Freebase Cocaine: What is it? What are its Effects and Dangers?
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Freebasing or freebase cocaine is one of the methods of cocaine consumption in which dealers convert powder cocaine into a heat-stable form. This way, abusers can smoke it.
Freebase cocaine or freebase coke has higher lipid solubility thus allowing it to diffuse into the brain more rapidly. Therefore, it produces a faster high than other methods such as snorting, or comparable to intravenous use. They call it by other names such as smoked cocaine, freebase, or cocaine base.
Table of Contents
- How Does Freebasing Work?
- Cocaine Freebase vs HCl
- Crack vs Cocaine Freebase
- Dangers of Using the Method
- What are the Effects of Cocaine Freebasing?
- Overdose Risks: What’s the Influence?
How Does Freebasing Work?
Freebasing extracts the cocaine alkaloid from its natural salt form by using ammonia. Then, they treat the mixture with a non-polar solvent. This treatment results in the formation of two separate layers of which the upper layer consists of the dissolved cocaine. Lastly, they evaporate the solvent containing cocaine to obtain the cocaine.
Freebasing also renders the cocaine free from water-soluble impurities and other useless components. Therefore, freebasing produces almost the purest form of cocaine.
Cocaine Freebase vs HCl: What’s the Difference?
The basic difference between freebase cocaine and its hydrochloride form (HCl) is the way people use it for recreational purposes. Users smoke the former type, while they inject or snort latter one.
Cocaine Freebase Vs Crack
Both substances are smoked by those who abuse the drug. Many may consider these two forms to be the same or at least similar. However, there are certain factors that differentiate one from the other.
Freebase cocaine is almost 100% pure and has a very low water solubility. It can withstand degradation from the heat during smoking, and reach the brain rapidly due to its high lipid solubility. The crack is available as a wax-like substance. Dealers often call it “rock of crack.”
Dangers of Using the Method
Cocaine is one of the stimulants that users abuse the most. Addicts use various forms of cocaine. Freebase cocaine abuse account for a significant portion of the deaths due to illicit drug use.
Smoked cocaine is more dangerous than other forms of cocaine due to its:
- Higher abuse liability
- Greater propensity for addiction
- More severe health consequences
Some evidence also suggests greater crime rates among individuals who use crack cocaine. However, confirmations are not yet available.
However, the primary factors that determine the degree of addiction and health impacts are the amount they use, frequency, what is cocaine cut with and duration. Surprisingly, the form of cocaine itself isn’t as important.
Freebase Cocaine Effects
Initially, the short-term effects of freebase cocaine are pleasurable in nature. This is the underlying reason behind its abuse and subsequent addiction. When one smokes cocaine, they almost instantly become euphoric. This can lead to cocaine addiction over a long period of time. Studies suggest the users taking freebase cocaine have more intense cravings. This is when one compares it to those taking it by other routes. In addition, an individual’s personality traits also influence the intensity of cocaine cravings. Besides, there are many long-term effects of cocaine use in general which are essential to know them.
A large number of individuals using freebase cocaine have other co-occurring conditions. The most common ones are psychiatric disorders, mood disorders, and anxiety disorders.
The harmful effects of regular long-term abuse of freebase cocaine include:
- Loss of control
- Inability to make good judgments and decisions
- Strong urges for taking cocaine that may result in risky behavior
- Acute myocardial infarction (AMI) that causes severe chest pain and is often fatal
- Damages to respiratory organs resulting in black sputum, blood in coughing, chest pain and heart palpitations
- Withdrawal symptoms
Higher Risk of Overdose With Freebase Cocaine
Because it’s easier to inject and the high amount of it reaching the brain, there’s a significant risk of overdose. Furthermore, freebase cocaine overdose can cause life-threatening lung injury.
Some warning signs of Freebase cocaine overdose include:
- Cardiac arrhythmia from very rapid heartbeats called tachycardia
- Higher than normal body temperature and blood pressure
- Psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations, unresponsiveness and delusional thoughts
- Inability to make good decisions
Cocaine overdose is a very serious condition that calls for immediate medical attention. Failure to get prompt treatment can be very serious often leading to death.
- Perez-Reyes M., Di Guiseppi S., Ondrusek G., Jeffcoat A. R., Cook C. E. Free-base cocaine smoking. Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics. 1982; 32(4):459-65. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7116761./li>
- Manschreck T. C., Laughery J. A., Weisstein C. C., et al. Characteristics of freebase cocaine psychosis. Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine. 1988; 61(2):115–122. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2590279/.
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