Amphetamines vs Methamphetamine


Amphetamines vs Methamphetamine: why is it important to know the difference between these psychoactive substances? Which substance affects the body more? Which of these substances can cure a person of some diseases and which can kill a person? You can read the answers to these questions and many others in our publication dedicated to describing the differences between the most famous drugs in the world.

What are amphetamines, exactly?

Amphetamine is a narcotic substance belonging to the category of psychostimulants. The second pharmacological name of the drug is fenamine. Amphetamine addiction is a common phenomenon among drug addicts. The use of the drug contributes to the rapid deterioration of the body and the degradation of the personality. The main group of drug users is young people at the age of 16 to 35 years old and many patients get addicted after the first use.

Amphetamine was originally used in medicine as one of the ingredients for nasal congestion and mucous membrane swelling. Then it began to be added to drugs for Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy. At that time, the drug was readily available from pharmacists. In the 1940s, the first cases of non-medical use of the drug were recorded.

Once in the body, the drug activates the increased production of hormones. The concentration of norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine increases. The substance improves mood, increases the ability to concentrate and sharpens attention. The drug amphetamine provides motor and speech activity. After its intake the performance of the addict increases manifold, the need for food and rest disappears. Use of phenamine “speeds up” the work of CNS and brain to a maximum.

Internal organs and systems start to work at their maximum capacity. Stamina increases repeatedly, increased craving for communication, shyness and fatigue disappears. Often after taking the drug the addict feels like a superhero who can not sleep for days, memorize a lot of data, do hard work and so on.

When the drug enters the body, it triggers the synthesis of neurotransmitters, affecting the nervous system. The effect on the CNS is accompanied by a strong euphoria. The patient has increased concentration, becomes self-confident and talkative. In some cases after using the drug the person suffers from panic attacks and paranoid ideas.

When the drug affects the peripheral nervous system, the following effects of amphetamine are observed:

  • dilated pupils;
  • palpitations;
  • hypertension;
  • dry mouth;
  • chills;
  • increase in body temperature.

After completing the action of the drug, the patient experiences severe fatigue and lethargy. He becomes aggressive and irritable. To feel a sense of euphoria again the addict takes a new dose. Depending on the amount of the drug taken and metabolism peculiarities, amphetamine action lasts from 4 hours to 3 days.

Amphetamines vs Methamphetamine: what's more harmful?

What Is Methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine is considered one of the strongest narcotic drugs. It is made on the basis of plant components. It is a crystalline powder of white color. To make this drug, amphetamines and additional substances that enhance the narcotic effect are taken. The pharmacy drug is sold in the form of capsules, tablets or powder. It is impossible to get it without a doctor’s prescription.

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The composition of methamphetamine can be very different from the pharmacy version when the substance is made clandestinely. The toxic elements that are dangerous to human health are added to such a drug. Cheap nasal decongestants are used as a base. If the substance is colored blue, pink or blue, it means that the meth is the result of a combination with chemical impurities. Such a combination of components quickly wears down the body.

In its chemical structure and effects on the body, meth is similar to amphetamine, a synthetic analogue of ephedrine, a plant alkaloid derived from the Ephedra vulgaris plant. Methamphetamine was first synthesized in Japan in the early 1900s and was hardly used until the 1930s. But on the eve of World War II in Germany, the substance was used in pharmacy (under the trade name Pervitin) as a stimulant. It was mandatorily given to tankers and pilots to improve concentration, morale and physical activity. Pervitin was widely used for a similar purpose in the U.S. and Japanese armies.

The stimulating effect of the compound is associated with its direct effect on both the central and peripheral nervous system. Meth use is accompanied by rapid release of the main neurotransmitters – norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine. At the same time, the processes of reuptake of these catecholamines are inhibited. During chronic intake, the physiological depot of neurotransmitters is depleted, and it takes at least several days to replenish their “supply”.

This explains the pronounced depression, one of the symptoms of methamphetamine withdrawal syndrome. Meth in the form of crushed crystals is inhaled or smoked. To do this, addicts use a special device, which is a glass tube with a thickening at the bottom. When it is heated, narcotic vapors are formed, which are inhaled. Methamphetamine powder is diluted for intravenous injection. The latter method of use provides an instant “high”, while smoking or inhaling the crystals through the nose, the “high” is felt somewhat later.

Methamphetamine is dangerous because of the rapid development of tolerance and addiction. A person very quickly lacks the usual amount of methamphetamine to achieve the desired high, and this forces the person to increase the dose all the time. Stable psychological and physical dependence develops already after 3-5 episodes of intravenous injection or after 2-3 weeks of smoking.

Amphetamines vs Methamphetamine: what's more harmful?

Amphetamines vs Methamphetamine: what is the difference?

Both amphetamine and methamphetamine are psychoactive CNS stimulants. The chemical structure of each drug is very similar, but methamphetamine is generally considered more potent than amphetamine. Because of this, a person may become addicted to methamphetamine more quickly, although both drugs are highly addictive when abused.

