Methamphetamine (pronounced /ËŒmÉ›Î¸Ã¦mËˆfÉ›tÉ™miËn/ listen) also known as metamfetamine (INN), dextromethamphetamine, methylamphetamine, N-methylamphetamine, and desoxyephedrine) is a psychostimulant and sympathomimetic drug. Methamphetamine enters the brain and triggers a cascading release of dopamine and norepinephrine. It is highly active in the mesolimbic reward pathways of the brain, inducing intense euphoria, with a high potential for addiction. To a lesser extent, methamphetamine releases serotonin and acts as a dopaminergic and adrenergic reuptake inhibitor, with higher concentrations serving as a monoamine oxidase inhibitor. Users may become hypersexual or obsessed with a task, thought or activity. Withdrawal is characterized by excessive sleeping, eating, and depression, often accompanied by anxiety and drug-craving. Methamphetamine users may take sedatives such as benzodiazepines as a means of easing their comedown, anxiety or difficulty sleeping.
Methamphetamine has medical uses as well as the potential to cause addiction. Methamphetamine addiction typically occurs when a person begins to use the drug illicitly, most often in its crystalline form (crystal methamphetamine) for its powerful enhancing effects on mood and energy. Tolerance quickly develops, and users have greater difficulty functioning and experiencing pleasure without the drug.
Nicknames for methamphetamine are numerous and vary significantly from region to region. Some common nicknames for methamphetamine include "ice", "crystal", "meth", "crystal meth", "crank", "glass", "speed" (United States and Canada), "shabu" or "syabu" (Japan and Philippines), "tik" (South Africa), and "ya ba" (Thailand)
Methamphetamine was first synthesized from ephedrine in Japan in 1893 by chemist Nagayoshi Nagai. In 1919, crystallized methamphetamine was synthesized by Akira Ogata via reduction of ephedrine using red phosphorus and iodine.
One of the earliest uses of methamphetamine was during World War II when it was used by various Allied and Axis forces. The German military dispensed it under the trade name Pervitin. It was widely distributed across rank and division, from elite forces to tank crews and aircraft personnel, with many millions of tablets being distributed throughout the war. From 1942 until his death in 1945, Adolf Hitler may have been given intravenous injections of methamphetamine by his personal physician Theodor Morell. It is possible that it was used to treat Hitler's speculated Parkinson's disease, or that his Parkinson-like symptoms that developed from 1940 onwards resulted from using methamphetamine.
After World War II, a large supply of amphetamine stockpiled by the Japanese military became available in Japan under the street name shabu (also Philopon, pronounced Hiropon, a tradename). The Japanese Ministry of Health banned it in 1951; since then it has been increasingly produced by the yakuza criminal organization. Today methamphetamine is still associated with the Japanese underworld, and its use is discouraged by strong social taboos.
In the 1950s, there was a rise in the legal prescription of methamphetamine to the American public. According to the 1951 edition of Pharmacology and Therapeutics by Arthur Grollman, it was to be prescribed for "narcolepsy, post-encephalitic Parkinsonism, alcoholism, ... in certain depressive states... and in the treatment of obesity."
The 1960s saw the start of significant use of clandestinely manufactured methamphetamine as well as methamphetamine created in users' own homes for personal use. The recreational use of methamphetamine continues to this day. San Diego, California was described as the "methamphetamine capital of North America" in the December 2, 1989 edition of The Economist and again in 2000, also with South Gate, California as the second capital city.