Freebase refers to the “base” form of the drug, or the drug in its solid form. The process of freebasing drugs makes them more potent and therefore increases their side effects and the high they produce. Cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant when it’s not freebased, producing an intense and euphoric high along with symptoms like increased heart rate, inflated confidence, aggression, and more. Here’s what you need to know about freebasing cocaine, including side effects and signs that someone is doing it.
What Is Freebasing Cocaine?
Freebasing cocaine is the process of freeing the cocaine base from the salt form in which cocaine is naturally found and sold. While crack cocaine is made by mixing original cocaine with water and baking soda, freebased cocaine is made by using ammonia to extract the base.
Freebase cocaine has virtually none of the drug’s additives or cutting agents, like hydrochloride. The freebasing cocaine definition refers to the process of converting powder cocaine to cocaine sulfate. The result of this process is an almost 100 percent pure form of cocaine. In this form, it has a low melting point, making it easier to smoke and difficult to melt and inject.
Because it’s easier to smoke in this form, that’s what most users do. Freebasing cocaine can be done using a small glass pipe or a small piece of clean, heavy copper that acts as a reduction base on which the cocaine can melt and be boiled into a vapor. This freebased cocaine is then smoked.
Side Effects of Freebasing Cocaine
Now that you know what freebased cocaine is, you might have a better idea of how serious its side effects are. Considering that crack is known for its impact on physical and mental health, imagine what smoking nearly 100 percent pure cocaine can do.
Since it’s consumed by smoking, the effects of freebasing cocaine kick in almost immediately. Since freebase cocaine is absorbed through the membranes of the lungs, it usually enters the bloodstream and the brain within 10 to 15 seconds. Once it hits the brain, it induces the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine and then attaches to receptors to prevent the excess of the chemical from being reabsorbed. This allows the chemical to flood the brain, resulting in an intense rush of euphoria.
As intense and fast-acting as this high is, it’s generally short-lived and is usually followed by a severe crash in mood and other symptoms. Once the euphoria wears off, the person may begin to feel extremely fatigued, depressed, irritable, and paranoid.
Common signs and side effects of freebasing coke include:
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Inflated self-confidence
- Aggressive or violent behavior
- Increased energy
- Pinpoint pupils
- Insomnia or trouble sleeping
- Reduced sexual function
- Heart palpitations
- Trouble breathing or respiratory failure
Long-term effects of freebasing cocaine include mood changes, psychosis, irritability, restlessness, depression, anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations, oral health problems, and more. Considering that freebased cocaine is usually smoked, lung problems are also more likely to occur.
Moreover, due to the various drug paraphernalia used to freebase cocaine, additional risks include burns to the face or fingers from glass pipes, matches, and lighters during use. Users are also more prone to injuries from accidents or violence while under the influence of cocaine.
Overdose is also a major risk of using freebase cocaine. Considering that the drug is nearly 100 percent pure in this form, even using small doses of the drug can lead to a potentially fatal overdose.
Cocaine Addiction Treatment at Banyan
As with any form of long-term cocaine use, addiction is also a common and life-changing risk. For those who are addicted to cocaine and need help recovering their sobriety, our Gilman, IL, Banyan rehab is here to help. We offer cocaine addiction treatment and detox at our Heartland recovery center to ensure that clients receive the physical and mental health care they need to change their lives for good.
By incorporating individual and group therapy sessions as well as psychotherapy modalities, our clients are provided with the tools and skills needed to live a long and sober life.