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Smoking Crack: Side Effects And Risks

The most common method of substance use with crack cocaine is smoking it, after it has been converted from powder cocaine into the solid form of crack. Crack shares many of the same side effects as powder cocaine, but also has its own unique side effects as well.

Crack cocaine is made from powder cocaine, and shares some characteristics with it, however, they are typically used in different ways.

While there are many methods for using crack cocaine, smoking remains the most popular.

In fact, crack cocaine was originally made in order to be a smokeable form of cocaine. Other methods of use include snorting and injecting.

Both cocaine and crack cocaine are extremely addictive stimulants that pose a lot of health risks. Smoking crack can pose additional risks, due to smoking-related damage to your health.

How Is Crack Cocaine Smoked?

In order to smoke crack cocaine, the white powder form of cocaine has to first be converted into the solid rock form of crack cocaine.

To make crack cocaine, powder cocaine is dissolved in water and mixed with sodium bicarbonate (baking soda).

This solution is boiled until all the liquid is gone and you are left with a hard rock-like substance. This is crack cocaine.

The easiest way for someone to smoke crack cocaine is out of a glass pipe, called a crack pipe, or stem. People can also make a homemade crack pipe for smoking crack cocaine.

One popular method is to heat the crack on tin foil from underneath and inhale the vapors with a straw.

Short-Term Effects Of Smoking Crack

Smoking crack is known to cause a very intense high that is relatively short-lived.

As with powder cocaine drug use, crack cocaine causes the heart and cardiovascular systems to work very hard.

Short-term effects of crack use through smoking include:

  • intense high
  • paranoia
  • increased heart rate
  • increased blood pressure
  • constricted blood vessels
  • hostile attitude
  • irritability
  • dilated pupils
  • cracked and burned lips and fingers

Long-Term Effects Of Smoking Crack

Over time, the effects of crack can cause a lot of damage to many areas of the body. Smoking crack in particular causes lung damage due to the method of use.

Crack is also highly addictive and a dependency on crack only becomes worse the more a person uses it. A person’s health can heavily decline with continued crack use.

Long-term effects of smoking crack cocaine may include:

  • respiratory problems
  • heart damage
  • liver damage
  • lung damage
  • infectious diseases
  • malnourishment
  • mental health disorders
  • cravings
  • physical dependence
  • uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms

Health Risks Of Smoking Crack

Like other illicit drugs, crack cocaine can cause a lot of health problems, both in the short-term and long-term.

Many of the health risks of crack substance abuse can cause permanent damage and may even be fatal if left untreated.

It is important to note that one of the most serious health risks of crack smoking is sudden death.

Someone who uses crack is at increased risk with every use, particularly if they have pre-existing heart conditions.

Possible health risks with crack use include:

  • heart attack
  • stroke
  • seizures
  • hepatitis
  • drug-induced psychosis
  • respiratory failure
  • movement disorders
  • worsening of asthma

Treatment Options For Crack Cocaine Use

A crack addiction can be dangerous, and it is important to seek a treatment program immediately if you or someone you love has a crack cocaine drug addiction.

Treatment options for crack cocaine abuse include:

  • inpatient treatment
  • outpatient treatment
  • medication-assisted treatment (MAT)
  • group counseling
  • family counseling
  • medical detox for crack
  • harm reduction practices
  • aftercare support

Find Addiction Treatment At Bedrock Recovery Center

At Bedrock Recovery Center, our healthcare providers believe that everyone deserves a chance to live the life they want to live, free from the pain and stress of cocaine addiction.

Our focus is on early recovery, but our treatment providers are here to help you or your loved one no matter what step of the recovery journey you are on.

Reach out to us to get started immediately at our accredited addiction center.

Written by
Bedrock Recovery Editorial Team

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This page does not provide medical advice.

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