Empowering Change
Share This Post:

Common Street Names of Cocaine


Coke, blow, snow…all of these are nouns that seem like they should be in a game of “one of these things is not like the other.” However, they are actually just a short list of some of the most common street names of cocaine.


Other popular slang terms for powder cocaine are: yey, yams, flake, powder, pearl, nose candy, C., bump, line, rail, coca, cocaina, or eight ball.


Cocaine can also come in different forms instead of the traditional powder. When it comes in a more crystallized form, it is known as crack cocaine.


Other popular slang terms for crack cocaine are: crack, rock, rock candy, hail.


When you buy cocaine on the street it can sometimes be laced with other drugs and chemicals. In that case some terms that might be used are: speedball, cocopuffs, bumping up, flamethrowers, and woolies.


History of Cocaine


Cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant made from the leaves of the coca plant native to South America. For thousands of years, indigenous people of South America have been known to chew on the leaves of the coca plant. When the Spanish came to South America they learned of this custom. Locals claimed that the chewing of the leaves created energy and strength.


The Spanish at first did not believe in this and declared the activity to be the work of the Devil. But then, after they discovered that those benefits did come from chewing the leaves, they lifted the ban that they had implemented and begun taxing the plant.


The coca plant can even be found in the graves of some Peruvian mummies as well as in paintings from antiquity. The paintings on some pieces of pottery showed people with bulged cheeks, leading to the conclusion that they were chewing on coca leaves. Records also indicate medical uses of the coca plant from this time period as well. The leaves of the coca plant were made into a paste and used as an anesthetic during medical procedures, such as trepanation (the making of a hole in the skull to alleviate intracranial pressure and disease).


In 1855, German scientist Friedrich Gaedcke was the first person who was able to isolate the cocaine alkaloid. Followingly, Albert Niemann developed an improved process for purification of the alkaloid. He also noted more characteristics of it in his dissertation, noting the bitter taste, the sensation of cold when it hits the tongue, and the excess salivation on experiences when sampling this drug.


After the isolation of cocaine was discovered, it became more common in the medical field. Many doctors noted how cocaine was tremendously helpful in alleviating pain. Karl Koller is very famous for his experiment of rubbing a cocaine solution on his eye and then pricking it with pins. It was then experimented with more and more in relation to anesthesia products.


In the mid 19th century, chemists started to recognize the vast economic opportunity of cocaine and as such, many started to create highly profitable products containing cocaine. These products ranged from tooth drops to alleviate dental pain for children, powder solution to help with dandruff and to build strong hair, and surprisingly wine products as well. Probably the most infamous case of cocaine use was when Coca Cola used it as one of their secret ingredients.


Cocaine started to infiltrate all aspects of society. References to cocaine can be found in literature, such as in Sherlock Holmes. Employers would encourage their laborers to take the powder, as in some areas you could buy the powder very inexpensively from pharmacies. Germany even gave their soldiers “pep pills” containing cocaine during World War II.


Cocaine then became associated with the powerful and the wealthy. It had a glamorous image and was perceived as making users feel wealthy and powerful because of the confidence it gave.


Contemporary Usage


In modern day, cocaine (in powder form) is still associated as a drug for the affluent. It is also considered a “club drug” available to those with extra discretionary income. There are also many associations of the drug with college party atmospheres or any other lively and populated setting.

Since powder cocaine is expensive, an alternative has been created called crack cocaine. This was introduced to the poorer, inner city market that could not afford the powered form. Unfortunately to this day, crack cocaine still carries the stigma as a drug for lower-income people.


In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration required all cocaine-containing products to be labeled in 1906. Then, in 1914, the government created more regulations with the Harrison Narcotics Tax; this created a regulatory and licensing regime. Cocaine had to be sold through specific, licensed vendors, which slowed the production of the drug down by the 1920’s.


More and more laws were added that started to make the manufacturing, selling, buying, and usage of cocaine more and more difficult. Finally, in 1970, Congress passed the Controlled Substances Act which classified cocaine as a Schedule II drug. This means that unless directly prescribed by a medical professional, cocaine is entirely prohibited.


Where Does Cocaine Come from Now?


Cocaine is still largely a product of South America. Columbia is one of the biggest producers in the world for this specific drug.


The way farmers grow their coca plants and produce cocaine remains largely unchanged from the beginning of the 20th century. Farmers use an acid-base extraction method to isolate the cocaine and is then able to produce the powdered cocaine that we now identify today.


The cocaine then goes through organized criminal gangs, or cartels. These cartels operate on a large scale, and so of the leaders of these groups even become well-known throughout pop culture, such as Pablo Escobar and El Chapo.


The cocaine is then smuggled into the United States (and other countries). Currently, the United States is the world’s largest consumer of cocaine. However, studies do show that the cocaine market has been dropping in the past twenty years (presumably due to the current heroin epidemic).


Effects of Cocaine Use

Powder cocaine can be administered intranasally (the most common), orally, intravenously, or inhaled. Intranasally would be to inhale the powder through your nose (snorting) and the drug would absorb into your mucus membranes and into your bloodstream. Orally, a person can ingest cocaine, or more typically, rub it on their gums (also called a gummy).


A person can administer cocaine intravenously by dissolving the powder in water and injecting it into a vein. This would immediately release the drug into the bloodstream, heightening the intensity of the drug’s effects. Cocaine can also be inhaled through smoking the vapor. The absorption of the vapor is almost as quick as injecting intravenously.


After a person has taken cocaine, usually the effects on the body are: heightened energy, restlessness, insomnia, talkativeness, fast speech, enlarged pupils, increased heart rate, and diminished appetite.


A person on cocaine may also be quite irritable with frequent mood changes ranging from exhilaration to aggression.


