Any use of Xanax outside of a prescription is misuse. People who misuse Xanax may choose to snort or smoke it to feel its effects faster. These practices are very dangerous.

Xanax Use and Abuse

Alprazolam, known by its brand name Xanax, is a popular benzodiazepine commonly prescribed to people who have panic or anxiety disorders. In rare instances, it may be used to treat premenstrual symptoms or agoraphobia (fear of open spaces).

Medline Plus explains that it decreases activity in the brain to bring about a sense of calm.

Xanax is available as a regular and extended-release tablet, a dissolving tablet, and an oral solution. The medication is habit-forming even when taken as directed.

As such, patients are instructed not to suddenly quit taking Xanax if they become concerned over its effects. No one should take Xanax more often or in larger doses than what is prescribed.

The medication still contains the potential to be misused, and patients are instructed not to share their medicine with anyone else. Laws govern the possession of Xanax, and people can only obtain a certain number of refills.

But what if the person taking Xanax is not a patient? Public figures have spoken out about addiction to Xanax.

Korn’s lead singer, Jonathan Davis, spoke out about having to quit Xanax to improve his mental health in an interview with Forbes magazine in June 2018. Davis testified that Xanax should not be taken for long periods of time due to its associated risks.

How Xanax Affects the Brain and Body

Beyond slowing down activity in the brain, Xanax is known to cause brain damage, as mentioned by Psychology Today. The medical community has shown concern over the effects of Xanax and other benzodiazepines since the 1970s.

Scientists have known that long-term use of benzodiazepines damages the brain since at least 1982. In 1989, an expert in anxiety, Isaac Marks, published a scathing report on the merits of Xanax. Marks cited brain scans that showed enlarged ventricles in patients who used benzodiazepines for a long time.

In 1990, the American Psychiatric Association Task Force finally made a list of withdrawal symptoms.

Xanax also affects the body. Medline Plus outlines various side effects of Xanax.

  •  Sleepiness
  •  Boost in salivation
  •  Dry mouth
  •  Constipation
  •  Weight fluctuations
  •  Difficulty focusing

These side effects can take place regardless of how Xanax is used. But recreational use of Xanax increases the likelihood of such effects.

The Rise of Xanax as a Recreational Drug

Any use of Xanax for nonmedical reasons is recreational use. Many users become dependent on Xanax, and counterfeit versions of this medication are sold on the street.

A 2016 article from New York Post warns that counterfeit Xanax tablets make it easy for someone to take too much Xanax. Some tablets sold contain 2.5 mg of alprazolam, which is roughly ten times more than what a doctor would prescribe.

Taking Xanax regularly results in a quick building of tolerance. Increased access to counterfeit Xanax puts individuals at risk of taking alprazolam that is stronger than they can handle and adulterated with unknown components.

Illicit Xanax sold on the street, dark web, and on obscure social media channels could possibly contain lethal amounts of fentanyl. There have been significant seizures of counterfeit Xanax and other fake prescription pills by federal law drug and law enforcement agencies. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reports that fake pills containing the highly potent opioid have escalated “nearly 430 percent since 2019.” It also reports that its labs found that two out of every five pills with fentanyl contain a potentially lethal dose ( 2 mg (milligrams) or more).

Some users alter their method of intake for a quicker, more intense high. They may crush the pills and snort the resulting powder. They may also attempt to smoke Xanax.

Can You Snort Xanax?

Can You Snort Xanax?

Xanax can be snorted, but it is imperative to share what happens when you crush the tablets and inhale the Xanax powder. 

After inhaling the drug, it is rapidly absorbed through the mucous membranes in your nasal passages and into the bloodstream and brain. The effects of the substance occur much faster in the central nervous system. A medical study conducted on the differences between inhaled versus oral doses of alprazolam (Xanax) found that the effects from snorting Xanax occurred within two minutes versus 49 minutes when a Xanax pill was consumed. This is what causes the intense high. Snorting benzos will have this effect on anyone who abuses these medications in this way. Snorting clonazepam (Klonopin) also has the same effect. 

