Cocaine is a stimulant that gives you a quick euphoric feeling. It is extracted from the leaves of a coca plant; these leaves have been chewed  or drank in tea for centuries in South America. Nowadays, cocaine comes either in the form of white powder or as a ‘crack’ rock. The intensity of effects and potential for abuse vary greatly depending on the form of cocaine you take.

It is the second most consumed recreational drug worldwide, with cannabis being the first. However, without due care and responsibility, cocaine can be highly addictive and dangerous due to the intense and short-lived induced euphoria.

Please read ME for more general information about recreational drugs.


Avoid alcohol


Check the purity


Know your limits


We have listed the most common effects of cocaine. Please note that everyone can be affected differently, and this is not an exhaustive list. Not everyone experiences these effects, and other effects are possible.

The effects are (from positive to negative):

    • Talkative and sociable
    • Euphoria
    • Feeling energetic
    • Confidence; Over confidence
    • Sense of clear head
    • Increased alertness
    • Self-interest
    • Decreased appetite
    • Dry mouth
    • Impaired movement
    • Repetitive behaviour
    • Sweating
    • Increased heart rate
    • Pupil dilation
    • Tinnitus (buzzing, humming, grinding, hissing, whistling in the ears)
    • Aggressive and risk taking behaviour
    • Sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion, and nose bleeding
    • Headache
    • Restlessness
    • Insomnia
    • Nausea

* Much more common among first-time users

Dose and Onset

How? How much? When? For how long?

Read our section on dosing and tolerance in ME for more information.

As with any drug, the correct dose for you depends on factors such as weight, gender, metabolism, whether you have taken the drug recently or not, amongst many others.

The amount of cocaine you should take and the time it takes for the effects to kick in strongly depends on the purity and cutting agents mixed in. We highly advise you to test your cocaine before using it. The advice provided below is based on the effects of pure cocaine. However, we understand that it is extremely difficult to find pure cocaine, so start off small and see how you feel.

How you take it matters...

Powdered Cocaine

  • Snorting is the most common way of using it. People usually divide the powder out into lines with a card and snort it with a straw or a piece of paper. Snorting through one nostril over a long time can lead to nasal ulcers or damage the septum.

  • Gumming is another popular way of doing it. A small amount is applied on the upper and lower inside of the lips and the gum. Your lips and gums might feel numb from the cocaine. Gumming can damage your gums and lips.

Crack cocaine

  • Smoking is the only method to consume crack cocaine. It is usually smoked using a crack pipe. The effects of it will be felt immediately (10-20 seconds) after smoking. Crack cocaine is much more potent and addictive than powder cocaine. It can also cause respiratory problems such as asthma and emphysema.

Source: Nutt, 2012


How much?

The purity of cocaine varies significantly from place to place and dealer to dealer. Be wary of this, and always start off small and increase the dose gradually.

When do the effects kick in and for how long?

The START time below is when you will usually begin to feel the effects of the cocaine from the time when you first take it. The DURATION is roughly the length of time you will experience the effects, after which the effects will start to wind off and you might start to feel the calm-down/comedown effects.

Snorting and gumming cocaine:

  • START: 1-3 minutes
  • DURATION: 30 minutes

Smoking crack cocaine:

  • START:15 seconds
  • DURATION:15 minutes


+ ? =

dangerous to synergy bar


Click one of the drugs below and see how it mixes with .



Harm reduction

Head over to our ME section if you would like to know more about harm reduction.

There are certain precautions you should take before using cocaine. The advice below helps to prepare you both physically and mentally. We want you to be safe and enjoy your experience as much as possible, so if you have a bad experience or are struggling with especially bad after-effects, please take note of the advice below.




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Cocaine is one of the most addictive recreational drugs. While chewing coca leaf hardly leads to addiction, smoking crack cocaine is one of the most addictive drug habits. This is due to the speed with which it reaches the brain and also the duration of the resulting high.

Even though cocaine is classified as highly addictive it does not mean you will get hooked with the first use. 18% of users of cocaine have been found to develop an addiction to it. We advise that you limit its consumption for very rare occasions and never introduce it into your daily lifestyle.

Please read ME for more general information about recreational drugs.

Snorting is the most common way of consuming cocaine. After chewing coca leaf, snorting is the least addictive method of consumption, contrary to what many people think. Crack users are more prone to get into habitual use and addiction. Injecting solute cocaine in water is the most harmful way to do it.

The Law



  • USA: Illegal. Schedule II drug. Legal under medical conditions.
  • Canada: Illegal. Schedule I drug.
  • Mexico:Illegal. Legal up to 0.5 grams.

Asia and Australasia

  • Australia Illegal.
  • New Zealand Illegal. Class A drug.
  • Singapore: Illegal.
  • Hong Kong: Illegal.
  • Israel: Illegal.


  • South Africa: Illegal.

More information, references, useful links...


Can you get addicted to cocaine after only one try?

This is not true for any drug. Addiction is a complex disorder that it is still not fully understood. It relies on many different factors such as the times a particular drug is consumed, the quantity used, the family history of mental health, and social interactions.


  • Nutt, D. (2012). Drugs without the hot air. Minimising the Harms of Legal and Illegal Drugs. Cambridge: UIT Cambridge Ltd
  • Gahlinger, P. M. (2004). Illegal drugs: A complete guide to their history, chemistry, use and abuse. Penguin.
  • Cole, M. D. (2003). The analysis of controlled substances. John Wiley & Sons.
  • Anthony, J., Warner, L., Kessler, R. (1994) Comparative epidemiology of dependence on tobacco, alcohol, controlled substances, and inhalants: Basic findings from the National Comorbidity Survey. Experimental & Clinical Psychopharmacology, 2 (3): 244-268
  • Nutt, D., King, L. A., Saulsbury, W., & Blakemore, C. (2007). Development of a rational scale to assess the harm of drugs of potential misuse. The Lancet,369(9566), 1047-1053.

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