What Are The Different Types Of Cocaine?

Cocaine is a stimulant drug that comes in many variations. The different forms of cocaine can look different depending on the chemical makeup and purity. While most have similar effects, some aren’t cocaine at all.

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Dr. Langdon M.D.

Medically Reviewed By: Kimberly Langdon M.D.


All true cocaine is derived from coca leaves, but it takes on a variety of forms. While most have shared characteristics, they vary in chemistry, color, and purity.

Types Of Cocaine

Cocaine is endemic to South America. The initial manufacturing process as well as the steps taken through the supply chain all create different types of cocaine.

Pure Cocaine

Pure cocaine is a crystalline powder derived from the leaves of the coca plant. It is uncut and unadulterated by other substances.

Pure cocaine is quite rare in the United States. The product is often altered as it travels through the supply chain.

Crack Cocaine

Crack cocaine comes in small, rock-like chunks. They can vary in color depending on the purity. Crack cocaine is intended for smoking, and is an alternative to smoking freebase cocaine.

Synthetic Cocaine

Synthetic forms of cocaine (fake cocaine) are sometimes used in medicine as a local anesthetic. When synthetic cocaine is sold for recreational use, it is often a synthetic cathinone.

This product can look similar to powdered or crack cocaine. Synthetic cathinone does have some shared effects, but it is closer to an amphetamine.

Pink Cocaine

Pink cocaine is not technically cocaine. It’s a synthetic drug also known as 2C-B. The drug was originally created in 1974 but has recently regained popularity.

2C-B is called pink cocaine because of its pink powder form. You can also find the drug in pills or capsules. It is known to cause feelings of euphoria as well as vivid hallucinations in higher doses.

Pink cocaine should never be snorted. Regardless of the delivery method, it is considered highly dangerous because very small changes in dose can have hefty consequences.

Black Cocaine

Black cocaine is a chemically altered version of cocaine that is designed to evade detection. It is usually a mixture of cocaine, charcoal, and other chemicals.

Black cocaine is not intended for immediate use. Once the substance has arrived at its final destination, it has to be chemically treated to extract the pure cocaine.

Fish Scale Cocaine

Fish scale cocaine is typically high-quality and uncut. It does not come in a powder form. Instead, fish scale cocaine looks like tiny, iridescent flakes.

Reports suggest that the effects of fish scale cocaine are more gradual. Fish scale cocaine also appears to increase the user’s tolerance more quickly than other forms of cocaine.

In some cases, powdered cocaine is cut with levamisole, which also has an appearance similar to fish scales. This product may extend the effects of cocaine, but it is also highly dangerous.

Cocaine Hydrochloride

Cocaine hydrochloride is the salt form of cocaine. It’s a fine white powder that can be identified by its bitter, numbing taste.

Hydrochloride salt is not pure cocaine. The drug is often cut with lidocaine, talcum powder, cornstarch, or sugar. As with all types of cocaine, cocaine hydrochloride builds dependence easily.

Yellow Cocaine

While fish scale cocaine can have a grayish/yellow cast, most high-quality cocaine is pure white. Yellow cocaine is mostly sold as crack cocaine.

The color differentiation usually suggests that the product has impurities. It may have been improperly processed or cut with other substances.

Brown Cocaine

Brown cocaine can refer to two different products. Impure crack cocaine may have a brown tint.

There is also a substance known as “brown-brown,” which is cocaine cut with gunpowder. This product is almost exclusively found in Africa.

You should assume that any other brown powder is probably not cocaine. It may be any number of other drugs.

How Different Types Of Cocaine Are Abused

Most cocaine is snorted, smoked, or injected. In some cases, powdered cocaine may also be taken orally, anally, or through the vaginal cavity.

The intended use of cocaine largely depends on the type of cocaine as well as the user.

Types Of Cocaine That Are Snorted

Powder cocaine and fish scale cocaine are commonly snorted. This method of delivery comes with less of a stigma than smoking and injection.

Most forms of powdered cocaine are designed for snorting. The one exception is pink cocaine. 2C-B is incredibly painful to snort. It is not designed to be taken that way.

Types Of Cocaine That Are Injected

Powdered cocaine is water-soluble. That allows users to dilute and directly inject cocaine. Other forms of cocaine are not generally suitable for injection.

In some cases, the liquified cocaine may be mixed with an opioid to create a “speedball.”

Types Of Cocaine That Are Smoked

It is possible to freebase cocaine. However, making freebase and smoking it are both very dangerous. Crack cocaine is more commonly smoked than freebase cocaine.

Side Effects And Dangers Of Cocaine Use

Cocaine’s effects include a numbing sensation followed by a rush of dopamine.

When used in moderation, cocaine can make the user feel energized and talkative. In large amounts, it can lead to increasingly erratic and violent behavior.

The high from cocaine use is short-lived. The immediate crash and physiological damage from cocaine abuse lasts much longer.

People who use cocaine tend to struggle with their mental health. Heightened anxiety, irritability, panic attacks, paranoia, and psychosis are just the tip of the iceberg.

Using cocaine also damages several major organ systems. Regardless of the delivery system, cocaine damages your gastrointestinal tract and your cardiovascular system.

People who regularly use cocaine are more likely to experience:

  • chest pain
  • damaged septum
  • elevated heart rate
  • heart attack
  • hepatitis
  • high blood pressure
  • HIV
  • malnourishment
  • stroke
  • ulcers

Some of these effects can be managed with proper healthcare, but they do increase your risk of sudden death.

Treatment Options For Cocaine Addiction

Substance use disorders are compelling. You need to get help to safely overcome withdrawal and prevent relapse.

There are many cocaine treatment options available. At Bedrock Recovery Center, you will have access to medication-supported detox, behavioral therapy, and options for inpatient and outpatient treatment.

Find Treatment For Substance Abuse At Bedrock Recovery Center

Quitting drug use is one of the best choices you can make to improve your long-term health. If you’re looking to take better care of yourself and your future, contact Bedrock Recovery Center 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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