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  • What Is Meth Cut With? | How To Tell If Meth Is Cut

    what is meth cut with?

    Methamphetamine, also called meth or crystal meth, is a highly addictive central nervous system stimulant. It’s made using potentially toxic chemicals like phosphorus, pseudoephedrine, and lithium. 

    Common side effects of meth use include hyperactivity, psychosis, weight loss, and, in some cases, brain damage.

    Like many drugs, meth is often cut with other substances. Most dealers use these additives to make the drug heavier so they can sell it for more than it’s worth.

    What Is Meth Cut With?

    Meth may be cut with other prescription stimulants and more powerful drugs like fentanyl to increase the drug’s effects, powdered additives and MSM to increase weight, and various metals and chemicals leftover from the meth production process.


    Some dealers cut meth with stimulant drugs like amphetamines, such as Adderall and Ritalin, and caffeine. These additives can make a person’s high more powerful and unpredictable. 


    To intensify the drug’s effects, some dealers cut meth with the synthetic opioid fentanyl. Fentanyl is an extremely powerful and dangerous drug that’s responsible for numerous overdose deaths. In many cases, dealers don’t tell buyers they’ve added fentanyl.  

    Powdered Additives

    Meth dealers don’t usually use additives to intensify the high. Instead, they use cutting agents that have little to no effect. 

    These substances include:

    • baby powder
    • milk powder
    • baking soda
    • sugar

    Because these additives resemble the white powder form of meth, dealers use them to make it look like they’re selling more meth than they actually are. They can then charge high prices for small amounts of meth. The most popular cutting agent used for this purpose is MSM. 


    MSM, or methylsulfonylmethane, is a compound that occurs naturally in humans, other animals, and plants. It’s often sold as a supplement to strengthen cartilage (connective tissue found throughout the body).

    MSM is a white, crystalline, soluble powder that looks just like white powder meth. Dealers usually add it near the end of the meth making process. 

    Metals & Other Chemicals

    Meth is produced and manufactured in illicit drug labs. Sometimes the traces of chemicals and metals used in the production process may end up in the final batch meth, including:

    • ephedrine
    • pseudoephedrine
    • hydriodic acid
    • red phosphorous
    • acetone
    • lithium
    • sulfuric acid
    • nickel
    • iodine

    Some chemicals not traditionally used in the production process, such as isopropylbenzylamine, may be intentionally used to dilute meth due to its similar chemical structure.

    How To Tell If Meth Is Cut

    Some cutting agents are more easily detectable than others. For example, you may be able to smell baby powder, milk powder, baking soda, or sugar.

    It’s more difficult to detect fentanyl, amphetamines, caffeine, or MSM, which are all odorless. However, you might be able to detect them if you smoke meth in a pipe. When you melt and cool meth in a pipe, it resolidifies. Pure meth resolidifies more quickly than meth with additives. 

    The only way to know exactly what meth’s been cut with is to test it in a lab.

    Meth Addiction Treatment

    Meth use often leads to addiction. If you or someone you love struggles with meth abuse or addiction, please contact an ARK Behavioral Health specialist to learn about our drug abuse and addiction treatment programs.

    We provide recovery services like medical detox, mental health counseling, peer support groups, residential care, and more.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2024 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.

    National Institute on Drug Abuse - What are the immediate (short-term) effects of methamphetamine misuse?
    National Library of Medicine - Methylsulfonylmethane: Applications and Safety of a Novel Dietary Supplement
    United States Drug Enforcement Administration - Fentanyl

    Medically Reviewed by
    Lauren Weinand, M.D.
    on January 18, 2023
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