What Is Freebasing Cocaine? | Freebasing Vs. Smoking Cocaine

Freebasing cocaine is using a special kind of cocaine which has been reduced to its base form, making it easier to smoke. This type of cocaine use comes with its own unique dangers and risks.

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Dr. Langdon M.D.

Medically Reviewed By: Kimberly Langdon M.D.

There are two types of cocaine that are smokable: crack cocaine and freebase cocaine.

With freebase cocaine, the cocaine is heated up and the fumes are inhaled, while with crack cocaine, the cocaine is placed into a glass pipe and smoked directly.

The reason people freebase or smoke cocaine over other methods of use is because the high is so fast-acting and intense compared to other methods of use.

What Is Freebase Cocaine?

Freebase cocaine has been reduced to its cocaine base form by using ether, ammonia, or baking soda to remove the cocaine hydrochloride. The result should be very pure.

Freebase cocaine has a low melting point which makes it desirable for smoking. Furthermore, it is not water-soluble in this form, so it cannot be injected.

The process required to make freebase cocaine can be very dangerous. It is much more common to find crack cocaine, which is much less pure (only about 40%) but easier to make and inexpensive to buy.

The Process Of Smoking Cocaine

Cocaine can be smoked in two ways, by smoking it directly out of a pipe or by inhaling the vapors that rise from it after heating.

Smoking Cocaine From A Glass Pipe

With crack cocaine, the crystalized rock form of cocaine is placed in the bowl of a crack pipe, heated, and then smoked through the opposite end of the pipe.

This is considered to be one of the easiest and most affordable methods for using cocaine, but contains more impurities.

Freebasing Cocaine

Freebase cocaine can either be smoked directly or the vapors from heating the freebase can be inhaled separately.

To inhale freebase cocaine, the cocaine is placed on a piece of tin foil, heated from beneath, and the vapors are inhaled through a cocaine straw.

Signs That Someone Is Freebasing Or Smoking Cocaine

The usual telltale sign that someone is smoking or freebasing cocaine over other methods of using cocaine is the appearance of cracked or burned lips and fingers.

Behavioral Signs Of Smoking Or Freebasing Cocaine

However, there are behavioral signs as well that someone is abusing cocaine in this manner.

These signs may include:

  • acting overly confident
  • acting hyperactive or unusually energetic
  • restless behavior and trouble sitting still
  • aggressive behavior
  • acting uncharacteristically irresponsible or reckless

Paraphernalia Associated With Freebasing Or Smoking Cocaine

Paraphernalia for freebasing or smoking cocaine is often made out of common household items.

Paraphernalia can include:

  • aluminum cans
  • tin foil
  • straws
  • steel wool
  • light bulbs

Glass pipes or stems are also common smoking devices that are often sold with legal purposes in mind, such as for smoking marijuana or tobacco.

The Effects Of Freebasing Cocaine

When someone freebases cocaine, they will feel the effects of cocaine almost immediately, generally within 10-15 seconds. Powder cocaine that is snorted will take up to an hour to peak in effects.

These initial feelings from smoking cocaine have been described as a powerful and intense rush. The high from this form of the drug lasts much longer than when it is snorted, and people who smoke it tend to binge on it as well.

Dangers Of Freebasing And Smoking Cocaine

Because the effects of freebasing cocaine are so fast-acting and short-lived, a person will be tempted to take more doses more frequently.

Sadly, people who use cocaine will start building a tolerance to this kind of cocaine after a single use.

Crack cocaine and freebase cocaine are said to be two or three times as addictive as cocaine in its traditional powder form. There is also considered to be a higher risk of overdose on this type of cocaine as well.

Additional health risks involved with smoking cocaine include physical damage to a person’s mouth, teeth, and gums.

Treatment Options For Cocaine Addiction

Treatment for cocaine abuse may start with medically monitored detoxification. It is not until you are completely sober that you can start to address your mental health and behavioral health.

After completing detox, you will likely have a choice between entering a residential treatment facility or continuing care in an outpatient setting.

One option might be better for you than the other, so it is a good idea to seek advice from your healthcare provider.

Recovery is a process that takes both time and hard work. The individual, group, and/or family therapy that you start while in addiction treatment will likely continue after your program is complete, as relapse prevention care is critical.

Find Cocaine Addiction Treatment At Bedrock Recovery Center

At Bedrock Recovery Center, we understand how scary it can be when you or a loved one is struggling with cocaine addiction or any other kind of substance abuse.

You do not have to go through drug addiction alone. Please do not hesitate to reach out to our treatment specialists when you are ready to start treatment for substance use.

Recovery from drug use is possible and we are here to help — give our helpline a call today.

Written by Bedrock Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Bedrock Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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