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Snorting Meth | Effects & Dangers Of Meth Insufflation

Published on January 15, 2021
snorting meth and the dangers of meth insufflation

Methamphetamine, or meth, is a highly addictive drug. As a central nervous system stimulant, it causes an intense rush of energy and happiness by increasing the amount of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a brain chemical associated with pleasure and reward. 

While some people abuse methamphetamine by smoking it, injecting it, or swallowing it in pill form, others snort it. 

How Do People Snort Meth?

The most popular forms of meth are:

People who snort meth use the drug’s powder form. If they don’t have it, they may crush crystal meth or meth pills into a makeshift powder.

They then inhale the powder through a straw, hollowed out pen, or rolled up dollar bill. The drug gets absorbed by blood vessels in the nose. 

Snorting Vs. Smoking Meth

Smoking is usually considered the most common form of methamphetamine use. Most people smoke meth by heating crystal meth in a pipe or bowl and inhaling the vapors.  

This method gets you high almost instantly. Snorting meth, on the other hand, won’t produce a high for up to five minutes. In addition, people who snort meth experience less intense highs than those who smoke it. 

Effects Of Snorting Meth 

Because snorting meth produces a milder, more gradual high than smoking meth, some people assume it’s safer. However, all forms of methamphetamine abuse pose the same short-term and long-term risks

Short-term side effects of meth use may include:

  • hyperactivity 
  • sweating
  • increased blood pressure
  • increased heart rate
  • increased body temperature, which may cause fainting
  • faster breathing
  • dry mouth
  • decreased appetite
  • trouble sleeping
  • mood swings
  • irritability
  • anxiety
  • conusion
  • paranoia
  • delusions (beliefs that aren’t based in reality)
  • hallucinations (seeing, hearing, or feeling things that aren’t there)
  • excessive scratching due to a hallucination that bugs are crawling on or under the skin
  • nausea and vomiting

Long-term side effects of meth use may include:

  • sores and scabs from excessive scratching
  • severe tooth decay and gum disease (also called “meth mouth”)
  • bloodborne diseases like Hepatitis C and HIV from sharing drug paraphernalia or having unprotected sex while high
  • permanent brain damage
  • liver, kidney, and lung damage
  • heart attack or stroke due to high blood pressure

Also, because the inside of your nose is very delicate, snorting meth poses unique dangers like:

  • damaged nasal passages and nose lining
  • damaged sinuses
  • frequent nosebleeds

Meth Addiction & Overdose

Like all methods of meth use, snorting meth poses a high risk of addiction (also called substance use disorder) and overdose. In some cases, it may pose an even higher risk than other methods.

That’s because it produces a milder high. To feel a stronger high, a person may snort larger or more frequent amounts of meth. The more meth you use and the more often you use it, the higher the risk of addiction and overdose.  

Addiction is a serious disease that causes:

  • loss of interest in activities and relationships you once enjoyed
  • tolerance, which means you need increasingly higher doses of the drug to feel the desired effects
  • physical dependence, which means your body relies on the drug to function normally

If you’re physically dependent on meth and stop using it, you may experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms like:

  • intense cravings for meth
  • extreme exhaustion
  • anxiety
  • depression

Addiction also makes you more likely to overdose. Common signs of meth overdose include:

  • trouble breathing
  • chest pain
  • seizures
  • loss of consciousness (coma)

Call 911 immediately if you or someone you know experiences these symptoms.

If you or a loved one struggles with meth use, please contact an Ark Behavioral Health specialist to learn about our substance abuse and addiction treatment programs, which provide services like medical detox, mental health counseling, and peer support groups. 

Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
This page does not provide medical advice.

National Institute on Drug Abuse - How is methamphetamine misused?
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration - Know the Risks of Meth
U.S. National Library of Medicine - Methamphetamine overdose

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