What Does Crystal Meth Look Like?

crystal meth

What Does Crystal Meth Look Like?

Methamphetamine or “crystal meth” is a highly addictive and potent stimulant drug. Meth is a man-made drug that was historically given to soldiers in World War II to keep them awake and alert.[1]

Crystal meth is made with a substance found in many cold medicines – pseudoephedrine. However, illicit methamphetamine may contain an array of unknown chemicals. This is because individuals illegally manufacture meth in their own homes.[2]

While methamphetamine is rarely prescribed, it may be used to treat severe cases of obesity and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).[3] However, this is rare due to the serious adverse health effects associated with methamphetamine use.

Because methamphetamine is highly addictive, it is important to know what it looks like. Being aware of what crystal meth looks like could allow you to get an addicted loved one the help they need.

What Does Meth Look Like?

Most commonly, meth is found in either a powdery substance or in crystalline form. However, meth may also be sold in pills or as a liquid.

While meth is usually a translucent white color, criminal meth manufacturers may add food coloring to change the color. This became popular when the TV show “Breaking Bad” came out, featuring bright blue-colored crystal methamphetamine.

If you suspect that your loved one is abusing crystal meth, being aware of how it looks (in all of its forms) can help you get them the treatment they need.

Powdered Meth

Powdered meth is extremely common among users who prefer to snort the drug. However, IV meth users and individuals who prefer to swallow meth may seek out the powdered form as well.

Powdered meth looks similar to cocaine, however, meth is translucent. Typically, powdered meth is white, but it can come in a variety of colors including yellow, pink, green, blue, and even red. The way the meth was made will affect its color.

Crystal Meth

Crystal meth is created by dissolving powdered meth in a solvent. This form of methamphetamine looks like shards of glass.[2]

Most of the time, crystal meth is see-through. However, it can have a slightly cloudy appearance depending on what the meth was cut with.

Crystal meth is usually smoked or injected. This form of methamphetamine is more desirable to long-term users, as it produces a longer and more intense high than powdered meth. Individuals who use large amounts of crystal meth are at risk of experiencing psychosis.

Meth Pills (Desoxyn)

While prescription meth is rare, there is a pill that contains methamphetamine. Desoxyn is a prescription pill made of methamphetamine hydrochloride and is intended to treat severe obesity or ADHD.[4]

Meth pills may be available illicitly due to drug dealers getting their hands on Desoxyn prescriptions illegally. These pills come in a green or reddish-orange color and are usually very small.

While most people take meth pills orally, individuals abusing methamphetamine may crush the pill up to snort or inject it. Meth pills are increasingly common in the American rave scene, often being sold as MDMA.

Liquid Meth

As drug trafficking laws become more strict, drug traffickers are becoming more creative. To explain, many drug traffickers dissolve meth into a liquid when moving the drug into the country.

Liquid meth is dark yellow or brown. Typically, the substance is similar to a syrupy consistency. While liquid meth is popular among drug traffickers, it is usually reverted into a powder or crystal substance before it is sold.

What Does Meth Taste Like?

Crystal meth tends to have a bitter, chemical taste. Meth users have reported slight tastes of ammonia, burning plastic, sulfur, and various inorganic chemicals. The taste of meth tends to be extremely strong.

Because methamphetamine tends to taste very bad, many people avoid swallowing the drug. The taste of crystal meth can be extremely difficult to tolerate, making snorting, smoking, or injecting the drug “preferred” methods of use.

What Does Meth Smell Like?

While some people describe meth as odorless, others describe an ammonia-like scent. Additionally, some meth may smell sweet while other batches of meth smell bitter. Overall, the way meth smells depends on how it was made.

Examples of what meth may smell like while being cooked or smoked:

  • Nail polish remover or paint thinner
  • Vinegar
  • Fertilizer or bug spray
  • Household cleaning products
  • Cat urine or ammonia
  • Rotten eggs
  • Burning plastic

What Does a Meth Pipe Look Like?

Meth pipes are also referred to as oil burners. Also, crystal meth pipes are sold at gas stations and smoke shops as “glass roses” under the guise of a Valentines day gift. The pipes will contain a fake flower on the inside.

Most meth pipes have a long straight pipe that is about the diameter of a pinky finger. This is the end that individuals put their mouths on when smoking meth. The end of the straight pipe will have a big glass bulb.

Meth pipes may have some screen on the inside to catch any residue from falling out. Users put the meth into the bulb section of the pipe to heat it and smoke it.

What Does Meth Residue Look Like?

When someone is smoking meth there will be residue leftover in their pipe. When the residue is not burnt from overheating, it will appear white and translucent. This form of meth residue almost resembles a crystallized spider web on the inside of a meth pipe.

If the meth was overheated or burnt, the meth pipe will appear to have coffee-colored stains all over the inside of the glass. The residue from smoking meth in a pipe is usually found in the bulb section of the pipe.

Finding Help for Meth Addiction

If you or a loved one suffer from meth addiction, recovery is possible. Meth addiction can be extremely difficult to overcome, especially without professional help. Thankfully, addiction treatment centers like Florida Recovery Group are here to provide you with the support you need.

Contact Florida Recovery Group today for more information on our methamphetamine addiction treatment program.


  1. https://commons.lib.jmu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1127&context=madrush
  2. https://www.justice.gov/archive/olp/methawareness/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK535356/
  4. https://reference.medscape.com/drug/desoxyn-methamphetamine-999218