Methamphetamine is a very strong synthetic stimulant, which is similar in chemical composition to other amphetamines but has considerably stronger effects and slightly different appearance.
Methamphetamine is available in a powder and crystalline form. The pure crystal form, known as ‘crystal meth’ or ‘ice,’ refers to the refined salt formulation most commonly associated with smoking. It is also available in tablet (commonly red and very popular around S.E. Asia and the Pacific Rim, known as Ya-Ba), or white or off-white powder form.
The production of methamphetamine is a relatively simple process, which makes it easy to produce in makeshift laboratories.
Unlike most other salts and similar to crack cocaine, a base formulation , methamphetamine can be smoked. It can also be taken orally, snorted or injected. When smoked, the effects are almost instantaneous (marginally slower when snorted) and last about 6-8 hours. Oral use leads to a slower ‘come up’ of about 20-30 minutes and has a longer lasting effect up to 12 hours. When smoked or injected it tends to be much harder on the body and considerably more addictive because it is absorbed into the bloodstream much more rapidly. When snorted, it is reported to be very painful with a strong burning feeling felt in the nose afterwards.
As the quality of methamphetamine in powder form varies, the size of an effective dose is difficult to predict. Users should be very careful about the quantity they use, starting small if they do not know the purity.