Freebase is a smokeable form of cocaine. It differs from powdered cocaine and crack cocaine in the way it is made and the duration of its euphoric effects. Producing freebase cocaine is a dangerous process that can cause fires and explosions.
Cocaine comes in two forms on the street: powdered and base. Base cocaine, which includes freebase cocaine and crack, is any form of the drug that is not produced by using an acid to make powdered cocaine.
Like powdered cocaine and crack, freebase cocaine harms the body. It can lead to severe physical and mental health problems, including cocaine addiction. Treatment programs designed specifically to treat cocaine abuse and addiction can help people quit the drug, beat cravings and achieve sobriety.
When smoked, freebase coke reaches the brain faster than powdered cocaine that is snorted or injected.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, smoking the stimulant sends it to the lungs, through the heart and into the brain. Conversely, snorted cocaine takes a longer path before reaching the brain. First, it travels from blood vessels in the nose to the heart. Then it moves to the lungs and back to the heart before it reaches the brain and other organs.
As a result, freebase cocaine produces intense euphoric effects that generally last between two and three minutes. The intensity of these effects can cause a cocaine overdose less than a minute after someone uses the drug.
The short high also causes many people to reuse the drug, which can lead to long-term health problems. Over time, they can develop dependence or a substance use disorder.
People who smoke freebase cocaine may experience a range of health complications, including:
Because cocaine is addictive, people who use it often crave more of the drug. To satisfy their cravings, they may continuously smoke freebase cocaine despite knowing the health consequences. They might even steal money or commit other crimes to fund their drug use.
People who are addicted to freebasing cocaine that suddenly quit may experience a range of distressing cocaine withdrawal symptoms, such as agitation, unpleasant dreams, restlessness, depressed mood and intense cravings for the drug.
Many people believe that freebase cocaine is identical to crack. Freebase and crack are the same chemical form of cocaine, and both can be smoked to achieve a high. But the drugs are not identical because they are produced in different ways.
Freebase coke is created by dissolving powdered cocaine in water and adding a base product and a solvent. The solvent dissolves the base product, allowing cocaine base to be extracted.
Ether is a solvent often used to make freebase cocaine. The ingredient is highly flammable and can cause explosions when the drug is being made. After production, some ether may remain in the mixture and cause burns when a person smokes freebase cocaine.
Because crack is generally less risky to produce than freebase, the popularity of freebasing has declined in recent years.
People addicted to all forms of cocaine, including freebase, should seek cocaine rehab. Addiction treatment centers can help individuals manage painful withdrawal symptoms. They employ evidence-based therapies such as contingency management and teach people to live without freebase cocaine.
Even after completing rehab, people in recovery from cocaine addiction may face triggers that increase their risk of relapse. They may return to environments that induce cravings, including neighborhoods rife with freebase or crack cocaine. In fact, relapse is common among people who were once addicted to drugs such as freebase cocaine.
To avoid relapse after treatment, people in recovery should continue attending support groups or 12-step programs, such as Cocaine Anonymous. They could also call a cocaine hotline to speak with an addiction expert about ways to deal with cravings.
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