Is There A Difference Between Cocaine And Crack Cocaine? Effects, Dangers & Addiction Treatment
Chemical Difference Between Crack And Cocaine
What is the difference between crack cocaine and cocaine? There are no pharmacological differences between powder cocaine and crack cocaine. This means that, chemically, they are nearly identical and hence, produce similar results. Is there a difference between cocaine and crack cocaine addiction effects? Continue to read to learn more.
Cocaine Chemical Composition
Cocaine is a DEA Schedule II controlled substance. Substances in the DEA Schedule II have a high potential for abuse which may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence. 
Cocaine is a benzoid acid ester that was originally used as a local anesthetic but is no longer used because of its potent addictive qualities. When given in high doses systemically, cocaine has mood-elevating effects that have led to its widescale abuse. High doses of cocaine can be associated with toxic reactions including hyperthermia, rhabdomyolysis, shock, and acute liver injury which can be severe and even fatal.
Cocaine is a tropane alkaloid with central nervous systems (CNS) stimulating and local anesthetic activity. Cocaine binds to the dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine transport proteins and inhibits the re-uptake of dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine into pre-synaptic neurons. This leads to an accumulation of the respective neurotransmitters in the synaptic cleft and may result in increased postsynaptic receptor activation. The mechanism of action through which cocaine exerts its local anesthetic effects is by binding to and blocking the voltage-gated sodium channels in the neuronal cell membrane. By stabilizing neuronal membranes, cocaine inhibits the initiation and conduction of nerve impulses and produces a reversible loss of sensation.
What Is Crack Made Of?
Is there a difference between cocaine and crack cocaine? Yes. Crack is produced by dissolving powdered cocaine in a mixture of water and ammonia or sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). The mixture is boiled until a solid substance forms. The solid is removed from the liquid, dried, and then broken into the chunks (rocks) that are sold as crack cocaine. 
What’s The Difference Between Cocaine And Crack Cocaine?
Crack cocaine is a highly addictive and powerful stimulant that is derived from powdered cocaine using a simple conversion process. Crack emerged as a drug of abuse in the mid-1980s. It is abused because it produces an immediate high and because it is easy and inexpensive to produce—rendering it readily available and affordable. 
Is there a difference between cocaine and crack cocaine? Yes. Crack has been widely believed to be cheaper than powder cocaine, and this “fact” has been used to help explain why US drug problems worsened in the 1980s. However, crack is not, in fact, cheaper per pure unit than powder cocaine. Other explanations must be sought for why crack spread so rapidly relative to powder cocaine. 
Behavioral Differences Between Users Of Crack Cocaine And Cocaine Powder
- Is there a difference between cocaine and crack cocaine? Yes. Crack is nearly always smoked. Smoking crack cocaine delivers large quantities of the drug to the lungs, producing an immediate and intense euphoric effect.
- Powdered cocaine (cocaine hydrochloride) is a stimulant that is extracted from the leaves of the coca plant, which is native to South America. In the late 19th century cocaine was used as an anesthetic, but the availability of safer drugs rendered many of its medical applications obsolete. Today powdered cocaine is abused for the intense euphoric effects it produces.
Effect Time Difference In Crack And Cocaine
- Crack cocaine is a crystal form of cocaine that can be smoked. Smoking the drug sends it to the brain very quickly, and gives more of a “rush” than snorting it. Is there a difference between cocaine and crack cocaine? Yes. because the high from crack lasts about five to 10 minutes.
- Powdered cocaine typically is snorted (inhaled through the nose), although it may be dissolved in water and injected. When snorted, the drug is absorbed into the bloodstream through the nasal membranes. The drug reaches the brain–and produces its euphoric effect–within 3 to 5 minutes. When injected, the drug is released directly into the bloodstream and reaches the brain within 15 to 30 seconds. 
Addiction And Danger
- Cocaine, in any form, is a powerfully addictive drug, and addiction seems to develop more quickly when the drug is smoked–as the crack is–than snorted–as powdered cocaine typically is.
- In addition to the usual risks associated with cocaine use (constricted blood vessels; increased temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure; and risk of cardiac arrest and seizure), crack users may experience acute respiratory problems, including coughing, shortness of breath, and lung trauma and bleeding. Crack cocaine smoking also can cause aggressive and paranoid behavior.
- Cocaine is a very addictive drug. Chronic users risk developing tolerance to cocaine’s effects. Many addicts report that as tolerance develops they fail to achieve the positive effects they experienced when they first began using the drug; thus, they begin to use cocaine with greater frequency and in larger doses.
- Is there a difference between cocaine and crack cocaine? Yes, because crack is usually smoked. Cocaine users who inject the drug expose themselves to additional risks, including contracting human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B and C, and other blood-borne viruses.
Purity And Form Difference Between Crack And Powder Cocaine
- Crack cocaine typically is available as rocks. Crack rocks are white (or off-white) and vary in size and shape.
- Cocaine typically is sold to users as a fine, white, crystalline powder.
Is there a difference between cocaine and crack cocaine purity? There is no proper quality control over illegal drugs. It is often difficult to know whether a powder, pill, herb, or liquid is a particular drug. Furthermore, you may have no idea how strong the dose is or whether it contains other drugs or substances to bulk it out. Illegal drugs may contain:
- Impurities – Substances present in the drug as a natural result of how it was made rather than deliberately added. For example, opiate alkaloids may be present in heroin from refining opium into heroin.
- Adulterants – Drugs that deliberately mimic or enhance the effects of the drug being offered. Examples are the way caffeine and/ or ephedrine are often found in amphetamine or ecstasy.
- Diluents – These are mainly sugars such as glucose, lactose, and mannitol. These are added to bulk out the deal and assist the process of dilution of the drug for injection. 
Demographic Difference Between Crack Cocaine And Powder Cocaine
Individuals of all ages use crack cocaine–data reported in the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse indicate that an estimated 6,222,000 U.S. residents aged 12 and older used crack at least once in their lifetime. The survey also revealed that hundreds of thousands of teenagers and young adults use crack cocaine–150,000 individuals aged 12 to 17 and 1,003,000 individuals aged 18 to 25 used the drug at least once.
Is there a difference between cocaine and crack cocaine? Yes, because crack cocaine use is usually famous among high school students. Nearly 4% of high school seniors in the United States used the drug at least once in their lifetime, and more than 1% used the drug in the past month, according to the University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future Survey. 
Individuals of all ages use cocaine–data reported in the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse indicate that an estimated 27,788,000 U.S. residents aged 12 and older used a form of cocaine at least once in their lifetime. (Slightly more than 6 million of these individuals used crack cocaine.)
Powdered cocaine is a powerful central nervous system stimulant. Individuals who use the drug may become restless, irritable, and anxious. Is there a difference between cocaine and crack cocaine? Yes, because powdered cocaine is usually injected or snorted vs being smoked. The use of powdered cocaine also can result in constricted blood vessels and increased temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. Heart attack, respiratory failure, stroke, and seizure also may result from cocaine use. Using cocaine at the same time as alcohol is consumed is particularly dangerous because it heightens the cocaine’s euphoric effect and potentially increases the risk of sudden death.
Is there a difference between cocaine and crack cocaine? In terms of addiction, they both have similar effects. The use of more than one drug, also known as polysubstance use, is common. This includes when two or more are taken together or within a short time period, either intentionally or unintentionally.
Intentional polysubstance use occurs when a person takes a drug to increase or decrease the effects of a different drug or wants to experience the effects of the combination. Unintentional polysubstance use occurs when a person takes drugs that have been mixed or cut with other substances, like fentanyl, without their knowledge.
Whether intentional or not, mixing drugs is never safe because the effects of combining drugs may be stronger and more unpredictable than one drug alone, and even deadly.
According to CDC:
- 250+ —The number of American lives lost to drugs every day.
- 50% — In 2019, nearly half of drug overdose deaths involved multiple drugs. 
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 Cocaine – National Center for Biotechnology Information
[2,7] Crack Cocaine – National Drug Intelligence Center
 Crack Cocaine Fast Facts – U.S. Department of Justice
 Is crack cheaper than (powder) cocaine? – National Center for Biotechnology Information
 Powdered Cocaine Fast Facts – National Drug Intelligence Center
 How pure are street drugs? – https://www.drugwise.org.uk/how-pure-are-street-drugs/
 Polysubstance Use Facts – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention