What is Freebasing Cocaine?

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Freebasing cocaine involves chemically altering the drug to its “base” form to make it suitable for smoking. The process of freebasing involves converting cocaine into a heat-stable base called "freebase." This "freebase" has a low melting point, which makes the cocaine almost 100 percent pure and easier to smoke. It is also much more dangerous than in its original form. The end product is sometimes known as "crack" cocaine, which is a crystalline form of cocaine smoked in a pipe.

Both crack cocaine and freebasing result in a quick high and are associated with significant health risks, including addiction, cardiovascular problems, respiratory issues, and a range of psychological and social problems. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, reach out to us at Avenues Recovery so we can guide you on the path to sobriety.

How to Freebase Cocaine

To freebase cocaine, cocaine powder is heated and evaporated after being mixed with a base ingredient, typically baking soda. Typically, freebasing involves using a small glass pipe. A small piece of clean, heavy copper is used as a reduction base in which the cocaine can be melted and boiled to a vapor. The outcome is a purer, more potent form of cocaine, which is then inhaled through a pipe or similar smoking device.

This method comes with severe health risks. Cocaine is already one of the most prevalent and harmful illicit drugs, and freebasing intensifies these dangers. Additionally, the process involves the use of flammable chemicals, posing a high risk of explosions or fires.

 Some of the health hazards of freebasing include:

  • Lung damage
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Risk of the user catching on fire
  • Death


What Are Some Risks of Freebasing Cocaine?

Some risks of freebasing cocaine include:

Cardiovascular effects - Freebase cocaine is a potent stimulant with the potential to elevate heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature, thereby increasing the risk of heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular complications.

Psychological Impact - Its consumption may induce heightened anxiety, agitation, and paranoia. Additionally, freebase cocaine has been associated with hallucinations, delusions, and, in severe cases, psychosis.

Neurological Impact -  The use of freebase cocaine can contribute to seizures [1], headaches, and other neurological disturbances. Furthermore, it has the capacity to cause changes in the brain that affect decision-making, memory function, and impulse control.

Risk of Addiction - Continued usage of freebase cocaine may result in the development of tolerance, dependence, and addiction. Individuals may persist in drug use despite experiencing adverse effects on their health, relationships, and overall well-being.

Respiratory Issues -  Breathing issues are prevalent among those who smoke freebase cocaine, manifesting as coughing, shortness of breath, and potential lung damage. In extreme cases, it can lead to respiratory failure, a critical and life-threatening condition.

Gastrointestinal repercussions -  Stomach problems include abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. Additionally, cocaine use can contribute to intestinal ischemia, a condition that compromises blood flow to the gut, resulting in damage and perforation of tissue.

Sexual Performance-  The impact of freebasing cocaine extends to sexual health, with cocaine use potentially causing sexual dysfunction, encompassing impotence and reduced sexual desire.

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What Does a Freebase Addiction Look Like?

Here are some common signs and symptoms of a freebase addiction:

Increased Tolerance: Over time, individuals may need larger amounts of cocaine to achieve a high as the body becomes tolerant to its effects.

Compulsive Drug Seeking: Individuals may spend a significant amount of time and effort obtaining the drug, even at the expense of personal and professional responsibilities.

Social Withdrawal: Addiction can lead to withdrawal from family, friends, and social activities as the individual becomes more focused on obtaining and using the drug.

Financial Issues: Maintaining a cocaine addiction can be expensive. Individuals may experience financial difficulties due to spending a large portion of their money on the drug.

Physical Health Problems: Cocaine abuse, including freebasing, can lead to a range of physical health problems, such as cardiovascular issues, respiratory problems, and neurological issues.

Neglect of Responsibilities: Individuals struggling with addiction may neglect their work, school, or family responsibilities. This can lead to a decline in overall functioning.

Changes in Behavior: The person may exhibit changes in mood, behavior, and personality. They may become irritable, anxious, or even paranoid.

Legal Issues: Cocaine use, including freebasing, is illegal. Individuals may face legal consequences due to drug possession or other related offenses.

Cravings and Obsession: Persistent thoughts about obtaining and using the drug may dominate the person's thinking, leading to cravings and preoccupation with the substance.

Physical Symptoms: Individuals addicted to freebasing may exhibit physical symptoms such as dilated pupils, increased heart rate, restlessness, and insomnia.

What Are Some of the Effects of Freebasing?

Some short-term effects of freebasing include:

  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Decline in sexual function

Long-term effects of freebasing include:

  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Paranoia
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Hallucinations

Freebasing cocaine is a highly addictive activity. If you or your loved one are caught in the throes of a cocaine addiction, know that you're not alone. Addiction is a terrible struggle, and unfortunately it doesn’t discriminate.

Reach out to Avenues recovery today to hear about our tailor made cocaine addiction treatment plans, which will enable you to be in control of your life once again.

Our highly specialized addiction counselors have helped thousands of people free themselves from cocaine addiction, and you deserve that help too!

Contact us at Avenues Recovery, and let our experienced professionals help you start your path to sobriety.

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[1] ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

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