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Effects Of Crack Cocaine: Short And Long-Term Side Effects

Crack cocaine can have a multitude of hazardous effects on your body that are made worse by addiction to the drug. Treatment for addiction varies but can include inpatient and outpatient treatment programs.

Crack cocaine is an illegal and highly addictive drug. It’s a form of cocaine made from powder cocaine by boiling the substance in water and baking soda.

This drug is a stimulant, meaning it can make you feel more alert, awake, or energetic. Crack cocaine is often associated with its euphoric effects.

However, not all of this substance’s side effects are quite as enjoyable. Much like other drugs, there are some unpleasant and even hazardous effects crack cocaine can have on your body.

Due to its contents and the different methods of use, crack cocaine has an extensive list of short- and long-term side effects.

Short-Term Side Effects Of Crack Cocaine

When you use crack cocaine, the effects will reach your brain in just seconds. However, some of these effects only remain for about 15 minutes until others begin to set in.

All of these immediate effects are considered the short-term effects of crack cocaine.

Euphoric High

Perhaps the most commonly known effect of crack cocaine is the rush or high it provides. Crack has a euphoric feeling that attributes to its popularity.

Euphoria is a feeling of intense pleasure and happiness. However, this effect is short-lived, typically only lasting about 15 minutes at most.

Decreased Appetite

Another short-term side effect of crack cocaine use is decreased appetite. The substance actually slows down your digestion, resulting in a lesser need for food.

Likewise, crack cocaine can also cause a decreased need for sleep. As a result, some people feel as though they can be more productive when using this drug.

Dilated Pupils

Crack cocaine use can cause dilated pupils. People who are high on the drug will often have abnormally large pupils.

This is a result of the drug’s effects on your brain. When you use crack cocaine, your brain releases endorphins and adrenaline, which causes your pupils to dilate.

Increased Heart Rate

A similar short-term effect of crack cocaine is an increased heart rate.

The release of endorphins and adrenaline with crack cocaine drug use are what may lead to high blood pressure and heart rate, which can become dangerous in some cases.

Crack-Induced Paranoia

Some of the lesser talked-about short-term effects of crack relate to mental behavior. For instance, this substance can cause paranoia.

Along with paranoia often comes anxiety and panic. These feelings seem to occur after the euphoric feelings of the drug have subsided.

Aggressive Behavior

Lastly, crack cocaine can also affect mental behavior by causing aggression. Some people may become dangerous and perform aggressive behaviors when they use crack cocaine.

This is because the drug can make you feel unusually irritable or sensitive to certain outside stimulants.

Long-Term Side Effects Of Crack Cocaine

While the short-term side effects of crack cocaine are important to note and can be dangerous, the long-term effects of crack are even more hazardous to your health.

Long-term crack use can affect a variety of systems and functions in your body, causing permanent damage in some cases.

Increased Tolerance

Much like with the use of other drugs, long-term exposure to crack cocaine often leads to increased tolerance.

In other words, as you continue to use crack, your body will acclimate, making it harder to achieve the euphoric effects you felt when you used it the first time.

As a result, people will begin to use higher doses of crack cocaine, increasing its potential to harm your body.

In some cases, increased tolerance can cause people to use so much of the drug that they experience crack cocaine overdose.


Another disturbing side effect of long-term crack use is delirium.

Though delirium is a direct effect of crack cocaine itself, it is also exacerbated by sleep deprivation, which is often associated with use of this drug.

Delirium can cause confusion, panic attacks, loss of reality, and hallucinations.


As the use of crack cocaine causes a flood of endorphins in your body, some people experience depression after long-term use when their brain becomes less sensitive to the natural changes in endorphins.

In other words, by using crack, your body starts to expect unusually high levels of dopamine at all times. When this expectation isn’t met, people often experience depression.

“Crack Mouth”

Crack cocaine can also be quite hazardous to your mouth and teeth, resulting in a side effect known as crack mouth.

Crack mouth includes tooth decay, oral sores, cuts, blisters, and issues such as tooth grinding.

Ulcerative Keratitis

Lastly, crack cocaine can cause ulcerative keratitis. Ulcerative keratitis is a medical condition that causes corneal ulcers, in other words, sores in the eye.

Aside from pain, ulcerative keratitis can lead to worsening vision over time.

Dangers Of Crack Cocaine Use

In addition to the long-term and short-term effects, crack cocaine also poses many serious risks to your health.

Heart Attack

Crack cocaine causes an increase in heart rate and blood pressure as well as chest pain.

Additionally, the substance can cause your heart’s muscular walls to thicken and blood vessels to constrict.

All of these effects combined put you at a much higher risk of having a heart attack.


Though crack cocaine can temporarily affect mental health functions, long-term use can also lead to the development of cocaine psychosis.

In short, psychosis causes you to be detached from reality which can cause hallucinations, delusions, and incoherency.

Sudden Death

The biggest danger of crack cocaine use is sudden death. Death can result from crack cocaine itself or the substances it’s mixed with.

Sudden death from crack can occur for a number of reasons including allergic reaction, cardiac arrest, or even coma.

Withdrawal Symptoms Of Crack Cocaine Addiction

Crack cocaine is highly addictive, which means when you stop using it, you may experience withdrawal symptoms.

Crack cocaine withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • depression
  • restlessness
  • agitation
  • fatigue
  • discomfort
  • increased appetite
  • crack cocaine cravings
  • slowed activity
  • vivid or disturbing dreams
  • anxiety
  • slowed thinking
  • suicidal thoughts
  • chills/tremors
  • difficulty regulating body temperature
  • muscle aches
  • nerve pain

Effects Of Crack Cocaine By Method Of Use

In addition to all of the other effects, there are other side effects unique to the method of crack cocaine abuse.

Crack cocaine can be snorted, smoked, or injected, though it is most commonly smoked. Each of these methods of use comes with its own risks.

For example, snorting crack cocaine can lead to respiratory problems such as loss of smell, nosebleeds, chronic runny nose, and even septum perforation.

On the other hand, smoking crack can cause permanent lung damage or asthma to worsen over time.

Lastly, injecting crack cocaine can cause vein damage, leave “track marks,” and even expose you to dangerous infections like hepatitis B and C or HIV.

Treatment Options For Crack Cocaine Addiction

Crack cocaine addiction is harmful and can even be fatal, so it’s vital to seek help from a healthcare professional.

Luckily, Bedrock Recovery Center, located just outside of Boston, is a highly rated and well-accredited treatment center that offers treatment for all kinds of substance abuse.

Addiction treatment for crack cocaine at our facility may include detox, to help you through intense cravings, medication-assisted treatment, and inpatient programs.

Find Drug Rehab Treatment At Bedrock Recovery Center

If you or your loved one are battling crack cocaine drug use, don’t hesitate to call our helpline at Bedrock Recovery Center today to learn more about our intensive treatment options.

Written by
Bedrock Recovery Editorial Team

©2023 Bedrock Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

This page does not provide medical advice.

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