Helping Michael Lohan Out: The Difference Between Adderall and Meth

“Adderall, which is a methamphetamine base…” – Michael Lohan


Recent reports in TMZ suggested that Lindsay Lohan is addicted to methamphetamine. Of course, it’s not true. When TMZ updated their report with the official response from Lindsay’s lawyer, TMZ also added that it is well known that Lindsay has an Adderall prescription and that rehab clinics would not consider them the same drug.

This is true. So, what are the differences between amphetamine and methamphetamine?

Meth pills

A variety of different methamphetamine pills

Well, first of all, if you are in a random drug testing program (as Lindsay is) and are going through rehab, people will be able to tell whether or not you are on meth or a prescription amphetamine like Adderall. This is in terms of their effects on the user and how easily they can be tested for.

Methamphetamine actually exists in a few different forms. There’s l-methamphetamine (levo-methamphetamine) which is the active ingredient in Vicks Vapor Inhaler. This version doesn’t do much to the central nervous system so it won’t make you high. It can show up as positive for meth on a drug test though. Then there’s dl-methamphetamine, which was more popular in the 60s and 70s than it is today. This type of meth is less potent and more toxic and made with different ingredients than the now popular form of meth, d-methamphetamine.

All very interesting. But you say, I know Adderall is a stimulant too, and chemically, they basically look the same. So what gives?

The main difference is the addition of the methyl group that gives methamphetamine its name. The methyl group is like a VIP pass to the brain; it allows the meth to travel faster than amphetamine across the blood-brain barrier and thus makes meth more potent than amphetamines. The methyl group also makes meth more stable than amphetamine.

So while meth and amphetamine may have a lot in common (heck, meth even breaks down into amphetamine in the body) they are still different in chemistry, effect, legal status, and potential for addiction. And they can be tested for separately as well – even something as simple as a home drug test can differentiate between amphetamine and methamphetamine easily. AND, although Adderall does have potential for abuse, it is not as dangerous as methamphetamine – Desoxyn, the prescription name for methamphetamine, is FDA Approved, and at times prescribed for ADHD and obesity, but due to the high risk for abuse it is prescribed quite rarely.

So yes, in the case of this TMZ article, the “experts” were more reliable than the “sources.” Someone should probably let Michael Lohan know though.

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  1. crystal says:

    will adderall show up as meth on my probation drug test

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