Freebase cocaine is an addictive substance classified as a stimulant that individuals use for its intoxicating and euphoric effects. Although fewer people use freebase cocaine than previously, many have begun using crack cocaine, which differs in how it’s made and the effects it produces. Manufacturing freebase cocaine is dangerous and can cause chemical explosions and fires.
Cocaine is typically distributed in both its powdered and base forms. Freebase cocaine and crack are both base forms—this occurs when the drug is manufactured without the use of an acid, which renders the substance into powder. Freebasing can cause severe physical and emotional damage and distress, including chemical dependence and addiction.
Dangers of Freebasing Cocaine
If it is smoked, freebase cocaine affects the central nervous system faster (around 15 seconds) than if one snorts cocaine as a powder. Cocaine smoke enters the lungs, which rapidly moves it to the heart and pumps it straight to the brain. When snorted, the path cocaine takes to get to the brain is not as direct.
The euphoric “rush” delivered by freebase cocaine is extremely short-lived—about 2-3 minutes—but very intense, which dramatically increases the likelihood of overdose. Individuals often try to replicate the rush, leading to binge-like patterns of use. Following this rush is a steady high that generally lasts around half an hour.
Freebasing Cocaine Side Effects
A “crash” or come down follows the rapid, intense, and short-lived high. As the high dies down, a cocaine user usually begins to feel abnormally tired, irritable, depressed, and anxious. In an attempt to avoid these side effects, users often ingest more of the drug.
Short-term side effects of freebasing cocaine may include the following:
- Persistent cough
- Excessive sweating
Long-term side effects may include:
- Mood swings
Smoking, as a method of administrating a substance, can cause numerous adverse effects on its own. These effects include trouble breathing and other respiratory issues, damage to the lungs, throat, and mouth, and an increased risk of developing many cancers.
Long-term, chronic freebase cocaine use often leads to problems with the heart and lungs, including COPD and heart attacks, as well as strokes and seizures.
Freebasing cocaine can cause other problems, such as an increased likelihood of accidents in general and burns caused by pipes and other smoking paraphernalia. Individuals experiencing the stimulant effects of cocaine also tend to be more prone to violence.
Freebasing cocaine usually leads to cravings to use the drug. Cocaine is extremely addictive in any form, and individuals in its grip may continually freebase without knowing the true consequences addiction can have. An individual with a cocaine addiction may resort to theft, selling drugs, or even prostitution to fund their habit.
Freebase Cocaine Withdrawal Effects
Users who become chemically dependent on freebase cocaine will experience withdrawal symptoms if they attempt to quit or cut back. Withdrawal symptoms of freebasing cocaine may include bouts of extreme restlessness and agitation, anxiety, and depression.
Freebase Cocaine vs. Crack
Freebase cocaine and crack have the same chemical form: cocaine base. The manner in which they are produced causes them to be different substances with differing effects. In short, freebase is produced when cocaine powder, another base, and a solvent (usually ether) are dissolved and cooked together in water.
Fires and explosions can occur during production because ether is extremely flammable. What’s more, some concentration of ether may be present in the final product, which can lead to burns for freebase cocaine users. Crack cocaine is safer to manufacture than freebase cocaine, and this is the main reason why freebasing cocaine is much less prevalent now than before.
Treating Addiction to Freebase Cocaine
Those who abuse cocaine in any form should seek out professional help immediately. Just Believe Recovery offers residential and partial hospitalization addiction treatment programs that help individuals safely navigate detox and beyond. Our programs feature evidence-based approaches, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, that can address the underlying causes of addiction and any other co-occurring condition.
The risk of relapse that an individual faces after completing rehab is daunting. A return to environments that include people and places that remind the individual of drug use can trigger cravings.
To prevent relapse after leaving rehab, those in recovery may need to enter an outpatient treatment program. At JBR, we offer aftercare planning services to help individuals take the next step after rehab, as well as group therapy, which helps keep individuals in recovery accountable.
An addiction to cocaine can develop into a life-threatening condition that wreaks havoc on all aspects of one’s life. But you are not alone. Call us today to learn how we help people break the bonds of addiction and live the healthy, happy lives they deserve.