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I have a question...I know that crystal makes you lose weight...but how does it work? I heard that it speeds up your metabolism and supresses your appetite....., but does it do anything else besides that? How fast can you lose weight when you are doing meth? I want to lose about 15 pounds, and I was wondering how long it would take me to do this if I was using crystal? Someone told me that you can lose up to 20 pounds in a weekend, that just seems unreasonable to me because that is seriously serioulsy serioulsy like a lot. Anyways, I tried it for the first time this weekend and I liked it...I don't think that I ODed or nething like that either.....

Like so many people, I have to watch what I eat so as not to blimp out. However, I don't recommend crystal as a strategy. Some people may use crystal lose weight, but it is not a drug meant for weight loss. One's metabolism may be slightly too strongly revved up while high, yet the primary effect that may cause weight loss is a loss of appetite. Regular users do not always lose weight, unless they start to skip meals.

If somebody told you they lost twenty pounds in a weekend, they were either seriously exaggerating or seriously dehydrated, which can be a side effect of speeding and not taking in enough fluids. Please don't believe this is a healthy or lasting weight loss technique!

As for how long it would take to lose fifteen pounds, everybody is different. I do know that weight loss experts say that gradual weight loss is healthier, which means changing diet, exercise, etc., what you might call the "traditional" route to weight loss.

If your use of crystal is occasional, you may only skip a meal or two and get somewhat dehydrated. Most, if not all, of the weight would return once you stopped using for the evening, weekend, etc. Just like any "crash" diet, you might even bounce back higher on the scales once your appetite returns.

Can you tell me the difference between Crank and Crystal Meth?

At last! A relatively easy question! "Crank" is a slang term or "nickname" for speed. One of my sources insists it comes from bikers, since many bikers who use spped store or stash it in the crank case of their motorcycles. Depsite some strong personal opinions, it does not really describe a specific kind of speed. It's not certain which kind of speed or what specific chemical people mean when they say "crank." On the other hand, crystal methamphetamine is the scientific name for a single kind of speed with a specific chemical structure. In speaking, some people say crystal meth, crystal or even, as we named our icon, Crissy. It's also known as Tina, which my gay sources say is a camp reference to ChrisTINA Crawford, daughter of Joan and author of "Mommy Dearest." That one's still somewhat debateable, I think!

One may say "crank" and mean crystal methampetamine in some places. So, when someone talks about "crank," ask them what kind of speed they are talking about! Thanks for writing and have a great Summer!

What symptoms would a person possess who is on crystal meth?

Thanks for your question. It's not an easy one, since I don't like to make generalizations about drug use. Let me begin with an analogy to alcohol. WIth booze, it all depends on how much you've had, how your body responds, how frequently you use and how much you try to contain or control the effects of drinking.

It's really the same for every substance, including crystal methamphatamine. Also, some of the efects of crystal meth are very similar to other amphetamines and the broader class of stimulants, such as cocaine.

It's often hard to tell unless you know a person, but I have some skill in spotting a person who is high on stimulants. There's a certain extra level of energy, "bounciness" if you like. A lot of people get a little bug-eyed, or have difficulty focusing their attention at all. Some people will grind their teeth, others get a bit twitchy and fidgety. Sounds pretty vague, I know. One of the annoying effects can be itching, even hallucinating that one is infested with bugs or some skin disease. Some users have rashes or other damage from scratching or picking at their skin. Distinct bummer!

"Symptoms" is a word I'd only use to describe significant health problems related to crystal use. I've mentioned them before, so I'll just list a few. There's exhaustion and terrible moods when some people come down off of a high, or there's lost sleep and dehydration from use. Over long periods of use, one may lose one's appetite and even become malnourished. This can lead to weight loss and other problems.

There's a risk of heart problems. There's great debate as to whether one does any permanent damage to various organs over time or whether one just needs to let the body rest and sort itself out. Chronic dehydration, not sleeping and malnutrition will take a much quicker toll on the body than crystal alone. Users who can still get rest, drink fluids and eat usually see fewer, milder symptoms. It's common sense.

