Crack vs. Cocaine: What’s the Difference?

Crack Vs Cocaine: Aren’t They The Same?

Crack is a product made from cocaine. So, crack and cocaine have the same source. The similarities between them outnumber the differences. Cocaine and crack addiction continue to plague our nation. In 2019, over 16,000 people died by cocaine overdose. Furthermore, a global pandemic continues to afflict the world. One should not feel dismay that people seek relief via cocaine and crack.

In this article, Recovery By The Sea examines the following topics:

  • A little history on cocaine and where it came from
  • What kind of drug cocaine is and what it does to the body
  • The differences between cocaine and crack
  • Crack vs. cocaine: consumption and side effects
  • How to get help for cocaine vs. addiction

A Little History On Cocaine And Where It Came From

Cocaine originates in South America, particularly the area of the Andes mountains. It is a byproduct of the coca plant, which grows there natively. The indigenous Inca people had incorporated the coca plant into their faith traditions. They also used it for medicinal purposes, like easing pain. An Incan amauta, or spiritual teacher, might use the coca leaves to divine the fate or future of a person.

What Kind Of Drug Cocaine Is And What It Does To The Body

Researchers classify cocaine as a stimulant. This means it “stimulates” the brain and body. Our brain and spinal cord connect to form the central nervous system (CNS). First, the brain sends out an electrical impulse. That impulse travels down the spine. From there, it goes into the nerves. This process controls much about how we think, feel, and act. Cocaine makes these nerve impulses move much faster.

A Closer Look At Cocaine In The Brain

The brain’s messages are called neurotransmitters. Cocaine effects one very important neurotransmitter: dopamine. Dopamine influences our mood. It motivates us to pursue what we want. Once we achieve what we want, dopamine rewards us with good feelings. Cocaine makes our brains produce more dopamine. But, it also prevents dopamine from being reabsorbed. This means that dopamine remains active in our brains for too long.

The Differences Between Cocaine And Crack

On the street, one will find cocaine as a white powder. However, dealers may mix cocaine with other substances. They do this to supplement their amount of cocaine. Ergo, they can make more money. But, purchasers end up paying the price (in more ways than one). If one buys cocaine on the street, one has no way of knowing what’s been mixed with it.

Dealers might mix cocaine with things like:

  • Opioids: painkillers like heroin, codeine, opium, and fentanyl
  • Talcum powder
  • Amphetamines: speed and uppers
  • Flour


Cocaine in the form of crystalline rocks is known as “crack.” The name comes from the sound that it makes when heated. Crack found its way into parts of the US around 1980. Throughout the 80s, it spread across large metropolitan areas. Dealers could make it on the cheap. And, crack isn’t hard to make. Dealers can make massive profits with it.

Crack Vs Cocaine: Consumption And Side Effects

One difference in crack vs cocaine is the ways in which users take the drugs. With cocaine, users will typically consume cocaine in one of four ways:

  • Insufflation: snorting or inhaling through the nose, sometimes via a straw
  • Inhalation: heating and smoking it in a pipe
  • Injection: Mixing cocaine with a liquid and puncturing the skin with a needle
  • Rubbing into the gums: often leads to numbness in the mouth, tongue, and jaw

Because crack comes in a solid rock form, users will usually inhale or smoke it.

Side Effects

Remember that cocaine is a stimulant. It speeds up the pace of neurotransmitters. This means that normal things the body does will happen faster too. Cocaine gives you energy. As a result, it disturbs your sleep. It can also cause nervousness, anxiety, and paranoia. Cocaine also elevates the heartrate and blood pressure. Consequently, it can cause cardiovascular problems. And even death.

But crack is more potent than powder cocaine. As a result, a person may crave more of it as soon as the first dose wears off. Crack is therefore more addictive and habit-forming than cocaine. Moreover, crack impacts the mood and temperament. Consistent crack users may have severe shifts in their feelings and affect. Crack can also lead to nausea and vomiting. It can damage the heart even faster than powder cocaine. Crack can also lead to extreme symptoms of psychosis. Users may experience delusions and hallucinations.

How To Get Help For Cocaine Vs Crack Addiction

In this article, you learned about where cocaine came from. We examined what effects crack vs cocaine have on the body. We looked at similarities and differences between crack and cocaine. Finally, we perused through symptoms and side effects.

If you or someone that you know struggles with addiction to crack vs cocaine, call Recovery By The Sea now. Or, fill out the contact form.