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Author Topic: reddit: Why Methamphetamine Strength Can Also Be Dangerously Unpredictable  (Read 3533 times)

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from r/Drugs

Why Methamphetamine Strength Can Also Be Dangerously Unpredictable.

Posted by u/HypothermicPenis 2 years ago

Many people I'm sure knows one of the main causes of OD with heroin use; Junkie is used to one batch of heroin with a certain potency. Junkie suddenly gets some H from a different dealer or from a different batch that is twice as strong. Junkie shoots up what he thinks is the usual dose. Junkie actually shoots up twice as much and OD's. This was a very common cause of death especially before DNM's when most drugs were bought on the street from unpredictable sources.

About 11 days ago, I posted about my near death experience with Meth use. Granted, the main cause I suspect was "plugging" gone wrong, but I also felt at the time that particular bag of meth was extremely strong. I have been using meth on and off for couple decades and there have been good meth and poor meth but only (very) occasionally there will be a batch that was of a different league of potency. So to be precise my near-death was, in my best analysis, the combination of that particularly strong meth and the plugging mishap.

After this experience, I decided to gather what I already know and do some further research to find out what exactly causes some very occasional batches of Meth to be so unpredictably strong. A lot of my evidence is anecdotal and extrapolated from those plus personal experience. I am no chemist, so if I am wrong on any of my conclusions don't think you will offend me by correcting me;

Why Meth Potency is Usually (more or less) Predictable

Meth is known for its relative predictability. Sure there are good and poor batches, but nobody cuts Meth. The cook's method and care may make the potency vary somewhat, but most meth is between 70% and 90% (anecdotal evidence from internet) purity. Not a huge variation. Enough for a user to recognize a good batch versus a poor batch, but not something that would be otherwise dangerous. A big cause of variation in purity with other drugs is caused by cutting the drug with other substances as fillers. Cutting is only practical when the drug is 1) In powder form to begin with such as coke and heroin. Meth is in crystal form. 2) The value of the drug makes cutting economical to do. I.e. meth is a fairly cheap drug. Even if there is a way to cut the drug and still keep it crystal, it's just not worth the trouble. So then what makes some occasional meth I have used in the past to be so much more potent than the norm?

"Normal" Meth (in pure form) Is Actually Only 50% Psychoactive.

This is the part I actually had to learn a little chemistry; With many chemicals, especially Amines, there are two "isomers" of the molecule, that in the normal process of synthesis gets produced in very close to 1:1 ratio. In other words, when a cook produces meth in most practical situations, what makes up that meth is 50% of one isomer and 50% of the other isomer of the methamphetamine molecule. The two isomers of the meth molecules are identical, except that one isomer is "facing" one way and the other is "facing" the other way, like they are mirror opposites of each other. In all other ways they are the same molecules with exactly the same structure and elements. The two isomers of methamphetamine are called dextromethamphetamine and levomethamphetamine. Sometimes they are referred to as simply the d-isomer and l-isomer.

Not to get too carried away with all that, but the most important thing about this is that with methamphetamine molecules, only one of the isomer is the one that crosses over from our bloodstream into our brain/central nervous system. The other isomer just stays in our blood and eventually metabolizes in our body and gets harmlessly passed out through our sweat and urine, without ever contributing to our high.

In fact, here is something that really blew my mind; the "inactive" isomer of methamphetamine, if pure and on its own, IS ACTUALLY A LEGAL OTC MEDICINE! That's how benign it really is. This methamphetamine isomer is called levo-methamphetamine. If you want to look this up on your own, google this name; levmetamfetamine. The pharm companies jumbled the name a bit so that they don't actually have to print "methamphetamine" on the package. It is an ingredient in the strongest inhalers available over-the-counter. It is effective in clearing the nose, but doesn't make you high since it doesn't cross the "blood-brain-barrier" (BBB) into the brain. (although in the process of looking all this up I have read that in very large amounts people do get a high from abusing this. It sounds very time and money consuming for little reward, but possible. Apparently this is because the BBB is not perfect- Some of even the inactive isomer does get past it in small amounts). ((Side Note; Using this inhaler a lot will give positive results in urine tests for the drug Methamphetamine-since that's what it is. As a possibility, if you carry this inhaler with you when you fail a urine test for meth it may give you plausible deniability, if we are only talking about the simple litmus paper tests they do in offices and rehabs. But I don't think it will pass a proper lab test, which is something many places will send the urine samples to for further analysis if there is a dispute. I think proper labs can test for amount and isomer that you took. God I hate drug tests. It's like a modern day witch hunt.))

