Effects of a crack cocaine high can typically be felt almost immediately after ingestion, up to 1-2 hours later. It also affects the body and brain in a number of ways, and can be incredibly dangerous. We’ll explore these effects as well as details on how long the high can last ahead.
Crack cocaine is the crystal form of cocaine, which normally comes in a powder form. It can come in solid blocks, or crystals, and varies in color from yellow, pale rose, or white. The drug was named “crack” after the cracking and popping noises it makes when smoked, which is the most common form of ingestion. This form of cocaine is the most potent, which makes it the riskiest as well.
Smoking crack allows the drug to reach the brain very quickly, thus creating an intense, immediately, but short-lived high. Because it only lasts anywhere between 5 and 15 minutes, addiction can develop fairly quickly. When the user’s high dissipates, they often find themselves taking one dose after another in attempt to make the high last longer.
In addition to creating a euphoric high, crack also affects the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. It can cause abdominal pain, headaches, gastrointestinal complications, and nausea as well. Binge use of the drug can cause adverse effects, such as anxiety, irritability, and restlessness.
When crack is smoked using a glass pipe—the most common method—large quantities of cocaine are sent directly to the lungs. Crack is sometimes snorted, which is almost instantly sent to the bloodstream and also produce immediate, intense, short-lived euphoric effects. The amount of time crack stays in the system is relatively short, between 0.8 ± 0.2 hours, as it is metabolized quickly. The metabolite benzoylecgonine is produced with loss of the methyl group, and can be detected in urine after use of crack for up to 4 days.
Effects of a crack high can be characterized into two cycles, first-wave and second-wave, or early phase and late phase effects.
First-wave physical effects may include anxiety, elevated heart rate and blood pressure, increased body temperature, irritability, dilated pupils, and restlessness. Psychological effects may include euphoria, excitation, general arousal, dizziness, increased alertness and focus, mental clarity, increased talkativeness, loss of appetite, among others. Taking a higher dose could lead to confused and disoriented behavior, antisocial behavior, delusions, hallucinations, irritability, fear, paranoia, and even aggressiveness.
Second-wave effects may include agitation, depression, dysphoria, drug cravings, general central nervous system depression, fatigue, insomnia, and nervousness.Physiological effects could include itching and scratching, while the pupils will begin to look normal and the heart-rate will stabilize.
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