Snorting Cocaine

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The act of snorting cocaine can conjure images of a glamorous party-hearty lifestyle where glamorously dressed men and women cut up cocaine on mirrors and snort it through rolled-up hundred-dollar bills. But the truth is much different.

If you or someone close to you is struggling with a substance use disorder, Guardian Recovery can help. We will work with you to develop an individualized and effective program to help you recover from addiction and get you started on the road to long-term recovery. We believe in the benefits of a full curriculum of clinical care, beginning with medical detoxification, transitioning into a higher level of treatment, and concluding with personalized aftercare planning. Contact us today to learn more about our treatment options in your area.

Illicit cocaine use and dependency cut across almost every age and social stratum, causing damage to every aspect of a user’s life.

According to the 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 1.7% (4.8 million people) of those surveyed, age 12 or older, reported using cocaine, and 0.5% (about 1.4 million) had a cocaine use disorder in the previous 12 months.

There are three primary ways people use cocaine: smoking, snorting, and injecting. Some users also opt to rub powdered cocaine on their gums.

Users often find snorting cocaine more convenient than smoking or injecting it because it requires fewer tools, which makes it convenient at parties and other events where drug use occurs.

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Difference Between Snorting & Other Methods of Use

The main difference between snorting, smoking, and injecting is the time the drug takes to enter your bloodstream, but each method has its own risks and potential for addiction.

Snorted cocaine can take 30 to 45 minutes to enter the bloodstream, but the high lasts longer.

When you inject cocaine, it enters the blood immediately, creating an intense euphoria lasting up to three hours.

When smoking cocaine, it enters your bloodstream almost immediately and produces a sudden but short-lived high. Smoking cocaine may be the most dangerous way to consume it because its effects are more potent than snorting or injecting it. The short, intense high makes it the most addictive method.

Risks & Dangers of Snorting Cocaine

Cocaine is a highly addictive substance whose effects on the body are seemingly endless.

When you use cocaine, it increases the dopamine your brain produces, leading to a sense of euphoria. Continued use of the substance can deplete your brain of dopamine, which causes cravings that lead to even more use. The longer you use cocaine, the more damage occurs in your brain. You can develop mental health disorders. Neurons in your brain can die, slowing brain function. You can lose gray matter, impacting memory, movement, speech, emotions, and sensory perceptions.

Cocaine can also damage your heart, respiratory, immune, and digestive systems.

Babies born to people who use cocaine during pregnancy are often born prematurely, have low birth rates, and can suffer from Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome. Cocaine use can also cause miscarriage and placental abruption — a serious condition where the placenta separates from the uterus wall, causing heavy bleeding and possible death for mother and baby.

Infections & Diseases

Substance abuse can lead to poor decision-making and lead to risky behaviors like trading sex for drugs and needle sharing. These activities will put you at risk of getting infectious diseases like HIV, hepatitis, chlamydia, and other sexually transmitted infections. If your immune system is compromised by cocaine use, your body will be less able to fight off these and other diseases.

Loss of Smell & Sinus & Throat Issues

When you snort cocaine, it gets absorbed by the delicate mucous membranes that line the inside of your nose. Exposure to cocaine makes these membranes irritated and inflamed. That irritation can be made worse by the additives dealers use to cut the cocaine. Common cocaine additives include laxatives, caffeine, boric acid, and laundry detergent.

Cocaine also reduces blood flow to your nose, causing the blood vessels in your nasal cavity to narrow. This narrowing deprives your nose of oxygen and makes you more susceptible to nose-related complications, including:

  • Loss of sense of smell.
  • Nose bleeds.
  • Trouble swallowing.
  • Hoarseness.
  • Runny nose that won’t stop.

Laced Cocaine

Cocaine comes from the cocoa plant native to Central and South America. It is processed in labs in those countries into its pure form and then transported to dealers and middlemen who mix it with other substances before selling it. Some of those substances are everyday household items like flour, baking soda, and talcum powder. Others are illicit drugs, including:

  • Ecstasy (MDMA).
  • Fentanyl.
  • Heroin.
  • Methamphetamine.

This latter group increases the toxicity of cocaine, increasing the chance of overdose and death.

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Adverse Effects Snorting Cocaine Can Have on the Body

Snorting cocaine can have multiple effects on the body — some temporary and others longer-term.

Short-term Effects

The short-term effects of smoking cocaine include:

  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature.
  • Dilated pupils.
  • Restlessness.
  • Anxiety.
  • Paranoia.
  • Agitation.
  • Aggression.

Long-term Risks & Effects

The long-term effects of smoking cocaine include the following:

  • Organ damage.
  • Severe heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.
  • Loss of appetite that can lead to malnutrition.
  • Hallucinations and psychosis.

Healing From Cocaine Snorting Effects & Withdrawal

Successful long-term healing from cocaine is hard to do alone. Reputable addiction treatment centers like Guardian Recovery offer a full range of therapies, nutrition support, clinical services, and holistic approaches to help you heal on every level. With the support of experienced substance use professionals, you can focus on the physical and psychological aspects of healing while giving your body the time it needs to rejuvenate through rest and healthy activities like yoga, meditation, and exercise.

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Snorting cocaine may seem like a convenient way to get high, but it can quickly lead to an addiction that is hard to shake. It’s important to remember that recovery is possible and that choosing the right addiction treatment center for you is essential to long-term recovery. At Guardian Recovery, we provide comprehensive treatment, including medically-assisted detox, therapy, specialty programs, and reintegration support. Our caring and experienced administrative, medical, and clinical teams will guide you through every step of your recovery process from the first time you call. We provide a complimentary assessment and a free insurance benefits check and help coordinate local travel to our facility. All you or your loved one has to do is ask for help; we will take care of the rest. Contact us today.

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Disclaimer: Does not guarantee specific treatment outcomes, as individual results may vary. Our services are not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis; please consult a qualified healthcare provider for such matters.

  1. https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/cocaine/what-cocaine
  2. https://www.samhsa.gov/data/report/2021-nsduh-annual-national-report
  3. https://www.marchofdimes.org/find-support/topics/planning-baby/neonatal-abstinence-syndrome-nas
  4. https://www.mirecc.va.gov/cih-visn2/Documents/Provider_Education_Handouts/Cocaine_Information_Sheet_for_BHPs_Version_3.pdf

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Reviewed professionally for accuracy by:

Ryan Soave

L.M.H.C.

Ryan Soave brings deep experience as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, certified trauma therapist, program developer, and research consultant for Huberman Lab at Stanford University Department of Neurobiology. Post-graduation from Wake Forest University, Ryan quickly discovered his acumen for the business world. After almost a decade of successful entrepreneurship and world traveling, he encountered a wave of personal and spiritual challenges; he felt a calling for something more. Ryan returned to school and completed his Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling. When he started working with those suffering from addiction and PTSD, he found his passion. He has never looked back.

Written by:

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Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark grew up in Santa Barbara, CA and graduated from UCLA with a degree in playwriting. Since then she has been writing on addiction recovery and psychology full-time, and has found a home as part of the Guardian Recovery team.

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