Also known as: 24/7, Apple Jacks, Badrock, Ball, Beat, C, Candy, Chemical, Cloud, Cookies, Crack, Crumbs, Crunch & Munch, Devil Drug, Electric Kool-Aid, Fat Bags, Flake, French Fries, Glo, Grit, Hail, Hard Ball, Hard Rock, Hotcakes, Ice Cube, Jelly Beans, Kryptonite, Nuggets, Paste, Piece, Prime Time, Product, Raw, Rock(s), Rox, Roxanne, Scrabble, Sleet, Snow Blow, Snow Coke, Tornado, Troop
Cocaine is derived from the leaves of the coca plant, which is indigenous to South America. Cocaine is an alkaloid and is categorized as a stimulant because of the euphoric, energetic, and mentally alert feelings the drug produces.
How is Crack Cocaine made?
Crack cocaine is obtained from powdered cocaine by a process known as “cooking.” The standard recipe for cooking crack cocaine is a seven-to-one mixture of cocaine and baking soda, or seven grams of powered cocaine to one gram of baking soda. The mixture is dissolved in water, cooked at a steady, but relatively low temperature in a heat cured glass container.
During the cooking process baking soda causes the molecules of cocaine to bind together. Whatever additives were used to increase the volume and street market value of the powdered cocaine remains dissolved in the water as the pure cocaine is transposed into an oily substance that floats to the top of the water.
The mixture is then cooled very slowly causing the oil to solidify and fall to the bottom of the cooking apparatus. The solidified substance has the appearance of a white or creme-colored “rock”. When the rock is crushed and heat is applied it makes a cracking sound from which the drug derives its name crack cocaine.
A crack cocaine high lasts from 5 – 10 minutes. The high disappears when the dopamine levels in the brain decrease and the user is left feeling depressed.
How Crack Cocaine works on the brain
When crack cocaine is smoked it immediately goes to work on the brain’s chemistry where it interacts with one or more of your brain’s control centers, such as control centers that regulate your food intake, centers that control the process of acceptance and the way you view success, and the centers that regulate and control your sex drive.
The brain produces a chemical substance known as dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is critical to the functioning of the body’s central nervous system. Dopamine forms from a precursor molecule called dopa, which is manufactured in the liver from the amino acid tyrosine. Dopa is then transported by the circulatory system to neurons deep in the brain where the conversion to dopamine takes place.
Dopamine plays a major role in two activities of the central nervous system: one that helps control movement, and a second that is associated with emotion based behaviors. Dopamine triggers pleasure centers that make you feel good. As the brain produces dopamine it is built up over long periods of time and stored as a reserve supply that is released into the blood in small amounts when needed to produce sensations of pleasure, excitement, power, and contentment.
The manufacture of dopamine is a slow process which once it is depleted can take years to completely replenish. When crack cocaine is introduced into the bloodstream it causes all of the dopamine that has been stored in your brain over a lifetime to be released at once, giving your brain the overwhelming sensation of extreme pleasure. It is this extreme sensation of pleasure that you would be continually trying to experience, and this is what would cause you to become addicted.
How Crack Cocaine affects the body
- Appetite – Crack cocaine disrupts the brain centers that are responsible for maintaining a healthy normal appetite. Crack cocaine diminishes the appetite for both food and water and you start to lose weight at a phenomenal rate.
- Blood – When you stop drinking water you body will start to draw water from your blood, and in the process, precious blood cells are destroyed.
- Urine – Dead blood cells are deposited in your urine, causing it to appear dark in color, having a somewhat brownish or reddish-orange color, and a horrible pungent odor. This same process will cause your body to also have that same pungent odor.
- Muscle Tissue – Because of your crack cocaine use, you are not being properly nourished and your muscle tissue starts to decline.
- Skin – With a lack of nutrients, your skin cells are not able to replenish themselves fast enough and your skin starts cracking, peeling, and wrinkling, and over a period of time you will appear several years older than you really are, and just like an abandoned house, your body will begin to deteriorate to a mere frame of skin and bones.
- Heart – Cardiac arrest is the primary source of death in crack cocaine users, due to the interruption of the brain’s control of the heart and nervous system. If your heart has not already been affected, it is only because of its extraordinarily healthy condition. The heart is generally one of the first of the body’s internal organs to be affected by crack cocaine.
- Blood Pressure – The addicting affect of crack cocaine over stimulates your nervous system and causes your blood vessels to contract, which will in turn cause your blood pressure to rise. Crack cocaine can kill you the very first time you use it. Many first time crack cocaine users have suffered massive heart attacks.
- Respiratory – Next your lungs are affected from the chemicals in crack that crystallize on the lining of your lungs. There is also the danger of burning your lungs, as well as your lips, tongue, and esophagus as a result of smoking crack cocaine from a crack pipe.
Crack cocaine affects the brain chemistry of the user, causing the user to experience:
- supreme confidence
- loss of appetite
- increased energy
- a craving for more cocaine
- a potential paranoia (ending after use)
Crack cocaine users might binge for 3 or more days without sleep, while constantly taking hits from the crack pipe. Use of crack cocaine in a binge, during which the drug is taken repeatedly and at increasingly high doses, leads to a state of increasing irritability, restlessness, and paranoia. This may result in a full-blown paranoid psychosis, in which the individual loses touch with reality and experiences auditory hallucinations.
Stimulant drug abuse—particularly amphetamine and cocaine—can lead to delusional parasitosis, also known as Ekbom’s Syndrome, in which someone believes they are infested with parasites. For example, excessive crack cocaine use can lead to “formication” nicknamed “cocaine bugs” or “coke bugs.” Formication is a condition in which affected people believe they have, or feel, parasites crawling under their skin.
People experiencing these hallucinations might scratch themselves to the extent of serious skin damage and bleeding, especially when they are delirious.
Crack cocaine is a Schedule II substance under the Controlled Substances Act.