Difference Between Crack and Powder

Cocaine is the most popular, powerful, and highly addictive type of drug in society. It is derived from coca plant species. It is available in two main forms crack and powder.


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Both the forms have no difference in chemical and pharmacological aspects but there are distinct differences in other parameters.

Crack vs Powder

The difference between crack and powder is that crack is a rock version of cocaine while powder is a powdered version of cocaine. Crack contains other types of stimulants and substances mixed with pure cocaine while powder refers to the pure form of cocaine.

Crack vs Powder

Crack is processed into solid forms with various mixtures and broken into chunks after cooling the solid. It is usually smoked with a crack pipe.

It is a cheaper alternative to powder and hence is mostly used by people who fall in the lower socio-economic demographic. It provides intense high within a short period.

On the other hand, powder Is usually snorted or orally ingested. It takes time for the high to set in and is not instantaneous. It is also called the “rich man’s drug”, as it is quite expensive and creates a short-lived high.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonCrackPowder
Process of intake Crack is typically heated and smokedPowder can be snorted, injected, or swallowed
The intensity of high Instantaneous and long-lived highShort-lived high and is not instantaneous as it takes time for the onset
Price point CheaperExpensive
Effects Dilated pupils, euphoria, increased heart rate, loss of appetite or cravings and can be fatal in overdose Irritability, anxiety, mood changes, depression, restlessness, hallucination or suicidal thoughts and can be fatal in overdose
Legal action A minimum of five years of sentence is given to individuals with possession of at least 5 grams of crackA minimum of five years of sentence is given to individuals with possession of at least 5 grams of powder

What is Crack?

Crack is the rock formations. It is also known as crack cocaine. It is formed by combining powdered cocaine with water and other substances like sodium bicarbonate which is also known as baking soda.

This mixture is boiled and cooled in solid forms and later broken into smaller pieces and sold.

The name crack was derived from the crackling sound that is heard when the drug is heated and smoked. It can be taken only through smoking.

It is expensive than most other drugs. Since it can be only taken up through smoking, it increases the risk for addiction.

The effects of crack last longer and the onset of effects are faster than other types of drugs. Crack has more stigma in society than most other drugs.

Since smoking affects the brain quickly, hence crack reaches the brain and stimulates it rapidly. This increases the likeliness of getting addicted to the drug.

The color of crack is usually between white, cream, light brown, or tan color. Crack is a highly concentrated drug.

Researchers say that it is possible to get addicted to crack even after one use and hence is considered extremely addictive. The effects of crack begin within 1 to 2 minutes after smoking and last for about 40 to 60 minutes.

What is Powder?

The powder is cocaine in powdered form. It contains hydrochloride salt in powdered form. In simple words, it is also known as cocaine or coke. It can be taken in various options like injecting, snorting, and swallowing.

It is generally more expensive than crack and hence is used by affluent drug users. The powder is an expensive addiction to maintain.

The powder is found in pure white form. The drug is less concentrated and has less intense results with shorter highs. The effects of powder begin within 1 to 5 minutes after snorting and take their highest peak within 15 to 20 minutes.

The effects dissipate within 1 to 2 hours. Upon injection, the effects reach a peak faster and last a little longer when compared with snorting.

The powder can have short-term effects like dilated pupils, euphoria, increased heart rate, loss of appetite, or cravings. Extreme overdose can lead to coma, convulsions, and even death.

It can even cause long-term effects like irritability, anxiety, mood changes, depression, restlessness, hallucination, or suicidal thoughts. According to research in 2002, most of the users of powder were either Caucasian or Hispanic.

It was considered that white people were more likely to be convicted of powder offenses. The powder is also mixed with other serious drugs like methamphetamines, heroin, opioids, fentanyl, and other stimulants and substances during consumption.

Main Differences Between Crack and Powder

  1. Crack is found in white, cream, light brown, or tan color while powder is generally found only in white color.
  2. Crack can be only taken through smoking while powder can be taken through injecting, snorting, or swallowing.
  3. The laws of being caught with crack are more severe than being caught in possession of powder.
  4. Crack provides rapid high and has lasting effects whereas powder provides comparatively shorter high and less lasting effects.
  5. Crack is used by people who want cheaper alternatives and fall under the lower socio-economic demographic while powder is used by affluent drug users.
  6. People get addicted to crack quickly while getting addicted to powder takes more time than crack.
Difference Between Crack and Powder


  1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/00952990.2011.600380
  2. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/1471-2458-6-10
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