Amphetamine and Methamphetamine short-term effects can include increased wakefulness, increased physical activity, decreased appetite and increased respiration. The use of both drugs can severely deplete both dopamine and serotonin neurotransmitters causing problems in the long-term.
There are many dangers associated with the use of methamphetamine and depending on how the drug is administered will also determine some of the health problems faced by users. There is also a risk from the increased chance of HIV infection through unprotected and uninhibited sex while under the influence of the drug.
Methamphetamine causes increased heart rate and blood pressure and can cause irreversible damage to blood vessels in the brain, producing strokes. Other effects of methamphetamine include respiratory problems, damage to teeth, irregular heartbeat, and extreme anorexia. Its use can result in cardiovascular collapse and death. By sharing needles and syringes intravenous drug users can easily be infected with HIV or other blood-borne diseases. Of particular concern are Hepatitis B and C, two viruses that can eventually destroy the liver. According to recent studies, between half and three quarters of Japanese methamphetamine injecting users are already infected with hepatitis C.
Methamphetamine affects many brain structures and its effects are similar to amphetamine. This is attributed to its action on the pleasure circuit in the brain, the reward pathway. Its effects on the central nervous system are greater than those of amphetamine. Methamphetamine is chemically similar to dopamine and another neurotransmitter, noradrenaline.
Street terminology for amphetamine (whizz, base, phet) and methamphetamine (crystal meth, crissy, ice, glass, shards) sometimes do not have a one-to-one correspondence to the actual chemicals they try to describe. However, colloquial terms have there place and a lot of users may not want to know about the exact chemical composition of a drug if one word will suffice. see article »
For example, in Britain, USA and Australia the term 'speed' can refer either to methamphetamine or amphetamine. 'Crank' refers generally to impurer forms of powdered methamphetamine. The term 'ice' is originally considered to apply to 4-methyl-aminorex, but is often used by Americans to refer to relatively pure forms of methamphetamine. Users have stated that 4-methyl-aminorex is closer to the effects of MDMA (ecstasy) than it is to methamphetamine. 'Base speed' (freebase amphetamine) strictly speaking should be an oily liquid, but it's not. It normally appears as white or yellowish putty.
There are many analogues of amphetamine and this is possibly why slang terms can confuse the issue with this particular synthetic drug. Forensic investigations into raided clandestine laboratories in the UK and USA have uncovered new (sometimes at the time legal) variations of amphetamine and methamphetamine. Novel routes of manufacture and processing have also been uncovered. When precursor chemicals and chemicals for manufacture are monitored and controlled the 'underground chemists' or 'cooks' resort to other methods, chemicals, acids or gases.
Aidan Gray & Tony D'Agostino