What is Freebasing Cocaine? How and Why is This Done?
Powder cocaine can be snorted, rubbed on the gums, or mixed with water and injected into the bloodstream. Cocaine can also be combined with water and baking soda to make crack cocaine, which is typically smoked. Another way to take cocaine is known as freebasing, which essentially means separating the cocaine base from the salt, producing an almost 100% pure form of the drug.
Freebase cocaine is particularly strong, which poses a higher risk of addiction and overdose. Learn what you need to know about freebasing cocaine and get the help you need today.
If you’re thinking about quitting cocaine, Zinnia Health can help. Call our team today to learn more about our customized and confidential approach to treatment. Our helpline is open 24/7, just dial (855) 430-9439.
What is Freebasing Cocaine?
In chemistry, cocaine is considered a weak base. During the extraction process, cocaine is neutralized with acid, forming salt. The end product is known as cocaine hydrochloride, which is a powder that can be snorted, rubbed on the gums, or dissolved in water and injected.
In the 1970s, people began to use ether to “free” the base, which means separating the cocaine from the salt additive. After using ether, people would take a lighter or other heat sources to melt the cocaine base, producing a vapor that could be inhaled.
How is Crack Cocaine Different From Freebasing Cocaine?
The process of freebasing cocaine with ether fell out of favor because ether is a highly flammable liquid, leading to many injuries. Instead, people began producing “crack” and selling it to people who wanted to smoke cocaine.
Crack cocaine is produced by using baking soda to remove the hydrochloride from cocaine, which leads to hard crystal-like rocks that can be put into a pipe and smoked. Removing the hydrochloride leads to a low melting point, which is what makes the cocaine smokable.
While both are smoked, crack cocaine and freebase cocaine are different. While crack cocaine contains baking soda, freebase cocaine is almost a completely pure form of cocaine. Freebasing is no longer done using ether.
How Do People Freebase Cocaine?
The freebasing process starts with powder cocaine and ends with what is technically known as cocaine sulfate.
This conversion process involves ammonia and usually a small glass pipe and a piece of clean, heavy copper. The copper is used to melt and boil the cocaine to a vapor.
Evidence of freebase cocaine use may present itself in the form of powder cocaine and smoking paraphernalia, like a glass pipe.
If you see any paraphernalia that could indicate that someone is freebasing cocaine, it’s important that you intervene soon as cocaine in its pure form is more potent and, therefore, even more dangerous.
What Are the Short-Term Side Effects of Freebasing Cocaine?
The short-term effects of freebasing cocaine are more powerful compared to the side effects of snorting cocaine or taking it in another form.
This is because freebase cocaine is very pure and the act of inhaling the vapors means it absorbs into the bloodstream very quickly.
When a person first inhales freebase cocaine, they will likely feel a powerful rush, which is shortly followed by a high that lasts a bit longer.
The initial rush is often described as a warm, whole-body sensation of pleasure. The high that follows generally peaks in about 10-15 seconds and may lead to an overall sense of wellbeing, happiness, and energy.
These intense feelings of euphoria induced by freebase cocaine are exactly why people take cocaine in this way.
Freebasing cocaine may be especially enticing to someone who has been dealing with cocaine abuse for a while, which means they’ve developed a tolerance to the drug, making it harder to feel the same effects.
Unfortunately, freebasing can put an individual at a greater risk of a cocaine overdose.
What Are The Long-Term Side Effects of Freebasing Cocaine?
Because freebase cocaine is a purer form of the drug, the risk of overdose is greater as the body is quickly absorbing a large amount of cocaine.
The initial, intense rush that freebase cocaine induces can also lead to stronger cravings.
Over time, using cocaine in any form can cause a number of negative side effects on physical and mental health, including:
- Changes in brain structure that lead to displeasure and lower mood
- Anxiety, panic attacks, paranoia, and even psychosis
- Rapid heart rate and heart palpitations that may feel like a heart attack
- Higher risk of stroke and seizures
- Increased risk of Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders
Watching someone deal with substance use is always scary, but if a loved one is using cocaine, it’s important that you understand the symptoms, side effects, and treatment options so that you can get them help.
Treatment Options for Freebase Cocaine Addiction
Cocaine addiction treatment can take a number of forms. Today, treatment centers like Zinnia Health prioritize the individual, meaning they will develop a customized plan based on your needs, priorities, and long-term goals.
Whether you work with your healthcare provider to quit cocaine as an outpatient or enroll in a treatment facility for an inpatient program, the process always starts with a detox.
During the detox process, your body will need to adapt to no longer having cocaine in its system.
This can lead to uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, but the right drug rehab specialist can help you manage and minimize them effectively.
The presence of medical professionals can also help minimize the health risks associated with drug use and recovery by monitoring your progress and providing you with supportive therapies and medications.
How Zinnia Health Can Help With Freebase Cocaine Addiction
Substance abuse is difficult to overcome on your own, but help is available to get you through the process.
If you or someone you love is dealing with drug addiction, take the next step and get the medical advice you need to protect their health and wellbeing. A drug-free life is possible with the right support.