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Cocaine
Effects
by Erowid
DURATION #
Caution :   Reactions and experiences may vary dramatically from person to person. [see below]
Powder Cocaine Duration
Insufflated (single dose, rare)
Total Duration
1 - 2 hrs
Onset
0 - 5 mins
Coming Up
1 - 15 mins
Plateau
10 - 20 mins
Coming Down
15 - 60 mins
 
 
After Effects
1 - 2 hrs (3-4 hrs with repeated redoses)
Hangover / Day After
? ? ?
Powdered Leaf with Base/Lime Duration
Buccal (single bolus)
( tentative )
Total Duration
1 - 4 hrs
Onset
5 - 15 mins
Coming Up
5 - 15 mins
Plateau
15 - 60 mins
Coming Down
30 - 120 mins
 
 
After Effects
1 - 2 hrs
Hangover / Day After
? ? ?
Leaf Infusion / Tea Duration
Oral (single dose)
( tentative )
Total Duration
1 - 4 hrs
Onset
5 - 15 mins
Coming Up
5 - 15 mins
Plateau
15 - 60 mins
Coming Down
30 - 120 mins
 
 
After Effects
1 - 2 hrs
Hangover / Day After
? ? ?
EFFECTS LIST #
Effects of cocaine go from very mild to very intense based on route of administration. Traditionally, coca is used buccally as a bolus with mineral lime, or orally, as a tea infusion from leaves. As a white powder, it is most often insufflated. When smoked or injected intravenously, the effects tend towards euphoric rushing and strong physical stimulation.

POSITIVE / DESIRED
  • mood lift, euphoria
  • mental and physical stimulation
  • erotic, sexual thoughts and sensations
  • increased sociability, talkativeness
  • reduced altitude sickness
  • reduced physical fatigue
  • (Smoked / IV) powerful euphoric rush
NEUTRAL
  • local anaesthesia, numbness
  • increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • general change in consciousness
  • appetite suppression
NEGATIVE / UNDESIRED
    (likelihood of negative side effects increases with higher doses)
  • desire to do more cocaine
  • (Insufflated) nost-nasal and back of throat drip, numbness
  • dry mouth
  • sensation of throat closing up (insufflated)
  • tolerance, habituation, psychological addiction
  • insomnia
  • emotional lability, rapid changes in mood
  • anxiety, panic
  • annoyance, agitation, anger
  • paranoia, fear
  • tachycardia, feeling over stimulated
  • shaking
OVERDOSE / HIGH DOSE TOXICITY
    (likelihood of overdose effects increases when taken in combination with other stimulants or alcohol, or in those with genetically low serum cholinesterase)
  • heart arrhythmias
  • anxiety, panic
  • extreme aggression, anger
  • paranoid delusions
  • paranoia, fear
  • acute psychosis, psychotic thinking
  • tachycardia, hypertension
  • overheating, hyperthermia
  • shaking, clenching, dystonia, clonus, muscle spasms, seizure
  • rhabdomyolysis (muscle fiber degradation into bloodstream leading to kidney damage and death)
  • death from heart attack or severe arrhythmias (O'Connor AD et al.)
DESCRIPTION #
Cocaine is both a central nervous system stimulant and a topical anaesthetic. It is found in the leaves of the Erthroxylum coca plant. The traditional method of coca use is to "chew" the leaves (the leaves are actually not chewed so much as sucked, producing a mild stimulation. Outside of South America it is generally used in its more refined and extracted forms: either powder cocaine, or freebase cocaine which produce much stronger effects than "chewing" the leaves. The term "Crack" is alternately used to refer to street quality freebase cocaine, or to refer to the product of a particular manufacturing process which uses sodium bicarbonate rather than a flammable solvent. Powdered cocaine is generally insufflated (snorted) and crack / freebase cocaine is generally smoked. Smoking freebase cocaine causes a strong, short-lived peak of about 3-5 minutes, while snorting cocaine provides a lower high with major effects lasting closer to 15 - 30 minutes.

PSYCHOLOGICAL EFFECTS:
Varies with dose and the tolerance of the user. Increases alertness, wakefulness, elevates the mood, mild to high degree of euphoria, increases athletic performance, decreases fatigue, clearer thinking, increases concentration, increases energy, increased irritability, insomnia, restlessness. With high doses may exhibit a pattern of psychosis with confused and disorganized behavior, irritability, fear, paranoia, hallucinations, may become extremely antisocial and aggressive.

PHYSICAL EFFECTS:
Increases heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and sweating. Increases speed of respiration, dilates the pupils, decreased sleep and appetite. Can decrease seizure threshold and is associated with seizures, strokes, and heart attacks in susceptible individuals.

WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS:
Although cocaine does not cause dangerous physical addiction, discontinuing regular use can lead to a wide varieties of (very) unpleasant withdrawal and craving symptoms, including: intense cravings for more cocaine, hunger, irritability, apathy, depression, paranoia, suicidal ideation, loss of sex drive, insomnia or excessive sleep, dizziness, shaking, and/or feeling cold. Although the withdrawal from heavy cocaine use is not as debilitating as the withdrawal from opiates or benzodiazepines, it is still usually quite unpleasant. Often, individuals simply take more cocaine to reduce these effects, leading to a pattern of habituation, dependence, and addiction.

