Crack is a smokeable form of cocaine that is manufactured by mixing cocaine with baking soda and water through a heat-intensive process. The resulting “rock” state of cocaine (known as base-cocaine) forms as the water evaporates from the mixture, creating the crackling sound that gives crack its name. As a result, crack cocaine will vaporize at low temperatures, making it easier to inhale for a fast-acting high. However, crack cocaine is by nature impure, generally including less than 40 percent cocaine, depending on the degree to which it is “cut” with additives.
On a physical level, crack cocaine becomes addictive largely because of the effects it creates in brain chemistry. Crack sharply increases the levels of dopamine in the user’s brain, resulting in intensified feelings of excitement and euphoria. While this creates a sense of disoriented pleasure while the crack high lasts, dopamine levels become depleted after use.
Additionally, continued crack cocaine use can cause the brain to lower dopamine levels over the long run, sensing excess dopamine present. When users attempt to cease crack cocaine use, they experience this cocaine-initiated chemical imbalance, causing depression, withdrawal symptoms and anxiety. If you or someone you know is addicted to crack cocaine, Passages can help.