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Difference Between Meth and Crystal Meth

image of two young men engaged in a drug deal in an alley and not knowing the difference between meth and crystal meth

When it comes to meth vs. crystal meth, the terms are often used interchangeably. But there are a few key differences between these drugs. If you or a loved one is struggling, a meth addiction treatment program in North Carolina at Insight Recovery Center may be able to help. Call 828.826.1376 to speak to our team about treatment today.

Meth vs. Crystal Meth

Both meth and crystal meth refer to drugs with the same active ingredient: a drug known as d-methamphetamine. Methamphetamine is an extremely powerful central nervous system stimulant. It can produce a wide range of effects that make it highly likely to be abused. Just some of the effects of meth abuse include:

  • A feeling of restless energy
  • An exaggerated sense of confidence
  • Higher body temperature
  • Appetite suppression
  • Excessive sweating
  • A sense of euphoria

These effects can last for several hours but are typically followed by a debilitating crash. Meth abuse is not without consequences, and people who live with a meth addiction may experience the following symptoms:

  • Depression
  • Lack of motivation
  • Invasive drug cravings
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Loss of interest in activities outside of meth use

These effects can happen to people who use either meth or crystal meth, so the similarities are apparent. But what is the difference between these two drugs?

Meth: Powdered Stimulants

When people refer to a drug as meth, they are usually referring to low-grade, powdered methamphetamine. This type of meth is typically seen as a white or yellowish powdered drug.

While meth of this type is cheap and widely available, the purity is relatively low. Meth of this grade contains a wide range of adulterants and leftover chemicals from the manufacturing process and is typically smoked, injected, or snorted.

People who purchase powdered meth may not be aware of the dangers associated with consuming impure methamphetamine. Dealers sometimes cut their meth with other substances to sell less actual meth for the same price. Cutting agents can increase the risk of overdose or cause a deadly reaction.

Crystal Meth: Shards of Glass

Crystal meth, on the other hand, is a higher-purity form of methamphetamine that produces stronger effects. Crystal meth, as the name implies, is often crystalline in appearance, resembling small shards of broken glass. This appearance is where crystal meth gets many of its street names, including:

  • Clear
  • Shatter
  • Glass
  • Shards
  • Crystal

The higher purity of crystal meth means that more of the substance is absorbed into the bloodstream at a similar dose. This leads to a greater intensity of experienced effects and heightens the risk of a person developing an addiction. Furthermore, it increases the likelihood of meth overdose and severe side effects from overstimulation.

Meth Abuse and Addiction

Whether a person is using meth or crystal meth, they risk developing an addiction. When a person develops a methamphetamine use disorder, they face a wide range of physical and mental health consequences and may struggle in their personal relationships and workplaces.

People living with a methamphetamine use disorder often need professional treatment in order to achieve recovery. Addiction creates lasting brain changes that make it difficult for people to stop on their own, but evidence-based treatment methods exist to help people overcome these effects.

Meth Addiction Treatment at Insight Recovery Center

Insight Recovery Center provides targeted outpatient treatment services for people struggling with meth addiction. Our team is dedicated to helping people achieve sobriety, learn the tools to thrive in recovery, and develop the skills to maintain that recovery for years to come.

Call 828.826.1376 to speak to one of our addiction specialists or reach out online and get started with treatment today.