Cocaine – or simply coke – is a stimulant drug that’s well known for its addictiveness. It’s also called a variety of street names: blow, coke, crack, rock, and snow. Cocaine is made from the South American coca plant’s leaves. Although doctors can use cocaine for medicinal purposes — it used to be available as pain relievers for toothache and can be used for surgery anesthesia — cocaine is widely regarded as an illicit recreational drug.
As a street drug, it comes in a fine crystal or salt powder form that looks like flour from a distance and crystalline when looked at with a magnifying glass. Drug dealers might cheat their customers by mixing coke with cornstarch, flour, and talcum powder fillers to increase their profits by making their cocaine stash bigger.
The Differences of Cocaine, Crack, and Speedball
Cocaine is different from crack cocaine in several aspects. Cocaine is in white powder form while crack is in smokable crystal shard form. Cocaine is also more expensive than its crack counterpart. Crack also gets its name from the crackling sound it makes when you smoke it.
|Drug Type||Appearance||Methods of Delivery||How Fast It Works||Cost||Symptoms of Withdrawal|
|Cocaine||Hydrochloride salt in powdered form||Snorting and injection||
|Crack (Freebase Cocaine)||Powdered cocaine mixed with water and baking soda to form smokable crystal shards||Smoking||
|Speedball (Heroin + Cocaine)||Powdered white cocaine mixed with powdered brown heroin resulting in an ashy powder that also comes in liquid caramel-colored injectable form||Snorting and injection||
How Is Cocaine Used or Taken?
When consuming cocaine, you usually do so in what’s known as binges. You will also have the tendency to take higher and higher doses in order to keep up the initial effects of your first high. After all, the longer you do cocaine, the more desensitized you’ll become of the drug’s effects. Your tolerance will become higher as your body gets more used to the illicit substance.
As always, your initial high or the high you got from your previous highest dose will remain your peak until your next highest dose until you become addicted or overdose. At any rate, there are multiple ways for you to take coke. They include the following.
- Snorting: You can do cocaine by snorting its powder through your nose. Coke is usually presented in coke lines on glass that you’re supposed to snort through rolled-up paper (usually dollar bills) or a straw.
- Coke Binges: A coke binge involves taking coke over and over again in a short time period and in incrementally larger doses to maintain your high and fight against desensitization or the typically short length of the high.
- Gingival Exposure: You can also put the coke powder on your finger then rub it all over your gums in order to get your dose of the good stuff in the gingival level.
- Injection: You can also inject coke mixed with water into your veins and let it travel all over your bloodstream in order to get high within 15-30 minutes. Snorted coke lasts for 15-30 minutes and injected coke lasts for 20-60 minutes.
- Smoking Crack: You can also smoke cocaine. However, it’s best that you smoke coke that’s been processed into a rock crystal known as “freebase cocaine” or “crack”. It’s known as crack because of the crackling sound it makes as it’s heated and its vapors are smoked.
- Taking Speedball: It’s also possible (but not recommended) for you to mix cocaine (stimulant) and heroin (depressant) together to induce an even more brain-scrambling effect. This combo is known as a “Speedball”, incidentally. You can snort it or inject it into you.
Typical Signs and Symptoms of Cocaine Use
The typical signs and symptoms of cocaine use include the following.
- Rising agitation
- Signs of involuntary movements like muscle tics
- Effusive enthusiasm
- Increased movement and hyperactivity
- Changes in concentration and focus
- Uninhibited behavior or loss of inhibition
- Increased common cold-like symptoms and/or nosebleeds
Cocaine Abuse Symptoms and Complications
Cocaine is highly addictive and is linked to greater risks for the following.
- Psychiatric disorders
What Are the Short-Term Effects of Cocaine?
The short-term effects of cocaine include the following.
- Hypersensitivity to touch, sight, and sound
- Mental alertness
- Paranoia or extreme and unreasonable distrust of others
- Extreme happiness and energy
There are users who claim that taking cocaine helps them in performing simple physical and mental tasks rather quickly. Nevertheless, there are also those who experience the opposite condition. Huge doses of coke can lead abusers to exhibit bizarre, unpredictable, and even violent behavior due to brain chemistry changes and cocaine side effects.
Regarding how long your high from cocaine can last, here’s the nitty-gritty.
- It typically takes the coke high to kick in quickly then dissipate within a couple of minutes to about an hour.
- Your method of dosage dictates how long the effects should last and how intense they could be.
