Can You Smoke Xanax? Dangers Of Smoking Alprazolam

Smoking Xanax is not the most common alternative way to abuse the drug, but it is increasingly smoked by young adults. Smoking any drug is usually a way to get a faster and more potent high, but smoking alprazolam comes with many health risks.

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Dr. Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS


Xanax is the brand name for alprazolam and is one of many prescription drugs in the benzodiazepine category.

Mental health or healthcare professionals prescribe the drug because of its ability to quickly depress the central nervous system to control acute symptoms of panic, anxiety, and more.

Because Xanax is such an effective anti-anxiety medication, it has high abuse potential.

The effects of Xanax are such that all worries seem to go away when you are on the medication, and side effects like drowsiness seem manageable.

But Xanax addiction, like all other forms of drug use, leads to an increased desire for a high that comes on quickly and more potently than previous uses of the drug.

This desire is often what prompts people to smoke Xanax versus alternative methods of Xanax abuse — to seek a faster onset of effects.

How Xanax Pills Are Smoked

Xanax pills are not water-soluble, but they can be crushed. People who smoke Xanax typically crush the pills into a powder to smoke them.

Theoretically, you could smoke alprazolam on its own. People who experience Xanax addiction commonly mix the powder form of the drug with tobacco or marijuana in either a joint or e-cigarette (vaping) to smoke it.

What Are The Risks Of Smoking Xanax?

It is easy to assume that since alprazolam is a prescription medication, smoking it is just a faster way to get the effects of Xanax.

But Xanax was meant to be swallowed as a pill, so smoking it comes with many dangers.

Increased Risk Of Respiratory Issues

Smoking alprazolam poses risks to your respiratory system. It can lead to a drop in your blood pressure and a depression of your respiratory system that can result in coma and can even be fatal.

Heart Attack

Smoking Xanax can even cause a heart attack. As your blood pressure plummets, your heart struggles to get blood back to its arteries, thus causing arrest.

Aspiration Pneumonitis

Aspiration pneumonitis is an infection in the lungs caused by particles that have been lodged there. This condition usually comes about when a person aspirates vomit. But it can also occur with smoking Xanax.

When you mix the crushed drug with tobacco and marijuana, particles of it can be sucked into your lungs before they burn with the other material.

Fillers Such As Fentanyl

Xanax tablets sold on the street are not always what they appear.

Many times they are mixed with other drugs, including:

  • other benzos like Klonopin (clonazepam)
  • etizolam, which is an analog of benzodiazepine but in a drug class called thieno diazepine
  • fentanyl

These combinations can be deadly and have been the subject of public health warnings from Australia to the United States, most recently in Carroll County, Maryland.

Xanax Overdose

Whenever you crush a drug and mix it with other drugs, it is hard to be exactly sure what dose you are actually taking.

Given the fact that opioids and other drugs that are commonly taken with Xanax also depress the central nervous system and respiratory system, the risk of Xanax overdose is high.

Why People Smoke Xanax

Addiction tends to lead to a search for a faster and more potent high. Xanax addiction is no exception.

People engaged in substance abuse of benzos can get high by snorting Xanax and even injecting it. Snorting Xanax is the most popular probably because it is the easiest.

The fastest way to get a high from Xanax is to inject it, but turning it into a solution is complicated.

Smoking is a middle step between snorting and injecting that provides the fastest high with not as much effort as injecting.

Treatment Programs For Xanax Addiction

Xanax addiction of any sort (smoking, snorting, injecting, or taking pills) is dangerous to your physical and mental health, but it can be broken.

Addiction treatment for Xanax drug abuse is available at treatment centers throughout the nation.

Most treatment programs for benzodiazepine drug addiction include:

  • inpatient and outpatient care
  • medical detox
  • management of withdrawal symptoms
  • evidence-based therapy
  • aftercare and support groups

Find Drug Treatment Services At Bedrock Recovery Center

Bedrock Recovery Center is an accredited treatment center located in Massachusetts, and we have many years of experience treating substance use disorders like Xanax abuse.

We understand how hard it can be to break an addiction, but we know that you or your loved one deserve the experience of a drug-free life.

If you are in need of addiction treatment, call our helpline today and get started on a new journey.

  1. Carroll County Health Department
  2. Journal of Adolescent Health
  3. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus
  4. NSW Health

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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