The Basics of Freebasing
The term “Freebasing” might be a little bit more obscure to non-addicts, but to anyone in the world of cocaine, it’s quite familiar. I was a cocaine addict for most of my young adulthood and I knew for a fact that it was destroying my life. It is easy for freebase to take over, quickly and completely. But that doesn’t answer the basic question, “What is freebasing?”
When I discovered freebasing, I didn’t give my life much thought. The only thing that mattered was getting that next high. When you are deep into your addiction, you stop noticing how far downhill you’ve gone.
It becomes your new normal. The only thing that takes priority is making sure you don’t go without your fix. So what is freebasing?
In simple terms, freebasing refers to the process of increasing the potency of a drug. There can be a number of drugs that people freebase, though when it is most commonly associated with cocaine.
When it comes to freebasing cocaine, you are removing any additives and breaking it down to its most natural state. Freebasing converts cocaine from its powder form into cocaine sulfate.
Cocaine vs Freebase
In its powder form, cocaine cannot be heated or smoked. When you freebase, you end up with a form of cocaine that is much purer and more potent.
When we talk about freebase, we aren’t necessarily talking about crack cocaine, although the process is more or less the same. Crack cocaine is produced with a mixture of baking soda and water that is heated up to form a crystallized version of the drug that can be smoked.
Traditional freebasing requires the drug to be heated in a glass pipe so that the cocaine can be broken down to its purest form and the vapors can be inhaled.
My first introduction to freebasing was before my addiction. I had a very good friend in High School whose father freebased. I would spend a lot of time at their house and for the longest time, I didn’t have any idea what was going on.
The smell coming from the kitchen was completely foreign to me. I didn’t assume they were freebasing cocaine because I had no idea what that even meant.
I had heard of crack, but like many other people, my age was completely naive to the signs and the overall process.
The Effects of Freebasing
The effects of freebasing are very quick and intense, yet they are fleeting. The intensely euphoric feelings achieved by using freebase cocaine last maybe a half an hour and are accompanied by an equally intense come down.
This is what makes the drug so much more addictive and dangerous. You are put in a situation where you are living from high to high, constantly chasing that prior feeling. I’ve heard many addicts talk about how they were constantly chasing after that first high that they got from it, yet they rarely ever get it again.
Coming down off freebase is like a hangover from hell. You go from feeling the highest high to the lowest low within a very short amount of time.
This is dangerous in that the way you feel from moment to moment is completely unpredictable. I still have nightmares about coming down and not having any more of the drug to get back up.
Once the drug wears off, you are susceptible to extreme feelings of depression, anxiety, anger, and intense paranoia.
The Basics of Freebasing: Cooking Cocaine
Although freebase cocaine refers to the separation of cocaine hydrochloride into its constituents components, there is not a set recipe for ‘cooking’ or the creation of freebase. In a simplified recipe; powdered cocaine (the higher purity, the easier the conversion) is added to baking soda and water, with the mixture then being heated.
The impurities of the cocaine, as well as the hydrochloride, are largely eliminated by this process, rendering the drug into a ‘freed base’ that can then be smoked by the end-user as cocaine sulfate.
In contrast, to crack cocaine, the composition of freebase cocaine does not involve ammonia, strychnine, or other cutting compounds used to drive the profits of drug dealers. For the most part, therefore, freebase cocaine is generally ‘cooked’ by those looking to increase the effects and immediacy of the drug, and quickly renders the substance into its most pure, smokable form.
Features of Freebase Cocaine Users
When it comes to freebase, the main theme is paranoia. This is one of the things that makes the world of cocaine addiction extremely dangerous. When you are constantly associated and dealing with people who have high anxiety and paranoia, a lot of bad things can happen.
People become thieves. People assume you are stealing from them. People assume you are a narc. Because you are going from extreme highs and lows so often, your brain is completely warped, and most rational thought is gone completely.
Freebasing is not only dangerous because of the mindset it puts you in, but it is also extremely detrimental to your physical health as well. Long time freebasing can lead to respiratory problems and can do a number on your heart.
A lot of people who come out of cocaine addiction have prolonged health issues that affect them the rest of their lives. People who freebase are also very susceptible to seizures, strokes and other long term brain damage.
Cocaine addiction on its own is a very difficult habit to break. If you are freebasing it can be all the more complicated. When you are constantly ingesting the purest form of any drug, it is going to take a lot more than just going to rehab to quit.
It’s not always easy to expect to get the highest quality product all the time. If you’re used to freebasing, using impure cocaine just won’t do the trick. Your tolerance gets so high that anything other than freebase is unacceptable. In simple terms, there aren’t many alternatives to freebasing.
The Struggle to Quit Freebasing
There isn’t much you can do to stop freebasing drugs unless you change your life completely. When you are in it, all that matters is the drug. You only associate with people who are in the same boat as you.
It’s a lifestyle and feels like a full-time job. You’ll do whatever you need to do to get that high and make sure that you don’t run out. A lot of addicts turn to burglary and other petty crimes to support their habits.
A lot of people who freebase end up being homeless. It’s interesting how society views the homeless as being lazy. Homeless people with drug addictions work twice as hard as anybody so that they can get their fix.
You’ll do whatever you have to do. Some people turn to prostituting themselves. This is how deep and dark it can get. I can’t speak for any other addicts other than myself, but the only thing that got me to stop freebasing and get sober was to be homeless and ultimately have nothing to my name other than a sleeping bag and a cardboard box to sleep in.
I was violently assaulted and robbed one night by a dealer for owing a debt. I lay in a pile of blood looking up at the sky and felt as though I had an out-of-body experience. I could see myself laying there, a totally broken soul. That was my rock bottom.
Today, I do whatever is in my power to prevent other people from laying in an alley like I was. And for those people who are laying in an alley, strung-out and broken, I try to be an example for them just as much.
Long Term Recovery from Cocaine and Freebase
At Emerald Isle Health & Recovery, the process of recovery from all substances, freebase included, is given all the respect and consideration that it deserves. From the start of your journey into sobriety to participation in our Alumni program and aftercare activities, an individualized treatment plan will be created with your input and unique history taken into account.
Evidence-based therapies, compassionate support, and our clinical team will assist your recovery through even the most difficult moments and help achieve a lasting, sober foundation for life. If you or a loved one have been struggling with freebase and/or other substances, please don’t hesitate to reach out today!
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