GET HELP NOW! CALL 24/7 (800) 851-1941

The Difference Between Crack and Coke

The difference between coke and crack revolve around the difference in how quickly they produce their effect and the price of purchasing the drugs. Crack cocaine is much cheaper than cocaine, making it more attractive to buyers and therefore more popular.

Another difference between coke and crack is that crack cocaine is purer and more addictive than cocaine. Cocaine is usually a fine white powder, but crack cocaine is a whitish crystal. A national study conducted in the United States in 2008 discovered that 1.9 million people were using some form of cocaine, and 359,000 of those people were using crack cocaine.

Is Crack More Potent Than Coke?

Crack is more potent than coke because of the way it is ingested. Crack users feel the effects in a matter of seconds as opposed to snorting cocaine which begins to create its effects within 15 minutes. However, the quicker effect of crack cocaine fades in a shorter period of time than the effect of snorting cocaine.

Effects of Cocaine on the Brain

Both cocaine and crack have similar effects on the brain. The drug acts as a stimulant and acts upon the reward pathway and dopamine systems in the brain. This creates a high which is very addictive. The effects of using cocaine or crack cocaine include:

  • Excess energy or restlessness
  • A feeling of paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Psychotic episodes
  • Increase in stress hormones such as cortisol in the brain
  • Increased blood pressure and heart rate
  • Damage to the cardiovascular system
  • Aggressiveness
  • Panic disorders
  • In general, the high created by cocaine and crack cocaine lasts only a matter of minutes, and the addict will start thinking about how and where to get more.

How is Cocaine Ingested?

In use for thousands of years, the leaves of the coca plant from South America chewed and held in the mouth provided a mild stimulant and a pleasurable experience. More recently, processes were developed to concentrate the active ingredient of the coca leaf into cocaine which could be snorted through the nose. The cocaine is shaped into a narrow line on a flat surface of some kind, such as a mirror or a piece of glass. Then, using a straw, the user snorts the cocaine into the nose. Cocaine can also be injected into a vein or swallowed through the mouth. When snorted, the drug begins to act on the brain in five minutes or less. Injected cocaine reaches the brain in 30 seconds or less.

Why is Crack Cheaper Than Coke?

The origin of crack is a response to falling prices. In the early 1980’s, so much cocaine was being brought into the U.S. that prices dropped about 80%, seriously affecting the profits of the drug dealers. In response, the drug dealers discovered a way to transform cocaine into crack cocaine. Crack cocaine could be sold in much smaller quantities at a lower price, placing it within the reach of many more people. At the time, one gram of cocaine sold for about $100, but a dose of crack cocaine could be purchased for only a couple of dollars. Because of this, there is a popular notion that cocaine is used by the rich and powerful while crack cocaine is used by the lower classes and minorities. Since crack cocaine could be smoked, it produced an instant high and was therefore very addictive. The profits of the drug dealers began to soar again.

Crack Ingredients

The primary ingredient in crack cocaine is, of course cocaine. The cocaine is mixed with water and ammonia or sodium bicarbonate, better known as baking soda.

How is Crack Made?

The process of turning cocaine into crack cocaine is relatively easy and instructions are widely available, which has contributed to the problem of crack cocaine. There are only 11 steps in the process of creating crack. We provide these steps here so that you can learn how to recognize crack being made and either report it to the police or get the addicts the help they need.

  1. Gathering the ingredients and tools: cocaine powder, a cooking pan, a knife, a teaspoon, and a measuring cup
  2. Pouring cocaine in the measuring cup
  3. Adding sodium bicarbonate (baking powder)
  4. Adding water
  5. Pouring the ingredients into the pan and applying heat
  6. When the mixture starts bubbling, flattening the bubbles with the knife
  7. Continuing to cook the mixture and flattening any bubbles that appear
  8. When the mixture is solid white, removing it from heat
  9. Putting the mixture onto a towel of some kind to drain
  10. Putting the mixture into the freezer for about 20 minutes
  11. Breaking it into pieces once it’s ready to use
  12. Unlike the process for making methamphetamine, no dangerous or explosive chemicals are involved. However, it is important to know the process and recognize the paraphernalia involved in how crack is made so that you can know the signs that someone you love might be addicted to crack cocaine.

Side Effects of Smoking Crack

Because crack cocaine is smoked and then absorbed through the lungs, the user gets an almost immediate high that is very intense and addicting. The effects of smoking crack cocaine include:

  • Intense euphoria
  • Increased alertness
  • The pupils will be dilated
  • Loss of appetite
  • Heart rate will be increased
  • The user will feel very agitated
  • The user will suffer from strong cravings
  • The user will suffer from depression, anxiety, or even suicidal thoughts
  • Nausea, pain in the muscles, and extreme fatigue will appear

Crack & Cocaine Addiction Treatment

Thousands of people suffer from long term drug and alcohol substance abuse. At Northeast Addictions Treatment Center, we treat a variety of addictions, including crack and cocaine abuse. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, contact us now to schedule a free consultation with a licensed and board certified clinician.


Additional References: Psychology TodayDrugAbuse.govWebMDHowStuffWorksOne Man’s Blog

Need Help?

Chat with an addiction specialist now.