Can Perfume Make You High – Facts and Myths Explored

Perfumery has long been an art form of creating scents that evoke various emotions and memories. However, there’s been a growing concern over the safety of these fragrances and their potential effects on the mind and body. The notion that some perfumes can make you high has been a topic of debate for some time. While it may not be the same as traditional drug-induced highs, research reveals that some of the chemicals found in fragrance can create a dependency that triggers the need for repeated use of the product. This can lead to discomfort and irritability during periods of withdrawal. Let's dive deeper into the science behind fragrance and it’s effects on our bodies.

What Happens if You Inhale Too Much Fragrance?

Inhaling too much fragrance, either intentionally or unintentionally, can cause a range of symptoms that can be mild, moderate, or severe. Symptoms of perfume poisoning or fragrance sensitivity are often referred to as “olfactory hypersensitivity” and can manifest in different ways. One of the most common symptoms of fragrance sensitivity is slurred speech. This can happen when a person inhales a potent fragrance or perfume for an extended period, and the fumes enter their system, causing their speech to become sluggish or incomprehensible.

This lack of energy can range from mild to severe, depending on how much of the fragrance has been inhaled.

In some cases, inhaling too much fragrance can cause the breath to smell of alcohol. This is because some fragrances contain ethanol, which can enter the bloodstream and cause the person to feel drunk, even if they haven’t consumed any alcohol.

This symptom can be particularly severe in people who’re sensitive to fragrances or have a pre-existing condition that makes them more prone to nausea and vomiting.

The scent of some perfumes can be so potent that it triggers pain in the head, which can be accompanied by other symptoms such as sensitivity to light and sound, nausea, and vomiting. These headaches can range from mild to severe and can last for several hours or days.

Perfume has been an essential part of the human experience for centuries. While some of these fragrance products are used solely for their pleasant scent, others are designed for therapeutic purposes. These products may even be classified as drugs under the law. But how do we distinguish between a simple fragrance and a therapeutic drug? Let’s explore this topic in more detail.

Is Perfume a Drug?

Perfumes or fragrances, on the other hand, are usually considered as cosmetic products. They’re used to enhance the odor of the body or to provide a unique aroma. Perfumes are created by combining various fragrant chemicals, natural or synthetic, to create a distinctive scent. These scents are sometimes used for their emotional and psychological benefits, such as promoting relaxation, boosting confidence, or influencing mood.

However, while perfumes aren’t typically considered drugs, some fragrances do contain substances that have psychoactive effects or can affect the bodys chemistry. Some studies have linked certain fragrances to changes in brain activity and behavior, such as increased relaxation, improved cognitive function, or reduced anxiety.

One potential issue with classifying fragrances as drugs is that it could lead to increased scrutiny and regulation of the industry. Currently, cosmetic products are subject to less stringent regulations than drugs, which can make it easier and cheaper for companies to bring new products to market.

Another consideration is the potential for abused fragrances to pose a public health risk. While it’s unlikely for perfumes to be directly harmful to users or those around them, certain fragrances have been found to trigger allergies, asthma, or other respiratory problems in some individuals.


In conclusion, it’s possible that certain fragrances and chemicals present in perfumes may have narcotic-like properties that can cause dependency and withdrawal symptoms. While some people may experience a potentially dangerous high from certain perfumes, others may not notice any significant effects. Therefore, it’s always advisable to use fragrances in moderation and to consult a healthcare professional if you experience any adverse reactions.

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