Methamphetamine was first synthesized from ephedrine in Japan in 1893 by chemist Nagai Nagayoshi. In 1919, crystallized methamphetamine was synthesized by Akira Ogata via reduction of ephedrine using red phosphorus and iodine.
Synthesis is relatively simple, but entails risk with flammable and corrosive chemicals, particularly the solvents used in extraction and purification; therefore, illicit production is often discovered by fires and explosions caused by the improper handling of volatile or flammable solvents. Most of the necessary chemicals are readily available in household products or over-the-counter cold or allergy medicines. When illicitly produced, methamphetamine is commonly made by the reduction of ephedrine or pseudoephedrine. The maximum conversion rate for ephedrine and pseudoephedrine is 92%, although typically, illicit methamphetamine laboratories convert at a rate of 50% to 75%.
Methamphetamine has been reported to occur naturally in Acacia berlandieri, and possibly Acacia rigidula, trees that grow in West Texas. Methamphetamine and regular amphetamine were long thought to be strictly human-synthesized, but Acacia trees contain these and numerous other psychoactive compounds (e.g., mescaline, nicotine, dimethyltryptamine), and the related compound β-phenethylamine is known to occur from numerous Acacia species.
Physical effects can include anorexia, hyperactivity, dilated pupils, flushing, restlessness, dry mouth, headache, tachycardia, bradycardia, tachypnea, hypertension, hypotension, hyperthermia, diaphoresis, diarrhea, constipation, blurred vision, dizziness, twitching, insomnia, numbness, palpitations, arrhythmias, tremors, dry and/or itchy skin, acne, pallor, and with chronic and/or high doses, convulsions, heart attack, stroke, and death can occur.
Psychological effects can include euphoria, anxiety, increased libido, alertness, concentration, energy, self-esteem, self-confidence, sociability, irritability, aggression, psychosomatic disorders, psychomotor agitation, grandiosity, hallucinations, excessive feelings of power and invincibility, repetitive and obsessive behaviors, paranoia, and with chronic and/or high doses, amphetamine psychosis can occur.
Methamphetamine use has a high association with depression and suicide as well as serious heart disease, amphetamine psychosis, anxiety and violent behaviours. Methamphetamine also has a very high addiction risk. Methamphetamine also is neurotoxic and is associated with an increased risk of parkinson’s disease. Methamphetamine abuse can cause neurotoxicity which is believed to be responsible for causing persisting cognitive deficits, such as memory, impaired attention and executive function. Over 20 percent of people addicted to methamphetamine develop a long-lasting psychosis resembling schizophrenia after stopping methamphetamine which persists for longer than 6 months and is often treatment resistant.
Meth labs can also be fatal seeing as they often blow up. This is usually due to amateur chemists operating them. They can also give off deadly fumes.
Where It Is Commonly Found
Methamphetamine is FDA approved for use in children and adults under the trademark name Desoxyn. A generic version became available in April, 2010. It is prescribed as a treatment for ADHD and exogenous obesity, as well as off-label for the treatment of narcolepsy and treatment-resistant depression.
Mol. Mass 149.233g/mol
Half-Life 9-12 hours
Structure Related To Function
The structure of this molecule is very much related it’s function. It closely mimics another molecule which stimulates the brain. This molecule fits the receptor site and therefore acts as a stimulant.