If you want to know what meth smells like when it’s smoked, chances are you’re noticing strange odors in your house, at a relative or friend’s place, or even a rental property. While it might not seem important to recognize the smell of smoked meth, it can warn someone about the presence of illicit substances and act as a harm reduction tip to spot laced methamphetamine.
After reading this blog, you’ll understand why people use crystal meth, how it smells when smoked and why it’s important to recognize that smell, what meth labs smell like, and what to do if a loved one smells like meth.
Meth is a highly addictive central nervous system stimulant known for its euphoric and energy-increasing effects, legally sold under one FDA-approved prescription medication for attention-deficit hyperactive disorder, Desoxyn. There are two common versions of methamphetamine: powder meth, which is usually snorted, injected, or rectally inserted, and crystal meth, which is typically smoked.
By rapidly increasing the amount of dopamine delivered to the brain’s reward center, meth induces a short-lived but intense high, which is why users will engage in “binge and crash” cycles since its effects are temporary. However, the neurological and chemical link between a low-effort substance and blissful feelings can quickly cause the body to depend on methamphetamine to feel motivated, happy, energetic, and alert.
People typically smoke crystal meth because it’s stronger than the powder form, easier to place into a glass pipe and smoke rather than injecting it into the skin with a needle, and reaches the brain almost instantaneously. Because lungs naturally absorb oxygen, meth smoke can reach your bloodstream quickly, producing what most users describe as a “rush” rather than the longer-lasting “high” felt from other methods. However, organizations like the Drug Enforcement Administration have found samples of crystal meth that produced longer-lasting and more intense physiological effects.
Smoking any substance, including cannabis and crack cocaine, can severely damage the mouth, throat, and lungs. Meth smoke can irritate your lungs, increasing the risk of inflammation, infection, respiratory failure, and pneumonia. Meth smoke can also act as a vasoconstrictor, narrowing and increasing blood pressure in important blood vessels and arteries. These factors alone can make it difficult to breathe after smoking meth, and the body may struggle to remove carbon dioxide efficiently.
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In its purest form, crystal meth is odorless and tasteless, but when smoked, it creates a chemical and burning electrical device smell. Others claim smoking meth produces a subtle and almost sweet smell. However, because meth and its various forms are produced in illegal labs using multiple chemicals and solvents, it can smell like anything from cat urine to rotten eggs. Other commonly reported smells include:
To give you an idea, some of the actual chemicals involved in meth production, include:
Note: Frequent meth abuse can lead to tooth decay, chronic gum diseases, and an overall lack of hygiene, which can lead to a smelly mouth, body odor, and dirty clothes.
It’s important to know what smoking meth smells like because it can act as an early detection method if a loved one is using illicit substances. Methamphetamine addiction can become the focus of someone’s entire life, causing them to drop everything and risk their careers, families, friends, and personal health in favor of getting high. Remember, methamphetamine use disorder is a diagnosed condition, and treating it requires treatment and medication like any other debilitating disease.
Additionally, recognizing the smell of meth can help someone recognized laced substances. Some chemicals typically added to meth to expand drug sales include lithium metal, hydrochloric acid, iodine, sulfuric acid, and red phosphorus.
The smell of meth can also help neighbors identify potential meth labs or trap houses where meth and other drugs are produced, sold, and used. Along with the same smells mentioned earlier, signs of a meth lab include,
If you come in contact with a meth lab, government agencies always recommend keeping your distance, alerting any unsuspecting nearby neighbors (such as children playing in front of the home), and alerting local authorities from the inside of your home.
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If you think a loved one is smoking meth, it’s important not to confront them while they’re high. Meth can make users agitated, paranoid, anxious, and aggressive. Additionally, any concerns or comments you might have about their meth abuse could be mis- or unheard, leading to an unproductive conversation. Wait until your loved one is relaxed, calm, and sober, and first ask them if they are smoking meth. It could be a case of a bad smell at the wrong time, and your friend or family member was painting or working in the garage with chemicals.
The best way to tell if a loved one is high is by looking for other key indicators, including glass or aluminum foil-shaped pipes, skin or facial sores, mood swings and outbursts, impulsive or erratic behavior, abnormal sleep habits, and dilated pupils. Your loved one might also leave the house at strange hours and return with seemingly nothing, lie about their whereabouts, and steal or spend excessive amounts of money on unknown purchases.
If all the signs above match, talk to them about detox and addiction treatment. They might say no or become confrontational, so it’s important to maintain a compassionate and calm tone and express you want what’s best for their physical and mental health. Meth abuse won’t take them down the path of happiness and comfort all humans are seeking.
If you or someone you know is smoking meth, contact Oasis River Recovery in Ocoee, Tennessee. Our addiction treatment center is the perfect environment to overcome life-altering substance use disorders and addictions. Founded by members of the recovery community, Oasis River Recovery knows the struggles of meth addiction and incorporates first-hand and holistic knowledge into all of our treatment programs. Call today and ask about our program options, therapy methods, and dual diagnosis-informed treatment options.
Address:672 Hildabrand Rd Ocoee, TN 37361