- Snorting cocaine takes about 3 to 5 minutes to produce a high. This can last from 15 to 30 minutes.
- Smoking cocaine can lead to instantaneous effects that last from 5 to 10 minutes.
- Injecting cocaine takes about 15 to 30 minutes to produce a high. This can last from 20 to 60 minutes.
As for the other adverse effects of cocaine usage, they include the following.
- Raised blood pressure
- Raised body temperature
- Dilated pupils
- Tremors and muscle twitches
- Faster heartbeat
- Constricted blood vessels
What Are the Long-Term Effects of Cocaine?
Coke is quite the popular recreational (yet illegal) drug because of its supposed benefits in terms of mood, energy, and motivation. Alas, people who abuse the stimulant might end up taking it by smoking crack/freebase cocaine or snorting/injecting regular cocaine in a careless, uncontrolled manner.
This then leads to long-term adverse effects from all of that drug abuse as well as outright addiction. How detrimental these damaging side effects can get depends on the manner you’re taking the drug or how you’re delivering it to your system. Here are the various risks for each type of coke delivery:
- Oral Cocaine Consumption: Oral or gingival abuse of coke can result in severe bowel decay due to reduced blood flow. Getting circulation problems is a common issue among coke abusers and addicts.
- Snorting Cocaine: You can end up with side effects like loss of sense of smell, nosebleeds, frequent runny rose, issues with swallowing, or outright destruction of nose cartilage (what happened to comedian Artie Lange) by snorting cocaine excessively.
- Cocaine Injection: Injecting cocaine into your veins can increase your risk for various blood-borne sicknesses such as tetanus, infection, HIV, or Hepatitis C (HCV). This is especially true if you share needles and don’t use sterile ones.
- Consuming Cocaine in Any Form: You can end up with an increased HIV risk not only by sharing potentially HIV-infected needles. Coke can also impair your judgment so badly that you might engage in risky sexual encounters with potentially infected persons who are HIV-positive. However, this is more of a behavioral side effect than a physical one involving consumption.
The other long-term effects of coke include the following.
- Severe paranoia
- Losing touch in reality
- Movement disorders
- Reduction of appetite
- Parkinson’s disease
- Auditory hallucinations or hearing noises that aren’t there
How Does Cocaine Affect Your Heart?
Cocaine abuse is not good for your heart. It can poison the organ or lead to cardiotoxicity, which involves the following effects.
- Heart Failure: If you’re abusing cocaine then that might lead to heart failure. This is because it can cumulatively kill the muscles of your heart on a cellular level.
- Aortic Rupture: You can end up with a ruptured aorta—the major artery of your heart—from taking too much cocaine, leading to a life-threatening condition.
- Cardiomyopathy: Coke abuse and addiction can also cause your heart muscle to get inflamed, which is also known as cardiomyopathy. The drug can even damage your heart muscles by causing cell death when taken in high doses. The higher the dose the more cells will die.
- Severe Blood Loss and Reducing Cardiac Function: Because your cardiac function is reduced from cocaine use, this can lead to reduced blood loss and circulatory problems. This affects your health and quality of life in many ways, including problems in healing wounds.
- Heart Cell Side Effects: Cocaine can cumulatively affect the health of the human heart on a cellular level. As you abuse coke more and more, it can cause serious cardiac conditions and diseases such as heart attacks and cardiac arrhythmias, which could lead to death.
- Endocarditis: Whenever you take in intravenous or injectable cocaine through your veins, it can cause the inner tissues of your heart to get inflamed as the drug travels through your bloodstream, which is a condition that’s also known as endocarditis.
- Cocaine-Induced Heart and Brain Damage: Even if your heart was “only” damaged instead of suffering from organ failure, your risk for brain damage or stroke can go way up due to blood supply interruptions.
How Does Cocaine Affect Your Kidneys?
Abusing cocaine can lead to kidney destruction. This is because it’s responsible for filtering your blood toxicity. Because you keep poisoning the well that is your bloodstream, your kidney can end up with various complications or you might get outright kidney failure from continued coke abuse.
Prolonged cocaine usage is believed to have links with swelling or inflammation of important microstructure of your kidney. If you don’t stop using coke, the permanent damage to your kidney’s microstructures will lead to kidney death sooner or later.
How Does Cocaine Affect Your Brain?
Cocaine increases the availability of dopamine. Incidentally, dopamine is a neurotransmitter or natural chemical messenger of the brain that controls or manages your pleasure and movement. It specifically facilitates reward cues, movement regulation, and generating euphoric emotions.
It affects the reward circuit of your brain, which is what you depend on when it comes to pleasurable feelings. You’re rewarded with dopamine when you do rewarding things like accomplishing a school project or getting a raise but cocaine can trick your brain into thinking that its consumption is equal to all those accomplishments.
In other words, changes y our brain because of the following factors.
- Dopamine’s Effects: Your brain releases dopamine into your reward circuits to react to potential rewards. For example, when your first child is born, when your business turns a profit, when you get straight A’s for your grades, when you’re on a date with someone, or when you smell good food.
- Mitigating Dopamine Recycling: Dopamine is recycled back to the cell that released it, which shuts off the signal between neurotransmitters to stop the dopamine release. Cocaine is a dangerous chemical because it tricks your brain to stop dopamine recycling to give you a pleasurable, stimulating high that continues due to an unstoppable dopamine flood.
- Cocaine-Induced Dopamine Flood: Consuming cocaine results a flood of excessive dopamine that has built-up between your neurons. This torrent of dopamine disrupts normal neuron communication in your brain, resulting in a coke-induced high. You’ll feel giddy, pleasured, and satisfied. Your mind will begin to associate taking cocaine with the same sense of accomplishment as you would get while having pleasurable sex or fulfilling your childhood dreams.
Coke abuse can also result in negative alterations to your brain chemistry. These changes include cocaine addiction and strong cravings. As you build tolerance to cocaine, you’re pushed to consume more and more of it to get the same level of pleasurable high.
Cocaine-induced brain changes manifest in the form of behavioral anomalies or abnormalities. They include the following.
- New-onset ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder): Even if you don’t have ADHD, coke usage can result in you developing the condition.
- Unusual Erratic Behavior: Coke can make you exhibit erratic, unpredictable, reckless, and at-times irrational behavior. This typically results in unintentional trauma due to accidents.
Adverse Effects of Cocaine Abuse on Your Mental and Bodily Functions
Even users who use coke recreationally and “responsibly” (in that they take it moderately like alcohol) can still be faced with various side effects and complications of the neurological nature that affect their quality of life.
Recreational cocaine use is linked with the following.
- Reduced Ability to Control Behavior: Your ability to control impulses or be more patient is reduced the longer you use cocaine. You might become a slave to your desires.
- Reduced Ability to React to Stimuli: Your ability to react to environmental stimuli or things that’d normally stimulate you might be reduced or seem boring to you after abusing cocaine.
- Reduced Ability to Make Decisions and Pay Attention: By abusing cocaine in a long period of time, your ability to make decisions, pay attention to anything, or carry out normal cognitive performance will all suffer when push comes to shove.
- Reduced Ability to Control Movements: Your ability to control your movements such as sitting down, standing, walking, and so forth without ending up shaking or twitching might be affected the long you use cocaine.
- Reduced Ability to Do Daily Activities: Your ability to carry out ordinary tasks and activities such as brushing your teeth, eating meals, or going to the bathroom might prove difficult due to the effects of coke on your movement and mind.
In a Nutshell
Getting over a cocaine addiction is easier said and done. However, by undergoing medical detoxification and careful treatment that has dual diagnosis services in rehab centers like Clarity Rehab, you should get on the pathway towards sobriety and full recovery. The trickiest part of being a coke addict is getting over the withdrawal symptoms and finding ways to deal with relapse.
Being dependent on coke is so problematic that the truism of an ounce of prevention is always better than a pound of cure (and rehab) rings true here too. Cocaine addicts tend to end up fixated on coke alone, with everything else in their life taking a back seat. Avoid coke like the plague or a snake pit, especially if you already have quite the addictive personality to start. The signs and symptoms of cocaine addiction show what a nightmare being addicted to coke really is.
Cocaine Addiction Rehabilitation Program at Clarity Rehab
Contact Clarity Luxury Rehab’s dedicated staff and crew to get immediate emergency help and long-term rehabilitation assistance for cocaine addiction from a trusted addiction rehab center. Their facilities can even take care of co-occurring conditions or additional addictions to other substances through their dual diagnosis services to boot.
Cocaine is indeed one of the most dangerous and highly addictive illicit substances out there, so in order to recover you should get professional rehab services. Call Clarity today through their 24/7 hotline! You won’t regret it.