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Can You Smoke Xanax?

Xanax is the brand name for a benzodiazepine medication called alprazolam. It is prescribed to treat anxiety and seizure disorders. Despite the medical benefits of Xanax, it can be habit-forming and highly addictive. 

Research shows that 30.6 million adults used benzodiazepines in the last year, with 5.3 million of these individuals suffering from addiction.[1]

Typically, when people abuse Xanax they swallow the pill. Over time, individuals may develop a tolerance to the drug, causing them to seek new ways to increase the potency of their Xanax. As a result, they may begin snorting or smoking Xanax, which can be incredibly dangerous. 

If you or a loved one abuse benzodiazepines, learning the dangers of smoking Xanax can prevent you from experiencing life-threatening effects. 

What are the Effects of Xanax?

Xanax is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant, meaning it slows down the activity in your brain. The medication effectively decreases symptoms of anxiety and helps to prevent seizures among individuals with conditions like epilepsy. Xanax also increases the levels of a brain chemical called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), leading to feelings of calmness and relaxation. 

Other than drowsiness and relaxation, taking Xanax can produce an array of side effects. These side effects include:[2]

  • drowsiness
  • light-headedness
  • headache
  • tiredness
  • dizziness
  • irritability
  • talkativeness
  • difficulty concentrating
  • dry mouth
  • increased salivation
  • changes in sex drive or ability
  • nausea
  • constipation
  • changes in appetite
  • weight changes
  • difficulty urinating
  • joint pain

Can You Smoke Xanax?

Typically, people abusing Xanax swallow the pills to experience the effects of the drugs, but individuals using this substance can develop a tolerance quickly. As their tolerance increases, a person might be inclined to begin trying new methods of administration, like smoking. 

While it is possible to smoke Xanax pills, doing so can be extremely dangerous. People who smoke Xanax crush the pills into a powder and mix the substance with marijuana, tobacco, or other drugs in a joint or e-cigarette. Other individuals may wrap the Xanax powder in foil to smoke it. 

You might believe that any use of Xanax is safe because the substance is prescribed by a doctor. Unfortunately, this is not true. Any use of Xanax that a doctor does not explicitly direct can result in dangerous and sometimes life-threatening side effects. 

The Dangers of Smoking Xanax

Smoking Xanax is incredibly dangerous and can increase the risks already associated with the drug. Xanax is already potent when it is in its original form, and once you begin snorting or smoking the drug, you are at risk of becoming addicted at a much faster rate or suffering from an overdose. 

Also, smoking any substance puts you at risk of suffering from burns, respiratory illnesses, and certain cancers.

The dangers of smoking Xanax include:


When you crush up Xanax pills to smoke them, it can be difficult to determine how much of it you are using. Smoking Xanax also causes you to experience the full effects of the substance faster than if you simply swallowed the pill, placing you at an increased risk of overdose.

The symptoms of a Xanax overdose include:

  • Impaired coordination 
  • Reduced reflexes 
  • Slurred speech 
  • Drowsiness 
  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Reduced respiratory rate 
  • Coma 
  • Death 

If you suspect that someone is overdosing on Xanax, contact emergency medical services immediately.


When you smoke any substance, it will reach your bloodstream quicker than if the substance was swallowed. This causes the effects of Xanax to become much more potent, and therefore more addictive.

Xanax addiction can lead to an array of behavioral changes, social isolation, financial issues, increased mental health symptoms, and the development of physical health conditions. Over time, you will develop a tolerance to the drug, and you will have to repeatedly increase your dosage, which also puts you at a higher risk of overdose. And, when you stop taking Xanax, you may experience dangerous symptoms of withdrawal.

Laced Xanax

Lastly, many people who abuse Xanax do not have a doctor’s prescription for it. Instead, they are buying the drug off of the street. Purchasing illicit Xanax comes with a significantly increased risk of receiving Xanax pills that contain other substances, like the deadly opioid fentanyl. 

If you are smoking Xanax which contains adulterants like fentanyl, you could experience a fatal overdose after only one hit of the drug. If you must abuse Xanax that does not come directly from a doctor you should always use fentanyl testing strips to prevent accidental ingestion and overdose

Finding Help for Xanax Abuse and Addiction

If you or a loved one suffer from Xanax addiction, attending a professional drug rehab program can help you achieve long-term recovery. With a combination of medical detox, individual therapy, group counseling, and relapse prevention planning, these programs can provide you with everything you need to regain control over your life.

At Mandala Healing Center, our Xanax detox and treatment program can help you get started with your recovery. Using a holistic approach, we treat the “whole person” and make sure they are fully prepared to achieve life-long recovery. Call now to get started.