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Crack Vs. Meth: Know the Differences & Similarities

Crack and meth are both illicit drugs that carry a high risk of developing an addiction. While there are many similarities to both drugs, there are also several differences between the two. Here, we will dive into everything on crack vs. meth and understand the many differences and similarities as well as the dangers and risks of using these drugs. 

Crack Vs. Meth: Know the Differences & Similarities

Crack and meth are probably some of the most daunting and frightening drugs as most of us have seen photos or heard stories of what these drugs can do. But what are some of the differences between crack and meth? And what are the similarities? 

One of the main differences between crack and meth is the way in which they are used. Crack is the form of cocaine that can only be smoked while meth can be smoked, snorted, injected, or taken orally. Another difference between these two drugs is their lasting effect times. While the effects of crack can be felt within seconds after smoking it, the effects do not last long. Meth, on the other hand, can have effects that last for several hours. 

Both crack and meth are illegal, stimulant drugs that create powerful effects on the central nervous system. Crack and meth are both highly addictive and dangerous drugs that can cause drug overdose, which may result in death. 

What is Crack?

Most people seem to be aware of the powder form of cocaine and not as much with crack cocaine. Cocaine is a commonly abused substance that comes from the coca plant and can be found in two different forms; power or rocks. When cocaine is found in the powder form is it called cocaine or “coke,” and when it is found in the rock form it is known as crack-cocaine or simply “crack.” 

Crack is formed after the powder from cocaine is combined with water and another substance, typically baking soda. After the substances are mixed, they are boiled, forming a solid substance that later turns into rocks, known as cracks. 

The crack rocks are heated causing a crackling sound and then smoking. The effects of crack can be felt within seconds after smoking the drug and last up to 10 minutes. Users typically become addicted quickly, craving the desired effect more frequently. The effects of crack include extreme euphoria, heightened awareness, dilated pupils, decreased appetite, increased heart rate, and intense drug cravings. Using crack can lead to devastating outcomes such as health complications and issues, addiction, overdose, or death. 

What Does Crack Look Like?

Crack has a white or off-white color and will vary in different shapes and sizes of the rocks. Crack users will typically be using a crack pipe to smoke the substance and the cracking noise may be noticeable once the user is heating the substance before use. 

Side Effects and Risks of Crack 

Crack is highly addictive and dangerous. It has been proven that users can become addicted after one single hit. Side effects and risks of crack include: 

  • Coughing
  • Hyperthermia 
  • Constricted blood vessels
  • Shortness of breath
  • Increased heart rate 
  • Increased blood pressure 
  • Seizures 
  • Lung trauma or bleeding
  • Mental issues (paranoia or aggression) 

The most concerning side effects and risk of crack are how quickly it can lead to addiction and cause a deadly overdose.

Long-Term Complications of Crack Addiction

There are several long-term complications a crack addiction can cause. Crack causes harmful effects on nearly the entire body and can cause major organ damage. Smoking crack cocaine can cause deterioration of both the kidneys and the lungs. It can also cause respiratory diseases, airway inflammation, and difficulty swallowing. Crack addiction can also cause several heart issues such as heart attacks, high blood pressure, and irregular heartbeat. Smoking crack also comes with the risks of severe brain damage and the development of many different psychological issues. 

What is Meth?

Meth, otherwise known as methamphetamines, is a highly addictive stimulant drug that causes powerful effects on the central nervous system. Meth can be found in many different forms and can be smoked, injected, snorted, or taken orally through a pill or tablet. This drug is commonly found in the form of a white, odorless crystalline powder. 

The effects of meth can be felt quickly and last for several hours. This stimulant drug causes increased activity, increased sense of pleasure, and decreased appetite. Users are likely to stay awake for several days and continue using the drug to reach the feeling of pleasure. Meth is incredibly addictive and can quickly lead to highly destructive behavior, addiction, overdose, or death. 

What Does Meth Look Like?

There are several different forms of meth and it can look in a variety of ways. It is commonly found in the white powder crystalline form, however, it can be also be found as a pill or liquid. It can have a brown, yellow-grey, or orange tint to it. Crystal meth is a common form of this substance which can be found in the form of clear or pink chunky crystals, similar to ice. 

