We Exam The Differences Between Cocaine and Crack
To many, cocaine and crack are the same thing. So what are the differences between cocaine and crack? They are both drugs created from the coca plant but the primary difference is that each has its own level of refinement. Crack cocaine (often called “crack” after the sound made during its manufacture) is a lower-purity form of free-base cocaine and contains sodium bicarbonate as impurity. It is a solid, smokable form of cocaine. This freebase form of cocaine is made using baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) or sodium hydroxide, in a process to convert cocaine hydrochloride (powder cocaine) into methylbenzoylecgonine (freebase cocaine).
How Cocaine and Crack are Ingested
Among the many differences between cocaine and crack is the way the drugs are ingested. The common method of ingesting crack is by smoking. Refined by removing hydrochloride salt that is present in the street form of cocaine, it is said that crack makes a crackling sound when smoked. Conversely, cocaine is usually inhaled in powder form through the nose. This is also called “snorting” and doing so can damage the mucus membranes. Another method of consuming this highly addictive drug is intravenous injection. Injection gives an instant and intense high but has more inherent risks. Cocaine can also be smoked, swallowed or taken as a suppository. [contact-form-7 id=”27″ title=”Contact form 1″]
Differences Between Cocaine and Crack in Appearance
For most people, even some basic information will help them understand the differences between cocaine and crack. While both are a form of cocaine, there are important differences. The purest form of cocaine is a white, pearly, powdery substance. Cocaine that appears in powder form is technically a salt, typically designated as cocaine hydrochloride (CAS 53-21-4). Street market cocaine is frequently modified or “cut” with various powdery fillers (such as baking soda; sugars, such as lactose, dextrose, inositol, and mannitol; and local anesthetics, such as lidocaine or benzocaine) to increase its weight and to increase the profits of the distributors. Modified/mixed/cut cocaine is often a white, off-white or pinkish powder. The color of “crack” cocaine depends upon several factors including the origin of the cocaine used and the method of preparation. When prepared with ammonia or baking soda and in the presence of impurities, it will generally range from white-to-yellowish cream color to a light brown. Its texture will also depend on the origin and processing of the powdered cocaine and the method of converting the base. It ranges from a crumbly texture and can be extremely oily, or it can be a hard, almost crystalline nature. In purer forms, crack rocks appear as off-white nuggets with jagged edges, with a slightly higher density than candle wax. It resembles a hard brittle plastic, in crystalline form (snaps when broken). A crack rock acts as a local anesthetic, numbing the tongue or mouth only where directly placed. Purer forms of crack sink in water or melt at the edges when near a flame (crack vaporizes at 90 °C, 194 °F). [cta id=’269′]
The Different Methods of Administration and Their Effects
The differences between cocaine and crack are important to their method of administration. Because powder cocaine and crack have different formulations, they are used in different way and therefore, have different effects. The different effects wholly related to the way these substances are used (methods of administration), not the chemical formulation — except to say that the differing formulations allow for different methods of administration. A “high” that results from snorting cocaine hits you in about 1-5 minutes. It will peak within 20-30 minutes and last 1-2 hours. A “high” from inhaled or injected cocaine will hit you in less than a minute, be at its peak within 3-5 minutes, and last 30 minutes to an hour. These onsets and peaks occur much faster with inhaled [if smoked] or injected cocaine. In these instances, the user experiences the effects of the drug “all at once” — so the user will get higher than if the same amount of cocaine were snorted. While crack cocaine is inhaled, powder cocaine can also be injected which results in the same onset/peak/duration effect that crack produces. This form of cocaine is popular among people who struggle to pay for the purer form of cocaine. As such, a stigma has been attached to crack usage and to its users. Because inhalation and injection get the user higher (more drug is delivered all at once), and the high happens faster and wears off faster, the behavior is highly self-reinforcing. This lends itself to repetition, or binges, where the user will use or hit over and over to repeat the high that wears off quickly. This pattern of use makes users that inhale or inject more vulnerable to the addictive effects of the drug. Despite the differences between cocaine and crack, they both produce similar effects and have similar dangers (i.e. addiction, brain damage, harm to the body). While they certainly warrant a distinction, use of either drug is highly addictive and treatment should be addressed without delay. [contact-form-7 id=”27″ title=”Contact form 1″]