Substance Use

What Does Real Cocaine Look, Smell and Taste Like?

man holding cocaine baggie

TABLE OF CONTENTSTable of Contents

Cocaine Types and Identification

What do Scarface, Goodfellas, Casino, New Jack City, and Flight all have in common?

The downfall of a character due to cocaine addiction.

At first, cocaine appears to give the character energy allowing them to focus. But soon, they begin using larger doses of the drug triggering delusional thinking and immense paranoia – leading to their downfall.

This isn’t much different from cocaine use off the big screen.

At last estimate, more than 27,788,000 U.S. residents aged 12 and up used cocaine at least once (with more than 6 million admitting to using crack cocaine).

If you suspect someone you know of using cocaine, you may be curious about what cocaine looks, smells, or tastes like. Although we’re identifying cocaine here, it isn’t advisable to smell or taste cocaine, as this would introduce the drug to your bloodstream. If you spot something that appears to be cocaine, never touch the substance; instead, contact your local authorities.

Cocaine is highly addictive and difficult to walk away from once you’re hooked. If you or a loved one are struggling with cocaine abuse or drug addiction, call Zinnia Healing at (855) 430-9439. Our state-of-the-art facilities offer science-backed addiction treatment programs to help you attain a life of sobriety. Together we can overcome cocaine addiction.

What Is Cocaine?

Cocaine is an illegal stimulant. People make cocaine by extracting the substance from a South American coca plant leaf. 

In the early 1850s, people began adding this stimulant to wine, cough syrup, and, most famously, soda (Coca-Cola) to give their customers energy. Pharmaceutical companies claimed that cocaine provided energy too, and began adding the substance to medications for ill patients.

However, in the 1900s, researchers uncovered a damning discovery – cocaine was highly addictive. Once the government deemed cocaine illegal, people sold it on the black market under the street names: blow, snow, powder, and coke. 

Drug dealers add fillers such as baking soda and other substances to cocaine and cook it into a rock formation. This is called crack cocaine or crack rock.

Cocaine Identification: Look, Taste and Smell    

Cocaine, in its purest form, is a white crystalline powder. However, the freebase form of cocaine (also called crack) looks like small, irregularly shaped, off-white rocks.

Pure cocaine looks like powdered sugar, talcum powder, white flour, cornstarch, or baby powder. This is why it’s impossible to identify cocaine from looks alone.

What Does Cocaine Smell Like?

Pure cocaine is odorless. Snorting it is one way of using cocaine, so smelling it will cause you to ingest it. Once ingested, you will experience the symptoms of cocaine exposure.

Side effects of cocaine use include:

  • A rush of energy (due to increased dopamine)
  • Paranoia
  • Irritability
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Increased mental alertness
  • Nausea
  • Increased blood pressure

The effects of cocaine amplify with increased use. Using too much cocaine can cause an overdose. 

Symptoms of an overdose are:

  • Erratic behavior
  • Tremors
  • Heart attack
  • Seizure
  • Stroke
  • Irregular heart rhythm and Fast heart rate
  • Hallucinations

Smoking pure powdery cocaine is called freebase cocaine.

Once heated, the smell of cocaine changes. Hot cocaine emits a chemical smell. This smell comes from chemicals used to process the cocaine, namely gasoline and ammonia. If the cocaine contains cutting agents such as baking soda, you may pick up the smell of the ingredient cocaine was mixed with. When someone is smoking crack, you will detect an indescribable chemical smell.

What Does Cocaine Taste Like?

As a disclaimer, tasting cocaine can cause you to get high.

Cheaper cocaine contains additives, which can alter the taste. For example, cocaine mixed with cornstarch would taste like cornstarch. It is impossible to tell if what you’re tasting is cocaine if it contains additives.

The taste of cocaine – coca leaf extract – is unpleasant and bitter. Since coca extract contains cocaine, it remains illegal to have coca leaves in the United States.

Are you tempted to continue using cocaine, although you’ve done everything to stop it?

Zinnia Healing recovery facilities offers medically-supervised detox at our rehabilitation facilities, ensuring that you recover in a safe and supportive environment. We also provide additional substance abuse treatment options to help you through the symptoms of cocaine withdrawal and curb future cravings. Call us at (855) 430-9439 to find out how to get started.

Not All Cocaine Is Made Equal: The Rise of Green Cocaine

Cocaine is a Schedule II drug, which is highly addictive and has a high potential for abuse. The penalty for possessing 500 grams or more of cocaine mixture (or 5 grams or more of cocaine base) is 5 to 40 years in state prison with a fine of up to $5 million for a first offense. This steep punishment prompts some drug dealers to change how cocaine looks to avoid its detection.

In February 2021, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency stumbled upon 433 pounds of what appeared to be green matcha tea or Moringa powder in Cincinnati. After testing the bags, this green powder was determined to contain adulterated cocaine.

In 2020, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agents seized 12 pounds of green cocaine in Philadelphia. Before processing, cocaine is green. The green color comes from the coca leaf before processing with gasoline, ammonia, or other chemicals to turn it white.

Fake Cocaine Base: Bath Salts (Flakka)

Although some call bath salts fake cocaine, they looks very different. Bath salts are small gelatin crystals that drug addicts smoke, sniff or inject. The high they get from using bath salts is the same as they would from using cocaine – though it’s much less expensive. In addition, some people pound bath salts into a white powder for easier ingestion. 

Zinnia Healing for Cocaine Addiction

As a Schedule II controlled substance, cocaine is extremely addictive and hard to quit cold turkey.

It’s common for people with cocaine addiction to relapse after quitting – so don’t be discouraged if this has happened to you. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, drugs change how your brain works, making addiction and subsequent relapse more likely.

Fortunately, the experts at Zinnia Healing can help.

Our accredited drug rehab facilities offer evidence-based programs such as 12-step and Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) to lower your risk of a future relapse. In addition, we offer medically-supervised detox and addiction treatment for the best chance of successful recovery – and it all begins with a phone call.

This is the most important and life-changing step on your road to recovery.

If you’re ready to take control of your life and kick your cocaine addiction for good, call Zinnia Healing addiction treatment centers at (855) 430-9439 any time of day. Our experts are waiting to answer any questions you have about our programs and facilities.

Related Articles