Methamphetamine Ingredients

Crystal meth, sometimes simply known as ‘meth,’ is a drug that can addict a person from the first time they try it. Methamphetamine is completely artificial, created of very toxic chemicals. These chemicals can initially offer a high, but they can also cause serious harm or even death not only for those who take the drugs, but for those who make them as well. Methamphetamine ingredients can be combined in a wide variety of formulas, but the basics are the same – and most of them are highly flammable and extremely lethal if ingested in any way. The resulting product is just as bad, if not worse. Here’s what you need to know about methamphetamine ingredients.

Methamphetamine Ingredients: What’s Meth Made of?

You might be surprised at just how many methamphetamine ingredients are highly toxic. Most people would never choose to put a single one of these in their body, but users of meth do this on a regular basis. Just one of the following ingredients could cause severe physical and mental harm, or even death.


  • Hydrochloric acid. A chemical used to make plastic or refine metal.
  • Lithium. This chemical is used in lithium batteries and is highly corrosive.
  • Acetone. Usually found in nail polish remover or paint thinner.
  • Toluene. Used in brake fluid and is powerful enough to dissolve rubber.
  • Pseudoephedrine. The active ingredient in Sudafed or other cold medications.
  • Red phosphorous. This is commonly found on match tips and in road flares.
  • Sodium hydroxide. Also known as lye, this is used to dissolve road-kill.
  • Sulfuric acid. This is an active ingredient in drain cleaners and is highly corrosive.
  • Anhydrous ammonia. This chemical is used in fertilizer and strong cleansers.

Other ingredients include starting fluid, lantern fluid or lighter fluid, antifreeze, iodine crystals and more. Since each batch of meth is different, additional ingredients might be used.

How Is Methamphetamine Cooked?

The equipment for making meth typically uses common items found in everyone’s home. This might include glass bottles, cheesecloth, aluminum foil, oven-safe or heat-safe dishes, rubber tubing, and other common items. Everything can be picked up at a hardware store or discount store. In addition, most of the chemicals used in meth are perfectly legal and can even be acquired in large quantities. That explains the growing popularity of making meth in the everyday kitchen.

The process of making meth is very dangerous. It starts with grinding down the cold medication pills and adding a binder to them to separate the pseudoephedrine from the medication. Then the medication is mixed with acid and red phosphorus, bubbled for a while, and then the red phosphorous is filtered out. Next, caustic soda is added to give the meth a “base,” a process that has to be carefully cooled to avoid explosion.

After that, Freon or other chemicals are added to separate the liquid from the solids. Hydrogen chloride then turns the meth into a salt, which lowers the acidity. It is then dried on a cloth. The final product is filled with yet more additives to make it even more addictive, then it is packaged for sale and use.

Cooking meth is a highly dangerous endeavor. Most of the chemicals involved are exposed to high heat, and that heat can lead to explosions. It can also lead to serious toxic fumes – for instance, red phosphorous heated to a high degree can crate deadly phosphine gas, which will kill someone if they inhale it. Some chemicals are also highly reactive with each other – an example is ammonia and alkali metals, which can form a spectacular explosion if even a tiny bit of each is combined.

Dangers of Taking Methamphetamine

The dangers of methamphetamine ingredients do not end when the cooking is done. Each ingredient can be lethal to the user; put them all together, and you can imagine how dangerous the finished drug can be.

Meth is taken orally like a pill, smoked, snorted like cocaine, or dissolved in water or alcohol and injected into the body. Smoking or injecting the drug is the most popular, as it delivers a very quick and intense high.

That high makes users feel like they can do anything, and so they often push their bodies dramatically and do things they might not be able to do otherwise. But when they “come down” and crash, they wind up in physical and emotional distress. That’s why they crave more of the drug almost immediately.

Other problems might occur from the start, such as a loss of appetite, sleeplessness, hyperactivity, severe nausea, aggressiveness, irritability, delusions of grandeur, hallucinations, paranoia, and much more.

The long-term effects are even more devastating. These can include increased heart rate and blood pressure problems, damaged blood vessels, strokes, lung and kidney damage, heart attacks, liver damage, brain damage, loss of memory, and even death. Keep in mind that these problems can happen after using meth for only a very short time, as methamphetamine ingredients are highly toxic and can easily kill. 

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