Adderall vs Methamphetamine: Difference and Comparison

Adderall and Methamphetamine are two drugs that can stimulate the central nervous system. These two drugs have many similarities, but they are chemically distinct.

Both of these drugs have a high risk of addiction and abuse. But there are some differences between these two drugs. Their potency, side effects, and risks are different.

Key Takeaways

  1. Adderall treats ADHD and narcolepsy, while methamphetamine is an illegal, highly addictive drug.
  2. Adderall contains amphetamine salts, whereas methamphetamine is a single, more potent compound.
  3. Adderall has therapeutic applications, but methamphetamine causes severe physical and mental health issues.

Adderall vs Methamphetamine

Adderall is used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy, increasing neurotransmitters in the brain to improve attention, focus, and alertness. Methamphetamine is a highly addictive and illegal drug that is chemically similar to amphetamine. It is produced and sold illegally in crystal form and can be smoked, snorted, or injected.

Adderall vs Methamphetamine
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Adderall refers to a central nervous system stimulant drug that contains both amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. Adderall affects chemicals in the nerves and the brain that contributes to impulse control and hyperactivity.

This drug is used to treat ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). Patients are prone to develop addiction by taking Adderall frequently. Excessive usage of this drug can cause heart attack, stroke, and even sudden death.

Methamphetamine or meth is a highly addictive and powerful central nervous system stimulant drug that has a bitter-tasting, odourless, white crystalline powder form and can easily dissolve in alcohol and water.

It was developed in the 20th century from its parent drug named, amphetamine. It causes euphoria, a pleasant sense, decreased appetite, and increased talkativeness and activity.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonAdderallMethamphetamine
DefinitionAdderall is a nervous system stimulant drug that is the brand name of the prescribed drug containing amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. 
             
Methamphetamine is a nervous system stimulant drug that is very addictive and powerful.
Chemical structureThe chemical structure of Adderall contains dextroamphetamine and levoamphetamine is 3:1 ratio.
             
The chemical structure of methamphetamine is the same as Adderall with an extra “methyl” group consisting of three hydrogen atoms and a carbon atom.
Ingredients Adderall is a mixture of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine and contains ingredients like amphetamine sulfate, dextroamphetamine sulfate, dextroamphetamine saccharate.
             
Methamphetamine which has medicinal usage contains ingredients like sodium aminobenzoate and corn starch. Street meths may contain some unknown impurities included by the drug dealers. 
Medical usageAdderall has medical usage, especially in the treatment of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). 
             
Methamphetamine is rarely prescribed by health professionals. Most of the time it is used as a street drug.
Side Effects Street Adderall can contain several cutting agents which may cause several serious health conditions.
             
Street methamphetamine is a more powerful and addictive drug and contains several cutting agents which can cause aggressiveness and several serious health conditions.

What is Adderall?

Adderall is the brand name of the prescribed drug. It is a central nervous system-stimulating drug containing amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. The chemical structure of Adderall contains dextroamphetamine, and levoamphetamine is a 3:1 ratio.

Adderall is a mixture of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine and contains ingredients like amphetamine sulfate, dextroamphetamine sulfate, and dextroamphetamine saccharate.

 Adderall affects chemicals in the nerves and the brain that contributes to impulse control and hyperactivity. It has medical usage, especially in the treatment of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

It is approved by the U.S. FDA (Food and Drug Administration) for the treatment of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

Patients are prone to develop addiction by taking Adderall frequently. Excessive usage of this drug can cause heart attack, stroke, and even sudden death.

Street Adderall can contain several cutting agents, which may cause several serious health conditions. Adderall may cause psychosis which is unusual behaviour or thoughts. 

Adderall needs to be taken only if the doctor prescribes it. Doctors may change the dose of the drug occasionally. It should not be taken in a smaller or larger amount or longer time than the doctor’s prescription.

Adderall can be habit-forming, so it should not be shared with other people, especially with someone who has previous drug addiction history.

adderall

What is Methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine, or meth, is an illegal and highly addictive psychostimulant drug. It is a nervous system stimulant drug that is very addictive and powerful.

The chemical structure of methamphetamine is the same as Adderall, with an extra “methyl” group consisting of three hydrogen atoms and a carbon atom.

Methamphetamine has medicinal usage and contains ingredients like sodium aminobenzoate and cornstarch. Street meth may contain some unknown impurities included by drug dealers.

Health professionals rarely prescribe methamphetamine. Most of the time, it is used as a street drug.

Methamphetamine is neurotoxic and can damage serotonin and dopamine in the brain. Most of the meth or methamphetamine is made illegally and may contain talc, caffeine, and other toxic ingredients.

It is linked to higher frequencies of violent behaviour and unprotected sexual intercourse. Frequently usage of this drug can result in functional and structural changes in the brain associated with memory and emotion.

Illegal meth can be snorted, smoked, ingested orally, or injected. Injecting or smoking meth or methamphetamine can cause an intense and immediate rush or euphoria, which lasts for a few minutes.

Snorting meth doesn’t result in an intense rush, on the other hand, when taken orally, the effects can be felt within twenty minutes. 

Main Differences Between Adderall and Methamphetamine 

  1. Adderall is a nervous system stimulant drug that is the brand name of the prescribed drug containing amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. Methamphetamine is a nervous system stimulant drug that is very addictive and powerful.
  2. Adderall is a mixture of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine and contains ingredients like amphetamine sulfate, dextroamphetamine sulfate, and dextroamphetamine saccharate. In contrast, the chemical structure of methamphetamine is the same as Adderall, with an extra “methyl” group consisting of three hydrogen atoms and a carbon atom.
  3. Adderall is a mixture of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine and contains ingredients like amphetamine sulfate, dextroamphetamine sulfate, and dextroamphetamine saccharate. On the other hand, Methamphetamine, which has medicinal usage, contains ingredients like sodium aminobenzoate and cornstarch. Street meth may contain some unknown impurities included by drug dealers.
  4. Adderall has medical usage, especially in the treatment of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). It is approved by the U.S. FDA (Food and Drug Administration) for the treatment of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). On the contrary, Methamphetamine is rarely prescribed by health professionals. Most of the time, it is used as a street drug.
  5. Street Adderall can contain several cutting agents, which may cause several serious health conditions. Street methamphetamine is a more powerful and addictive drug with several cutting agents that can cause aggressiveness and serious health conditions.
Difference Between Adderall and Methamphetamine
References
  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0890856709629518
  2. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02791072.2000.10400221

Last Updated : 11 June, 2023

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