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Is Crack More Addictive Than Coke? We Asked Experts

By Kyle Kirkland
Two professionals compare crack and cocaine, two drugs that share a chemical makeup but have distinct differences.

Crack and cocaine are the same drug in different forms, and either form is dangerous and addictive. 

Cocaine is a white powder that comes from the leaves of the coca plant. Most users snort it. Some rub it into their gums. There are also ways to inject it or smoke it. 

Crack is cocaine that’s been combined with other substances to form white crystals resembling small rocks. Users heat and smoke it. 

Is One More Addictive Than the Other?

According to MedlinePlus, the effects of smoking crack are instant and intense, and they can last up to 10 minutes. The effects of snorting cocaine can start within 5 minutes and last up to 30 minutes, but are less intense than smoking. The fast, short nature of crack highs may make it more addictive.

“Crack … is inhaled through the lungs and spreads through the body, producing the ‘high’ much more quickly, and lasts for a shorter time than snorting cocaine,"John Giordano, an addiction counselor and the founder of The National Institute for Holistic Addiction Studies, tells WebMD Connect to Care. "This causes a cycle of bingeing and crashing, which puts the user at a greater risk of dependence.” 

The way you ingest cocaine plays a role in how it addictive it is, another expert adds.

“Smoking or injecting cocaine causes it to enter the bloodstream and reach the brain more rapidly” than snorting it or rubbing into your gums, says Ned Presnall, the director of clinical services at Plan Your Recovery. “The faster a drug gets to the brain, the more reinforcing and addictive it is.”

“Since people generally associate powdered cocaine with snorting and crack cocaine with smoking, there’s a false belief that crack is more addictive. But if you smoke or inject powdered cocaine, it is just as addictive as smoking crack,” Presnall says.

Don’t Wait. Get Help Now.

If you or a loved one is struggling with cocaine or crack addiction, it’s important to seek treatment as soon as possible. You can recover and get your life back on track. WebMD Connect to Care Advisors are standing by to help. 

Treatment & Resources for Cocaine Addiction