Cocaine and meth (methamphetamine) are both classified as stimulants. This is due to similar behavioral and physiological effects. They both alter the level of dopamine in users, creating an increased sense of energy and elevated mood. They are also both extremely detrimental to the health of those who use. So, what is the difference between the two? Despite their similarities, methamphetamine and cocaine differ from each other in significant ways, including the longevity of effects, the chance of overdose, and physical consequences.
The Differences Between Meth and Coke
One difference between meth and cocaine is that cocaine is derived from the coca plant, while meth is made from man made chemicals. For this reason, some describe cocaine as a “cleaner” high. Crystal meth is usually found in rural areas and is associated with blue collar, white users. This is because meth labs are easier to hide in rural areas, and other drugs don’t make it to these communities for distribution reasons.
Methamphetamine typically lasts much longer than cocaine, lasting for up to 24 hours for some users. The shorter high that goes along with cocaine can lead to repetitive use and binges. Meth is often described as more addictive than cocaine and produces stronger effects. A study from the University of Arizona found that methamphetamine produces at the three times more dopamine than the equivalent amount of cocaine. Meth can also be more likely to cause aggression and hallucinations. That said, while cocaine is not generally as strong, it can be more likely to result in overdose.
|1 – 2 hour high with one dose||High can last several days|
|Overdose is possible at any dose||Overdose is possible, but usually only at high doses|
|Derived from coca plant||Derived from carious chemicals|
Long Term Consequences of Cocaine and Meth Use
Prolonged use of cocaine or meth increases the risks of lasting health consequences.
For cocaine this can include suicide ideation, paranoia, chronic fatigue, seizures and cardiac arrest.
Long term consequences of meth can be similar, but can also result in additional physical problems such as severe tooth decay and skin sores. The skin sores can be a result of scratching at the imagined feeling of insects crawling on the skin. Tooth decay can result from poor nutrition and teeth grinding. It is also believed that methamphetamine causes neurotoxic damage to dopamine or serotonin neurons, while cocaine does not.
Both cocaine and meth can increase the risk of stroke and even cause a higher incidence of Parkinson’s disease.
Recovering from Meth or Cocaine Addiction
With both meth and cocaine, if you are using you should seek help immediately. Don’t suffer from these horrible consequences of cocaine or methamphetamines. Millions have recovered from addiction, and you can too.