The effects of cocaine on the body over the short term or over the long term can be quite different, but you can see how the long term effects stem from the short term.


The short term effects of cocaine usage are:

  • narrowed blood vessels
  • enlarged pupils
  • increased heart rate
  • erratic behavior
  • Aggression
  • Anxiety
  • panic
  • Restlessness
  • Nausea
  • decreased appetite.


The long term effects of cocaine usage are:

  • profound sleep deprivation
  • weight loss
  • Paranoia
  • frequent panic attacks
  • Nosebleeds
  • difficulty swallowing
  • decrease sense of smell
  • nasal septum irritation
  • intestinal tissue death.


Crack Cocaine

Crack cocaine, or more colloquially known as crack is a subset of cocaine that differs in quality and production. Crack is the crystallized version of cocaine that comes in crystals ranging from yellow to pale rose, compared to powder cocaine which is usually plain white.


Crack cocaine derives its name from the process of using the drug. It is smoked through a pipe, and when it is heated it makes a cracking/popping sound.


Crack is usually more potent and more pure than powder cocaine. Furthermore, by smoking the crack and inhaling the vapors, the effects of the drug are much more rapid and intense than snorting powder cocaine. The result is an intense, but short-lived high.


Unlike powder cocaine, crack cocaine never had a history in the medical field. It has always been involved in the recreational drug scene and has been associated with poorer people, while powder cocaine is considered a “rich man’s drug.” The United States started to see widespread use of crack in the impoverished neighborhoods, especially in  Los Angeles, Miami, and New York during the 1980s.


This has lead to widespread contention in current political debate because although powder cocaine and crack cocaine come from the same drug, crack cocaine is penalized ten fold in the judicial system compared to powder cocaine. This is causing large class frustration as these sentences are seen as targeting low-income people.


Effects of Crack Cocaine

The effects of crack cocaine are similar to powder cocaine: euphoria, increase in confidence, loss of appetite, insomnia, and paranoia.


The short term physiological effects of crack are also similar to the symptoms of powder cocaine abuse as well. They include constricted blood vessels, enlarged pupils increased heart rate, anxiety, panic, restlessness, and decreased appetite.


However, unlike powder cocaine, crack cocaine has some additional health risks due to its method of  consumption. Because of the chemicals within the compound, there are more risks of damage to the heart, lungs, and liver. Sometimes, very highly toxic chemicals are used to cut the crack cocaine to increase its volume, which are called toxic adulterants.


There are also more risks in actually smoking the crack as well. Users make makeshift pipes out of short glass tubes, usually around 4 inches. These tubes need to be short because of the quick evaporation of the smoke. However, because of the short size of the tubes, users can often burn their lips, tongue, or fingers during the process. Bacteria and viruses can also be transferred through the sharing of pipes.


Slang Terms Associated with Crack


There are many street names associated with crack cocaine (as stated earlier), however, there is also a multitude of slang terms associated with mixing crack cocaine with other substances.


Mixing crack cocaine with other drugs:

  • croack (mixing with amphetamine)
  • coolie (mixing with tobacco)
  • moon rock (mixing with heroin)
  • spacebase (mixing with phencyclidine)
  • buddha (mixing with marijuana).


Slang terms associated with consuming crack: puffing, hitting the pipe (crack smoking); bowl, horn, Uzi (terms for pipes); Maserati (improvised pipe made from a plastic bottle); bong/hubbly-bubbly (water pipes); and demo (laboratory pipettes).



Cocaine addiction is a deadly disease that readily permeates society, not singling out any one race, sex, or socioeconomic class. Addiction is a disease of the pleasure-producing chemistry of the brain. It creates feelings of well-being, pleasure, and euphoria, and that’s why so many Americans today suffer from the perils of illicit drug abuse.


The single most important word connected to addiction is pleasure. One uses the drug to receive pleasure, but overtime, the brain becomes overstimulated, which leads the drugs to cause neuron-adaptive changes that damage the normal experience of pleasure. This then causes one to use more of the drug and tolerance builds to a dangerous level.


Pleasure in the brain is directly connected to the neurotransmitter, dopamine. When a person puts himself/herself through repeated bouts of intoxication or drug abuse, their levels of dopamine will increase, and because the body’s aim is to remain balanced, i.e. homeostasis, the  overstimulation of dopamine makes the brain overcompensate through neuroadaptation.


In the process of neuroadaptation, the brain tries to combat the overstimulation by adapting to the high amount of dopamine in the brain. When the drug is no longer in the body, and the brain has adapted to expecting a higher level of dopamine, the brain has a lot of trouble experiencing pleasure. This is directly important because natural reinforcers will no longer have such a pleasurable effect on the body, which means seeking sobriety can be quite unappealing.


Addiction will not be caused from using a drug one time, and studies show that addiction does largely have to do with underlying factors of one’s body and brain. No one wakes up one day and decides to become an addict, however, with these highly addictive drugs such as cocaine, it can be a very real outcome.


Getting Help

If you or someone you know is battling a drug addiction with cocaine, contact Luminance Recovery today. Our fully trained Orange County rehab and professional staff is here to help.


Contact Luminance Recovery - Start Your Recovery Now

Get the help you need – talk to our team to get started.

Please enter your first name.
Please enter your last name.
Please enter your email address.
This isn't a valid email address.
Please enter your phone number.
Please select an option.
Please make a selection.
Government insurance not accepted but financing available.

Luminance Core Values

It’s not easy to live up to these standards – to be the best, most compassionate, the most innovative. We take pride in what we’ve accomplished. But we’re constantly evolving because there’s always more we can do to raise the bar. It will take bravery and stamina to continue the legacy we’ve established. But in typical Luminance fashion, we’re always up for a challenge.

Our Core Values