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What is Crack and how is it made?
Q: I am writing a paper on crack and would like help with some of the basics. What is crack? How is it different from cocaine? How is it made from cocaine?

A: Crack is a crude freebase form of cocaine.

To make crack, the most common form of cocaine (cocaine HCl - a salt) is chemically changed into the freebase because this vaporizes at a much lower temperature. Cocaine HCl is sometimes smoked without freebasing it by sprinkling it on cannabis and smoking them together. This method is used infrequently because its inefficient and doesn't give the rush of freebase cocaine.

Before the mid 1980's most freebase cocaine was produced with a process using volatile solvents (often ether) in a standard acid-base extraction. This procedure is simple and is one of the most common procedures in lab chemisty. Cocaine HCl is (to simplify) a cocaine molecule attached to a Hydrogren atom and a Chlorine atom, which makes cocaine a salt and very soluble in water. The HCl 'molecule', however, makes the chemical harder to vaporize, so the intention is to remove the HCl portion in order to make it easier to smoke.

The cocaine is dissolved in an acidified liquid and then the liquid is basefied. The rise in pH reduces the solubility of cocaine in water. Because of this reduced solubility, when the solvent is added, the cocaine becomes trapped in the ether. The combination is shaken over and over and then left to sit so that the ether and water separate into two layers. The ether is then separated from the water (in a lab using a specially designed funnel) or by novices using a turkey baster or other crude technique. The ether is evaporated (hopefully under a lab ventilation hood or in a solvent recovery system) and what is left is "freebase cocaine". This technique is both dangerous and expensive, so a much simpler technique was developed on the street to make this form. It became well known when a couple of famous people blew themselves up doing this. The comedian Richard Pryor started a fire and was badly burned in a freebase-making accident.

Crack is made by simply by mixing Cocaine HCl in water with a large quantity of baking soda and then heat drying in a pan (usually in an oven). The resulting hard, crumbly material is smokeable and potent, although it contains more undesireable materials than a pure freebase does and
is considered 'low grade'.

How it's smoked:

Crack can be smoked out of anything, really. The preferred method is probably a free-base pipe, which is a type of pipe used for smoking chemicals which have lower vapor points and work better if they are vaporized instead of burned. Burning the material does work, but is much less efficient. Freebase pipes are basically glass tubes with bends in them, the rock (or other material) is set in one end and is heated using a lighter from below. Freebase pipes are designed to vaporize the material without burning it.

From walking through poorer areas of cities and seeing people smoking crack, however, I would say the most common way to smoke crack is "anyway you can", meaning that its smoked out of traditional
cannabis or tobacco pipes and applying flame directly on the rock.

Asked By : Jaess
Answered By : earth
Published Date : 10 / 5 / 2000
Last Edited Date : 12 / 19 / 2000
Question ID : 192

Categories: [ Cocaine ]

Ask Erowid v1.7 - Jul, 2005

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