But for a few chemical differences, crack cocaine and powder cocaine are the same drug. They affect a user’s body and metabolism in the same way and generate common sensations of stimulation and euphoria. Crack cocaine is more lipid (i.e. fat) soluble, and its route of administration (vaporizing and inhaling) creates a faster and more intense high than inhaled powder cocaine. A crack cocaine user who smokes the drug usually experiences that high in under a minute after smoking it, compared to the several minutes before the high that is experienced with inhaled powder cocaine. A crack cocaine high is typically gone within ten to twenty minutes after it is smoked, at which time a crack user will generally want to smoke it again.
Crack Cocaine Abuse & Addiction
Both crack and powdered cocaine are equally dangerous and addictive. The crack high sensation has been described as a very strong adrenaline boost combined with the strong pleasurable sensations that are associated with the flood of dopamines that are released in a crack user’s brain. Cocaine in both forms gives its users a temporary but false sense of empowerment. As a user builds a tolerance to cocaine, that sense of empowerment will be diminished, and ultimately both the crack and the powdered cocaine user will ingest the drug obsessively without achieving any high sensations.
In the 1980’s and 1990’s, crack cocaine was strongly associated with individuals who lived in depressed neighborhoods or who came from lower socioeconomic classes. Social scientists who studied crack cocaine usage have theorized that crack became a plague in those neighborhoods and among those classes because it gave its users a temporary sense of release from their circumstances. Individuals who felt burdened by life and their depressed environment turned to crack as a relatively inexpensive means of escape. Crack cocaine is a more concentrated and fast-acting form of the active cocaine ingredients. This feature will initially give its users an almost immediate release from adversity, but ultimately it also trapped them deeper within that adversity.
The High One Gets from Crack Cocaine
A crack high is both a physical and psychological effect. Physically, crack cocaine floods a user’s brain with chemicals that make him feel good. Over a very short period of time, a crack user’s brain develops a tolerance to this flood and the receptors for those chemicals become less effective. These physical changes are reversible. For many crack cocaine users, addiction is stronger on a psychological level that is more difficult to reverse. Because the drug makes them feel good, they want to take more of it regardless of how dangerous it is. Individuals might be tempted to start using crack cocaine, for example, if they are depressed. The temporary high that they experience from crack gives them a very temporary respite from their depression. The tragedy in this scenario is that the cause of the depression is never addressed, and rather than getting a legitimate remedy for depression, a crack cocaine user develops an additional addiction problem.
The Last Resort Recovery Center near Austin, Texas, can help you stop using crack cocaine. Please call us at 512-360-3600 for assistance with developing a plan to recover from crack addiction and to address any underlying psychological issues that might have driven you to crack cocaine in the first instance.