How Long Does Meth Stay in Your System?

Meth, or methamphetamine as it’s technically called, is an illegal drug that provides stimulant advantages to the user. Though it has no medical value, it works by motivating the dopamine levels in the brain to bring a euphoric feeling. Dopamine is one of the brain’s main chemicals that produces pleasant sensations and stimulates an individual to feel good. Due to the highly addictive nature of this drug, it’s classified as a Schedule II substance. Using this drug for any period can bring about severe psychological or physical consequences.

The body instantly starts to absorb meth as it enters the bloodstream. Inside, some methamphetamine may even be transformed into amphetamines. The liver and kidneys process both meth and amphetamines. They are responsible for filtering the drug from the body through the urinary tract, where it’s eventually expelled from the body.

Drug Tests and The Presence of Meth

Many factors influence how long meth will stay in your system. The speed that meth metabolizes varies for each person, but studies can give us some rough guidelines. Research suggests that the half-life of meth is about 12-34 hours. However, a person will feel the effects of the drug anywhere from eight to 24 hours after use. The concentrations within the blood slowly reduce. Consequently, it’s possible for you to feel the effects of meth up to ten days after you use it because it takes that long to leave the body entirely.


One of the most common forms of meth is the crystallized or powdered version. On the street, the term for this form is Crystal Meth. It’s used by smoking, snorting, or injecting the drug into the bloodstream. Crystal Meth will show up immediately in urine, saliva, hair follicle, or blood test, however, the time frame for each type of analysis varies. When considering your blood levels, the half-life is about 12 hours. Consequently, it can stay in the blood and show up as positive on a test for up to 72 hours after use. For people who use large amounts of meth, the drug can stay in the blood for up to ten days, which means any drug test administered will show positive.


Urine tests are one of the most popular ways for drug levels to be checked. The kidneys are responsible for flushing the meth from your system, which means that your urine is going to have a significant number of metabolites. In general, a urine test will detect the presence of meth for around three to five days after use.

Saliva & Sweat

Swab tests are becoming an increasingly popular way to check for illegal drug use. Since your body is full of fluids, the use of meth will show up in your saliva and sweat. When reviewing your saliva, you must understand that the test will show more of the drug and less of the metabolites. You can expect a saliva test to be positive for one or two days after use, but some studies show that users have been positive for up to four days after they used crystal meth.

Hair Follicles

The hair is one of the best ways to check for drug use, especially since it will retain some of the drugs for up to 90 days after use. It doesn’t matter if you have your hair cut, wash it 100 times, or even dye it a different color. Meth use will still show up. Your body is one whole system, and as new hairs form, the follicle absorbs nutrients from the blood. Thus, if there is meth in the bloodstream, the follicle will use that for nutrients to create new hair cells. A long-term user will have no way to hide their drug problem from a hair follicle examination.

Many things can affect how long meth is detectable in your system, and these things are as follows:

  • The frequency of use
  • The amount you last used
  • Your liver and kidney function
  • The type of testing used to detect the drug’s presence (blood, saliva, hair follicle, urine)

The body excretes about 54 percent of meth unchanged, which means you only feel the effects of about 46 percent of what you use. After using this drug, it will show up in the urine within two to five hours, the blood within two or three hours, and in saliva in ten minutes. It takes about five days after using meth for it to show up on a hair follicle test. Some police departments or employment screenings know about these timelines and will conduct one or two different types of tests to ensure they have an accurate picture. Some tests tend to be more sensitive than others, but a hair follicle test is way more expensive to conduct than a urine test.

It’s Never Too Late to Get The Help You Need!

The continuing meth problem in the United States has quickly become an epidemic. If you test positive for the use of methamphetamine, it can come with devastating consequences. There are hefty fines and jail times for anyone possessing this drug, not to mention the vast amount of health risks that are involved.

If you suspect your family member or friend has a problem with meth, then you need to step in and encourage them to get help as soon as possible. If you have a drug problem, one phone call can save your life. You need unwavering love and support as you start on the path to recovery. It’s not an easy journey, but it’s one you must make to save your life and be the best you can be. In 2018, more than 10,000 people lost their lives due to meth use. Substance abuse and addiction can get out of hand quickly, so it is best to get professional help as soon as possible.

St John’s Recovery Place wants to support you or your loved one with any substance abuse or addiction problems you may have. Our admissions department can be reached by calling (833) 397-3422. We are a treatment facility located in the beautiful area of Crescent City, Florida. We provide a treatment sanctuary for you to heal. Our recovery environment is just what you need to free yourself from the chains of substance abuse.


We treat a wide range addiction and behavioral health conditions including dual diagnosis, drug addiction and alcoholism. We are here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.