Caffeine is consumed every day across the globe. It is readily available in morning cups of coffee, afternoon energy drinks, chocolate bars, and caffeine pills.
In the mid-2010s, there was a trend of teenagers snorting caffeine powder, but the death of a teen in Ohio showed that snorting caffeine could have deadly consequences.
What Is Caffeine?
Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant, and the effects of caffeine ingestion are similar to other stimulants, even illicit ones like amphetamines or cocaine.
Caffeine is addictive and activates dopamine receptors in the brain leading to increased heart rate, alertness, and energy. It can also lead to anxiety, irritability, restlessness, and dizziness.
Caffeine also attaches to adenosine receptors in the brain. Adenosine is one of the chemicals the brain uses to tell the body that it is sleepy, so when caffeine attaches to its receptors, the opposite happens.
Side effects of this change include sped up activity of nerve cells and constricted blood vessels in the brain.
Find out the dangers of snorting other drugs and powders.
Dangers Of Pure Caffeine Powder
At doses found naturally in plants, caffeine is not usually a concern. However, the availability of pure caffeine powder led the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue a warning in 2014.
Abuse of caffeine powder, currently available in pill form, can be harmful, especially if it is crushed and snorted. This white powder looks similar to cocaine or amphetamines.
Caffeine Power Compared To Coffee
This “pure form” of caffeine is synthetic and created in a lab. It is marketed to appear safe; however, it is dangerous. A teaspoon of pure caffeine powder contains between 3,200-4706 mg of caffeine.
A standard cup of coffee has about 95 mg of caffeine, so pure caffeine powder has as much caffeine as 33 to 49 cups of coffee. Two teaspoons of caffeine powder have been known to be deadly.
Now, bulk packages of pure caffeine powder are outlawed by the FDA in the United States, and retailers are cautioned not to sell products that exceed FDA guidelines.
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Risks And Effects Of Snorting Caffeine
Snorting one line of caffeine powder is equivalent to ingesting 20 to 30 cups of coffee. However, because it varies between products, it can be hard to tell how much caffeine is in each dose.
However, snorting caffeine increases the risk of many unwanted side effects, such as:
- low blood pressure
- cardiac arrest
Additionally, snorting caffeine can add another layer of negative effects, including:
- swelling in the nose
- stuffy nose
- bloody nose
- sinus infections
- granulomatous inflammation
- lung infections
- breathing issues
- nasal perforations
- deviated septum
- tissue necrosis
- ulcers in the nasal cavity and throat
Overdose From Snorting Caffeine
Snorting caffeine is extremely dangerous and can quickly lead to an overdose.
If you or someone you know has been snorting caffeine and is experiencing symptoms of an overdose, get medical attention right away.
These symptoms include:
- erratic heartbeat
- rapid heart rate
A caffeine overdose may cause seizures and the failure of multiple organs.
Treatment For Caffeine Abuse
Caffeine abuse and addiction can be treated in the same manner as any other addictive stimulant drug. If you are facing stimulant addiction, call us today.
Addiction recovery can help you explore underlying mental health issues as part of a treatment program.
Addiction Resource aims to provide only the most current, accurate information in regards to addiction and addiction treatment, which means we only reference the most credible sources available.
These include peer-reviewed journals, government entities and academic institutions, and leaders in addiction healthcare and advocacy. Learn more about how we safeguard our content by viewing our editorial policy.
- Asia Pacific Journal of Medical Toxicology — Severe rhabdomyolysis induced by cocaine contaminated with caffeine: a case report
- Nose and Paranasal Sinuses — Granulomatous disorders of the nose and paranasal sinuses
- Nutrients — Caffeine-Related Deaths: Manner of Deaths and Categories at Risk
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) — FDA Warns Consumers About Pure and Highly Concentrated Caffeine