: Why do we snort some drugs and inhale others?

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You smoke weed, but snort coke.
What would happen if I snort weed (hypothetically, if even possible) and inhale coke(like the powder)?

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Powders in to the nose where they get absorbed by your nose bits which are evolved to trap powders (well dust). Smoke goes into the lungs which catch the fine smoke with lots of surface area.

If you snort week besides feeling really really terrible about it it would just get stuck, you’d swallow it and it’d be more like an edible.

If you somehow inhaled coke past your nose you would probably start coughing real bad as your lungs do not appreciate being filled with powder.

Can’t give a technical answer as to why we snort some and inhale others on a chemical and biological level, as I don’t have the academic background. But I assume it’s largely about the consistency/form of each substance. Ie- Some are liquid and have to be injected, some are only activated when burned, some are light enough to be able to enter the nasal cavity with a sniff, etc. I think it’s literally just about what’s easiest, workable, and most comfortable given the form of the drug.

To answer the second part of your question:

Snort weed = having a bunch of what is essentially little baby leaves stuck in your nostrils and maybe getting in your throat. If you would try with oil, it would feel like when water goes up your nose but would be way thicker and probably burn like hell.

Inhale coke = I mean…you do inhale coke lol. But I’m assuming you mean through the mouth, given your other example. That would just be taking the most painful route. It would technically work since it just needs to enter your bloodstream in some way, but why would you want to subject yourself to that.

Marijuana is a plant. It is not an artificially created drug, like cocaine, heroin, or even Aspirin or Tylenol. Those are all designed to be easily absorbed into the body and bloodstream. Anything like the natural fiber and cell walls of the source material has been stripped away. So you can very easily enter it into your bloodstream via the mucus membranes of the nose. If you ground up weed and snorted it, all the plant stuff gets in the way of absorbing it.

Cocaine also comes from a plant, but it’s highly concentrated. Chewing the leaves of the plant it comes from or brewing it into tea is an easy enough folk remedy for altitude sickness and has been used for hundreds of years. But to turn it into a drug requires extraction and concentration. Smoking the leaves wouldn’t make you nearly as high as snorting the final, processed drug.

You could do the same to marijuana, make an injectable or snortable form, but burning and inhaling it works just as well. You can also extract it into an ingestible form easily enough. But weed is also a pretty low effort drug. You plant some seeds, let it grow, and smoke it. Most users are happy enough with that arrangement and it makes a potent enough dose that you don’t need to turn it into a whole operation.

You can smoke coke, you could probably snort fine powdered bud too.

In the end people use the method that gets the drug to the brain in the most effective manner.

So the real answer lies in solubility.

Recreational cocaine and methamphetamine are manufactured as hydrochloride salts which makes them quickly dissolve in water. Morphine diamorphine (heroin) are water-soluble compounds isolated from raw opium.

Upon contact with moist mucous membranes, water-soluble drugs dissolve and pass into the bloodstream; the finer the powder, the faster it dissolves. Blood vessels that supply mucous membranes in the nasal cavity are very close to the skin surface which speeds absorption and onset of the drug’s effects. However, water-soluble drugs will pass across any mucous membrane.

Powdered opiates dissolve more slowly than hydrochloride salts. Incorrect opiate dosing can be fatal. Dosage control and the speed of onset make injection preferable to insufflation.

THC has very low solubility in water. Even high-THC forms of dried cannabis flower contain considerably more inert plant material than drug. Therefore, insufflation is ineffective.

When heated, THC becomes an aerosol with particles small enough to diffuse into the bloodstream through the lungs. Burning cannabis flower and oil actually destroys THC. It is more efficient to consume cannabis by heating it to a point just short of pyrolysis.

Like THC, the other drugs mentioned above can be heated and inhaled, which greatly speeds their absorption.