What is Crack?

Here is some information on crack cocaine. It is commonly called “rock” or “freebase cocaine,” a freebase form of cocaine. Freebasing is the process of removing the base in cocaine to make it pure and more potent. In this form, it is easily inhalable or smokable. Freebase cocaine looks like crystal rocks. People use terms like “freebasing” and “smoking crack,” which mean the same thing. Its name comes from the snaps and the cracks it produces when heated and smoked

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About Crack Cocaine

Crack is already sold in its process state. However, one can buy cocaine and freebase it. Freebase is 75% to 100% pure, far stronger, and more potent than regular cocaine. It is more addictive than the regular form of cocaine.

When someone smokes it, they feel an intense and immediate sensation—within 10 to 15 minutes compared to snorting cocaine which takes an hour. The initial hit from the drug is a warm rush through the body, often compared to an orgasm. After the initial effects, freebasing feels somewhat like snorted coke. Because of its addictive nature, a user can become addicted after the first few times. Also, what people buy on the street may not be what it claims to be like many other drugs.

How do People use Freebase Cocaine?

Most people consume it by smoking it through a glass hand pipe, water pipe or hash pipe. Placing the substance on a fine mesh in the pipe, heating it, then inhaling its vapours. Smoking the drug brings an immediate and strong short-lived rush. Snorting does not provide as much of a “rush.”

Close up of crack cocaine

What does it look like?

Freebase cocaine looks like crystals. It ranges in colour from clear-white or opaque white to off-white or reddish-yellow. They vary in size and shape. Other colours are also possible depending on added fillers.

Information on Crack Cocaine & Adverse Effects

The intense rush and energy burst it provides dissipates after about 30 minutes. An intense crash occurs when the person comes down from the trip. Depression, irritability, fatigue, anxiety, and paranoia are some of the effects a person can experience as the drug wears off.

Freebase and cocaine have similar adverse effects. But, there exists one reaction uniquely related to crack—lung infiltration or bronchospasm. Lung infiltration is an abnormal substance that accumulates gradually within cells or body tissues. Bronchospasm occurs when the muscles that line the airways in your lungs tighten. Crack cocaine toxicity can cause “crack lung,” severe chest pain, breathing problems and fever that may lead to respiratory failure.

Crack, Short Term Effects

  • A sudden increase in blood pressure and heart rate
  • Constricted peripheral blood vessels
  • Hyper-stimulation
  • Intense euphoria
  • Anxiety and paranoia
  • Aggressive, paranoid behaviour
  • Depression
  • Intense drug craving
  • Sudden death (Even one use can cause overdose or death)
  • Dilated pupils
  • Increased rate of breathing
  • Decreased appetite
  • Tolerance and addiction, even after just one use


Crack Cocaine, Long-Term Effects

Prolonged freebasing causes several problems, including:

  • Severe depression
  • Irritability and mood disturbances
  • Aggressive, paranoid behaviour
  • Delirium or psychosis
  • Tolerance and addiction, sometimes after one use
  • Auditory and tactile hallucinations
  • Respiratory failure
  • Brain seizures
  • Sexual dysfunction (for both men and women)
  • Reproductive damage and infertility (for both men and women)
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack and heart disease
  • Death

Addiction Referral & Consultation Services

If you or someone you know has a crack cocaine problem and is looking for an addiction treatment centre, call our toll-free number. We offer a free and confidential online referral service in any part of Canada. We can help you find an affordable rehab centre that matches your specific needs.

Call our counsellor for information or help with your freebase cocaine addiction and get you started on a residential treatment center. Our referral counsellor will ask you some pertinent questions and work out a solution for you. Get help from a drug rehab center and put an end to your drug problem.

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Marc J. Bernard

Substance Use Disorder & Recovery Professional,
Referral & Consultation Counsellor


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