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What is the difference between Crack and Cocaine?

crack vs cocaine

Crack VS Cocaine

Crack vs Cocaine: Cocaine is a white powdered drug which originates from the coca plant and is native to South America. In contrast, crack cocaine, usually referred to as just crack, is a strong derivative of pure cocaine which is sold in a crystal rock form. Both drugs are highly addictive substances which have very negative side effects if abused. 

Overview of Cocaine and Crack

Cocaine is a very powerful stimulant chemical found in the leaves of the coca plant. Natives in the region would commonly chew on the leaves in order to extract the cocaine for thousands of years. Nowadays, cocaine is isolated and extracted from the leaf as cocaine hydrochloride. Cocaine is typically snorted or injected. The powdered street form of cocaine will often be ‘cut’ by dealers with other non-active substances such as cornstarch in order to boost their profits. However, there has been a recent increase in fentanyl-laced cocaine being sold which has caused a serious increase in overdoses over the past few years given the potency of fentanyl. For more in-depth information on cocaine and addiction resources visit here.

Crack (also referred to as freebase cocaine) is a potent derivative of cocaine which is obtained by mixing the powdered form with water and sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). Boiling the mixture helps solidify it in to a hard rock form which also removes most of the addictive hydrochlorides found in pure cocaine- however it does not completely rid the drug of its other addictive qualities. Crack gets its name from the crackling noise made when smoking the drug- which is typically done using a crack pipe.

Cocaine is officially listed as a schedule II drug by the Controlled Substance Act. According to the DEA, a schedule II drug has a very high potential for abuse but may have some limited medical uses. Cocaine may be used by medical professionals as an anesthesia for some surgeries. Given that crack is a form of cocaine, it falls under the same scheduling, however, crack has no approved medical uses.

Effects of Crack vs. Cocaine

The intensity of any high with any drug is mostly related to the way in which it is consumed. Snorting cocaine will take more time to reach the brain as it has to be absorbed by the blood vessels in the nose, sent to the heart, pumped to the lungs to become oxygenated and then sent to the brain. Whereas smoking the drug allows it to skip passing through the heart and go straight to the brain- typically taking 10-15 seconds to reach the brain. Given that crack is difficult to snort or inject, most people opt to smoke the drug, creating an intense and fast-acting high. Other methods include:

  • Oral use: effects felt 10-30 minutes after use and will typically last up to 90 minutes
  • Intravenous use (injection): effects felt 5-10 seconds after use and will typically last up to 20 minutes

Crack and cocaine generally exhibit similar effects on the brain and body including

  • Euphoriacrack vs cocaine
  • Increased alertness
  • Increased heart rate
  • Dilated pupils

FAQs for Crack and Cocaine:

Addictive aspects of crack vs cocaine -

Both versions of drug prohibits the release of dopamine causing the chemical to build up in the brain and amplifying the pleasurable and addictive effects of dopamine. This intense high is highly desirable and sought out by those who struggle with abuse and addiction. 

The high experienced by smoking crack is intense but only lasts around 5-10 minutes whereas snorting cocaine will last around 30 minutes. After the high wears off, the individual will experience a hard crash which will bring about extreme fatigue, anxiety, irritability and paranoia. With extended use, the drug can cause severe damage to the body including:

  • An increased risk of developing certain cancers 
  • Heart attack 
  • Stroke
  • Seizures

Both crack and cocaine possess a high risk of overdose.

How long does crack stay in your system?

Crack has a relatively short half-life of around 15 minutes which means it takes about 15 minutes for the drug to reduce to half of its initially ingested dose. However, crack can still be detected via blood, urine, saliva and hair follicle tests well past the last use. While it is dependent on usage crack can be detected in:

  • Blood, up to 12 hours after use
  • Saliva, up to 24 hours after useCrack vs Cocaine
  • Urine, up to 4 days after use
  • Hair 90 days after use 

A big factor in how fast traces of crack leaves your body is your history of useage. Someone who is a frequent user of crack can expect to have traces of the drug in their body longer than someone who has done it only once.

How long does cocaine stay in your system?

