Your Brain on Crack Cocaine

Your Brain on Crack Cocaine

In the words of music legend Whitney Houston
‘Crack is Whack’. But with all the extra attention lately, thanks to Toronto Mayor Rob Ford – what
exactly is crack-cocaine? Is it really as ‘whack’ as it’s portrayed to be? Crack is simply another form of cocaine, which
comes from the leaves of a coca plant. After mixing powdered cocaine with a weak base,
such as baking soda, it changes composition and a solid is produced, often referred to
as ‘rocks’. This solid has a much lower melting point than cocaine (90C vs 190C) allowing
it to be smoked, as opposed to snorted. In fact, it’s called ‘crack’ because of the sound
it makes when heated. But why smoke it? Well, the lungs are an extremely quick and effective
way of getting something into the bloodstream. Those with asthma, for example, use inhalers
to quickly put a drug directly into their system. When smoke meets the large surface
area in your lungs, it too slips right through the membrane, and heads straight to your brain,
in as little as 8 seconds. This is much faster and more intense than the effects of snorted
cocaine which generally takes around 10 minutes to reach the brain. However, once in the brain, crack and cocaine
are effectively identical. Initially, users feel energized, alert and much more aware
of their senses. In the brain, crack acts on the Ventral Tegmental Area, releasing large
amounts of dopamine – the chemical often associated with feelings of pleasure and euphoria. This
dopamine travels between brain cells – called neurons – and binds to receptors that trigger
the good feelings. Now, normally, this dopamine would be reabsorbed back into the neuron by
a dopamine transporter; however, crack alters this process. It attaches to the transporter,
and blocks the reabsorption, allowing dopamine to build up and continually stimulate the
receptors. As a result, you feel – well – really good for around 10 minutes. But soon after, the dopamine levels in the
brain plummet, causing an extreme low and often feelings of depression. Which is why
many users typically smoke more, hoping to reach that high again. Unfortunately, these
dopamine levels can take a long time to naturally replenish, contributing to physical and psychological
dependence or addiction, as well as increased irritability, restlessness and paranoia. In some cases, crack or cocaine abuse can
lead to something called Delusional Parasitosis – the feeling that bugs or insects are crawling
under the skin. This often leads to self-destructive behaviour, like scratching or biting, in an
effort to get rid of the imagined bugs. In the most serious cases, crack’s impact on
the heart can cause heart attacks, strokes, or even stop the heart altogether, leading
to death. Simply put, on the extreme end of things,
crack can get pretty whack! Thanks to for giving you a free
audio book of your choice at Audible is the leading provider of audiobooks
with over 150,000 downloadable titles across all types of literature. One of our recent
favorites is “Sycamore Row” which is John Grisham’s sequel to “A Time to Kill”. You
can download this audio book or another of your choice, for free, at
Then use audibles free app to listen on your apple, windows or android device. Special
thanks to audible for making these videos possible and for offering you a free audio
book of your choice at And subscribe for more weekly science videos.


  1. So what caused crack to GD associated with poor people while powder cocaine is at least typically perceived as a richer person party drug?

  2. I’m just watching this for a school project and everyone else is like “who else is sitting with crack infront of them” or “I’ll just stick with weed” and I’m just like can’t relate

  3. It's easily made. Matter of fact I think I uploaded a documentary on crack that includes how it's made. Check it out..the more ya know

  4. Wow when i had cocain it fucks my brain proper.. i start barricading myself in i think people are coming to get me … i start going west like super west ill sit their in pure silence and if i hear a noise i shit meself lol never again .. csnt even play gta or talk proper

  5. I tried crack 5 days ago for the first time cuz everyone around me seemed like they were feeling AMAZING, i’ve been doing it ever since (6 days) and I DON’T FEEL A THING!! people think i’m joking when i say i can’t feel anything.. but i’m not! Am i broken? Or is this just a sign from God?

  6. I don't get why people use coke which is a lot more expensive, you need a lot more to get the same high, you don't get the rush you get from crack, it destroys your nose ect. I'm not encouraging it btw lol its just something I've never understood. The only reason I've ever thought is purely that cocaine powder is portrayed as a rich persons drug and looks far more cool sniffing a line than smoking a stone on a home made pipe??? Anybody else thought about this?

  7. Y’all, crack ain’t as bad as it’s made out to be , y’all should really try it it’s pretty lit

  8. Can you take tryptophan and tyrosine to restore dopamine? Will you become Superman if you take those supplements and cocaine on the daily?

  9. so i just found out a close member in my family has been smoking it for years. it’s crazy because he acted so normal to me. he also never acted suspicious. he also never lost a lot of weight and he’s a big guy and i wonder why. it’s sad knowing someone you care about has been hiding such things for a while. it’s ruined a lot of things now that we’ve found out.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *