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Crack vs. Cocaine

image of a man buying drugs in a dark alley who doesn't know the difference between crack vs. cocaine

Crack abuse and cocaine abuse share several commonalities, but there are distinct differences that make receiving treatment for each different. If you or a loved one is struggling with cocaine, consider reaching out to Insight Recovery Center at 828.826.1376 to learn more about our cocaine addiction rehab options.

Crack vs. Cocaine: What’s the Difference?

Powdered cocaine and crack cocaine are the same drug, but they differ in several key ways. Both drugs originate from the coca plant but undergo different processing and manufacturing steps before being sold on the street.

Powdered Cocaine

With powdered cocaine, the drug is typically seen as a white or yellowish powder. This drug is typically snorted, though many people melt the powder into water and inject it intravenously.

Cocaine produces a short, intense high, which leads to effects including:

  • An exaggerated sense of confidence
  • Restless energy
  • Higher blood pressure and heart rate
  • Elevated body temperature

The effects of powdered cocaine typically only last between 45 and 60 minutes when snorted. After the effects have worn off, people can experience a debilitating crash characterized by a lack of energy and motivation. Some people even experience depression. People may readminister cocaine repeatedly to avoid these symptoms.

Crack Cocaine

Crack cocaine is a form of cocaine meant to be smoked rather than snorted or injected. Crack cocaine is typically seen as small white or tan rocks that are placed into a pipe and smoked.

Since crack cocaine is absorbed through the lungs, it reaches the bloodstream much faster than when people snort powdered cocaine. Whereas it may take minutes to feel the effect of snorting powdered cocaine, the effects of crack cocaine are experienced almost instantly.

This rapid absorption of cocaine into the bloodstream means that people can experience a greater intensity of effects from cocaine, which lasts for a shorter period. The effects of crack cocaine only last for between 10 and 20 minutes, leading people to repeatedly readminister the drug.

Crack vs. Cocaine: Differences in Addiction and Treatment

While crack abuse and cocaine abuse have many similarities in effects, crack cocaine is often quicker to lead to addiction and future health-related problems. The rate at which a drug is absorbed into the bloodstream heavily influences whether a person becomes addicted, as it creates a much larger reward signal in the brain.

So while either drug can lead to a substance use disorder, people who use crack cocaine are more likely to have severe addictions and addiction-related consequences.

This extends to physical health problems as well. The primary physical consequences of cocaine abuse revolve around the cardiovascular system, which is put under great strain when people use cocaine for recreational purposes.

One major cause of concern is cocaine cardiomyopathy, a disease that makes it difficult for the heart to pump blood to the rest of the body. The severity of your cocaine use disorder can impact your risk of this dangerous side effect, making it more likely to occur for those who use crack than those who use powdered cocaine.

Treatment for Crack Abuse and Cocaine Abuse at Insight Recovery Center

Whether you or your loved one is using crack or powdered cocaine, there are effective addiction treatment options that can help you recover. Addiction treatment has decades of research supporting its effectiveness. It can help you overcome cravings, health consequences, and the mental health challenges of building a new life in sobriety.

Reach out to Insight Recovery Center at 828.826.1376 or contact us online to speak to our team about our treatment options for overcoming cocaine addiction. No matter how severe your addiction may be, the team at Insight Recovery Center is dedicated to helping you heal.