Where Does Cocaine Come From? How Is It Made?
Cocaine production starts with coca leaves, and it takes a specific process using a selection of chemicals to create powdered cocaine and crack cocaine. The way cocaine is produced can mean the purity of the drug varies. Read on to learn more about how cocaine is produced.
If your cocaine use is impacting your daily life or causing concerns, you may have a cocaine addiction. Call us at (855) 430-9439 or send a message to learn about the treatments available at your nearest Zinnia Health detox center.
Cocaine’s Origins: Where Does Cocaine Come From?
Humans have used cocaine for thousands of years. It was first used by ancient civilizations in South America who chewed coca leaves to help with altitude sickness and long journeys. The main ingredient, Erythroxylon coca, used in modern forms of cocaine comes from the coca plant. This plant grows in remote parts of South America, like Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Colombia.
Cocaine became popular for medical use in the late 19th century as a local anesthetic for eye operations and dental surgery. However, it soon became apparent that the use of cocaine resulted in side effects such as addiction and damage to the brain. In 1914, the Harrison Narcotics Act made it illegal to sell cocaine or even possess it without a prescription. Today, many people use cocaine recreationally for its euphoric and stimulant high.
Cocaine Production: How Is Cocaine Made?
Coca leaves contain alkaloids that are processed into cocaine. Processing typically takes place in hidden, illegal laboratories or “kitchens.” Here, chemicals such as sodium bicarbonate and sulfuric acid are used to extract the cocaine from the leaves. This part of the process is called “purification.”
After isolating the cocaine chemical, additional chemicals are added to create free-base cocaine. Ammonia and other liquid solutions are mixed with pure cocaine to form a paste.
1. Crack Cocaine
Once a paste is produced, it is left for the liquid to evaporate, leaving behind a solid white substance. This is then mixed with solvent solutions and heated to form a crystallized substance called cocaine hydrochloride (cocaine base). Adding additional ingredients, such as baking soda or cornstarch, heating the cocaine hydrochloride solution, and additional purification make crack cocaine. The process in which crack cocaine is made from cocaine hydrochloride takes approximately an hour.
2. Powdered Cocaine
Powdered cocaine, however, requires further production. To create the powdered form of cocaine from cocaine hydrochloride, the substance must be refined by adding other ingredients, such as ether or benzene. These remove other alkaloids and impurities to further purify the substance. It often undergoes additional refining processes to achieve a purer quality of cocaine. Producers may filter the substance again through activated charcoal before deciding whether it is ready for distribution.
Prolonged cocaine use can cause physical and behavioral health problems. If you are using cocaine regularly and crave its effects, you could benefit from entering a treatment program. Call (855) 430-9439 or send us a message if you’d prefer.
Eight Effects of Cocaine
Cocaine effects include:
- A Runny nose (when using powdered cocaine)
- Violent behavior
- Difficulty sleeping
- Large pupils
- Body temperature changes
- Feeling more energetic and talkative
- Lower inhibitions
Taking more cocaine to “reboot” your high increases the chances of toxicity. This is where you have toxic levels of the drug in your body, which can lead to an overdose.
The Dangers of Cocaine
The long-term effects of cocaine use can greatly outweigh its short-term high effects. Sometimes, cocaine use can result in sudden death. Although these cases are rare, they do occur. Both first-time and long-term cocaine users can experience health complications relating to use, which can be life-threatening. This is usually due to the strain the drug puts on the cardiovascular system.
Long-term cocaine use can cause various health issues that greatly impact your quality of life. These include:
Snorting powdered cocaine can damage the septum (area between the nostrils). As the person continues to snort the drug, blood flow in the nose is affected. This can cause irreversible damage and a hole to form between the nostrils.
Eight Psychological Effects Relating to Cocaine Use
Long-term cocaine use can increase your risk of developing psychological and mental health problems. This can include:
- Visual and audible hallucinations
- Visual disturbances
- Memory loss
Six Cardiovascular and Respiratory Problems Caused by Cocaine Use
Cocaine’s stimulant properties can put a lot of strain on the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. As such, prolonged cocaine use can increase the chances of having a stroke or heart attack. Users may also experience breathing difficulties.
Long-term users may be at risk of the following:
- High blood pressure
- High heart rate
- Damage to blood vessels
- Chest pain
- Irreversible heart damage
- Brain hemorrhage
The most significant danger of using cocaine is the possibility of developing a cocaine addiction. Cocaine is a highly addictive illicit drug. Someone with a cocaine addiction may be more likely to experience the health problems listed above. Addiction is a serious and progressive illness that can take control of your life.
If you have a cocaine addiction, you may find yourself withdrawing socially unless cocaine is involved. You may also fail to meet your everyday responsibilities, like going to work or school or taking care of your children.
Six cocaine addiction signs include:
- Spending a lot of time taking cocaine or recovering from its use
- Feeling withdrawal symptoms when you stop using cocaine
- Experiencing cravings for the drug
- Feeling as though you cannot focus without taking cocaine
- Taking risks you usually wouldn’t whilst under the influence of the drug
- Obsessively thinking about cocaine
Get Help for Cocaine Addiction Today
If cocaine use is a problem in your life or you are concerned for a loved one, we can help. Recovery from drug addiction is possible with the right resources and support at a treatment center. Our cocaine addiction treatment programs take a comprehensive approach, leaving no area of addiction untouched.
Our outpatient and inpatient programs cover detoxification, mental health, and behavioral health treatments. If you choose Zinnia Health, you’ll get support throughout your recovery journey. Addiction requires specialist treatment and support, which is something our addiction professionals have vast experience in.
It’s never too late to enter treatment for substance abuse. If your concerns about cocaine use are recent, or you’ve had a cocaine addiction for a while, we’re here. We offer substance use disorder treatments to anyone struggling with addiction.