Cocaine is a drug that’s classified as an addictive stimulant, and when it’s sold on the street it’s available in a powder form that’s snorted, and can also be dissolved in water and injected directly into the bloodstream. There’s also another way to abuse cocaine, however, and that’s by smoking it.
Cocaine can also be processed to create a rock crystal, and then someone heats it in a pipe, and the crystal emits vapors that are inhaled. This is often called crack or crack cocaine.
Regardless of how someone abuses cocaine when they do this drug, it affects the dopamine levels in their brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that’s associated with pleasure and reward. When you use cocaine, there is a release of large amounts of dopamine that then stay in the brain, rather than being recycled as they would under normal circumstances.
This is why people who use cocaine feel a euphoric high or rush.
Since cocaine is a stimulant, people also experience increased energy and wakefulness, and in some cases, they may feel more productive or have a false sense of well-being or sociability.
However, a cocaine high is short-lived, and when the effects of the drug wear off the person will likely experience a crash or come down, which can include depression and anxiety. Using cocaine, regardless of whether you’re smoking cocaine or snorting or injecting it, can also cause high blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, and tremors.
Long-term effects of using cocaine can include malnutrition, a higher risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, paranoia and long-lasting psychological symptoms.
There’s also something possible called cocaine psychosis. This is most likely to occur in heavy or long-term users of the drug. When someone is experiencing cocaine psychosis, they may lose touch with reality, become aggressive or violent, or experience hallucinations and paranoia.
So what about smoking cocaine? Why do people smoke cocaine, and are there more risks associated with using the drug in this way, even as compared to snorting it as an example?
When someone smokes cocaine, it enters the bloodstream through the lungs very quickly. As cocaine passes through the membrane of the lungs, it can reach the brain within just a few seconds. This makes it more addictive even than snorting it, because the more rapid the onset of a high, typically the more addictive the drug is.
Some people report becoming addicted after smoking cocaine only one time. The reported high associated with smoking cocaine is also very powerful.
It’s an intense and almost immediately high, but it only lasts for anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes, which is shorter than the high you would experience if you snorted cocaine. The fact that it’s a short-lived high is also a risk of smoking cocaine. This is because people are more likely to binge when they’re smoking cocaine, which means using it over and over again in order to stay high and avoid having the results of the drug wear off.
This cycle of binging when smoking cocaine can increase the risk of toxicity and an overdose occurring.
When the concept of smoking cocaine, it can be placed on foil and then heated, with the smoke being inhaled through a straw. Crack can also be smoked using a glass pipe.
There are other ways to smoke cocaine, too, including combining it with another drug.
For example, people may purposely or inadvertently combine cocaine and weed and smoke them. This is extremely dangerous because cocaine is a stimulant while marijuana is a depressant, so it can cause a person to experience a drug-induced psychosis because of the mixed effects of the drugs.
These aren’t the only risks of smoking cocaine. There are also risks associated with the damage it can cause to the lungs and the arteries. Anytime you’re smoking something you’re putting yourself at risk for damage to the lungs, and you’re also putting yourself at higher risk for certain kinds of cancer.
This risk is amplified even further by the fact that cocaine is almost always cut with other substances, some of which are highly toxic. When they’re introduced to your lungs and your blood vessels it can cause blockages and damage throughout your body.
Smoking cocaine goes straight from the lungs, to the heart and then to the brain, causing a rapid and extremely addictive effect. Even smoking cocaine once can lead to addiction, and this is in addition to the many other risks associated with this drug including psychosis, and sudden strokes and cardiac events.
If you or a loved one live with cocaine addiction or are using cocaine recreationally and want to stop, it’s time to seek professional help. The Recovery Village® provides care to those struggling with cocaine. Reach out to one of our knowledgeable representatives today to learn how you can start on your path to recovery.