Xanax is the brand name for the anti-anxiety medication alprazolam. While over an estimated 30 million people use this drug for its on-label benefits, it’s commonly misused. You may have wondered, “Can you smoke Xanax?” You can, which means Xanax abuse includes instances of the drug being smoked or otherwise used in a way contrary to instruction. In this piece, we’ll confront the reality of smoking Xanax pills and the effects of smoking Xanax, then discuss the potential risks of misusing the drug in this and other forms.

What Is Xanax?

Xanax belongs to a class of benzodiazepines, colloquially known as “benzos.” These drugs are a popular solution for anyone who suffers panic disorders or severe anxiety. Xanax is known for the form in which it’s sold: long white bars. While many users follow instructions and take the medication orally, others choose to take in different, unregulated ways.

Other Methods of Xanax Consumption

If you’re not taking a pill orally, how else can you administer it? There are a few other options commonly used by people who abuse drugs:

  • Smoking
  • Snorting
  • Injecting

Each of these are accompanied by their own potential dangers.

How Can You Smoke Xanax?

Those who decide to smoke Xanax do it in one of two ways. The first method is to crush the Xanax pill — also called a “bar” — and mix it with another substance. The “laced” substance tends to be one that’s normally smoked, like cannabis or tobacco. The intent is usually to add another dimension to the experience of smoking.

The second method is less common, and involves crushing the bar and smoking it by itself, usually wrapped in foil or rolling paper. This is usually intended to speed up the absorption of the drug so that the user feels the effects sooner.

Effects of Smoking Xanax

While some people insist that smoking Xanax, either by itself or with another substance, has unique benefits, these are far outweighed by the risks. Here are some of the dangers you might be exposing yourself to by smoking Xanax.

Increased Risk of Overdose

When taking Xanax as instructed by a doctor, the risk of overdose is virtually nonexistent. That’s why the drug is so widely prescribed for people experiencing anxiety and panic disorders. As soon as you start manipulating its form, however, the risk starts to increase.

It’s harder to determine how much you’re using when you crush pills and smoke them. Additionally, Xanax can have harmful interactions with other substances if you use it to lace something else to smoke, which decreases the barrier for an overdose and other potentially harmful effects.

Increased Risk of Addiction

A prescribed Xanax dose is calculated to have a lower (non-zero) risk of leading to addiction when used responsibly. When it’s misused as a means of feeling the effects faster or stronger, the risk of becoming dependent on the feelings that smoking Xanax provides increases. Eventually, this can lead to addiction and make it very difficult to stop using and stay clean.

Many people who get addicted to pills will turn to the street to purchase them once they can no longer get access to them as prescribed. But this presents new dangers — street-manufactured pills like benzos and opioids often are cut or mixed with other, cheaper substances that may be more dangerous when consumed.

Risks of Heating and Smoking Xanax

Many people don’t realize that applying high heat to any chemical can permanently change its structure. Xanax is not designed to be heated, so smoking it may put users at additional risk when done repeatedly. Additionally, smoking any substance involves inhaling the smoke into your lungs. This can cause severe respiratory illness, cancers and other serious health conditions that can affect you for the rest of your life.

Risks of with Other Consumption Methods

We’re focusing on the risks of smoking Xanax here, but that doesn’t mean other methods of misuse don’t also come with their own dangerous effects. Here are the most serious risks associated with each consumption method.


Snorting is a popular method of abusing prescription pills. This is because breaking down the physical composition of the drug and inhaling it provides a quicker path to feel the effects, which may also make it a more intense high. Like smoking, snorting Xanax involves crushing the pill, an action that always increases the risk of negative side effects.


Injection is one of the more high-risk ways to use Xanax. To inject Xanax, the user will crush the pills and dissolve it into a liquid before injecting it directly into the bloodstream for a faster, more intense high. Injecting any drug can be extremely dangerous, as the user is exposing themselves to diseases transmitted from the needle, vein damage and increased risk of overdose.

Oral Use

If consuming Xanax orally is the recommended method, it must be safe to abuse, right? Not exactly.

Like any prescription drug, Xanax should be used with extreme care, even when you have a valid prescription and are taking the right dose as instructed. If you feel the drug’s effects for longer than expected or experience abnormal side effects, you should discuss them with your doctor immediately.

If you’re misusing Xanax orally, it will carry its own set of risks. Most people who abuse prescription pills take them in doses above the amount deemed safe by medical regulations. This increases the risk of overdose and addiction, and may cause other detriments to your health when abuse occurs over a longer period of time.

So, Can You Smoke Xanax Pills?

You can smoke Xanax — and you shouldn’t. Drugs like this should only be taken orally, as directed, with a valid prescription. Otherwise, the risk of becoming addicted to their effects is exponentially higher, and the danger of potentially harmful side effects is significant.

If you or a loved one are misusing Xanax or other prescription medications, it’s a good idea to seek help immediately. Contact Sunlight Recovery today to take the first steps on your recovery journey and reclaim your life.