A crack high lasts for about 5 to 10 minutes on average. Crack cocaine is almost always smoked, which brings the drug directly into the lungs and bloodstream.
Though a crack cocaine high is often short, smoking crack can have long-term side effects. The downsides of crack cocaine use likely outweigh the euphoric benefits for many people.
Why The Effects Of Crack Cocaine Are Brief
Smoking crack brings the drug directly into the lungs. Since crack cocaine is a freebase form of cocaine, differences in production between cocaine and crack may change how quickly they are absorbed by the body.
Smoking crack can lead to a euphoric high and increased energy. These effects are due to a rush of dopamine, a neurotransmitter affected by crack.
The effect of snorting powder cocaine is slightly slower, since it takes longer for the drug to reach the bloodstream from the nose. The high from cocaine use tends to last about 15 to 30 minutes on average, compared to 5 to 10 minutes for crack use.
Short-Term Effects Of A Crack High
A cocaine high and a crack cocaine high tend to produce similar effects, since they are forms of the same base drug:
- constricted blood vessels
- high blood pressure
- increased body temperature
- irregular heart rhythms
- chest pain
- dilated pupils
These effects may persist after the high from smoking crack wears off. After a crack cocaine high, a “crash” in mood and energy is common. Some people may use crack again to avoid fatigue and exhaustion caused by a crash.
Increased Risk Of Heart Attack
Cocaine and crack cocaine are linked to an increased risk of heart attack. Along with increased blood pressure and constriction of blood vessels, crack cocaine can increase the oxygen demand from the heart while reducing oxygen supply at the same time.
An imbalance of oxygen in the heart can cause a myocardial infarction, or heart attack. Cardiac arrest can happen for people using crack cocaine for the first time, or people who have been smoking crack for a long time.
Long-Term Effects Of A Crack High
The short duration of a crack high may lead to repeated use over a short period of time. When crack cocaine is abused in large amounts, the risk of long-term health problems can increase.
While the positive effects of a crack high can last up to 10 minutes, the long-term health effects from crack use can be permanent.
Some short-term side effects of crack cocaine use can become chronic. High blood pressure may become chronic hypertension, while changes in heart rate may become heart arrhythmia.
Crack cocaine use can also increase the risk of stroke, while the risk of heart attack can persist for as long as crack cocaine use continues.
Cognitive & Motor Problems
Long-term cognitive problems linked to crack cocaine use include issues with:
- impulse control
Cocaine is also linked to an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease, a condition linked to problems with dopamine regulation.
Substance Use Disorder
The rush of dopamine caused by crack cocaine can be pleasant for a few minutes while leading to long-term health problems. Repeated crack use can cause the body to rely on the drug to produce dopamine, a process known as physical dependence.
Physical dependence can lead to crack cocaine withdrawal when trying to quit. Withdrawal symptoms for crack cocaine may start several days after the last use, and include a decline in mental health, severe cravings, sleeping problems, and trouble concentrating.
Substance abuse of crack cocaine may also lead to tolerance, where more of the drug is required to produce the same effects. Tolerance, dependence, and withdrawal are all aspects of crack addiction, also known as substance use disorder.
Crack Cocaine Addiction Treatment Options
Though crack cocaine can cause many long-term health problems, some people may find it difficult to stop. The withdrawal symptoms and cravings that often come with cocaine can be challenging to overcome without help.
Dedicated addiction treatment programs can be helpful for patients struggling to control their substance use. Cocaine addiction treatment programs can start with a detox program, where habit-forming drugs are flushed out of the system.
After detox, patients may be recommended a variety of options like behavioral therapy and support groups. To find out if our outpatient treatment options will work for you or your loved one, please contact our helpline today.
Northeast Addition Editorial Team
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This page does not provide medical advice.