Cocaine has a half life of around 1 hour which means it would take around an hour for half of the drugs dose to leave the body. Depending on usage, cocaine can be detected in:

  • Saliva and blood around 12-48 hours after use
  • Urine around 1-4 days after use Crack vs Cocaine
  • Hair around 90 days after use

A big factor in how fast traces of cocaine leaves your body is your history of useage. Someone who is a frequent user of cocaine can expect to have traces of the drug in their body longer than someone who has done it only once.

What are some cocaine withdrawal symptoms?

Cocaine withdrawal symptoms can last as long as 10 weeks and can involve painful psychological and physiological side effects. Common symptoms include:

  • Strong cravings
  • Lethargy and fatigue
  • Hyperactivity 
  • Insomnia
  • Poor concentration
  • Tremors
  • Depression

Given that it is a derivative of cocaine, crack shows similar withdrawal symptoms.


The extent and severity of your symptoms will vary depending on:

  • Your usage history (i.e. long time user, first time user, etc.)
  • The extent of your addiction
  • The use of other drugs (also known as polysubstance abuse)
  • Whether you have co-occurring disorders or other mental/physical health conditions

Why do people smoke crack?

Smoking crack can provide a much more intense high and rush. Smoking anything will typically reach the brain faster than snorting. When you smoke a substance, the chemicals do not have to pass the heart as oxygenated blood from the lungs are already being pumped to the brain. The intense high achieved from smoking crack is usually has a one time effect. The desire to experience a first time high can cause people to up their dosage in search of that high; however, rarely is it achieved.


If you or a loved one is need of help for crack or cocaine addiction, please reach out today.


Chicago CBS – Dangerous Fentanyl-Laced Cocaine Linked to Overdoses

DEA – Controlled Substances

National Institute on Drug Abuse – What is cocaine?


Tramadol and Alcohol



What is tramadol?

Tramadol is an opioid pain killer which is used to treat mild to moderate pain in individuals. It is considerably weaker than most common opioids such as heroin or morphine and therefore is often used with patients who suffer from a strong dependency as a means to taper their addiction. Pharmaceutical companies sell it under several brand names such as Ultram, Ultram ER and Ultracet. 

What is alcohol?

While most people probably understand what alcohol is, it is still important to understand the effects it has on your body. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant which slows brain function. However in low doses, alcohol is considered a stimulant. A few drinks typically allow people to ‘loosen up’ by elevating mood and can make people feel good. However, in higher doses, it demonstrates depressive traits such as slowed breathing, heart rate and cognitive function. An individual’s reaction to alcohol really depends on their drinking history and body composition. Generally, those who have a higher body mass will be less affected by alcohol and vice versa.

Mixing tramadol and alcohol:

Tramadol and alcohol are both central nervous system (CNS) depressants. Depressants slow brain and nerve activity which causes a feeling of relaxation. The major issue with combining two CNS depressants is that they collectively enhance the effects of the other drug. In essence, the alcohol will make the tramadol more potent and vice versa. This combined synergistic effect can slow brain and muscle function drastically, ultimately causing breathing to slow down or completely stop. Slowed breathing is bad for obvious reasons, but it can also cause permanent organ damage to areas such as the brain as it won’t receive the oxygen it needs, putting it into a hypoxic state

Further, the extended release form of tramadol (Ultram ER) contains a higher dose of tramadol. This design works to release into the body over a longer period of time. It’s primarily prescribed to individuals who are dealing with chronic, moderate to severe pain and those who need long term consistent relief. However, mixing it with alcohol may cause the extended-release mechanism of the drug to fail, therefore releasing the full dosage of the drug at a faster than intended pace. Furthermore, the higher dosage entering the body can cause an overdose and potentially death.

Ultracet is a combination of tramadol and acetaminophen. As previously explained, taking tramadol with alcohol is a bad idea in the first place but adding acetaminophen can further increase the risk of bodily harm. The liver processes acetaminophen and alcohol and it’s possible for the combination to cause severe liver damage. While the actual dosage of acetaminophen present in Ultracet is significantly lower than the max recommended daily dosage, it’s still an additional factor which can further the damaging effects and uncertainty of mixing tramadol and alcohol and therefore should be avoided. 

How long does tramadol stay in your system?

Tramadol has a half life of around 6 hours. In other words, it will typically take around 6 hours for the drug to reduce to half of its consumed dosage. Keep in mind, this is heavily dependent on body composition and can also vary if you took an extended release form. While you can expect the full effects of normal tramadol to wear off after 12 hours, the drug will likely still be detectable via urine, hair, blood or saliva tests. It’s possible, of course, for this to vary by person based on factors unique to them.

