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Crack Cocaine

Effects And Symptoms Of Crack Cocaine Use

Crack Cocaine, also known simply as “crack”, is a form of cocaine processed with a base, turning it into small rocks that are smoked. When inhaled, the effects of crack cocaine become more potent and addictive.

Understanding The Effects Of Crack Cocaine Use

Crack Cocaine is the free base form of Cocaine, meaning that the powder Cocaine has been processed with a base, such as baking soda or ammonia. In this “free base” form, Cocaine turns into yellowish-white rocks that can be smoked, allowing the stimulant to be rapidly absorbed. The effects of Crack vs. powder Cocaine are similar. Still, the difference in the potency is related to the way the drug is being used. When a substance is smoked, it reaches the brain quicker than other ways of administration. Smoking Crack results in a high that happens faster but also wears off sooner, often resulting in binges where the person will repeatedly use over and over to feel the same effects. It is possible to become addicted to Crack Cocaine after only 1 use.

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Crack Cocaine stimulates the central nervous system, creating high levels of dopamine in the brain that cause sensations of pleasure and euphoria. Repeated Crack use leads to building up a tolerance, resulting in the need for higher and higher doses to attain the same effects. Using Crack Cocaine alters the brain’s reward system, leading to intense cravings and withdrawal symptoms felt right after the first use.  

Withdrawal symptoms from Crack Cocaine may include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Intense craving for the drug
  • Psychosis

There is no safe amount of Crack usage. Even a tiny dose can lead to dependence, addiction, and adverse side effects. Crack Cocaine abuse results in severe damage to all the organs, especially the lungs. Abusing Crack Cocaine also causes serious damage to the brain, heart, and blood vessels, all of which can lead to sudden death.

Short-Term Effects Of Crack Cocaine Use

The effects from Crack Cocaine begin almost immediately after the smoke is inhaled and peak within 3 to 5 minutes, lasting a total of 15 to 30 minutes. Crack causes a short-lived, intense high usually followed by the opposite effects, such as depression, edginess, and an intense craving for more of the drug. Because inhalation gets the user higher (more drug is delivered at once), and the high occurs faster and wears off more quickly, the user will tend to binge, making them more vulnerable to the addictive effects of the drug. Crack can make the user have an increased heart rate, muscle spasms, and convulsions. The drug may make some people paranoid, angry, hostile, and anxious even when they aren’t high.

“Crack lip” is another short-term effect that can result from smoking Crack Cocaine. Crack smoke does not remain potent for a long time, so crack pipes are usually very short. Users who press a scorching tube against their lips may end up with cracked and blistered lips.

Since it is smoked, the effects of Crack Cocaine are more immediate and intense than that of powdered Cocaine.

Short-term effects include:

  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Constricted blood vessels
  • Increased rate of breathing
  • Dilated pupils
  • Hyper-stimulation
  • Intense euphoria
  • Loss of appetite
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Depression
  • Intense drug craving
  • Sudden death

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Long-Term Effects Of Crack Cocaine Use

The use of Crack Cocaine affects the entire body, and users are more likely to have infectious diseases. Smoking may also lead to additional risks not typically associated with snorting powder Cocaine, such as respiratory problems like coughing, shortness of breath, lung damage, and bleeding. Continued use can cause sleep deprivation and decreased appetite, resulting in malnutrition.

Other problems that result from prolonged Crack Cocaine abuse include:

  • Severe depression
  • Irritability
  • Mood disturbances
  • Aggressive, paranoid behavior
  • Delirium
  • Psychosis
  • Auditory and tactile hallucinations
  • Heart attack
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Respiratory failure
  • Brain seizures
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Reproductive damage and infertility
  • Increased frequency of risky behavior
  • Death

Symptoms Of Crack Cocaine Overdose

Crack Cocaine is one of the most dangerous stimulants globally due to its high potential for fatal overdose. It is possible to overdose on Crack even after the first use. An overdose occurs when the drug’s toxic levels within the body are essentially poisoning the user. Symptoms of overdose can occur rapidly, so it is essential to recognize any signs. Overdose is more likely to happen when the drug is combined with other substances, especially alcohol and Opioids.

Side effects should always be taken seriously, and emergency services should be called right away if any of the following occur:

  • Vomiting
  • Low blood pressure
  • Chest pain
  • Labored breathing
  • Tremors
  • Unconsciousness
  • Cold or clammy skin
  • Blue lips

Finding Treatment For Crack Cocaine Addiction

Crack Cocaine is a potent and addictive form of Cocaine, and its use can lead to adverse physical, emotional, and cognitive problems. The effects of Crack may make it seem impossible to quit, but you are not alone. If you or a loved one is struggling with Crack Cocaine addiction, contact a treatment provider to help you find a path forward to recovery.

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