Side Effects and Risks of Meth 

Regardless of the route of administration, using meth can cause several dangerous side effects and risks. These can include: 

  • Extreme paranoia 
  • Irritability 
  • Rotting teeth
  • Confusion
  • Constant itching and scratching of the skin
  • Extreme weight loss 
  • Acne or sores 
  • Collusions
  • Lowered immunity 
  • Increased libido 

Meth can have serious, irreversible effects on the body. Meth has also been known to result in stoked, liver damage, and death. 

Horrible Long-Term Effects of Meth

Meth has been said to have the worst and most consequential long-term effects than any other drug. Meth use is directly linked to several brain issues because the substance not only changes the brain when the user is high but also over time. This may cause impulse control problems, difficulty concentrating, and trouble with daily functioning. It can also cause several different mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, extreme anger issues, sleep problems, and psychosis. 

Meth use and addiction can cause several changes to the physical body. It causes loss of appetite which can lead to severe weight loss, dental issues such as loss of teeth or gum disease, painful sores that may leave scars and marks, and severe organ damage. 

Crack vs. Meth

So, what is worse, crack or meth? There is no simple or logical answer to this. Both of these illegal substances can cause harmful and even deadly outcomes. Although they are different in the ways they are taken, the duration of the effects, and some of the side effects, they both can quickly cause addiction, possible drug overdose, and require serious medical support for treatment. 

Dangers of Mixing Crack and Meth

Mixing crack cocaine with meth is referred to as “croak” which is highly dangerous. Both crack and meth are stimulants and mixing the two can cause a severe reaction as it enhances the effects of each drug. When crack and meth are mixed the risk for health issues, addiction, overdose, and death become greatly increased.

Symptoms of Meth Addiction

There are several symptoms that may appear if someone has become addicted to meth. These symptoms include: 

  • Sudden change in behavior (decreased interest in hobbies, relationships, work, etc.) 
  • Extreme weight loss 
  • Tweaking (lack of appetite or sleep for several days in a row) 
  • Engaging in risky behavior
  • Engaging in illegal behavior to obtain drugs 
  • Sudden crash phases (extreme exhaustion or depression) 
  • Skin sores 
  • Dental issues (mouth disease or decaying teeth) 
  • Paranoia or irritability
  • Memory loss 
  • Poor motor skills or reaction time 

Symptoms of Crack Addiction

Symptoms of crack addiction include: 

  • Sudden changes in behavior or appearance 
  • Engaging in risky behavior to obtain the drug 
  • Dilated eyes 
  • Irritability or aggression 
  • Restlessness
  • Increased anxiety 
  • Paranoia 
  • Decreased appetite 
  • Difficulty sleeping 
  • Contracted blood vessels 
  • Hallucinations 
  • Hyperthermia 
  • Increased heart rate
  • “Coke bugs” or hallucinations that bugs are crawling under the skin 
  • Extreme euphoria 

What is the Treatment for Meth and Crack Addiction?

Meth and crack addiction have been known to completely destroy the lives of many people. Don’t let that be you. If you are struggling to end your addiction, seek help today. There are several different forms of treatment for both crack and meth addiction including inpatient rehab centers, detox centers, intensive therapeutic treatment, substance abuse therapy, etc. Treatment is likely to focus on ensuring a safe withdrawal period and treating the addiction or any other mental health issues that may be present. It is absolutely possible to break free from the addiction and start a new life, drug-free. You do not have to go through your addiction alone. Contact Valley Detox Center (844-402-3505) today to find out about the best treatment plan for you.


American Addiction Center. “What is Crack? Differences Between Crack and Cocaine?” Reviewed 7, January 2022

Addiction Group. “Crack VS Meth.”

Reviewed 28, Septmeber 2021 

WebMD. “3 Long-Term Health Effects of Crack Cocaine Use.”

WebMD. “What is Methamphetamine?”

WebMD. “Long-Term Effects of Meth Use.”