The most common synonyms are:
When mixed with:
|Mechanism of action|
|Routes of administration|
|Form||Appearance||Method of administration|
|Salt (cocaine hydrochloride)||white powder|
|Cocaine base (paste)||opaque, white, yellow or brown crystals|
|Cocaine base (freebase and crack = cocaine derivatives)||small white or yellow rocks|
Effects sought out by the user
Effects may vary based on the route of administration and the dose:
- Decreased fatigue, increased alertness and productivity
- Enhanced sensory perception (touch, sound, sight, sexual perceptions)
- Euphoria (high) that varies in intensity (tonic to orgasmic) and short-lived
- Good spirits
- Improved ability to communicate
- Increased energy and self-confidence (feelings of invincibility)
- Increased sex drive
- Reduced appetite
Common toxic effects
- Dilated pupils
- Increased blood pressure
- Rapid breathing
- Reduced appetite
- Repetitive behaviour or movements
- Runny nose
- Abnormal increase in body temperature
- Heart attack
- Hypertension/hypertensive crisis
- Irregular heart rate
- Kidney damage
- Muscle toxicity
- Respiratory depression
Effects associated with chronic use
The effects observed with usual doses will be more pronounced. The following effects may also occur:
- Breathing difficulties
- Chapped nostrils (if snorted)
- Heart problems
- Nose bleeds (if snorted)
- Sexual dysfunction
- Track marks (if injected)
Tolerance (need to increase the dose to feel the same effect)
Yes, doses must be increased to maintain the same effects (on average, euphoria lasts 45 seconds).
Yes, physical and psychological, after a few weeks/months of chronic use. Dependence is greater when the drug is injected or smoked.
Yes. A depressive effect occurs a few minutes after the last hit. Withdrawal symptoms include:
- Dysphoria (depression, unease, irritability)
- Excessive sweating
- Loss of appetite
- Muscle pain
- Poor concentration
- Suicidal/homicidal thoughts
Onset and duration of action
|Onset of |
|Peak||Euphoria with |
|Duration of action|
of the high
|Chewing coca leaves||10 to 30 minutes||30 to 120 minutes||+/-||45 to 90 minutes|
|Cocaine||2 to 5 minutes||10 to 30 minutes||++||30 to 60 minutes|
|Paste||A few seconds||Less than 5 minutes||+++||5 to 15 minutes|
|Freebase||A few seconds||Less than 5 minutes||+++||5 to 15 minutes|
|Crack||A few seconds||Less than 5 minutes||+++||5 to 15 minutes|
|Cocaine hydrochloride||A few seconds||Less than 5 minutes||+++||10 to 20 minutes|
- Blood: detectable for a few hours after the last use.
- Urine: detectable for up to 2 to 3 days after the last use.
- Antidote available: No
- Support: symptomatic treatment
- Users tend to treat their cocaine addiction with alcohol, cannabis, opiates and/or psychotropics (benzodiazepines, hypnotics), which can lead to other addictions.
Other useful information
- Injecting cocaine: risk of contracting infections and particularly high risk of overdose.
- Smoking cocaine: the cocaine is inhaled through a pipe, which can damage the mouth through burns. The sores can result in contracting hepatitis B and C.
- Snorting cocaine: the most popular route of administration. Risk of injury to the mucous membrane lining of the nose. Risk of contracting hepatitis B and C as well as HIV (lower risk).
Many different street drugs are sold under the same name. Furthermore, nothing guarantees the quantity, purity or even the content of a street drug in spite of the fact that it may, in some cases, look like medication.
If you need help or want to learn more:
Partnership for a Drug-Free Canada.