Can You Snort Crack Cocaine?

Crack cocaine forms when baking soda and ammonia are mixed with powdered cocaine and heat-treated until rock-like crystals result. This type of cocaine is commonly smoked, but it can be snorted, too.

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Dr. Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS


While crack cocaine is generally smoked, due to the intense and immediate high felt when the ‘crack’ hits your lungs, it can in fact be snorted, though this is a far less popular method of use.

It is not generally snorted because of how long it takes before the effects of cocaine are felt, as opposed to snorting its freebase form or simply smoking crack.

First, it must pass through the nasal passages, then to the heart, lungs, back to the heart, and eventually the brain. Snorting crack cocaine has a much slower onset of effects than smoking it.

Why People Snort Crack Cocaine

Some people are under the perception that snorting crack cocaine is safer and less addictive than smoking it, so they snort it instead. This is known as insufflation.

However, it can still be highly addictive and is not necessarily any safer than traditionally ingesting crack cocaine by smoking.

Effects Last Longer Than Smoking

Snorting crack cocaine can temper the immediate euphoric effects that make crack cocaine so highly sought-after due to how long it takes to work through the body and affect the brain.

However, the overall effects may last longer than with other methods of crack cocaine abuse.

Misconception That It’s Safer Than Smoking

Snorting crack cocaine is not safer than smoking it, plain and simple. While it does not produce the same effects on the lungs as smoking might, it still carries many health risks.

For instance, cardiovascular problems not commonly found with smoking crack cocaine can be facilitated, alongside the same risk of addiction.

Side Effects Of Snorting Crack Cocaine

Crack cocaine addiction can lead to a number of side effects, such as cocaine-induced psychosis and other mental health problems as the withdrawal symptoms begin to take effect.

Additionally, the body has to reorient itself by regulating body temperature and hormonal release, but this adjustment can be extremely unpleasant, severe, and even fatal.

Snorting crack also produces a number of pulmonary and other respiratory side effects, including cocaine-induced lung infections, nasal damage, asthma, and more.

Other side effects of snorting crack cocaine include:

  • dilated pupils and sensitivity to light and sound
  • septum damage
  • nosebleeds, runny noses, and nasal tissue damage
  • severe and unwanted weight loss

Health Risks Of Snorting Crack Cocaine

Snorting cocaine can lead to increased heart rate, potential cocaine overdose, above-average blood pressure, and heightened risk of heart attack.

Some of the health risks of crack addiction, as with substance abuse from opioids and other drugs, manifest themselves in severe cravings and other withdrawal symptoms.

These withdrawal symptoms can cause mental health disorders, behavioral changes, psychosis, heat flashes, and even sudden death.

It is also possible to damage the blood vessels, leading to infection and inflammation of the liver, known as hepatitis.

Will Snorting Crack Lead To Different Side Effects Than Smoking It?

While the drug still operates on the brain in the same manner when this extract of the coca plant is ingested in any form—intravenous use, snorting, or smoking—the effects can vary.

Because snorting crack cocaine takes longer to activate the neurotransmitters which regulate the release of dopamine, the effects are tempered and last far longer.

Every kind of cocaine use can lead to addiction, health risks, and painful or potentially fatal withdrawal symptoms.

Is Risk Of Overdose Higher When Snorting Crack?

When snorting cocaine, either in its rock or powder form, the risk of overdose is always present.

Some people accustomed to crack cocaine use may believe that they are mitigating the addictive qualities of cocaine due to the lack of immediate euphoric effects.

However, due to the quality of ‘street rock’, many samples could be laced with other drugs, such as fentanyl. This could mean that people who snort crack cocaine can easily overdose.

Further, the effects of crack cocaine take longer to appear when snorting the drug. People may take more and more of it, believing they have not taken a large enough dose.

High doses of a drug that are too large for a body to process is often the reason for drug overdose, including crack cocaine overdose.

Treatment Programs For Crack Cocaine Abuse

There are a number of treatment options to help those seeking recovery from crack cocaine abuse.

Some of the recovery programs and services available at drug treatment centers are:

  • inpatient and outpatient treatment programs
  • residential treatment opportunities
  • substance use education programs
  • telehealth services
  • detox
  • substance abuse counseling
  • therapy programs for individuals, groups, and family members
  • treatment in gender-specific settings
  • medication-assisted treatment (MAT) with buprenorphine, methadone, and more

Find Drug Addiction Treatment At Bedrock Recovery Center

If you or a loved one are in need of addiction treatment for cocaine drug use, give our free helpline a call today to discuss enrollment at Bedrock Recovery Center.

We offer intensive treatment for substance use, including detox, inpatient programs, support groups, and more. Contact us today to learn more.

  1. National Library of Medicine (NLM)
  2. National Library of Medicine (NLM)

Written by Bedrock Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Bedrock Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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