People who have a daily habit are sometimes harder to spot than weekend warriors, mostly because it's part of their daily routine. A weekend warrior is more likely to want to be obviously outrageuos, right?

I used for about 2 years straight, pretty intensely, and lost a lot of weight, so rapidly that I couldn't eat enough to maintain it on the down times (one friend told me I looked like a concentration camp survivor). Now I've pretty much stopped using altogether, but I've gained over 50 pounds in a matter of two or three months. My weight keeps increasing, although I'm eating healthy (lowfat) and walking 40 minutes daily. Also, I'm lethargic and cranky alot more than I ever was before I used. Do you know the chances of my metabolism ever waking up again? All this weight gain is tempting me to go back on crystal just to get my weight down again. Can you tell me where I can get help to get my metabolism going again? Or will it ever? My doctor doesn't know how to help, due to inexperience with meth problems. Recommendations/referrals will be really appreciated!

Thanks for your excellent question. I am going to start by reminding you that I am not a doctor, nor even bold enough to call myself a medical expert. However, I can give you some advice and some suggestions. First of all, let me see if I understood your note. It sounds like you stopped using on your own and that you are pretty conscious and conscientious about your health. I am always glad to hear about people who are taking charge of their own lives and not waiting for drama or rescue!

I can't tell you how many people I know have complained of weight gain after they stopped using crystal meth. I've stopped counting. It's not only a problem for meth, but a lot of other substances, especially stimulants like cocaine and even caffeine. It's one of the first things they warn people about when they quit tobacco.

I'm glad that your doctor was honest enought to admit he or she doesn't know much about meth. It's refreshing when someone admits they are not all-knowing! I'd recommend contacting an agency in your area which helps people with crystal habits and ask for their suggestions. We have some Bay Area listings in our resource section. 50 pounds does sound like a lot. Were you drastically underweight while using? One thing your physician can give you is a reasonable range of weight for your age, height and build. So, if you were way below that, 50 pounds may not be so bad. One possible cause for weight gain is malnutrition. During use, you may have thrown off one or more chemical systems in your body and not balanced them since you quit. I'd recommend your doctor refer you to a good nutritionist for an assessment.

If there is a chemical imbalance, you may be able to solve it with vitamins or by adjusting your diet. For instance, a very common problem among crystal users is low potassium levels, which is easy to boost by eating bananas and other foods rich in that mineral. Our bodies can't tell us "have a banana," so we may just feel hunger and overeat without solving a subtle problem. If you were using a lot of crystal for quite some time, your body got out of the habit of building or using certain chemicals, so this may just be a prolonged period of adjustment. If you went back to using, you probably would suppress your appettite and you might lose weight. However, if there is a chemical imbalance which needs some work, crystal is not a vitamin!

Please don't take this the wrong way, but is it possible you are overeating as a coping strategy? I do it all the time, and I can put on quite a few pounds in just a few weeks. Comfort foods are comforting to me, too, until I can't wear my pants! I do take my own best advice on this one: my suggestion would be to look for other ways to indulge yourself. Get a massage! Get some extra sleep! Catch some rays!

To end on a positive note, I also know a lot of people who gained weight in the first few months after they changed a habit and then lost it as their metabolism evened out. Ditto for the crankiness and lethargy. If the problems persist for a few months more, you may need to get a referral to a doctor who does know more about crystal.

Until then good luck and good health to you!

I've been using speed for about seven years, typically at first every now and again ('recreational use' I believe it's called), and over the past two years have been using for between two and four days at a time, with usually five days break. I'm interested in the trials using the amino acid tyrozine (excuse the spelling). Are you aware of any trials using this amino acid in Australia? I'm off to NA in a couple of days, but would appreciate any info on alternative forms of treatment/therapy you may recommend. Thanks so much for the information, it's really opening my eyes. I guess I'll just have to get used to not being Superwoman (you know how it is on meth, you can clean the house, write those articles, go to four meetings after working a 10 hour day and still club the night away). I'd rather be healthy - and who knows? I've even heard you can get energy from the right mix of good food, sleep and exercise - now there's a radical treatment!!

