Cocaine is a powerful and addictive stimulant drug. There are various forms of cocaine including crack cocaine and freebase cocaine. Both versions can be smoked in a pipe, but there are several differences when it comes to how this drug is made.
For instance, freebase cocaine can be made from homemade powder cocaine. In contrast, crack cocaine comes in rock form and can be added to marijuana and other drugs, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). When smoked, crack cocaine crackles, hence the name.
Crack Vs. Freebase Cocaine
Hydrochloride found in powder cocaine is removed from crack and freebase cocaine when made. In order for these to be smoked, the cocaine hydrochloride must have a lower melting point than base cocaine. This takes place during the making of the desired drug.
How Crack Cocaine Is Made
In order to crackle once heated, crack cocaine must come in rock or chunk form. To do this, cocaine powder is combined with baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and heated until the drug hardens.
Despite containing potential impurities, many choose this form of the drug and smoke cocaine with a glass pipe to inhale the vapors.
How Freebase Cocaine Is Made
To create freebase cocaine, cocaine hydrochloride must be stripped apart. A base and a solvent must be used. This can be ammonia and ether which separates the cocaine from the hydrochloride, essentially “freeing the base.”
Once this process has taken place, only pure cocaine is left. This method of cocaine abuse is dangerous due to the potentially flammable ingredients used.
The Different Cocaine Routes Of Administration
Cocaine can be administered and abused in a number of ways.
Smoking crack or freebase cocaine is extremely dangerous due to the potential health problems. When in smokable form, freebase cocaine can be more dangerous because it can be pure cocaine.
Inhaling this substance can harm your lung health. Those who inhale the vapors can experience cardiovascular issues.
Snorting cocaine in its powder form can lead to long-term effects such as:
- bacterial infections of the nasal mucous membranes
- chronic sinus infections
- tears in nasal cartilage
- a deviated septum
- persistent runny nose
Water-soluble cocaine options are available, which leads some to inject the drug directly into a vein. This can cause collapsed veins and abscesses on the skin.
This form of cocaine use can lead to a cocaine overdose due to how quickly the stimulant enters the body. Those who inject and share needles can also develop HIV or hepatitis C or hepatitis B.
Side Effects Of Cocaine Abuse
Taking cocaine can cause serious side effects and health risks. To begin with, some of the short-term side effects may include:
- increased heart rate
- increased energy
- increased blood pressure
- cocaine withdrawal
- breathing problems
- heart attack
- memory loss
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), cocaine is a highly addictive drug that can also lead to asthma when abused. Any of these side effects of cocaine substance use can be heightened when combined with other drugs.
Those with drug addiction are at a higher risk of experiencing a cocaine overdose. Some of the symptoms of an overdose include:
- enlarged pupils
- sudden death
If you suspect an overdose has occurred, call 911 immediately.
Cocaine Addiction Treatment
If you or a loved one are struggling with drug use, consider contacting a treatment center to learn about your treatment options. At Recovering Champions, we provide the following for addiction treatment:
- outpatient programs
- behavioral health support
- individual counseling
- group therapy
- aftercare resources
Contact one of our healthcare representatives today to learn more about our treatment programs and services.