Cocaine is a naturally occurring drug. It is extracted from the leaves of the coca bush, a small tree grown in South America, Indonesia and East Africa.
There are 2 forms of cocaine:
- Pure cocaine (fine white powder)
- Crack (cocaine heated with sodium bicarbonate and water)
Cocaine is inhaled through the nose (snorted), smoked or injected intravenously.
Crack is heated and inhaled (snorted).
Effects of Cocaine
People use cocaine for the following effects:
- Freedom from fatigue, hunger and pain
Risks Associated with Cocaine and Possible Consequences
Physical and psychological consequences
After the euphoria, the user experiences a period of anxiety that is accompanied by a feeling of discomfort.
Cocaine use can also cause:
- Sleep disruption
- Strange or violent behaviour and irritability
- Panic and anxiety
- Impaired judgment
- Paranoia and hallucinations
- Weight loss
- Diseases or infections associated with consuming by injection or inhalation
- Rapid pulse
Toxic substances used to cut cocaine, such as levamisole (a de-wormer), can lead to serious health effects.
Using cocaine repeatedly or in large amounts can have the following effects:
- Erectile dysfunction
- Restlessness and hyperactivity
- Seizures (stiff body with jerky and involuntary muscle spasms)
- Kidney failure
- Heart problems (heart attack)
- Cerebrovascular accident (CVA)
After snorting the first line (or hit), the user may do another to avoid experiencing the anxiety that follows the initial euphoria. However, the more the user consumes, the more anxiety he or she will experience.
Crack produces euphoria in as little as 10 seconds after a single hit. The euphoria lasts 5 to 10 minutes. It is followed by a period of anxiety that is even more unpleasant than the one experienced after cocaine. The user feels the need to take another hit immediately.
Cocaine and crack users can spend large sums of money on drugs daily.
Cocaine and crack cause significant psychological dependence. To learn more, read the Addiction section of Problems Associated with Alcohol Consumption and Drug Use.
Last update: September 13, 2017