Thanks for your candid and amusing note, especially the part about being "Superwoman." I am very sorry that I am completely ignorant when it comes to research in Australia. I can tell you, however, that here in San Francisco, the delightful and gracious Dr. Gantt Galloway is doing research at the Haight Ashbury Free Clinics with tyrosine (no "z") and has had some encouraging results. Of course, since tyrosine is an amino acid, one of the "building blocks" as they call it in Biology Class, it is a non-toxic, naturally occurring chemical. As a fan of holistic health, it's great to see something so healthy being used as a treatment. Please feel free to contact him, he is very personable. You might try 415-565-1908 and ask for his direct number.

Thanks for writing and hope you are having a mild winter Down Under!

I am married and have never used narcotics of any kind. My wife has admitted to using Crystal Meth several times. I keep finding parafernilia (straws, pens with the guts out of them, razor blades, baggies etc.) around the house. I have always been a strong believer in not ever using drugs. My wife and I have talked about her use and about her quitting and she does not want to quit. Obviously I don't want my wife to use drugs for the sake of our marriage and for our daughters sake. Frankly, her use is jeopardizing our marriage. I love her with everything I have. I'm turning into a snoop and a nervous wreck which brings me to my question. How can I convince her that she has a problem and if she's willing to quit using how can I help her?

Thanks for writing, though I'm sorry about your difficult situation. Please see some of my other comments from other questions about quitting and helping people quit. Also, there are resources listed in our resouce section. While this website was designed for gay and bisexual men in the Bay Area, you may be able to get a referral from one of them. I'm sorry to say that I believe it's up to each individual what to do about substance use. It's also up to each of us to decide how much we are willing to put up with a loved one who is using. Not only is it bad for my karma to make any judgment call for you, it's not even worth doing if yor wife doesn't want to talk about it.

If you're really over it, try to communicate clearly and simply what you want and what is out of bounds. However, don't make the discussion a one-way street. From the tone of your note, I am guessing that she already knows you are against drug use. This may make it much harder for her to feel comfortable telling you what's really going on. Are you prepared to listen and remain compassionate and understanding? Do you have anybody you can talk to about this? A good friend, trusted family member, counselor? That's where I'd start.

Again, I wish there was some magic words to say, but I'm afraid there are none. I can only wish you the best of luck and inspiration.

i have just read through your q & a. glad to see it. i have been able to work meth(ephrdrine based) into my life i.e sleep every night, eating, drinking fluids, taking care of lifes tribulations, etc. and i also know that when i was experiencing many of your other respondents questions that sleep deprevation was the cause for the 'odd' thoughts. as you said your not a doctor, and medical info is based on the indivduel there are certain effects which are commen throughout like smoking ciggerettes leaves tar on your lungs. what is important to me as a user is the medical effects without the neahsayers point of view that drugs harm. i know that, but i want to know what kind of harm i'm looking at. i'm willing to deal with lung cancer as a tobacco smoker. specifically with speed the effects upon the brain, in an unaltering effect that could lead into permenant chemical imbalances, etc. what it does to your lungs if smoking(does it coat and inhibate breathing, etc.). a goverment that unleashs a chemical such as this, with the knowledge of its effects and would treat the user so apathetically and harshly is no longer a government of our brothers and sisters, users or not.

Thanks for your comments. It sounds like you are pretty knowledgeable already. I am really glad you are o.k. with the tone of my comments, since I also think it's stupid to front nonsense or bully people with speculation.

I will repeat earlier comments and say sadly that the "jury is out" on whether or not crystal use does or doesn't cause permanent brain damage. The research agenda in our country, despite the fact that the USA is the wealthiest nation the world has ever known, is highly political and slow to keep up with real life. It's taken most of this decade to convince people to study meth at all.

