Difference Between Cocaine vs. Crack

Main Difference

The main difference between cocaine and crack is in their origin. Cocaine derives from the coca plant indigenous to South America, and crack is prepared by mixing powdered cocaine in water and baking soda/ammonia.

Cocaine vs. Crack

Cocaine and crack are highly addictive, stimulant drugs. Cocaine derives from the coca plant indigenous to South America. It comes in a fine, white crystalline powder. Crack is prepared by dissolving powdered cocaine in a mixture of water and baking soda/ammonia. This result in a yellowish-white rock that is being broken into smaller rocks. These rocks weigh a few tenths of a gram. Both cocaine and crack lead to a host of physical, psychological, and behavioral problems, including addiction. Both the rugs affect how the brain responds to dopamine (a neurotransmitter responsible for feeling pleasure and contentment). Cocaine and crack not only accept and process the dopamine but also cause its build-up in the brain. It causes the characteristic, euphoric high. Larger amounts of cocaine are required overtime to release enough dopamine to elicit the same high. Cocaine and crack differ in appearance. Cocaine is found in white powder form. Crack is found in a rock formation which is generally cream, white, tan, or light brown. Cocaine is an expensive drug. Crack is a cheaper alternative to cocaine. So crack is more accessible to the lower socioeconomic demographic. Cocaine is snorted, and crack is smoked. The effects of snorted cocaine occur in about 1-5 minutes in the body. It peaks within 20-30 minutes and dissipates within 1-2 hours. The effects of crack occur in under a minute. It peak in 3-5 minutes and last 30-60 minutes. The physical effects of cocaine and crack are depression, sudden death, increased rate of breathing, hyperstimulation, aggressive behavior.

Comparison Chart

CocaineCrack
A drug which derives from the coca plant indigenous to South AmericaA drug that is prepared by dissolving powdered cocaine in a mixture of water and baking soda/ammonia
Street Price
$100 to $125 per gram$5 to $30 per rock
Duration of the High
15 to 30 minutesFive to 15 minutes
Average Prison Term
87 months115 months
Rate
ExpensiveCheap

What is Cocaine?

Cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant. It is taken in many ways like snorted, injected into the bloodstream, or freebased. Cocaine is a hydrochloride fine white substance that comes in powdered form. The chemical, cocaine-chloride comes directly from the coca plant. This water-soluble, powdered form of cocaine can be snorted, dissolved in water and injected directly into the veins, or rubbed on the gums. Cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant which comes in solid or powder form. The US Drug Enforcement Administration classifies cocaine as a Schedule II substance. The physical effects of using powder cocaine last between one and two hours. The physical effects of cocaine include anxiety, restlessness, dilated pupils, decreased appetite, and increased blood pressure. Larger amounts of cocaine are required overtime to release enough dopamine to elicit the same high. Cocaine is an expensive drug. The effects of snorted cocaine occur in about 1-5 minutes in the body. It peaks within 20-30 minutes and dissipates within 1-2 hours. The effects of crack occur in under a minute — it peaks in 3-5 minutes and last 30-60 minutes. The physical effects of cocaine and crack are depression, sudden death, increased rate of breathing, hyperstimulation, aggressive behavior. Sometimes, the street dealers cut the cocaine hydrochloride with another white substance like talcum powder, flour, cornstarch, or baking soda to increase their profits. They also adulterate cocaine with other drugs such as procaine (a chemically related local anesthetic) or amphetamine.

What is Crack?

Crack is a drug made by dissolving cocaine hydrochloride powder in water and then mixing with baking soda. Then, this mixture is heated to remove the hydrochloride and leave behind a concentrated form of cocaine. The final result is small, white, irregularly shaped rocks. The size of the rocks may vary, but they usually are around one-tenth to one-half of a gram. The color of these rocks is cream, white, tan, or light brown. The rocks of crack range from $3 to $50 depending on the size. Crack is a less expensive and more profitable version of cocaine. It is a low form of cocaine. It is made by mixing with a legal non-euphoric substance like ammonia or baking soda. It is cooked down to remove the hydrochloride and produce a smokeable product. So it is more accessible to the lower socioeconomic demographic. The effects of crack include physical, psychological, and behavioral problems, including addiction. This drug affects how the brain responds to dopamine (a neurotransmitter responsible for feeling pleasure and contentment). It not only accepts and processes the dopamine but also causes its build-up in the brain. The effects of crack occur in under a minute — it peaks in 3-5 minutes and last 30-60 minutes. The physical effects of crack are depression, sudden death, increased rate of breathing, hyperstimulation, aggressive behavior. The vapor of crack is inhaled into the lungs and enters the bloodstream when it is smoked. The word crack derives from the crackling sound it makes when smoked.

Key Differences

  1. Cocaine is a drug which derives from the coca plant indigenous to South America, whereas crack is a drug that is prepared by dissolving powdered cocaine in a mixture of water and baking soda/ammonia.
  2. Cocaine is more expensive, conversely, crack less expensive.
  3. The high from cocaine lasts longer (15 to 30 minutes) on the flip side, the high from crack lasts for a shorter duration (5 to 15 minutes).
  4. Cocaine is white, crystalline powder; on the other hand, crack is a yellowish-white rock.
  5. Cocaine is found in white powder form while crack is found in a rock formation which is generally cream, white, tan, or light brown.

Conclusion

Cocaine and crack are both drugs. They are created from the coca plant but have a different level of refinement.

Author:

Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson

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