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

    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?

    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.  

    Other dealers cut meth with stimulant drugs like amphetamines, such as Adderall and Ritalin, and caffeine. These additives pose fewer risks than fentanyl. However, they make the person’s high more powerful and unpredictable. 

    Aside from the above examples, most meth dealers don’t 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. 

    What 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. 

    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. 

    How To Tell If Meth Is Cut With MSM

    You can also detect MSM in other ways. 

    First, when meth cut with MSM resolidifies in a pipe, it leaves a patterned residue that resembles stacked circles or squares. Uncut meth, on the other hand, leaves a more fractal patterned residue that starts at one point and extends in various directions. 

    In addition, if you’re heating meth in a pipe and it makes sizzling sounds, it probably contains MSM. The MSM will also produce less smoke than pure meth. It may also have a more unpleasant taste. 

    Finally, most people can easily crush pure crystal meth or meth pills for snorting. However, MSM gives the drug a harder, less crushable texture. 

    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
    ©2022 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.
    Sources

    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
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