As you know, it's also a really complex issue. Many people use more than one drug or may have other health issues, so subtle changes in the brain may be hard to "blame" on any one aspect of a person's life. Wish I had more information, though I can say that research is currently underway but still not conclusive. Unfortunately, there is probably some bias to finding bad news. As for smoking, that's not even on the research agenda to my knowledge. Wish I had more to offer on that. I can only say I passionately agree with your feeling that people need useful information to make their own decisions.

If you do find some reliable information, please send it to us! I'm not proud! There's a lot I'd like to learn, too! Good luck and good health to you!

Like many (I feel most in the gay community) I associate Chrissy with Sex. SO MUCH SO that I relapse only when the "natural" urge for sex blossoms from within. I ask the question often and to date have received few if any substantive answers. Are there programs available that addresses this issue specifically? I know that "normal" sex or sexual encounters will never be as euphoric or intense but does the passion and pleasure return? How long?

Thanks for bringing up an important issue! I am very glad to write about this. As far as I know, there is no specific program to address gay men's sexuality and crystal meth use. I know it gets discussed in treatment programs, in Crystal Meth Anonymous meetings, in support groups and in private therapy, but usually as part of a broader curriculum. Of course, the message is often negative; "too bad I can't/shouldn't/won't feel that way ever again now that I'm sober/in recovery/cutting down on use" Can I just say that the sexual revolution is not complete, nor is it anywhere near over?

We may have more sex than our parents or their parents, but we still have a hard time talking about it in depth or with any real understanding. Aside from that aside, here's what little I have gleaned from some experts. One of my resources on this is Tom Moon, who is a gay therapist who deals with this in his practice. He also is the same Tom Moon who writes for SF Frontiers, so feel free to call him and say I said he's fabulous.

Each of our erotic lives can be affected by drug and alcohol use. Some people use to loosen up their inhibitions or literally loosen up their bodies. The added sensations of intoxiciation can be exciting. powerful and habit-forming. However, it is my firm belief that it is always you doing the feeling, not the drug. In America, we use chemicals, such as crystal meh, for immediate access to new sensations and experience. We live in a consumer culture which tells us that pills, liquids, some "new and improved" product is the way to fulfill our needs. It isn't the only way to get there. As Raquel Welch once said, the most erotic part of the body is the brain. If you believe that sex on crystal is more intense and euphoric, then it probably will be. If you believe that "normal" sex is something less exciting, then it probably will be.

Let me suggest that you think of it this way: "I discovered that I am capable of intense and euphoric sex while I was on crystal." It's not just a word game, it makes you the star in your sex life and not crystal meth. Let me make another of my odd anlaogies. Let's say you always watched porn while you had sex. If you suddenly stopped having sex that way, it would certainly feel like something was missing. And, in all honesty, "it wouldn't be the same." Yet. if somebody told you that they stopped watching porn and could find no pleasure and no passion in sex after that, you probably would tell them to be patient, try something new and explore other aspects of the sexual experience. Did that make sense? Tom Moon tells me that many men need to give themselves at least six months to adjust to sex without crystal, since they may use using crystal as foreplay, to throttle themselves "into the mood", whatever. The word on the street is mixed. Some former users will never stop whining about the good old days of sex on crystal, which always makes me sad for them. Others tell me that their sex lives are just as rich, but sex is different with and without crystal. This makes sense to me! A third type tells me they like sex without crystal better.

So, there's a lot of variety out there. If you are interested in intense and euphoric sex, which is a fine and dandy interest in my book, there are other ways to go about having it. The leather/kink/SM culture has many fine teachers and happy students pursuing amazing sexual experiences. In the last decade, the growing number of people exploring Tantra and other forms of intentional sexuality has begun to include gay men. There are a number of groups which teach all kinds of paths towards transcendant sex. One of the most established is the Body Electric! Their workshops were originally designed for gay men, yet have become so popular they are offered to everybody. Have I approached overkill on this response? Probably.

Thanks for getting me all excited and I hope that you find some of this useful. Good luck, good health and, as Dr. Ruth might say, GOOD SEX to you!

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