The potential for abuse of Xanax was also increased when the drug was snorted, as noted in the above-mentioned study, “The inhaled route of administration modestly increased the abuse potential of alprazolam despite significantly increasing its rate of onset.” 

Dangers of Snorting Xanax

Dangers of Snorting Xanax

Snorting any drug is dangerous. Snorting often results in feeling stronger effects of the substance.

Snorting involves crushing a drug, often with a razor, until it becomes a powder. It is then divided into sections called “lines” and snorted with an implement, such as a paper that has been rolled or a straw. 

Absorption of any drug is higher using this method. It travels throughout the bloodstream thanks to the soft tissue inside the nose. The main reasons people choose to snort Xanax are:

  • For pleasurable feelings (a high) that are stronger than when Xanax is taken as instructed.
  • To speed up the onset of Xanax’s effects.
  • Because of the misconception that snorting a drug is safe.

Snorting Xanax will force a faster reaction because most pills are made to release the drug slowly into the bloodstream. Crushing it and taking it suddenly makes Xanax more dangerous and can contribute to long-term misuse.

Many of the following consequences listed may become permanent symptoms if you regularly inhale Xanax:

  • Chronic nasal airway inflammation
  • Damage to the nasal passages
  • Sinusitis
  • Chronic nosebleeds
  • Loss of smell
  • Irritation to the airway
  • Constant runny nose
  • Vomiting
  • Problems with swallowing
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Seizures
  • Comas

Sniffing Xanax also causes the same results and can lead to the effects ending quicker and withdrawal symptoms beginning sooner. If you sniff or snort benzos, your system will more likely become tolerant to the effects quicker than if you swallowed the drugs.

Many of these symptoms occur because the stronger effects of snorted Xanax may be too much for a person. 

Dangers of Smoking Xanax

Dangers of Smoking Xanax

Not much is known about how people smoke Xanax since taking the drug orally and snorting it are popular methods of intake. When Xanax is crushed into a powder, it is possible to smoke it. 

Online commenters have self-reported mixing remnants of other benzodiazepines into tobacco after dissolving them with glycerin. Others reported mixing Xanax into their marijuana, crushing it into a powder and wrapping it in foil, or using other benzodiazepines on e-cigarettes. 

Smoking Xanax could be dangerous because it may encourage people to mix the medication with other substances. Heating it could also change how it works, and the effects on people who smoke benzodiazepines of any kind have not been examined.

Smoking any drug can result in a bevy of negative effects, such as respiratory issues, mouth burns, and future cancers.

Xanax and Weed

Another question often asked is, “can you smoke weed on Xanax?” The answer is yes, but you should know that the effects of both substances become unpredictable when you do. Both drugs can slow down the messages from the brain to your body and back. Some of the effects from Xanax use could be reduced, thus resulting in taking more of it and risking overdose, as Healthline says. In addition, these side effects could occur if you smoke weed on Xanax:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Impaired judgment
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Slurred speed
  • Slowed motor coordination

These side effects by themselves or in combination with the others are dangerous and can result in sustaining injuries. It is best not to smoke marijuana when using Xanax.

How to Stop Snorting or Smoking Xanax Safely

How to Stop Snorting or Smoking Xanax Safely

Snorting or smoking Xanax is considered abusing the medication. Despite that status, many people still misuse this medicine to get high, even when they know the risks of addiction and overdose are apparent. If this is you or someone you care about and want to end the abuse of Xanax, there are safe ways to do it.

Tapering off the drug is one way, but it is often difficult for someone to wean themselves off Xanax once they are addicted to it. As a benzo, Xanax has intense withdrawal symptoms, which require medical supervision to avoid serious physical harm and illness. Delphi Behavioral Health Group’s network of mental health and substance use treatment centers provides licensed medical care teams and are accredited facilities offering medical detox for individuals struggling to end Xanax abuse. Additionally, residential and outpatient treatment programs are available and employ evidence-based behavioral therapies, which have been proven to be exceptionally beneficial in helping people overcome substance use and maintain sobriety throughout recovery.

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