The Properties of Methamphetamine
Methamphetamine can either exist as a "left-handed" molecule named /-methamphetamine or a "right-handed" molecule called d-methamphetamine. The left and right meth molecules are mirror images of one another. Mirror images represent one same molecule but with different arrangements in space. Such arrangements may not be superimposed. One's right and left hands are an example of mirror images. A helpful way to remember their meanings is as the "drug" or "/egal" forms of methamphetamine. The d- form of meth has a strong stimulant effect on the brain; its effects on the brain are about three to four times more potent than those from the /- form.2, 9
Due to differences in potency, /-methamphetamine provides medicinal benefits without any of the addictive potential contained in the illegal d-methamphetamine. The /- form of methamphet-amine is used in some cold medicines, such as Vicks Inhaler, an over-the-counter nasal decongestant. However, to avoid confusion with the illegal version of meth, the manufacturer calls the active ingredient desoxyephedrine.2
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