Breaking the "BAD"; Just Like the Inactive Isomer Can Be Isolated, So Can the Active -It's just a pain in the ass to do.

So I'm sure many people know the tv series Breaking Bad. I have watched part of it once, and I liked the authenticity of the plot in regards to the main drug portrayed in the show; methamphetamine. I just never finished watching it because I am one that cannot stay consistent, so after the first several seasons I just lost interest. However there is one part in the series I did get to where the main character (forgot the name, the dude that used to be a school chemistry teacher) produced batches of meth that was just so much better than anything else available in that area, by order of magnitude, that he quickly made a reputation for himself, even with the local smuggling king pins that brought in the good stuff from Mexico. Apparently, this is based in reality. Most at-home self-taught cooks who make meth are producing racemic methamphetamine. This means that it contains both isomers of the drug, in equal amounts. When most people think about really good meth, they are thinking about something that is 95% percent pure as opposed to something that may only be 70% pure, but which still contain 50/50 of both isomers. The way to make really good (but still racemic) meth is by ensuring the quality of the reagents (or ingredients), knowing the proportions of the base ingredients that the chemical reaction requires and making sure that only that proportion is properly weighed and included, washing the final product, and other techniques that are regarded as basic chemistry methods that anyone learns in school or college as being good practice. The better the basic chemistry methods and practices the cook employs, the higher the potency of the final product. And yet, in almost all cases, this final product is still only 50% active to the brain!

My Conclusion

Most cooks and buyers are happy with just good quality racemic methamphetamine. Meth for the users is a very strong and euphoric drug. And it's not too expensive. For the cook and dealer normal racemic methamphetamine is relatively cheap and easy to make and sell. Normal meth can be derived from a process that uses easy to obtain materials and ingredients, with minimal chemistry experience. For example, the most common domestic methamphetamine synthesis method uses ephedrine and red phosphorous. Ephedrine, even though lately it is harder to get, is generally an OTC medicine. Red phosphorous is a common lab ingredient used for many chemical processes. It's not illegal per se, although I've heard because of its connection with meth synthesis the government does try to keep tabs on large purchases. There is very little incentive to isolate the active isomer from the inactive, for the cook, dealer, or buyer.

Though I don't really know exactly what is involved in isolating the active isomer, I suspect that it involves either 1) many extra steps after obtaining the racemic methamphetamine or 2) a different synthesis altogether from the beginning that may use different ingredients, that may be harder to get and/or 3) information that is hard to obtain unless you have a major or doctorate in organic chemistry and can figure it out for yourself.

Pure Dextromethamphetamine (isolated) Is Exactly 2x As Strong as Racemic Methamphetamine!

Meth is a very forgiving drug. If you are one that shoots up, you can have a very satisfying rush from doing 1/8 of a gram all at once, but even if you do 1/2 gram all at once of the same stuff, it probably wont kill you. (I just never tried, so don't count me on this) That variation when applied to heroin for example, probably will be a difference of life or death.

However you still can OD and die on methamphetamine, I've heard. I don't know anyone that has, and I certainly don't hear about it being common like heroin or cocaine OD deaths, but you can. The harm in methamphetamine seems to come more from prolonged continual use that causes the user to become malnutritioned and also from the toxicity to the brain. I suspect there are more INDIRECT deaths from meth use than DIRECT deaths like from heroin.

But feasibly if one suddenly comes accross dextromethamphetamine isolate as opposed to the racemic meth, and shoots up what that user considers to be his or her upper limit of tolerance, I think that can kill that person.

I hope I have adequately demostrated why, especially if you are someone that shoots up, you have to be careful with methamphetamine too. After my last experience with meth I have decided to become more careful with methamphetamine like I would with heroin. So, if I'm going to shoot, I'm going to do a small amount first, and then slowly increase amount. When I get another batch or bag, I will go back down to a small amount again, until I know what kind of beast I'm dealing with. Something I used to only do with heroin (not really a coke user), but now will treat methamphetamine with the same caution.


You get pure d-meth from the extraction from pseudoephedrine with red phospor. So a lot of the meth in the states is actually pure d-meth. The dl-meth is more popular in the eu as we haven't really access to pseudo and use Methylamine instead.

