Methamphetamine, also known as meth, crystal meth, crystal, tina, or crank, is a stimulant that affects the central nervous system, producing feelings of euphoria and increased energy. It is normally in the form of a white powder that has no smell and tastes bitter. Methamphetamine can also appear in a semi-transparent crystallized form, or in pill form made from compressed powder.

crystal methamphetamine
Crystalized methamphetamine

Methamphetamine’s parent drug, amphetamine, was first synthesized in 1887 at the University of Berlin. However, amphetamines were not used clinically until they were re-synthesized in the U.S. in the 1920s to treat asthma, allergies, and colds as a decongestant. Methamphetamine was first manufactured in Japan in 1919. It was not widely used until World War II, when soldiers used amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) to reduce fatigue and suppress appetite.

The major difference between methamphetamine and amphetamines is that methamphetamine has longer lasting and more potent effects. This occurs because methamphetamine passes through the blood-brain barrier more quickly than amphetamines.

Methamphetamine is classified by the Drug Enforcement Agency as a Schedule II drug. This means that the government has determined it has potential for misuse and dependence, but that it also has accepted medical use and can be prescribed for some health conditions with restrictions.

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