It’s possible to detect Tramadol in:

  • Urine for up to 2-40 hours
  • Blood for up to 12-24 hours
  • Saliva for up to 48 hours
  • Hair follicles for up to 90 days                                                                                                                Tramadol

How long does alcohol stay in your system?


A fully functioning, healthy liver can typically process one drink per hour. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), one drink is defined as:Tramadol-and-Alcohol

  • 12-ounces of beer (5% alcohol content)
  • 8-ounces of malt liquor (7% alcohol content)
  • 5-ounces of wine (12% alcohol content)
  • 1.5-ounces or a “shot” of 80-proof (40% alcohol content) distilled spirits or liquor 

However, this is heavily dependent on body composition. Furthermore, with alcohol it’s possible to detect via urine, hair, or blood tests for much longer. Each individual is unique and this will vary.

Alcohol can be detected in:

  • Blood for up to 24 hours
  • Urine for up to 80 hours 
  • Hair follicles for up to 3 months


Tramadol and alcohol are highly addictive substances. There is significant danger in mixing them. For anyone with a prescription, it is important to discuss how tramadol interacts with any substance. Abuse of any drug can cause serious health problems. If you or a loved one needs help, please reach out today. 

Adderall and Xanax


Mixing Substances – Adderall and Xanax

With substance abuse and addiction, it is common for people to use multiple substances. It’s possible for this to include someone using their own legally prescribed drugs, as well as many people illicitly using legal and illegal drugs. Abusing three or more is polysubstance abuse. Often, mixing substances heightens the negative effects of the other. In particular, if two substances are sedatives where side effects are commonly slowed or suppressed breathing this is especially dangerous. It’s important for people to always communicate with their medical providers any substances they are taking to be as safe as possible.

Unfortunately, many people abusing multiple substances do not communicate with medical professionals nor do they fully understand the risks of combining substances. A number of people use substances as a way to cope with problems or to chase a certain “high” they get, and possibly both. Adderall and Xanax are some of the most commonly prescribed prescription drugs. They are also frequently abused, with many people dealing with unintended consequences.

Xanax: Xanax Recreational Use and the Xanax High

Xanax is one of the brand names for the drug alprazolam, which is a benzodiazepine. It’s primary use is to treat anxiety and panic disorders. This is accomplished through suppression of the Central Nervous System (CNS). Dopamine is a naturally occurring chemical in the body and it is part of reward and motivation; Xanax works to increase levels of dopamine in the body. Subsequently, people are able to feel calm and peaceful. Many people feel a heightened sense of euphoria, or the “Xanax High”. This feeling is something that a lot of people want to recreate to the point where they begin to misuse Xanax. 

Xanax is a fast-acting drug: it’s processed quickly and leaves the body quickly. The Xanax High that users feel will not last long, which will leave them needing more, increasing the dosage, to continue feeling the same euphoria. It’s possible for addiction to set in quickly with Xanax, even under proper medical supervision. Dr. Philip R. Muskin states that addiction is possible within even the first week of use. According to one study, in 2013 there were 48 million prescriptions of alprazolam dispensed, despite most prescribers considering the misuse liability to be high. Furthermore, the study reveals that withdrawal is severe, even following guidelines, and is more severe than other benzodiazepines. Because of the risk of severe withdrawal symptoms, many people are unable to stop use without professional help.


Adderall is a stimulant made from amphetamine, which is the parent drug of methamphetamine. It primarily treats attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. It helps people concentrate, and is often abused by people seeking to use it to enhance concentration and performance. Like Xanax, people misuse it for the ability to experience a euphoric feeling. As with a number of prescription drugs, people make the assumption that misuse isn’t that bad if the drug is legal. According to Dr. Ramin Mojtabai, use “…can also cause sleep disruption and serious cardiovascular side effects, such as high blood pressure and stroke.” Adderall should only be used when prescribed and under medical supervision. 

  Side effects can include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Headache
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Feveradderall-and-xanax-withdrawal

Withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Body aches



Mixing Adderall and Xanax

For some, their Adderall and Xanax use might start out with a prescription and then turn to Adderall or Xanax recreational use. For others, they only ever use it illicitly and may do so desiring to feel the Adderall or Xanax high. 

