2.3.13 Cocaine

Cocaine #

Common Nomenclature Benzoylmethylecgonine
Street & Reference Names Coke; Crack; Blow; Snow; Nose Candy
Reference Dosage Light 20mg+; Common 50mg+; Strong 100mg+; Heavy 150mg+ [Insufflated, TripSit]
Anticipated: Onset / Duration 2 Minutes / 90 Minutes
Maximum Dose Experienced 200mg *[See also 4.10 Supplementary Notes]
Form Powder
RoA Oral / Smoked / Insufflated
Source / Jurisdiction Dealer / Overseas


One of the most famed of drugs, cocaine is sourced from the coca plant, and is widely known for its short term high and addiction potential.

In a previous life, in what now seems eons ago (the 1990s), I experienced it both orally and by smoking (inhaling its vapours). This was the folly of youth and high risk stupidity, or at least it was on the first occasion.

I found myself on West 42nd Street in Midtown Manhattan where I was offered the substance by a street vendor. It came in the form of a paste/fluid, within a small plastic transparent tube. Having had far too much to drink, I swallowed it. This was naïve, foolish and embarrassing.

The reaction was minimal, certainly during the first few hours. I have since learned that the absorption rate via oral consumption is only about 30%, which may actually have been a positive, given the lack of common sense in such a rash scenario. The alcohol will also have played a part in disguising or suppressing the effect.

The only notable aspect of this mess came the next day, when my head should have been throbbing with an alcohol hangover. It wasn’t. Indeed, I felt remarkably functional and healthy.

What I did in mixing was dangerous, but fortunately, I drank plenty of water before sleeping. This may have helped, but was insufficient to explain my luck regarding the missing headache.

Subsequent research did shed some light upon this: cocaine can indeed disguise and mitigate the pain of excessive alcohol consumption. In fact, it is commonly stated on the Internet that Coca Cola originally contained cocaine, and was used widely as a hangover cure (orally, obviously). I suspect, therefore, that rather than purchasing a drug induced high, I actually bought my way out of a day’s suffering whilst on the tourist trail.

The second cocaine experience occurred in Amsterdam. On one particular evening I found myself in what can best be described as a drug commune, or perhaps in modern lingo a crack house, in an old city centre building. Cocaine and heroin were being shared in tiny white bags (reminiscent of the blue Salt ’n’ Shake salt packets in a bag of crisps).

The contents of these were placed in a metal bowl, heated and smoked/inhaled. Being careful to take only the cocaine, I engaged. Retrospectively, I now understand that this will have been the free base form of cocaine, commonly known as crack.

This experience was a little vague, but by and large, I recall an uplifted feeling and perhaps a short high, albeit not mind blowing in nature. Certainly I wasn’t in the realms of wanting more, either then or since.

Zooming forwards to my relatively sane and sensible modern era of risk management and harm mitigation, I finally tested cocaine via its most common RoA: insufflation.

The vendor promised that my 100mg (actually 75mg) was over 83% “Peruvian Flake”. The substance itself was easy enough to crush into lines, even though its constitution wasn’t brittle (it was flaky). I proceeded to sample:

T+0:00 Two lines of approximately 25mg are snorted. There is no real pain, but mild numbing, so I suspect it is cut with lidocaine or similar. [4:27pm]

T+0:05 Perhaps it is due to exposure to a reasonably high dose of amphetamine three weeks ago, or some other cross tolerance, but the uplift at this point is minimal.

I feel a gentle stimulation, but given no intake of cocaine for over 20 years, I am underwhelmed. Yes, I can feel something coming on, but there is no rush or euphoria. Onset is described as 2-20 minutes, so I will give it a few more minutes before pushing it with the other 25mg.

T+0.10 I snort the last 25mg, so if the purity claimed by the dealer is anywhere near to being accurate, I should be well into the territory of a common dose.

T+0.15 This is more like it. Whilst not feeling mind blown, I do feel elevated. I feel warm, and with a familiar sort of gently elevated headspace, inclusive of a mild visual clarity and a calmness. There is a little horn if I think about it. My pupils appear to be normal when I check in the mirror.

T+0:20 Mentally, I feel that I am in a place from which I could happily socialize, feel comfortable about it, and have a good time. However, staying indoors and doing nothing in particular still provides a mild sense of euphoria and pleasure.

T+0:35 There is no change at this point. I am certainly high, although with a larger dose I would probably be even more exhilarated, with more horn, and so forth. The big question from here is how long will this last?

My experiences with other stimulants have frequently lasted for hours, often too many hours. If this is significantly shorter, as is suggested, I can understand its enormous popularity, subject to the nature of the comedown.

T+0:50 I remain in a very nice place. A heady stim-like buzz pervades, but it is light enough to enable unimpaired functionality.

At the back of my mind is the thought that even though I find it to be rather pleasing, the experience would be even better for anyone new to psychoactives, or even to myself when I was inexperienced and less inured to the world of the drug headspace.

T+1:10 I am coming-down now, fairly gently so far. I am still experiencing an elevated mood, but less so, and the head stim has almost dissipated.

This has been a pleasant experience. It’s all about the residuals from here.

