Drugs & Health Blog

Five Things Inhalants Can Do to Your Body

The NIDA Blog Team

Inhalants are chemicals found in ordinary household or workplace products that people breathe in (inhale) on purpose to get “high.” Examples are glue, gasoline, paint, permanent markers (Sharpies), and aerosol sprays.

Would you drink these products? Of course not; they’re filled with poisons. Then why would you inhale them?

Did you know that inhaling these products’ fumes—even just once—can be very harmful to your brain and body? Here are just five of the problems that inhalants can cause:

  1. A weakened immune system: This can make you more vulnerable to diseases.
  2. Organ damage: Your heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys can be affected.
  3. Brain damage: When used over a long period of time, inhalants can prevent your brain from getting enough oxygen. This can lead to the loss of brain tissue, loss of coordination, loss of hearing or vision, seizures, and limb spasms.
  4. Blackout or coma: You can become unconscious either for a relatively short time (a blackout) or for a long time (coma).
  5. Sudden sniffing death: This can happen in two different ways: (1) the poisons make your heart beat faster than normal and irregularly, and it suddenly stops; or (2) air is blocked from getting into your lungs.

For more about the types of inhalants and the dangers associated with each type, visit our Drug Facts page on inhalants. And check out this Q&A on inhalants from this year’s National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week Chat Day.

Comments posted to the Drugs & Health Blog are from the general public and may contain inaccurate information. They do not represent the views of NIDA or any other federal government entity.


Is drinking bleach considered an inhalant, I because if so I've been inhaling a lot.

Certainly you don’t mean you drink bleach---that could easily kill you, or permanently damage your ability to eat and process food. Inhaling bleach is also potentially deadly.

Drugs are bad for you period
Is weed an inhalant? A couple people who live with me smoke a lot in my room. I don't smoke. I do acid. But I'm against marijuana. Is it an inhalant if I smell it a lot? Marijuana could cause brain damage so I don't do it.

There is no scientific evidence at all that “acid” is healthier than marijuana. See our report on hallucinogens. https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/hallucinogens For information on marijuana’s second hand smoke see https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/marijuana

Don't do drugs there bad
alot of people use the excuse "i am experamenting" well don't because then you could possibly get hooked on drugs its not good for you and it doesn't effect just you it effects everyone around you too. if you have a friend who does drugs,that includes pills,acids,tobacco,etc. then be there for them untill you can't anymore. I have had people in my life who have had problems with it sometimes being there for them doesn't work so then i have to remove myself from the situation and sometimes not even that works. i do advise that you be humble with the way you settle the problem,never violent because that just makes it worse. best of wishes and goodluck
Wow this has changed my mind on things...

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