All forms of cocaine are stimulants. These stimulants are illegal to manufacture, sell, and use. Additionally, no matter what form of cocaine is being used by a person, they are all addictive. The use of cocaine results in a fast high. The downside of cocaine for the user is that the high lasts only minutes. As a result, the individual must continue to use the drug to stay high.
“People who use cocaine often take it in binges -- taking the drug repeatedly within a short time, at increasingly higher doses -- to maintain their high.”
National Institute on Drug Abuse
The most well-known form of cocaine is powder cocaine, which is snorted by the user. In many circles, powder cocaine has been considered a party drug. However, the “fun” reputation of cocaine provides a wrong impression. The use of cocaine is dangerous, highly addictive, and can result in cardiac arrest. Moreover, people who use cocaine have changes in their decision-making abilities. Consequently, their decisions can lead to serious negative consequences. Once a person has used cocaine, the neurotransmitters in the brain have been altered. Sadly, these alterations are still present even after the person stops their cocaine use.
Crack cocaine is the crystallized form of cocaine. Crack cocaine comes in solid blocks or as different colored crystals. The colors of crystals range from yellow to pale rose or white. Unlike powder forms of cocaine, crack cocaine is heated and smoked. The crackling or popping sounds that result when crack is heated is how the drug got its name.
Crack cocaine is the riskiest form of cocaine, as it has the highest potency. It is made by mixing the original cocaine with a combination of baking soda and water. Crack is between 75% and 100% pure. It is more potent than powder cocaine. Furthermore, when people smoke crack, it reaches the brain more quickly, providing a fast high. The feelings are intense but short-lived. The effect lasts approximately fifteen minutes after smoking.
While powder cocaine is considered the party drug or the rich man’s version of cocaine, crack is considered the poor man’s drug. Even teens can afford to purchase crack. Unfortunately, the cheap cost is misleading. Due to the fast fall off from crack, more of the drug is needed. Moreover, people can become addicted to crack after their first use due to its potency and intensity. Therefore, the expense of using crack can quickly add up.
Withdrawal effects from crack cocaine can include the following:
- Vivid dreams
The intensity of the withdrawal symptoms will be dependent on the amount of use, frequency of use, and whether the drug is being combined with other drugs or alcohol.
If you or a loved one need help with a cocaine addiction, contact RehabInfo.com today at 800-492-QUIT.
Freebase cocaine gets its name from how it is made. It describes the process of “freeing” the cocaine base from its natural salt form, resulting in pure cocaine. To make freebase, the manufacturer needs ammonia to extract the base. Producing freebase is dangerous due to the use of a diethyl ether to dissolve the substance and extract the base. This ether is flammable and volatile, which is why manufacturing freebase cocaine can lead to drug lab explosions.
To use freebase cocaine, there are different methods. The most common method uses a small glass pipe. Once the freebase is melted and boiled to produce a vapor, the freebase is put at the end of the pipe. From there, the vapor is inhaled by the user.
Inhaled freebase cocaine results in an immediate and intense high. Once it enters the bloodstream through the lungs, the person experiences feelings of euphoria and an extreme high. These feelings last for approximately thirty minutes before the person experiences a crash. Once the user crashes, they feel fatigued, depressed, anxious, irritable, and paranoid. Other dangerous health risks include burns, accidental injuries, and respiratory damage. Chronic use of freebase can result in seizures, heart issues, and stroke.
Long-Term Effects of Cocaine Use
The most common long-term effects of cocaine use include the following:
- Eating disorders
- Sexual dysfunction
Other side effects include sensitivity to light and sound, paranoia, psychosis, and hallucinations. Some individuals might even experience cerebral atrophy, which is the wasting of the brain. This leads to cognitive issues and difficulty with reasoning and thinking. Smoking cocaine leads to complications such as breathing difficulties, chronic coughing, and other respiratory issues.