The rest of the day passed quite normally and the night’s sleep was fine. In the morning I felt no indication of hangover, possibly due to the sensible dose I was restricted to.

On the following day, perhaps because of this lack of negative payload, the thought crossed my mind that I would quite like to snort another line or two. This is not the best sign, as it flashes a big red light.

Note that on a subsequent test, with a dose of 200mg over a number of hours, the aftermath was not as kind. However, it was still significantly gentler than that of many other stimulants. The slippery slope to addiction does appear to be less obvious than for most other drugs in this class. Be careful with respect to this: very careful.


Other than the crack I inadvertently sampled in my early 20s, my cocaine usually came in either powder or brick form (although it was occasionally offered as Peruvian flake, as per the earlier photographs).

Columbian Washed

Columbian Washed

Bolivian Brick

Bolivian Brick


This is a common practice which is used to get more bang for your buck. It consists of putting a glass or ceramic plate into a microwave, heating it until it is hot (usually about a minute), and then crushing the cocaine on to it to create a dryer finer powder.


It’s hardly a secret that prolonged use of cocaine can cause (considerable) damage to your nose, nostrils and sinuses. In this respect I would direct you to the segment on nasal care in the first section of this book. I would add to this that you should only snort off a clean surface and only with the use of a clean snorter (and certainly not with a pound note or dollar bill).

Sharing the snorter (or whatever is used) is also a serious no-no, as it can significantly increase the risk of infection. Again, don’t suspend basic hygiene.

Finally, one step I personally take but which I don’t often see mentioned (perhaps it’s too obvious) is to snort lines using alternate nostrils. Another is to blow your nose properly and fully at the end of the session.


One rainy afternoon I started to look at the contents of the cocaine samples submitted to a well known UK lab. Of focus was the issue of what cocaine is commonly bulked or cut with (not including other mainstream drugs).

162 samples were submitted as cocaine from September 2020 to April 2021. From these 50 (31%) were listed solely as cocaine, with no other recorded content. I broke the rest down into two sets: those which returned a single addition, and those which returned multiple additions. The resultant figures were as follows:

Single Addition (64 samples in total):

21 (13.0%) = Benzoylecgonine  
17 (10.5%) = Levamisole  
10 (6.2%) = Norcocaine  
7 (4.3%) = Benzocaine  
6 (3.7%) = Phenacetin  
1 (0.6%) = Paracetamol  
1 (0.6%) = Metformin  
1 (0.6%) = Lidocaine

Multiple Additions (48 samples in total):

10 (6.2%) = Levamisole + Benzoylecgonine  
7 (4.3%) = Levamisole + Norcocaine  
5 (3.1%) = Levamisole + Benzoylecgonine + Norcocaine  
4 (2.5%) = Benzoylecgonine + Norcocaine  
3 (1.9%) = Benzoylecgonine + Ecgonine methyl ester  
2 (1.2%) = Benzocaine + Norcocaine  
2 (1.2%) = Phenacetin + Benzocaine  
2 (1.2%) = Phenacetin + Norcocaine  
2 (1.2%) = Benzoylecgonine + Norcocaine + Ecgonine methyl ester  
1 (0.6%) = Levamisole + Phenacetin  
1 (0.6%) = Phenacetin + Norcocaine + Benzocaine  
1 (0.6%) = Tropacocaine + Norcocaine + Benzoylecgonine + Ecgonine methyl ester  
1 (0.6%) = Levamisole + Norcocaine + Benzocaine  
1 (0.6%) = Levamisole + Norcocaine + Benzoylecgonine + Tropacocaine  
1 (0.6%) = Benzocaine + Ecgonine methyl ester  
1 (0.6%) = Phenacetin + Ecgonine methyl ester + Benzoylecgonine + Caffeine + Benzocaine  
1 (0.6%) = Levamisole + Metformin + Norcocaine + Benzoylecgonine  
1 (0.6%) = Levamisole + Benzoylecgonine + Norcocaine + Ecgonine methylester  
1 (0.6%) = Benzoylecgonine + Procaine + Norcocaine + Ecgonine methylester  
1 (0.6%) = Levamisole + Benzoylecgonine + Phenacetin + Ecgonine methylester

It should be noted that not all of these are bulking or cutting agents: some simply result from degradation or production issues. Referring to them as additions or additives is probably not the best terminology.

What didn’t surprise me though was that levamisole ranked so highly (present in 28% of all samples); although this wasn’t as high as I feared. It is widely known that this is used to treat parasitic worm infections, and that it is a very bad idea to snort large volumes. I was also surprised at the low ranking of lidocaine, as I expected it to be the primary anaesthetic/agent. Perhaps I am showing my age again, which also leads me to wonder what happened to procaine.

Cocaine is cited frequently in lists of drug related celebrity deaths (see Section 4.3.5). I ran across this plaque outside the Hotel Prins Hendrik in Amsterdam, from which jazz legend Chet Baker accidentally fell to his death with both cocaine and heroin present in his system.

Cocaine is cited frequently in lists of drug related celebrity deaths (see Section 4.3.5). I ran across this plaque outside the Hotel Prins Hendrik in Amsterdam, from which jazz legend Chet Baker accidentally fell to his death with both cocaine and heroin present in his system.