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What class of drugs do inhalants fall in? Are all inhalants nitrites?
Q: Can you tell me what chemical classification inhalants fall into? There are so many different types, but are they all nitrites?

A: The classification of "inhalants" is one of convenience. There is no single chemical group which all inhalants fall into. Different organizations choose to define the grouping differently, but generally an inhalant is simply a chemical in gaseous form or a volatile solvent (liquid) which becomes a gas at the time of use, and which is inhaled by people for its psychoactive effects.

A good overview of a wide variety of chemicals considered "inhalants" can be found on our Types of Inhalants page. Nitrites are only one small sub-group of the inhalants.

The actions of many inhalants are poorly understood. One idea is that the non-polar, "organic", lipid soluble inhalants (benzene, toluene, etc) disrupt cell membrane fluidity and affect neuronal transmission. Another is that the nitr* containing inhalants may affect nitric oxide signalling pathways within the cells (Note: your body uses *extremely* small amounts of nitric oxide naturally as a signalling molecule. Inhaling nitric oxide is *extremely* toxic to your system and has no recreational value whatsoever).



Asked By : david
Answered By : psilo
Published Date : 7 / 16 / 2002
Last Edited Date : 9 / 23 / 2002
Question ID : 2950

Categories: [ Chemistry ] [ Inhalants ] [ Pharmacology ]

Ask Erowid v1.7 - Jul, 2005

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