A Side-By-Side Comparison of Crack vs Cocaine

Published On: July 17, 20234.1 min read811 wordsCategories: Cocaine Addiction

You’ve heard both words used before, but are they the same thing?

Many people use “crack” and “cocaine” interchangeably, and oftentimes both words are put together to form the complete phrase, “crack cocaine.” Although they are both derived from the same source and produce similar effects, crack and cocaine are different drugs

In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at the differences between crack and cocaine and the physical and mental effects of each drug.

What is Cocaine?

Cocaine is produced naturally within the leaves of the South American plant coca. South Americans have chewed, brewed and ingested these leaves for thousands of years through a variety of tonics and elixirs they developed to holistically treat a variety of illnesses.

Even when used in its purest, most natural form, though, research shows cocaine always has a high rate of addiction due to its significant potency and potential to alter brain chemistry. 

In the United States, we don’t have direct access to the coca plant, but cocaine is still rampant in our country, with over 35,000 people dying every year from cocaine and stimulant overdoses. In reality, the number is suspected to be much higher considering how many cases go unreported.

The reason this substance is such a popular recreational drug is due to how addictive it is, with the effects of cocaine being rooted in mental and physical euphoria.

Cocaine is commonly referred to as coke, blow, snow and white sugar in recreational circles due to its white and powdery texture, but it’s also sometimes incorrectly referred to as crack.

What is Crack?

Crack is a derivative of cocaine and is one of the most addictive forms of cocaine. Crack is powder cocaine mixed with water and baking soda and got its name from the crackling sound that is made when the drug is heated. Crack is typically smoked, which produces instant effects that can last up to 10 minutes. Because the effects wear off quickly, it’s common for users to develop a physical dependence.

Due to the higher potency, crack carries a higher risk and even a “one-time thing” can lead to serious psychological and physical consequences. One of the greatest dangers of crack is that it is often laced with potentially deadly substances that are unknown to the user.

Like cocaine, crack produces feelings of euphoria in the individual, which are often accompanied by higher energy levels, faster thinking or talking and heightened senses. The effects of crack are not always so pleasant though, with these “good feelings” often being followed by the more uncomfortable and even dangerous effects of nausea and vomiting, paranoia, hallucinations, erratic or violent behavior, as well as overdose and death.

Crack vs Cocaine: Basic Distinction

The truth is, crack and cocaine are almost entirely chemically identical due to the fact they’re both variations of the same drug. There are, however, some key differences between the two.

The reason why crack is so much more addictive than conventional cocaine is due to additional steps that are taken during the manufacturing process. Cocaine production ends when the substance turns into a powder; the crack production process takes that powder, adds additional ingredients, and then heats the mixture over a high temperature until the ingredients melt together to create solid crystals, or “crack rocks.”

Consumption is also another difference between these two substances, with cocaine most commonly being snorted or injected while crack cocaine is smoked. Smoking crack enables for the drug to be absorbed into the bloodstream and the brain faster, producing a quicker and more intense high than normal.

The effects that crack and cocaine have on the human body reap immeasurable damage, but the exact ways in which these substances take a toll on an individual can vary. Side effects can range from respiratory issues and anxiety to neurological damage, the development of mental health disorders, cardiovascular problems and self-destructive behaviors.

If you or someone you love is struggling with a substance use disorder or addiction, reach out to us. Achieving sobriety isn’t easy, but it’s always worth it, and you’re never alone on the journey.

Take the first step today

Here at Freedom Detox, we want to empower you to seek out and receive the treatment you need, starting with an inpatient, comprehensive detoxification process.

Your comfort and safety are our biggest priorities during your stay with us, and our highly trained staff will be there every step of the way to ensure you start your recovery process well. Whether you’re beginning recovery from drugs, alcohol or both, our full team of physicians, nurses, counselors and more are ready to help.

Send us a message or give us a call today to speak with one of our intake advisors and learn more about how we can support you in your recovery.

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