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How Long Does Meth Stay In Your System

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When people hear stats about substance use, it’s easy to say things like, “0.8% of people? That’s not very much. It’s not that big of a deal.” 0.8% is the number of adults who reported methamphetamine use in California in 2021. That 0.8% translates to over a quarter of a million people. That’s half the population of Sacramento. 

Even if you may be of the belief that “not many people” are impacted by methamphetamines,  those people still matter. This is why we at Pacific Sands take the time to post informative articles about substance use. As a solution-focused facility, we’ve seen the results. We want people to be able to find the information they need to make informed decisions about their health and well-being. We also strive to educate others to continue to lower the stigma surrounding substance use.

Today we want to shed light on why someone might be showing positive on a drug test even if they haven’t had a substance in weeks. We’ll look at what factors impact that, and how this impacts the individual, too. Let’s talk about methamphetamines and how they’re processed in the body. 

What You Need to Know: How the Body Processes Meth

If you’re familiar with how the body processes alcohol, you’re already mostly familiar with how it processes meth. The way that our bodies process medications like ibuprofen are also similar to how the body processes meth. The primary thing that varies from substance to substance is what chemicals are processed within the body and how long it takes for this process to happen.

With methamphetamines, commonly referred to as meth, the process starts the moment you consume it. Whether you consume it orally, smoke it, or inject it into the body, once it’s in your system the process begins.

While everything from your saliva to your stomach acid to your kidneys can play a role in the digestion and filtering process, the primary organ involved is the liver. It works on breaking down the chemical components of meth as far as it can before it begins to exit our system. 

Common Factors That Influence How Long Meth is In Your System

Even though our bodies are very efficient at processing things and filtering them out, there isn’t a set timeline for how it happens. Every person has their own unique body makeup that impacts the time it takes to process meth and other substances. External factors can play a role, too. 

For internal factors, our health, metabolism, age, and even weight can influence how long it takes for our body to metabolize meth. The functionality of your liver can change over time. Other medical conditions can also play a role, too.

When it comes to external factors, this primarily consists of what other things you’re putting into your body. This includes other substances, medications, the quantity of meth, and even the food you ate that day. Our livers can only process so much at any given time. If you keep adding more substances into your body when your liver is at capacity, this is when the risk of overdose starts to increase greatly.

Is there any easy way to tell, then, when a substance like meth has been fully processed through your body?

meth detecton window

If You Stop Feeling the Effects of Meth, Is It Out of Your System?

A common misconception around substance use is that no longer feeling the effects of a substance means that it’s fully out of your body. This isn’t true, but let’s elaborate on that further.

On average, the effects of meth can be felt for up to 12 hours. While the initial rush normally lasts only 30 minutes, many people report feelings of euphoria and heightened energy levels for 6-12 hours after that. 

After 12 hours, however, even if the side effects decrease or go away entirely, meth is still being processed in your system. The way this is measured is through a term known as a “half-life.”

What Is a “Half-life” and How Does it Relate to Meth?

The term “half-life” is utilized in measurements of substances being processed through the body, and to measure the decay of radiation molecules. In both instances, the measurement process is the same. A half-life is the amount of time it takes for half of the strength or presence of a substance to dissipate. 

In the case of meth, the average half-life is 10 hours. This means that 10 hours after your last dosage, half of the meth that was in your system will have been filtered out taking you from 100% to 50%. Another 10 hours after that, you would go from 50% to 25%, and so on.

How Long Can Meth Be Detected on a Drug Test?

When we take any substance, it impacts many different parts of our body. Our saliva, blood, urine, and even hair can all show traces of substance use. This is why these are the four most common types of drug tests. Each one, however, has its time frame of effectiveness. 

Something important to remember about drug tests is that they don’t always seek to measure the current amount of a substance within the body. Drug tests often seek to identify the chemical compounds left behind that indicate previous consumption. 

For those who have a longer history of methamphetamine use, the detection times of drug tests may increase.

How Long Meth Stays in Urine

When people think of a drug test, they most often think of a urine-based one. Urine tests are arguably the most common form of drug test due to their effectiveness and non-invasive means of obtaining samples. The downside of urine testing is that people will take measures to “cheat” their urine tests.

The average detection time of methamphetamine in urine is 34-36 hours after the last dose.

How Long Meth Stays in Blood or Saliva

Blood and saliva tests are more invasive than urine tests but are taken directly from the individual, making them not easily cheated. Both blood and saliva, however, do not hold onto the chemical components of substances for very long, giving them the shortest window of detection of the four types of drug tests.

On average, blood and saliva have 24 hours of meth detection after the last dose.

How Long Meth Stays in Hair

Our hair acts similarly to the rings of a tree. Each hair strand has sections on it that are separated by the time it took for that portion of hair to grow. Our hair reflects the health of our bodies very well, too, making a long-term record of wellness and substance use.

This makes hair a very powerful tool when it comes to testing for substance use. Many medical professionals are aware of the longevity of positive results for meth when testing on hair, which is why it’s only used in certain situations such as legal cases. Meth can be detected in hair for up to 90 days after the last dose.

Fact or Myth: Are There Ways to Get Meth Out of Your System Faster? 

There are often stories and “hacks” floating around on the internet about how to cleanse the body or how to remove toxins, alcohol, meth, etc. from the body. Do any of these hold merit? Are there ways to purge the body?

Our bodies are very efficient at what they do when it comes to removing toxins and staying balanced and healthy. This process happens with or without any outside influence. Any story you read regarding “flushing” substances like meth out of your system is not based on truth.

There isn’t a way to quicken the process of meth leaving your system.

duration of meth in the human body

How Treatment in California Can Help You Leave Meth Behind 

The only way to truly ensure that meth leaves your body is by stopping the consumption of it. This may seem daunting or overwhelming. Often substance use may feel like an inevitability. It might seem difficult at times to imagine your life without it – but the possibility is out there if you want it to be. Whenever you want to take that next step, there are options available for you.

There are many meth treatment programs available here in California. From inpatient to outpatient services, finding a program that will give you the personal attention you deserve is important. Everyone’s recovery journey is different and deserves to not be shoved into a single plan for recovery. It should be a collaborative plan between both you and the staff dedicated to helping you along the way.

If you’re looking to take those first steps towards healing, Pacific Sands is here to help. As a small facility, we ensure that you get the one-on-one attention you deserve. There’s no wrong time to start. Give us a call any time at 949-426-7962 and our team will help you get started.

Pacific Sands – The first step towards a new life.


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