Difference Between Amphetamine and Methamphetamine

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Last Updated on: 27th February 2024, 07:45 pm

At OC Revive, an addiction treatment center in Lake Forest, CA, we understand the importance of providing valuable and accurate information to our readers. In this blog post, we will explore the key differences between amphetamine and methamphetamine, shedding light on their properties, uses, and potential risks. Whether you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, it is crucial to have a clear understanding of these substances to seek appropriate help and treatment. So let’s delve into the topic and gain insights into the dissimilarities between these two commonly misunderstood drugs.

Amphetamine and methamphetamine are both stimulant drugs that affect the central nervous system. They are commonly known as “uppers” and have similar effects, leading to confusion among some people. However, despite their similarities, they have distinct properties and uses, which are important to understand to make informed decisions regarding their usage and potential risks.

What are Amphetamines?

- Properties of Amphetamines

Amphetamines belong to a class of drugs known as phenethylamines. They are synthetic compounds that stimulate the release of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, such as dopamine and norepinephrine. This stimulation leads to increased alertness, elevated mood, and a sense of euphoria.

- Medical Uses

Amphetamines have legitimate medical uses and are prescribed to treat conditions like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. When taken as prescribed under medical supervision, they can be effective in managing these conditions.

What is Methamphetamine?

- Properties of Methamphetamine

Methamphetamine, commonly referred to as “meth,” is a more potent form of amphetamine. It is a crystalline powder that can be snorted, smoked, injected, or ingested orally. Methamphetamine increases the release of dopamine in the brain to a greater extent than amphetamine, resulting in more intense and longer-lasting effects.

- Medical Uses and Misuse

Methamphetamine, unlike amphetamine, has limited medical uses and is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance due to its high potential for abuse and addiction. In some cases, methamphetamine is prescribed to treat obesity and ADHD, but its medical use is rare.

Chemical Structure Comparison

Amphetamine and methamphetamine have a similar chemical structure, with slight differences in the molecular arrangement. These differences account for the contrasting effects and potency of the two substances.

Pharmacological Differences

While both drugs act as stimulants, they have distinct pharmacological actions. Methamphetamine has a more significant impact on the central nervous system and produces more intense euphoria and physical effects compared to amphetamines.

Short-term Effects of Amphetamine and Methamphetamine

Both drugs can cause increased energy, alertness, and focus. However, methamphetamine’s effects are more intense and may lead to a heightened sense of pleasure, increased heart rate, and decreased appetite. On the other hand, amphetamines typically produce milder effects.

Long-term Effects and Risks

- Amphetamine

Long-term use of amphetamines can lead to tolerance, dependence, and potential health risks, including cardiovascular problems and mental health issues.

- Methamphetamine

Long-term methamphetamine use is associated with severe health consequences, including dental problems, skin sores, memory loss, aggression, and cognitive impairment.

Addictive Potential and Tolerance

Methamphetamine has a higher potential for addiction compared to amphetamines due to its stronger euphoric effects. Both substances can lead to tolerance, where higher doses are required to achieve the desired effects, increasing the risk of dependence.

Legality and Regulation

Amphetamines are controlled substances, and their possession and use without a valid prescription are illegal. Methamphetamine is also illegal and strictly regulated due to its high abuse potential.

Treatment and Rehabilitation

Individuals struggling with amphetamine or methamphetamine addiction can seek help through various treatment programs, including counseling, behavioral therapies, and support groups.

Myths and Misconceptions

There are several myths surrounding amphetamines and methamphetamine, such as the belief that they enhance cognitive abilities or induce weight loss effectively. It is essential to debunk these myths to raise awareness and promote informed decision-making.

Seeking Help for Substance Abuse

If you or someone you know is battling substance abuse or addiction, do not hesitate to seek help from a professional addiction treatment center like OC Revive. We offer compassionate care and evidence-based treatments to help individuals reclaim their lives.

Call OC Revive Today!

Amphetamine and methamphetamine, while sharing some similarities, are distinct substances with varying properties and effects. Understanding the differences between them is crucial in making informed choices about their use and potential consequences. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, remember that help is available, and recovery is possible with the right support and treatment.


Yes, methamphetamine is considered more dangerous due to its higher potency and potential for addiction.

While amphetamines can suppress appetite, they are not recommended for weight loss as they can lead to serious health risks.

Signs of addiction may include increased drug-seeking behavior, neglecting responsibilities, and withdrawal symptoms when not using the drug.

In rare cases, methamphetamine may be prescribed for medical conditions like obesity and ADHD, but its use is highly regulated due to its potential for abuse.

Yes, with the right treatment and support, individuals can recover from amphetamine or methamphetamine addiction and lead fulfilling lives.

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