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When taken in similar doses, more methamphetamine reaches the brain. This is because it is easier for methamphetamine to cross the blood-brain barrier. This is the main reason why methamphetamine is a more potent and addictive drug. Methamphetamine also lasts longer and creates a more pronounced euphoric effect, making it more attractive to recreational drug users.

Both amphetamine and methamphetamine alter the production of key neurotransmitters in the brain responsible for mood, energy and executive function. These include serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. Excess dopamine induces the pleasurable euphoric feelings associated with abuse of these drugs.

Although both drugs cause a spike in dopamine, studies show that methamphetamine can produce more. One study showed that methamphetamine releases five times more dopamine than amphetamine. This action is probably another reason why methamphetamine is more addictive.

Methamphetamine activates the CNS more fully than amphetamine. It also exposes the CNS to more danger than amphetamine. However, methamphetamine causes less stimulation of the peripheral nervous and cardiovascular systems.

Because of its potency and greater ability to be addictive, methamphetamine is less often prescribed for ADHD compared to amphetamine-based medications. Because of this, and the fact that methamphetamine is produced illegally, many experts believe that methamphetamine is more available for abuse than amphetamine. In addition to pill form, methamphetamine is available as a white bitter powder or a vitreous bluish stone called crystal methamphetamine.


The main difference between amphetamine and methamphetamine is that more methamphetamine enters the brain than amphetamine, which means that methamphetamine is more potent. Methamphetamine’s side effects also last longer than amphetamine, making it a stronger and more addictive drug. In addition, methamphetamine is a street drug that contains many harmful chemicals.

Unlike amphetamine, whose creation and production is more controlled, methamphetamine is made from random substances ranging from anhydrous ammonia to acetone to fentanyl. Amphetamine, unless sold as a street drug, or “speed” or “meth,” does not contain these chemicals, making it suitable for medical practice and prescription use.

Regardless of their differences, one thing is certain: both amphetamine and meth are addictive and dangerous. Many people have been particularly affected by the effects of crystal meth abuse, which can lead to tooth loss and tooth decay (meth), skin skin skin and skin disease (meth), kidney damage, liver damage, cardiovascular disease, and much more.


What are amphetamines?

Amphetamine consists mostly of prescription stimulants and is the weakest type of stimulant. These pharmaceuticals are prescribed to treat conditions such as ADHD, narcolepsy, and weight loss. Thus, amphetamines are usually in the form of tablets or capsules for oral use (although people who abuse these drugs may snort them, smoke them, or inject them). Common types of amphetamines include:

  • Adderall
  • Dexedrine
  • Vyvanse
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Although all (legal) amphetamines are prescription, not all prescription stimulants are amphetamines.

What are methamphetamines?

Methamphetamine is a type of amphetamine. They have similar molecular structures, similar working mechanisms, and therefore have similar effects such as euphoria and increased energy. Methamphetamine increases dopamine levels and blocks its reuptake, resulting in extremely high concentrations of dopamine in the brain. However, methamphetamine is much stronger than prescription stimulants and other amphetamines in general. This, in addition to the intent with which the meth is used, is the biggest difference between the two substances.

Which is more dangerous: addiction to amphetamine or methamphetamine?

When it comes to addiction to amphetamines and methamphetamines, both carry significant risks. Both drugs lead to unnaturally high levels of dopamine production, which inherently puts users at risk of developing tolerance and addiction (not to mention the risk of overdose and other consequences such as breathing problems, health problems and serious dental damage). However, the increased effectiveness of crystal methamphetamine also makes addiction to it even more dangerous than addiction to prescription amphetamines.

What are the similarities between amphetamine and methamphetamine?

Both drugs are abused because of their stimulant and euphoric effects. Many people misuse prescription versions as performance enhancing drugs. To that end, they can be used for better performance in academic, athletic, or professional activities.

Both medications can be taken while on a binge or during a “run.” A jogging is an overdose in which a person abstains from eating and sleeping for several days. During this period, the drug is taken every few hours. The person may “tune out” and become very irritable or paranoid while jogging. Overeating greatly increases the chances of overdosing.

Chronic abuse of any of these drugs can cause psychosis resembling schizophrenia. When this occurs, a person may become paranoid and hallucinate seeing or hearing things that are not there. They may believe that there are bugs crawling on or under their skin (“weirdo bugs”), causing them to pick at their skin. At this time, some people may be aggressive, compromising their safety or the safety of others.

Which is stronger – methamphetamine or amphetamine?

The structural formulas of the phenylalkylamines are incredibly similar in appearance. A look at methamphetamine reveals a difference only in the additional methyl group (-CH3). Thanks to this “change”, it has a better solubility (it penetrates the brain faster). The chemical characteristics of methamphetamine give it hallucinogenic properties. The effect occurs quickly and lasts for a long time (as compared to its predecessor) – from 8 (12) hours to 3 days (depending on the dose). Methamphetamine hydrochloride powder is used to prepare injection solutions. Large crystals are crushed for smoking, intranasal (sniffing) and oral administration (usually added to tea, sweet drinks).