Crack cocaine is known to produce an almost immediate high. Learn about how this happens and what it does to the brain and body.

Psychoactive Ingredients

Crack is a form of cocaine that is processed to look like a rock. This is smoked after processing from cocaine hydrochloride. It is then prepared by adding baking soda to aqueous cocaine hydrochloride and heating it until the free-base cocaine precipitates into small pellets. The mixture is cooled and filtered. Rocks are smoked inside a crack pipe. Crack is a form that allows it to be vaporized at a lower temp without burning and destroying the excess.

Central Nervous System

Cocaine is a strong central nervous system stimulant which interferes with the reabsorption process of catecholamines, especially dopamine, a chemical messenger associated with pleasure and movement. Cocaine produces CNS effects by blocking the dopamine transporter, which eventually shows up in a person as a euphoric ‘rush’ or high following consumption. When smoked, the drug goes into the lungs straight to the brain. It causes release of brain chemicals in the pleasure centers of the brain which results in the desired stimulation and euphoric effects. Intranasal cocaine may enter the nose and require 5 to 10 minutes for effects to be felt. These effects consist of intense euphoria, pleasure and ecstasy where everything pleasurable is intensified.

Getting High

How long and strong the pleasurable effects of cocaine are depend on the way it is administered. Injecting or smoking cocaine delivers the drug rapidly into the bloodstream and brain, producing a quicker and stronger but shorter-lasting high than snorting. The high from snorting cocaine may last 15 to 30 minutes. To sustain a high, people who use the drug often go into a binge pattern. This results in taking the drug repeatedly within a short period of time. This will result in increasingly higher doses. Eventually this can lead to addiction, a chronic relapsing diseases caused by changes in the brain and characterized by uncontrollable drug-seeking no matter the consequences for self or others.

Mixing Crack with Substances

Cocaine is more dangerous when combined with other drugs such as alcohol. The combination of cocaine and heroin (“speedball”) carries a very high risk of fatal overdose. Mixing crack and alcohol can intensify the CNS depressant effects of alcohol, thus clouding perception, judgment and decision making.

Cocaine has varying effects on the mind and body. Pupils dilate, blood vessels constrict and the body temperature will increase. Headaches can begin along with gastrointestinal issues such as nausea. Cocaine tends to decrease appetite and those who uses cocaine on a regular basis will become malnourished as a result.

Hired Power has resources to help individuals addicted to cocaine or other substances. Call us to find out how we can help you navigate recovery from addiction and reclaim your life.