I am still trying to get to the bottom of this, but ephedrine itself exist as 4 isomers. So if the ephedrine used is racemic, won't the resulting meth be racemic? The synthesis involves knocking off a molecule from the compound, hence "ephedrine reduction to methamphetamine" is often the phrase used to describe the process. I am trying to find out whether the ephedrine we use as medicine is only one isomer or racemic. This kind of information is hard to come by. Even on the NIH website it talks about the various isomers but no word on what ephedrine as we use it actually is.

Only (-)-ephedrine and (+)-pseudoephedrine yield d-meth. The other two enantiomers reduce to l-meth. You don't get d-meth if you use racemic ephedrine/pseudoephedrine.

Ok, that is what I thought, but the question is, when I go to a store and get Sudafed with pseudoephedrine, is it a racemic pseudo or is it only the +pseudo? The whole basis of my OP is that I think most meth available is racemic, and extra steps must be taken to make it dextrometh, which makes it rare. If either +, - ephedrine or +,- pseudoephedrine is being used for the bulk of meth synthesis in the US, then this would support my theory. What do you think?

From what I can tell sudafed is racemic pseudoephedrine.

Also P2P is one of the most notorious precursors to produce racemic methamphetamine HCl and racemic amphetamine sulfate.

Interesting read my man. I like how you think!

So, if the l-meth is used for congestion (if I remember correctly), that means it has vasoconstrictive properties. I'd guess they aren't as pronounced as with d-meth, but I feel that from a hard reduction standpoint it would make sense to isolate the d-isomer (if that's even possible! Possibly difference in polarity could make that possible?I'm not very knowledgable in chemistry things haha) to reduce the vasoconstriction, and therefore some of the negative effects of the drug. Like the teeth loss for instance.

Yes, often only one isomer of a compound is active, while the other has no effect, a weaker effect, or a completely different effect all together. But after reading the previous 2 comments, there's a good chance my whole theory is wrong about most meth being racemic. Well, if so it will still leave me wondering why some meth is so much stronger than what is normally available.

Before ascribing discomfort on psychedelics to "vasoconstriction" consider why you are coming to this conclusion.

Bear in mind that stimulants have a pleasant body feel and are known to be vasoconstricting, so we know that vasoconstriction itself is not uncomfortable.

Even in cases where NBOMes, the most notorious "vasoconstrictors", are taken in fatal or near-fatal amounts, gangrene is not seen and vasoconstriction is not the cause of death.

Before about 2013 what is often labelled as "vasoconstriction" was usually called "body load" and referred to the range of uncomfortable side effects of psychedelics which include muscular tension, stiffness and gastrointestinal discomfort.

You can't cocrystalize the enantiomers, so meth is generally enantiopure if it's sold in crystal form, at least as far as I know.

Perhaps they just throw a mix of crystals in the bag?

As far as I can find by reading, and with no formal chemistry background, it seems to me that compounds that exist as isomers of each other exist as a racemic, if no particular effort is made to separate them. On Wikipedia for example under methamphetamine, it clearly separates dextromethamphetamine from methamphetamine, and states both are illicit and highly addictive, while the dextro is particularly strong. It also states that methamphetamine in its pure form is a racemic substance. Also in Wikipedia, under enantiomer, it says there are many methods of producing one isomer of a substance, such as by chiral resolution or by asymmetric synthesis, which to me indicates that special effort is needed to get anything other than a racemic compound. But, what do you mean by cocrystalize enantiomers? Does that mean that levo meth doesn't occur as a crystal like d-meth?

If the molecules of the substance have a greater affinity for the same enantiomer than for the opposite one, a mechanical mixture of enantiomerically pure crystals will result.

"much of the "biker meth" went straight from the chemist to the user with few stops in between

That was the explanation I thought second-most likely.

More likely, OP's friends are bullshitting him. P2P-synthed meth is indeed a racemic mixture of the D-isomer (which gets you high), and the L-isomer (which unblocks your nose if you have a cold).

P2P meth or "crank" is a powder, it doesn't form big crystals. The two stereoisomers are non-superimposeable mirror images of each other, just like your hands are.

Do you remember those stackable plastic chairs they had in your school that turned the gym into the dinner room? They can be stacked high because they are all identical - this is how a crystal forms.

If you have some chairs with a right armrest, and some with a left armrest, it only takes one of the wrong chair in the stack to make it wobble and topple over. So a few L-meth molecules will stop a shard of D-meth from growing - the crystals won't be more that a few molecules in size, rather than trillions of molecules stacked nicely in a row - powder in other words.