Often, people snort substances to feel the effects faster and stronger. With recreational use, snorting Xanax is something some turn to in order to feel it faster and attain a stronger high. However, snorting Xanax, or any substance, is harmful to the human body. According to Time, “Snorting powder of any kind can lead to inflammation of the nasal lining, infection in the lungs and blockages of respiratory tracts and nasal airways.” Just as with Xanax, snorting Adderall is something that users will do to drastically increase one’s performance and concentration. Snorting Adderall may also increase the euphoric feeling (“Adderall High”) that some users seek.


Stimulants and Depressants

Adderall and Xanax on their own, used under medical supervision, are meant to help. Still, even used properly they do have a high risk of misuse. It’s important for patients and their providers to take this into consideration. Misuse of substances is more likely to lead to tolerance, where someone then needs more of the substance to feel the same effect. With increased use, this is where someone is at risk for dependence, addiction, and overdose. Mixing substances heightens the negative effects of each substance. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), mixing stimulants and depressants can increase “…risk of death from stroke, heart attack, aneurysm, or respiratory failure.” Furthermore, with illicit use there is a high possibility substances are mixed with unknown substances. In recent years, there has been an increase of synthetic opioids, like fentanyl, which further increases the risk of overdose and death.


Both Adderall and Xanax have a high risk for misuse and addiction. While severity will vary, it’s important to seek professional, medical help. Withdrawal can be severe, which makes it difficult to do so without proper help. After continued misuse, someone will likely be increasing the dosages to maintain the same effects which leads to more dangerous consequences. A lot of people use Adderall and Xanax, legally or illegally, intending often to feel the benefits like less anxiety or increased concentration. Not everyone understands the inherent risk of using each drug, even with proper use. Because of this, they may find themselves dealing with abuse and addiction without realizing it.

If you or a loved one needs help, reach out today.


How long does Xanax stay in your system?

Xanax is a short-acting drug, which means it will enter the body quickly and leave quickly. The effects of Xanax are immediate and can last up to 11 hours. This can vary depending on the prescription and amount taken. It’s possible to detect Xanax through testing for up to a week after use, though this can of course vary depending on length of use, dosage, and other factors unique to each person. The type of testing will also determine whether it’s possible to detect it.

Can you overdose on Xanax?

Generally, overdose on Xanax alone is not common. However, increased dosage or mixing substances does increase the risk, which varies depending on what the effects of other substances are. Alcohol and Xanax, for example, are both depressants that can suppress breathing which is incredibly dangerous. It’s important to discuss with your care provider about how substances interact with Xanax.

What does Xanax feel like? What is the Xanax High?

Xanax works to depress an over-excited central nervous system, which is why it’s so effective in short-term treatment of anxiety and panic disorders. It also increases dopamine, which provides what many call the “Xanax High”.

How to taper off Xanax –

If you or a loved one is using Xanax legally, it’s incredibly important to follow a medical professional’s instructions for tapering off. Even if someone is using it in a recreational manner, it’s still best to seek professional help. Suddenly stopping use can cause severe side effects and withdrawal symptoms that make it difficult to quit on one’s own.

How long does Adderall stay in your system?

Generally, the effects of Adderall last for up to 6 hours, though extended-release can last for up to 12 hours. It’s possible to detect anywhere from a few days up to a week, depending on the type of test used. This can also vary for a variety of factors including dosage, length of use, and other aspects unique to each person.

Meth vs Adderall: Are they the same? Are they related?

Adderall is an amphetamine, the parent drug of methamphetamine (meth). They are both stimulants and have been used to treat similar health issues like ADHD. However, meth carries a much higher risk for addiction. Because of this, medical use is strictly monitored and infrequently prescribed.

Can you overdose on Adderall?

With proper use, an Adderall overdose is not likely. However, misuse and increased dosage raises the risk. Furthermore, mixing substances is potentially dangerous as they tend to heighten negative effects of the other. Anyone with a prescription should be sure to communicate with their provider if they use any other substances, legal or illegal.

What is the Adderall comedown like?

It’s important that anyone with a prescription does not suddenly stop without a medical professional’s care and instructions. Anyone using illicitly may also likely need professional help. Sudden cessation can cause withdrawal symptoms that include: anxiety, cravings, depression, and fatigue.