The difference between crystal meth and meth lies in how and why they are manufactured. But unfortunately, both drugs are highly addictive and potentially deadly. Meth and crystal meth both produce a long-lasting euphoric high. However, the physical and mental effects of addiction to both drugs are devastating.

Methamphetamine was developed as a stimulant to treat disorders such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and some eating disorders. Manufactured in pharmaceutical labs, the ingredients are legitimate, and the drug is legal with a prescription. Crystal meth is developed in illicit home labs from various over-the-counter components. One essential difference between the two drugs is the legality and intention.

What is the Difference Between Meth and Crystal Meth?

Methamphetamine, a stimulant, is manufactured by pharmaceutical companies in pill form or a white powder. Meth abuse, however, is illegal. Street names for meth include chalk, crank, and yellow powder. Meth affects the nervous system and alters brain chemistry. Meth is highly addictive and produces a highly energized state with a long-lasting high.

Crystal meth is the purest, illicit form of methamphetamine, but unlike meth, it is produced illegally with uncertain ingredients. Street names for crystal meth include ice, glass, and speed, and it resembles rock or glass in appearance. Another difference between crystal meth and meth is how people use the drug. Crystal meth can be taken by mouth orally as a pill or dissolved powder into an injectable liquid form. Other ways to use crystal meth include snorting and smoking.

The powder form of meth or speed can contain additives and produces an intense high, but not as strong and quick acting as crystal meth. Base, another form of meth, is a sticky, oily substance injected or swallowed and is not as pure as ice or crystal meth. Higher purity produces a more intense high and increases the addictive risk.

Another difference between the two lies in their risk of overdose. As potency increases, toxicity increases, and overdose is more probable. When the purity of meth increases, dopamine production increases, which leads to binging behaviors. These continual urges to use can result in a higher risk of overdose and death.

Side Effects of Meth Abuse and Addiction

Meth addiction is dangerous and can lead to overdose and death. Recent studies reveal that nine out of ten people who illegally use meth get hooked the first time. This long-term high can continue from long hours to days. One difference between these drugs is the length and intensity of their highs. Side effects of meth and crystal meth addiction can be any of the following signs and symptoms:

  • Disruption of eating and sleeping habits
  • Anxiety, aggression, hyperactivity
  • Grinding of teeth
  • Meth mouth, dental devastation
  • Bacterial infections
  • Psychosis, paranoia, hallucinations, and delusions
  • Weight loss
  • Skin sores

Differences in Paraphernalia

Differences also lie in the paraphernalia incorporated into usage and can be a clue to distinguish what type of meth addiction is present. With speed or crank, users resort to using rolled-up paper money, small mirrors, razor blades, syringes, needles, or empty capsules. Ice or crystal meth offers more options for ingestion. Users may use glass pipes and lighters in addition to the same tools that disperse powder form.

Availability varies on geographic regions making a big difference in what is available. But, more importantly, the difference between the two drugs and the risks involved are the addiction’s longevity and the drug’s intensity. In addition, poor oral health, psychiatric disorders, and physical deterioration can occur with the use of both forms of meth. In conclusion, treatment is more challenging, and long-term addiction can complicate detox.


The difference between these two drugs in detox and treatment is minimal. Meth addiction can be dangerous and challenging to treat. Medically monitored detox may include drugs to minimize the uncomfortable symptoms experienced in withdrawal. However, the withdrawal symptoms can be severe, and detoxing yourself with meth addiction is inadvisable.

Common withdrawal symptoms can begin within twenty-four hours of the last use. Withdrawal from meth addiction can include any combination of the following symptoms:

  • Immediate loss of pleasure leading to feeling depressed
  • Fatigue and extreme tiredness
  • Anger and anxiety
  • Confusion and headaches
  • Hallucinations
  • Sleep disruptions
  • Extreme hunger

Withdrawal symptoms can last from weeks to months. The difference between these two drugs becomes apparent in treatment and recovery. After all, crystal meth can incur a longer recovery time, and the person trying to recover may feel the urge to use it for longer. Essential for healing is individual therapy to investigate the reasons addiction occurred, identify triggers, and initiate positive, healthy coping mechanisms. Additionally, group and family therapy will add depth to the treatment program.

Find Help for Addiction in Tennessee

Are you experiencing an out-of-control addiction? If you or a loved one seems lost and overwhelmed by their addiction Detox West Tennessee can help. Our professional treatment experts are familiar with the enormity of meth addiction and can explain medically monitored detox options. So begin your journey of hope and sobriety with one of our individualized treatment plans. Contact us today.