Cocaine vs. Methamphetamine
Cocaine and methamphetamine are two drugs which produce somewhat similar effects, but vary greatly in many ways. The differences between cocaine and methamphetamine include the half-life of the drug in the body, the methods of use, the production of the drugs, and the withdrawal experience. You can learn more about withdrawals from stimulants like meth and cocaine on the page Stimulant Withdrawal – Symptoms, Timeline, and Treatment.
If you or somebody you know is struggling with addiction to meth or cocaine, we urge you to reach out for help! There are many professionals, support groups, and treatment centers out there. There are also options to go to rehab with no money.
Both methamphetamine and cocaine belong to a class of drugs known as stimulants. Stimulants are substances which activate the central nervous system, increasing the release of neurotransmitters like norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin. Stimulants produce euphoria, increased energy, and alertness.
Side effects of stimulant use include:
- Loss of appetite
- Increased heart rate
- High blood pressure
- Sweating and increased body temperature
- Nausea or vomiting
- Anxiety or panic
- Liver damage
- Kidney damage
- Malnutrition and weight loss
Cocaine comes from the coca plant, which is native to Central and South America. It was popularized in the United States as an anesthetic, and later abused for it’s euphoric and stimulating properties. It’s commonly snorted, although users may smoke or inject cocaine as well.
Cocaine generally comes in powder form, which users may snort or make into a substance they can inject. It may also be made into rock form, often referred to as crack or crack cocaine.
The half-life of cocaine is short, at just under an hour. This means that the high from cocaine is relatively short, lasting 15-30 minutes before the come-down begins. Cocaine is generally fairly expensive, although crack is on the cheaper side.
What is Methamphetamine?
Methamphetamine is a synthesized drug that is often used to help treat narcolepsy and ADHD. Similarly to cocaine, it is abused for it’s effects of euphoria and alertness. It may be taken in pill form (as when prescription medications are abused), smoked, snorted, or injected.
The half life of meth is much longer than cocaine, coming in at over twelve hours. Similarly to cocaine, people often binge on meth. They use repeatedly to keep their high going. Meth may be seen as slightly stronger than cocaine, producing more dramatic effects of stimulation, nausea, and anxiety.
The Differences Between Meth and Cocaine
There are many similarities between these two substances as they both belong to the same class of drugs. For example, both may cause feelings of anxiety into recovery, weight loss, and insomnia. However, there are a few differences.
First, cocaine is often described as a “cleaner” high. That is, pure cocaine creates stimulating effects that have much less anxiety, irritation, and panic. Methamphetamine use will result in more irritation, anger, and worry.
Second, methamphetamine lasts much longer than cocaine. The effects come on quickly, but linger much longer. Because cocaine is such a short high, users often abuse the drug repeatedly in a bingeing fashion.
Finally, methamphetamine is generally considered to be more addictive than cocaine. Although thousands and thousands of individuals become addicted to both every year, methamphetamine produces stronger effects in the brain and is more likely to result in drug dependence and addiction.
Recovery from Abuse
With either drug, it is important to seek help. You may benefit from professional detox services, as medical professionals can help you minimize the symptoms of withdrawal. After detox, it is incredibly helpful to continue in residential treatment or sober living. A treatment center will help you investigate the reasons beneath your addiction, and how to build a new life without drugs or alcohol!