Cocaine is one of the most addictive drugs in the world, and it’s created from leaves of the infamous coca plant. Cocaine production didn’t begin until the late 19th century. Before the production of cocaine, coca leaves were used for wines. When it was first introduced, cocaine was used as an anesthetic. Today, there are a few major types of cocaine. It’s important to understand the different forms of cocaine and whether one type is more dangerous than the others.
The Different Forms of Cocaine
There are three major forms of cocaine. The first type is called cocaine hydrochloride. Some of the street names for this type are blow, flake, snow and coke. It’s sold as a white, powdery substance and has a consistency similar to a mixture of flour and salt. This form of cocaine is very soluble in water, so it’s a popular option for intravenous cocaine users. Cocaine hydrochloride is commonly injected or snorted because heating it will destroy the substance. Therefore, cocaine users cannot smoke the hydrochloride version of cocaine.
The second major type is called freebase cocaine. Also called alkaloidal cocaine, this version is chemically altered. The name comes from the fact that it’s the base form of cocaine, and has almost zero solubility in water. Freebase cocaine is usually smoked, and it provides the user with an almost instantaneous high. The freebase version of cocaine travels to the brain extremely quickly. Once it enters the body, freebase cocaine releases methylecgonidine, which can cause serious damage to hepatic and pulmonary tissues. This version of cocaine is highly toxic to the cardiovascular system.
The third major type of cocaine is called crack cocaine, and it’s nothing more than an altered version of freebase cocaine. In most cases, crack cocaine is sold in the form of small rocks or crystals, which are hard and brittle. Crack cocaine is usually a brownish color, and reaches the brain almost instantly when smoked.
Is One Type More Dangerous Than the Others?
While there are technically three types of cocaine, most people know of only two – the powdered version and crack cocaine. However, it doesn’t matter what type of cocaine is used; this drug can cause serious health complications in all forms. Heart attacks and altered heart rhythms aren’t uncommon. Respiratory failure, headaches, seizures and strokes aren’t uncommon, either. Many users also suffer gastrointestinal complications. Both major types of cocaine can also render significant neurological side effects. All types of cocaine have been linked to serious forms of heart disease.
While both are dangerous, there are some key differences between powder and crack cocaine. Crack is almost always the cheaper version to make. Cocaine has been around for a very long time, but crack is a much newer version. Both types of cocaine are dangerous; however, according to statistics, crack is viewed as being more addictive and dangerous than cocaine hydrochloride. One of the reasons crack is more dangerous is because it’s usually purer than powder cocaine.