetamine was used in diet pills meant to help people lose weight. However, when not administered properly, amphetamine can cause serious problems. It is highly addictive, and when used improperly can result in death, since it speeds up the metabolism and can put a great deal of stress on the heart. Methamphetamine has many of the same effects. Some of the unpleasant side effects include dry mouth, shallow and rapid breathing, impaired speech, constipation, arrhythmia, dizziness, shaking and insomnia. In many cases, the difference between methamphetamine and amphetamphine is that meth effects are stronger and take place more quickly than those seen in amphetamine.

Because the effects of methamphetamine and amphetamine are so strong, and because the psychostimulant nature of the drugs makes them so addictive, withdrawal is a very serious problem. The body builds up a tolerance, and it takes more of the drug to achieve the same effects. Withdrawal can result in fatigue, agitation, depression, psychosis, anxiety and thoughts of suicide.

Difference Between Methamphetamine vs. Amphetamine

While amphetamine and methamphetamine are quite similar in many ways, having basically the same effects. It is worth noting that methamphetamine breaks down into amphetamine when it is metabolized. This means that meth turns into amphetamine in the body, and is excreted as amphetamine. The presence of amphetamine in the urine is often used as an indication of methamphetamine use as well. The main difference between methamphetamine and amphetamine comes in the way that these drugs are processed, and this changes the way that they interact with the body.

Amphetamine is known as methylated phenylethylamine. Methamphetamine is the same thing, but it is double methylated, instead of only methylated once. It's this process of double methylation that makes the difference between methamphetamin and amphetamine. Amphetamine can be prescribed in various drugs to treat specific problems, but methamphetamine is considered too dangerous to be prescribed for use. Because of the double methylation, meth has a stronger effect on the body, and acts quite quickly. Additionally, meth is fairly inexpensive, and can be made by amateurs who mix cough medicine with hydriodic acid.

Neither of these drugs is particularly safe, even though amphetamine is used in prescriptions -- and even sometimes to help keep soldiers alert. However, when used as directed amphetamines can be helpful for some medical conditions; methamphetamine should never be used in such a manner, since it is so dangerous.

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