The Difference Between Cocaine and Crack | Yellowstone Recovery

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What’s the Difference Between Crack and Cocaine?

Even though crack is derived from cocaine, each of these two drugs is a unique substance. The most obvious difference between crack and cocaine is immediately visible; cocaine is a powdery white substance, while crack is a hard, crystalline rock.

On this page, we’ll discuss the many other differences between the two substances, from their chemical make-up and production to the ways they’re used and the people who use them.

Key Differences

Crack and its predecessor cocaine are quite different despite some telltale characteristics of relation. The following are a few key distinctions between the two drugs:

Chemical Composition and Structure

Crack and cocaine technically share the same chemical composition at their core. The primary difference is that the white powder we know as cocaine is a salt known as cocaine hydrochloride, while crack is a molecular crystalline form of the pure cocaine base.

Production Process

Cocaine is produced from the leaves of the South American coca tree. Coca leaves are dried and processed through a series of chemical reactions until the cocaine base is produced. After additional purification, hydrochloric acid is added to produce solid cocaine hydrochloride. Crack is commonly produced by adding a bicarbonate like baking soda to powdered cocaine and “cooking” it until the cocaine base precipitates out in solid chunks or “rocks.”

Methods of Use

Cocaine is typically used by snorting the powder nasally, ingesting it orally, or dissolving and injecting it intravenously. Crack, on the other hand, is a solid intended to be smoked in a crack pipe. Powdered cocaine cannot be smoked in this way, as most of the cocaine would be destroyed by the direct heat.

Severity of Danger

Both substances are dangerous, but the strong base content of crack makes it especially addictive. The fact that crack is smoked also means the impact is quick and there may be long-term lung damage. On the other hand, powdered cocaine presents its own dangers. At present, crack is commonly considered to be a higher-risk substance than cocaine, but the question of which is more dangerous is still subjective.

Addicted Individuals

Although anyone can become addicted to crack or cocaine, there does seem to be a clear disparity between those who most often use cocaine and those who most often use crack. Generally, powdered cocaine use tends to be more common in financially stable and affluent communities while crack use tends to be more common in low-income communities and areas of poverty.

The Risks and Repercussions of Crack and Cocaine Uses

Both crack and cocaine can increase cardiovascular risks and cause damage to the brain. When snorted, powdered cocaine can cause the deterioration of nose cartilage and sinus tissue. When dissolved and injected, there is a risk of blood-borne disease. The vapors inhaled when smoking crack specifically pose risks to the throat, lungs, teeth, and gums.

Addicted to Crack or Cocaine? Yellowstone Recovery Can Help

If someone you love or you are struggling with an addiction to crack, cocaine, or both, it’s time to get the help you need to fight for your life. Find out what Yellowstone Recovery can do for you by calling (888) 418-4188.

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