Snorting meth

Snorting meth (methamphetamine) can cause short and long term effects which result in physical and mental deterioration and even death. More on effects of snorting meth here.

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Snorting, or nasal insufflation, is one of the ways in which meth (methamphetamine) can be ingested. In fact, snorting is often preferred because of the speed at which it metabolizes. But if you are considering snorting meth, you should be aware of the effects it has on your body and brain.

The following is a review of what occurs in the body when snorting meth, as well as the dangers and safety concerns of this practice. We welcome questions about snorting meth or helping meth addiction at the end of this article.  We try to answer all legitimate questions with a personal reply ASAP.

Meth: What are you really snorting?

The active ingredients in methamphetamine are pseudoephedrine or ephedrine, ingredients generally used as antihistamines or allergy medicines. In addition to these chemicals, the meth that people snort for recreation also includes other dangerous chemical compounds. Quite often, in order to make this street drug, those who cook it use ordinary substances around the home ore easily purchased to produce the drug. Some of these items include: acetone, rubbing alcohol, iodine, starter fluid (used for its ether), gas additives (which contain methanol), drain cleaners,( for its sulfuric acid), match tips (they contain red phosphorus), lye, paint thinner, rock salt and lithium from batteries.

How does snorting meth affect the body?

Once methamphetamine is introduced into the system you can experience an increases in energy, making one extremely alert, while also decreasing appetite. There is also an intense rush, or sense of euphoria that is felt almost immediately. These pleasurable sensations are why people ingest meth.  However, you also risk an overdose on meth, stroke, and irreversible damage to the brain when you snort meth.

Snorting meth to get high

The euphoria from meth is caused when the methamphetamine causes high levels of dopamine to be released in the area of the brain which controls the feelings of pleasure. How long does meth work?  Methamphetamine effects can last up to 12 hours. However, chronic use of methamphetamine causes a tolerance to build up. When this happens, the user needs to take higher doses in order to achieve the desired effect. Taking it more frequently or using other methods than snorting to ingest the drug also help intensify the effect.

In extreme cases, the user will refrain from eating and sleeping and begin a “run,” which is a binge period in which they snort as much as a gram of methamphetamine every 2 to 3 hours over a period of several days.

Snorting meth vs. oral

The way in which methamphetamines are ingested alters the mood in different ways. For example, after a person either smokes or intravenously injects meth, he will experience an intense rush, also called “flash” which lasts only a few minutes, but is extremely pleasurable.

Snorting or ingesting meth orally also produces a sense of euphoria, but the intensity is not as great as when smoking or injecting. Snorting, however, results in a quicker effect of the drug, taking only 3 to 5 minutes to create the sensation. Orally ingesting meth can take as long as 20 minutes to create the desired effect.

Snorting meth side effects

Snorting methamphetamine, even in small doses, can cause increased wakefulness as well as a variety of cardiovascular reactions, including rapid or irregular heartbeats. Increased blood pressure is also quite common, as is hyperthermia, an elevation in body temperature. Short-term meth side effects may include:

  • decreased appetite
  • euphoria and rush
  • hyperthermia
  • increased activity and wakefulness
  • increased attention and decreased fatigue
  • increased respiration
  • rapid/irregular heartbeat

Snorting meth dangers

Perhaps the most insidious danger of snorting methamphetamine is that it results in addiction. In short, it causes the user to compulsively seek and use the drug while causing functional and molecular changes in the brain. Other dangers of chronic use include anxiety, confusion, insomnia, mood disturbance and violent behavior. Users can also exhibit paranoia, visual and auditory hallucinations, including delusions – such as the sensation of insects creeping under the skin. These effects may last for months or even years after the methamphetamine abuse has ended.

Methamphetamine abuse can also lead to an increased risk of stroke and irreversible damage to the brain.  Some of the long-term effects of snorting meth dangers include:

  • addiction
  • aggressive or violent behavior
  • changes in brain structure and function
  • memory Loss
  • mood disturbances
  • psychosis, including paranoia, hallucinations, repetitive motor activity
  • severe dental problems
  • weight loss

Abusing meth by snorting it (or taking it in any other way, for that matter) can take its toll on your health and quickly lead to addiction. Do you suspect that you or a loved one may have developed a problem with meth? Take your life back by taking matters into your own hands. Get prepared for what to expect when you seek help from methamphetamine addiction treatment programs.

Let’s verify your coverage for treatment at an American Addiction Centers location. Your information is always confidential.


Snorting Meth Safely

No known use for snorting methamphetamine has been found to be useful or safe. The active ingredients in meth are already used to treat colds and allergies. Other forms of meth, very low doses administered under a doctor’s supervision, are used to treat narcolepsy, ADD and ADHD, but even these are ingested orally – not snorted.

Snorting meth questions

If you still have any questions about snorting meth, please let us know. We will try to respond to all meth questions with a personal and prompt reply.

Reference Sources: NIDA: Research Reports: Methampheatmine Abuse & Addiction
Drug Facts section of the Office of National Drug Control Policy: Methamphetamine 
Illinois State Attorney General Office: INGREDIENTS AND MATERIALS USED TO MAKE 
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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