HEAVY, REPEATED USE:
As of 2015, a majority of powder cocaine outside of South America contains levamisole. Repeated use of levamisole can compromise the immune system.

OVERDOSE SYMPTOMS:
Agitation, hostility, hallucinations, convulsions, high body tempertature (hyperthermia), stroke, heart attack, and possibly death.

People with latent congenital heart defects, high blood pressure, or thyroid problems are at higher risk of dangerous reactions and heart failure with the recreational use of cocaine.

LONG-TERM USE:
Heavy, regular use of cocaine is known to cause restlessness, anxiety, hyperexcitability, paranoia, irritability, insomnia, weight loss, and a variety of other less acute psychological symptoms. Insufflation of any substance can lead to damaging the cartiledge and mucosa in the nose, eventually leading to a hole in the septum (the soft structure separating the nostils). If injected, cocaine use can lead to a wide variety of problems including life-threatening infections, shared needle-related blood diseases, etc.

EXPERIENCE EXCERPTS #
[Crack cocaine compared to Insufflated Powder Cocaine] "Crack, I soon discovered had one big difference for me from coke. When I would binge on coke I would always reach a point where it just didn’t do anything for me. After 6, 7, 8 hours of partying, each new line just didn’t get me high and I would really feel like shit and stop. Crack was different. Each hit got me high. Only as the night goes on the high last for less and less time each hit. But each hit holds the promise of a new high. That’s what makes it so addicting." -- Exp 74175
[Insufflated Powder Cocaine] "I felt invigorated, yet also very comfortable. It was suprising how physical the sensations actually were. I had a warm, tingly sensation in my limbs." -- Exp 43976
[Insufflated Powder Cocaine] "How can I best describe the feeling of a good coke high to someone unfamiliar with it? Like this: it's like living, real-time, in a Hollywood movie. Have you noticed how, in a movie, only the salient and dramatic moments of a character's story are spliced together? You never, for example, have to slog through the onscreen character's having to clip his toenails or pay bills or pop a blackhead, or listen to long interstices of silence in the ramble of a desultory conversation. Thus is reality for the Coked: life is poetry: accelerated, shined, tweaked, pruned of its prosaic, pedestrian footage. Every utterance you or your fellow stonees make seems to be sharp, dramatic, witty, encapsulated-- jjust like movie dialogue. Little transitional moments disappear: you find yourself engaged in group chatter one moment, then looking into their bathroom mirror the next, just like in an elegant film edit. Above all, there is an immanent thrill in your loins that SOMETHING exciting-- one doesn't know quite WHAT-- is going to HAPPEN. ANY second now. (It often never does, but one is not swayed.)" -- Exp 1643
[Intravenous (IV)] I put down the needle, and then I closed my eyes and tilted my head backwards, enjoying the rush of intense pleasure I felt throughout my entire body. It felt better than any orgasm I had ever experienced. My tongue became numb, and I could taste cocaine in my mouth, even though there was none there. My heart was beating a million miles an hour. My mind was racing, going from one random thought to another thought. Physically, however, I felt very relaxed. I stood from sitting on the edge of the tub, and walked toward the mirror. I was a little wobbly on my feet, and when I looked at myself in the mirror, I grinned crazily at myself." -- Exp 68053
[Insufflated Powder Cocaine] "For the next 6 months or so, I did coke constantly. A bunch of us would drink and do lines many nights, including weeknights. We would sit around and talk and play cards and board games and watch tv and the time seemed to just fly by. I loved all aspects of doing coke, especially the ritual of it all - I loved cutting it all up and moving it around and organizing it into lines with a razor blade. I loved the feelings, both mental and physical. I would look forward every day to the next time I would feel that telltale acidic drip in my throat, the numbing of my teeth, and the absolute bliss. I felt much less socially awkward when I was on this drug: I could talk to anyone about anything." -- Exp 57762
[Intravenous (IV)] "I LOVE the feeling of injecting it so much it scares me." -- Exp 37703
[Insufflated Powder Cocaine] "My body felt strangely cold and clammy all over, yet my mind and chest felt very warm and almost pulsating with energy. As I filled up a glass of water I noticed very strong and euphoric anticipations of talking to Bob and Rob again, even though it was only a minute since I had seen them last. I can best explain this as the mild emotional-bonding effects of MDMA. [...] I entered the door to my room and was extremely happy to be back with my friends. " -- Exp 21524
[Smoked Crack Cocaine] Once I started I was never sated, no matter how much I had consumed, and once the dope was gone I was always certain that someone had more and was holding out on me." -- Exp 37703
[Smoked Freebase Cocaine] "Wait, I am not sure that I got enough... Oh! NOW I get it."
CAUTION & DISCLAIMER #
Erowid's effects information is a summary of data gathered from users, research, and other resources. This information is intended to describe the range of effects people report experiencing. Effects may vary dramatically from one person to another or one experience to another based on a variety of factors such as body chemistry, age, gender, physical health, dose, form of material, etc.