Much of the meth in the US is actually P2P meth (essentially half-strength) "glued" into a lump using a cutting agent such as MSM. MSM makes much better shards than meth, very easily. It doesn't taste of much, and it melts and makes smoke at a similar (slightly lower) temperature.

Meth crystals are clear or white. Mine always start as clear when they grow, but they usually contain a little water or solvent.

Before shipping, I bake them like biscuits in a low oven to remove any entrapped water or solvent. As it sweats to the surface of the shard and boils, it dissolves the surface slightly, leaving it pitted on a microscopic level (like frosted glass). So don't worry if shards are white rather than transparent, it just means you aren't paying for 10% water.

Colours ARE a problem - they are impurities. The most common is orange (from incompletely-purified pseudoephedrine derived from decongestant pills).

Red is often the coating from sudafed pills. Blue is usually food-colour, but the triprolodine antihystamine in actifed pills is green or blue. If there is visible triprolodine, the meth is real knockout stuff, containing an upper and an old-school antihystamine downer which would normally knock you out without the meth.

Black is usually cellulose (from pills bulking agents, or fibres from filter paper) getting burnt.

White (which looks like meth but doesn't vaporise) is usually an inorganic salt like sodium chloride, or (more likely) ammonium chloride ("frostbite") from Li / ammonia "Birch" meth (or "shake n bake" which is an ambient temperature variation of the Birch method).

Iodine / Red P makes great meth. There are two other phosphorus compounds which can be used in place of red P.

hypophosphoric acid (H3PO2) tends to give mad, fast reactions. Little fires are common when air is allowed into the apparatus.

I found that the meth with the best, sexy, happy high is from phosphonic (not phosphoRic) acid, H3PO3. It is a solid at room temp, but melts to dissolve the other reactants. It can run at much higher temperatures.

The hotter the cook, the less "study aid" the meth is, and the less boring it becomes. Birch meth can be a 1-dimentional straight stimulant. red P meth cooked at 127C is probably less-pure, but I believe that slightly-altered versions of the meth molecule are formed in traces, and these are hallucinogenic ring-substituted amphetamines. you don't trip, Shulgin-style, they just heat up your brain and libido, put a smile on your face and make you think about sex instead of driving a tank, studying, or hoovering.

"Phosphonic" meth has an engrossing, three-dimensional high that's quite creative. Instead of having a "ceiling" where you just become tense and overstimulated, you break through into the blue sky of a kind of lazy drunkenness, super-good-mood kind of headspace.

The main drawback with H3PO3 is that it gives lower yields than Red P. but if you want to make the best meth, without compromise, phosphonic acid / iodine with FREEBASE psuedoephedrine is the starting point (the BBMC product which is based on this method - without chloride ions present - is called "Dexys". I'm growing dexys shards as we speak).

I hope I didn't get too tech-y. But I love meth and meth chemistry."

Sorry for ghetto formatting

Hm thought this was interesting. You may be right about racemic meth being common. I'm not sure honestly.

There is no difference in use of phosphonic acid vs red phosphoros with iodine. Phosphonic acid would be made in situ when reaction(reduction) occur anyhow from rp, iodine and h2o. Bbmc is selling marketing stunt (chemistry gibberish) for those who do not have advanced chemistry knowledge. Dextro meth is a dextro meth. One high purity d-meth is no better then other d- meth regardless of synth used, lol on more sexier then other! Method used and reducing agents are irrelevant in final product. It can only affect yield. Finaly, whatever pure final product depend solely on post rx purification and isolation, not on precusors or synth method. In any drug production you have two distinctive separate process. First is synthesis (drug creation) itself and other is drug separation and purification.

comments continue on at reddit ...
measure twice, cut once

Offline Esoteric Anhydride

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If your tweak comes in shards, it's the (d) isomer - that's why they make it into "ice", because it does away with the inactive L isomer, which makes it more potent and easy to vaporise.

MSM is a common cutting agent, looks just like ice, vaps just like ice.

There's a ton of misinformation in this piece, I didn't read it all but it seems full of inaccuracies.

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Re: reddit: Why Methamphetamine Strength Can Also Be Dangerously Unpredictable
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2019, 11:09:09 AM »
I remember being locked up with a dude (a tweeker) that told me about MSM; he called it... "Missing Some Meth".

I thought that shit was funny.


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