Adderall vs Methamphetamine Similarities and Differences
Mental Health VB
Many people mistakenly believe that amphetamine salts (Adderall, Vivance) and methamphetamine are both the same drug but they aren’t.
Although both amphetamine salts and methamphetamine do have many of the same characteristics and qualities on a molecular level, as they are both stimulants and they can both be dangerous, but they are not exactly the same. There are some key differences between amphetamines and methamphetamine, and though seemingly minimal, it’s important to know what they are.
Methamphetamine, or what’s known as crystal meth or meth, is an illicit street drug made in illegal labs by chemically altering over-the-counter drugs and other toxic substances such as cold tablets, drain cleaner, pseudoephedrine, acetone, ammonia, battery acid, and gasoline additives, in addition to a wide host of other neurotoxic(brain damaging) chemicals.
Majoritivley, crystal meth is smoked from a glass pipe, however, it may also be consumed by injection, snorted, or ingested orally. Using methamphetamine is not safe under any circumstances due to there being no control over the way the substance is made or how potent it may or may not be. It is extensively abused and tolerance, extreme psychological dependence, and severe social disability very often occur in it’s users.
Pure methamphetamine can literally kill a user with one dose
if he/she takes too much expecting the potency to be weaker.
It is an extremely dangerous and potent chemical that, when introduced to the body, first acts as a stimulant but then begins to systematically destroy the body from the inside out.
Thus, it is associated with many serious conditions including memory loss, aggression, confusion, anxiety, psychotic behavior, irregular heart-beats, and hypertension most commonly. More serious effects can include potential heart and brain damage, changes in the brain’s structure and function, and paranoia. Overdose can cause convulsions or hyperthermia(over heating) that can lead to death.
Another important side effect, which should be made note of, is the formation of “meth-mouth”. The toxic ingredients in methamphetamine lead to severe tooth decay which causes the teeth to become loose abnormally quickly. The teeth become black, stained, and rotten, often to the point where they have to be removed.
Over all, methamphetamine addicts looks tend to change very drastically in a short period of time with rapid aging, extreme weight loss, and dull skin with hard to heal sores and pimples. Meth users often report the feeling of “crawling skin” causing them to continue to open their wounds resulting in huge scars.
Amphetamine salts, however, commonly sold under the brand name Adderall or Vivance, are prescription drugs that combine two stimulants, amphetamine and dextroamphetamine producing an offspring stimulant often prescribed for the treatment of ADHD, narcolepsy, CFS, and bipolar disorder.
The pharmaceutical company SKF introduced this class of drugs to the American market in 1933 - more specifically in the form of an over the counter Benzedrine inhaler. At the time, the drug regulations were few. Therefore, people could easily access amphetamines even though they were poorly understood. As such, many people started using this drug for both medical and non-medical purposes.
Amphetamine salts were, originally, heavily marketed as the first antidepressants,
with claims that it was effective at treating depression.
Through the course of World War II, servicemen received the drug to improve focus, but by the end of the war, more than 500,000 civilians were using it for weight loss, energy, and recreational purposes.
At the time, Benzedrine inhaler was commonly thought suitable for use by people of all ages.
By the 1950s, psychiatric specialists and general practitioners who had embraced psychiatric medications turned this class of drug into the first line of defense against emotional distress, not yet understanding it’s high potential for abuse.
It’s quite understandable why the general public can get the two confused mostly because of the similar name but the differences, while molecularly minute, are going big in the way they affect the human brain. These differences are small and large all at the same time.
Though the two have minimal differences in their chemical makeup, methamphetamine contains something called methyl, from which it gets it’s name, which is important in this discussion because it allows the drug cross the blood-brain barrier very quickly, which we will talk about later. This leads to a more powerful effect than amphetamine salts could ever create when taken as prescribed.
Both amphetamine and methamphetamine, as with any psych medication or recreational drug, alter the production of key neurotransmitters in the brain responsible for mood, energy, and executive function. This includes serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. An excess of dopamine produces the pleasurable, euphoric feelings (high) associated with abuse of these substances.
While both substances cause a surge of dopamine, research shows that methamphetamine produces a significantly greater amount. One study found that methamphetamine released five times more dopamine than that of amphetamine salts.
This action is likely another reason why methamphetamine is more addictive.
Methamphetamines also activate the central nervous system more fully than amphetamines which places the user in far greater danger.
There, too, is something important to understand when comparing meth vs. Adderall and that’s the fact that meth has a variety of toxic chemicals that can cause brain, liver, kidney, and lung damage, among other irreversible physical and mental side effects and problems.
Contrary to popular belief, because of the way in which methamphetamines are produced, each batch’s molecular makeup varies slightly making the differences between the two even greater solely based on circumstance.
Now, lets talk about the brains that we all love so much…
The blood-brain barrier to be more specific, or BBB. This is a network of tiny blood vessels that separate the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) from the rest of the body’s circulatory system. This separation is required to help the brain maintain a stable internal environment and function properly. Studies show that cocaine and methamphetamine, in particular, can significantly damage normal function in the blood-brain barrier, changing the game entirely.
Unlike amphetamine salts, which also have a potential for causing tolerance and abuse but only with time, where as, methamphetamine use can very QUICKLY lead to tolerance, dependence, and addiction. Abusers who use meth will often require higher doses of the drug, more often with only a couple of uses to achieve the same effects as the last time.
So, if taken in similar doses, greater amounts of methamphetamine makes it’s way into the brain due to the traversing of the BBB that we talked about earlier. This is the primary reason why methamphetamine is a more potent and addictive drug than amphetamine salts. Methamphetamines also last longer and create a more pronounced euphoric effect, making it especially enticing to recreational drug abusers.
The bottom line is that these two substances vary greatly in the way in which they are made, regulated, and the way they affect us physiologically.
Though the two are in the same class of drugs they are very different in their mechanisms of action and appropriate uses. Comparing the two is the equivalent of comparing Vicoden to heroine. Yes, they are both opioids, but no, they are not the same substances.
So, please stop med shaming ADHD patients for their needed prescriptions. You can’t compare them to recreational drug users cooking up random shit in their neighbor’s garage. It’s flat out rude and quite frankly, somewhat uneducated.