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Cocaine Purity Testing: How to Clean and Test the Drug

what is Pure Cocaine

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The process of making cocaine is a long one, with many parties involved. This usually causes the cocaine’s purity to take a considerable hit. Dealers, traffickers, and suppliers may all add something to the drug, to get more income for themselves from it, making pure cocaine hard to come by.
But what are the differences between pure and cut cocaine, and what does cocaine do to one’s health if it isn’t pure?

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Table of Contents

Pure Cocaine vs. Cut: What’s The Difference?

Bag of cut open cocaine with knife laid beside it.

Pure and cut cocaine can have many differences. The cut version of the drug is essentially the drug with added ingredients, which take away the purity. It is done by dealers to enhance the weight of their dosage and therefore make more cash. However, it also benefits the dealers in another way, as the cut version of the substance is even more addictive.

Unlike real cocaine, cut cocaine is not the glistening white color, but often a murky brown instead. It can often smell differently too, due to as when cut, the drug usually smells like many of its added extras, like baking soda or rat poison. However, on rare occasions, it will retain its bitter chemical cocaine smell, regardless of whether it is pure or cut.
In addition to the differences in appearance and smell, when cut, the drug can be considered even more dangerous than pure cocaine. This is partly because it is even more addictive. However, the added cut ingredients also make the drug unpredictable with side effects. Whereas real cocaine has well-known effects, cut cocaine can produce all those effects and much worse. Users could have allergic reactions, drug interactions and general side effects that they are not expecting. That is why when cut, the drug is often far more deadly than its purer version.

How to Clean Cocaine?

Man holding bag of cocaine between his fingertips over a black background

Impure cocaine is incredibly dangerous. It has all the dangers of its purer counterpart but with the added effects of the user having no idea what they are putting into their system. This makes it necessary to purify cocaine.

There are a few complex, chemical procedures when it comes to washing cocaine. However, many of these the average person would struggle to accomplish.
When the substance is manufactured, at the beginning of the process, it is washed. Cleansing is done with the use of acetone, or diethyl ether. The process removes impurities from the cocaine hydrochloride crystals. However, leaving the impurities, or adding them throughout the manufacturing process adds weight to the drug, and therefore it can be sold for more.

Cut and pure cocaine are off law. The use of both poses health hazards, as well as legal consequences.

How To Test Cocaine Purity?

Crack cocaine ready for testing in the lab.

For drug abusers, purity of cocaine is important, so they often conduct purity testing. Cocaine purity can be tested with a purity test kit. These kits provide instructions, spatulas and the test itself.

The test helps addicts recognize how pure the drug is, from less than 10% to over 90%. It shows this with a color-coded reaction which changes depending on the purity of the sample provided.
Another method is the spoon method. The users heat the spoon with the substance on and a small amount of water, and see how much of the substance dissolves, using a filter.
Another way abusers use to check the purity is how much does cocaine cost? Cheaper cut versions of the drug are usually impure, as it has been mixed with other substances. This way isn’t as surefire as the other methods, but it helps to give a general idea.

Cocaine Purity – How Does It Affect One’s Health?

Many are aware of how bad cocaine is. However, many are unaware of how drastically the level of purity can affect health. Low purity levels may even slightly change the symptoms of a cocaine overdose, making it harder to identify.
When the drug is pure, it has an array of terrible and negative side effects. The impure drug can have effects on one’s health as well. Not only do the ingredients it is cut with changing the high, but they also change the level of addiction, as well as the symptoms.

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  1. He Zhu, Fernando A. Wilson, Jim P. Stimpson, José A. Pagán, Correlation between Cocaine Prices and Purity with Trends in Emergency Department Visits in a Major Metropolitan Area,
  2. Darke S, Kaye S, Topp L., Cocaine use in New South Wales, Australia, 1996-2000: 5 year monitoring of trends in price, purity, availability and use from the illicit drug reporting system,
  3.  Journal of the Brazilian Chemical Society, Chemical Profiling of Cocaine Seized by Brazilian Federal Police in 2009-2012: Major Components Chemical Profiling of Cocaine Seized by Brazilian Federal Police in 2009-2012: Major Components,
Medically Reviewed By Michael Espelin APRN
Isaak Stotts

About Author

Isaak Stotts, LP

Isaak Stotts is an in-house medical writer in AddictionResource. Isaak learned addiction psychology at Aspen University and got a Master's Degree in Arts in Psychology and Addiction Counseling. After graduation, he became a substance abuse counselor, providing individual, group, and family counseling for those who strive to achieve and maintain sobriety and recovery goals.


Leave a comment

  • Eugene Hasenfous
    I’m not addicted to cocaine, I just love the way it smells! The purity of coke on the street is generally tested by dropping a smidge into a shot glass of bleach: pure cocaine dissolves, while traditional adulterants either sink or color the bleach. However, the latest “supercut”, levamisole, also dissolves in bleach, making it impossible to distinguish it from cocaine using this test. Anhydrous acetone will wash off some cuts and contaminants, leaving the coke behind on the filter paper. Anhydrous (200 proof) ethanol, will dissolve coke from the filter paper, and anything left behind on the paper is junk. Allow the ethanol to evaporate at room temp, and you get nice crystals. As Lily mentioned, pure coke will mostly melt by body heat, when pinched between the thumb and index finger and rubbed back and forth. It will leave only an oily residue. Most cuts have a much higher melting temp, and remain a chalky powder. Pure coke is also hygroscopic, meaning it absorbs water / moisture from the air. Good coke is soft, and will look like it is melting when left exposed to air for 30 min or more. Do not begin a relationship with cocaine. It will ruin you.
    • Oliver
      I hope you’re doing better now. Everything in moderation.
  • Friendly advice
    Ain’t hard to come by just got to know what to look for and don’t let people mug you off… Take my advice stay well clear cus wen u find that real you’re hooked trust
  • John cockner
    Depends where you’re at.
    • JC
      BK? NY?
  • G
    Well with my experience with it in last 7 years..I’ve seen it come in white yellow and dirty color..but as far as I know u can’t get pure uncut unless u know the person or the manufacturer pure uncut is deadly
  • Adam
    Hi, Actually am taking cook every weekend and I don’t know if it’s pure or not. And I want to stop it I’m Almost 2 months taking every weekend. Can you please give some advice to stop.
    • Dayday
      Hope you got some help there amigo/a
  • Jack
  • Joe whip
    It is extremely simple to test purity. Im QA specialist for a few guys. All u need the correct spoon soda water and a small knife. Add the powder soda water to spoon. Turn stove on and put spoon on. After enough heat it will bake and rise like a pie. Begin to stir until oilseperates from water. Scoop that oil let it harden. Weighin powder before and the hard piece after gives u an idea ofwhat percentage is pure but these days theres comeback which looks lie real oil. Im the best in the city and have had bricks sent back due to impurity.
    • Kelly
      Baking soda or soda water?
    • m
      you are testing %age of coke in mix not purity of the coke itself.
    • Kole Holt
      that sound like making crack, can see how it would give you an idea of purity. then left with a lil rock.
  • phuc yòu lah
    recreational drug use does not equate to abuse. so tired of the black and white thinking.
    • Mari
      I agree.