Crack is a solid, crystallized form of cocaine that people smoke or inhale through their lungs.
Sometimes known as “freebase cocaine,” this substance initially appeared in the United States in the 1980s, where it swiftly gained popularity due to its ease of use and inexpensive cost. In recent years, however, its use has dropped.
Despite its decreasing popularity, the drug has solidified its notoriety as one of the most addictive illicit narcotics due to its potent but short-lived high.
Why is Crack Cocaine So Addictive?
Crack provides a quick, strong high that increases cravings and hasten the onset of addiction. However, its addiction, on the other hand, may not manifest immediately.
In most cases, it starts with the brain forming a positive link between crack use and its first pleasurable high. Once established, the impact of this relationship is influenced by a variety of other elements, including a person’s environment, genetic composition, and various psychological aspects. The complex interplay impacts future usage and addiction, as well as how quickly they develop.
Users develop a crack use disorder after prolonged use affects their social or vocational functioning.
Addiction is defined as the continuing use of a substance in the face of evidence that it has negative consequences. Again, a variety of factors influence the risk and duration of crack addiction. An individual with a history of illegal drug use or mental illness may be at a higher risk of becoming addicted to the drug.
Someone who uses it or any other substance frequently will build a tolerance to it. This means that as time passes, more of the substance or a higher potency is required to provide the same results.
Tolerance often leads to increased crack use and can speed the emergence of compulsive drug use behaviors.
What Happens When You Try Crack for The First Time?
Crack has a faster and more strong effect than powdered cocaine when snorted.
In general, smoking cocaine allows for faster drug absorption into the human body than sniffing it, resulting in a quicker and more intense high. However, when smoked rather than snorted, the substance is more bioavailable.
Snorting cocaine has a bioavailability of 57 percent while smoking it has a bioavailability of 70 percent. This means that when the substance is smoked, it becomes more active in their bloodstream progressively and faster, resulting in a more potent high—this is a crucial contributor to its high risk for addiction.
The high from crack is quicker but only lasts about 10-15 minutes, but the high from cocaine might last up to 45 minutes. And so, crack addicts want higher-intensity and more frequent highs.
While it’s awkward to imagine that one hit of crack causes addiction, many people report they’re addicted and want more of it after the first time.
The usage of other narcotics, genetic factors, and other psychological and environmental factors all influence how quickly a person becomes addicted to crack.
The Effects of Crack
Several neurotransmitters in the brain are affected by crack cocaine. Dopamine is the most important of them, as it plays a crucial part in our reward system, helping to promote life-sustaining activity and other enjoyable activities.
Dopamine is usually released in response to pleasurable actions such as eating a delicious meal or engaging in sexual activity when the brain is generally working without medications. In a process known as “dopamine reuptake,” the released dopamine is reabsorbed to be used in the future.
However, cocaine inhibits this reabsorption process, allowing dopamine to remain active in our neuronal synapses and, as a result, overloading our dopamine receptors, resulting in a feeling of exhilaration and confidence. The pleasurable effects of cocaine cause the brain to identify cocaine with pleasure, encouraging its use in the future.
Other temporary crack impacts include:
- Increased vitality
- Heart rate and blood pressure rise
- Dilation of pupils
- Pain in the abdomen
The feelings of pleasure experienced soon after using crack are fleeting. Crack addicts will notice the effects of the substance wearing off after 10-15 minutes. This can lead to instant cravings and binge consumption, in which crack is consumed in large quantities over a long period. During binge consumption, the user may face significant negative consequences, such as:
- Dangerously high pressures of blood
- Psychosis or paranoia
It’s typical to have a “crash” after using crack, especially after a binge. Excessive weariness or melancholy can occur during a crash, which can easily lead to further crack use in the quest to alleviate these symptoms. This cycle encourages continued usage and escalates the risk of addiction.
Why Is Crack Such a Dangerous Substance?
Aside from the potential for physical craving, crack use, mainly when used in binge mode, can result in a fatal overdose. The following symptoms indicate cocaine overdosing (“cocaine toxicity”):
- Hypertension and severe tachycardia
- An abnormal heart rhythm
- Cardiac arrest
- Increase in body temperature
- Rhabdomyolysis—the failure of muscles tissues
- Kidney failure
With continuous crack use, several mental health disorders may occur. Bipolar disorder, depression, and schizophrenia are all typical crack-related mental health concerns that usually disappear once the drug is stopped. Long-term, heavy crack usage, on the other hand, can result in more permanent psychological alterations.
If you’re addicted to crack or know someone who is, don’t wait! We are here for you. Contact us via 833-846-5669 to speak with experts who can help you or a loved one get the help they need to overcome addiction.