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Cocaine Use

From Chewing Coca Leaves To Crack
Chewing Coca Leaves. Coca consumption was originally the prerogative of the Inca elite. Today, most of the natives indulge as well. Coca is also consumed as the highly esteemed coca de mate.

Drinking coca tea tends to soothe the stomach, so it's good for digestive problems. Coca de mate is less likely to induce jitteriness than coffee. It is a rather more effective mood brightener too.

Cocaine Sulfate - pasta, basuco, basa, pitillo, paste. This is the low grade stuff that reaches the urban slums of South America. The sulfate is the intermediate stage between the coca leaf and the finished cocaine hydrochloride crystal.

Coca leaves are stripped from the plant. They are put in plastic pit with a solution of water and sulfuric acid. A bare footed man will climb in the pit, step on the mess and move it around with his hands.

Cocaine Hydrochloride - an odorless, white crystalline powder. It has a bitter, numbing taste. This is the type of cocaine available in most cities.

Making cocaine hydrochloride is quite complicated. The pasta is first washed in kerosene. It is then chilled. The kerosene is removed. Gas crystals of crude cocaine are left at the bottom of the tank.

Typically, the crystals are dissolved in methyl alcohol. They are then re-crystallized and dissolved once more in sulfuric acid. Further washing, oxidation and separation procedures involve potassium permanganate, benzole, and sodium carbonate.

Freebase And Crack Cocaine. Freebase and crack cocaine are derived from cocaine hydrochloride which has been chemically treated to free the potent base material from the salt.

Freebase was originally produced by a dangerous four or five step process in which the hydrochloride salt was heated with water and a volatile liquid such as ether.

Base cocaine in the form of crack is safer to produce but it is no less addictive. Crack and freebase are indissoluble in water, so they can't be injected or sniffed easily.

Instead, base is usually smoked from pipes, burnt on a piece of tin foil, or mixed with tobacco and marijuana in a smokable joint.

The euphoric rush comes within a few seconds (even faster than from injecting cocaine hydrochloride). Initially, the user may experience a profound sense of power, mastery, cleverness and uninhibited desire. But the exhilaration usually starts to fade within a few minutes.

Cocaine Use
Physical constraints ensure that even the most ardent coquero can get only a modest amount of cocaine into his bloodstream. Coca induced heart-attacks and strokes are thus extremely rare among traditional users.

In recent decades, however, there have been changes in cocaine's route of administration, patterns of use, the technology of cocaine production, and typical dosages.

Crack is actually a less pure sort of freebase cocaine. Unlike old fashioned freebase, however, its production doesn't involve any flammable solvents.

Crack is usually made by mixing two parts of cocaine hydrochloride with one part baking soda in some water. The solution is then heated gently until white precipitates form. Crack is then cut or broken into small rocks weighing a few tenths of a gram.

The traditional method of taking cocaine in the west involved snorting the hydrochloride salt. But absorption through the nasalmucousa is relatively modest.

This is because their surface-area is small and cocaine is vasoconstrictive. Freebase, on the other hand, is smoked and inhaled directly into the lungs. Therefore much higher doses are possible. Inhalation is followed by an intense euphoric rush.

Chronic cocaine use causes a decrease in the production of enkephalin, one of the brain's natural opioids. This in turn causes a compensatory increase in the number of mu-receptors. The number of unoccupied mu-receptors may be associated with the craving and abstinence syndrome.

After chronic exposure to cocaine, the number of post-synaptic dopamine receptors in the CNS is reduced. The amount of dopamine transporter protein is increased.

Tolerance to cocaine's effects does exist over prolonged use; but the extent of this physiological adaptation is relatively modest. The cocaine user still gets high; but in the absence of cocaine, his pre-synaptic neurons sequester dopamine in the synaptic cleft with greater efficiency.

This may induce depression, sometimes severe.