What Is Cocaine Cut With?

cocaine cut

What Is Cocaine Cut With?

cocaine cutCocaine is a euphoria-inducing drug often used recreationally in the United States. For many people, cocaine is a casual use drug, which never escalates into a problem or problematic use. In fact, in 2022, over half a million people used cocaine for the first time. For many of those people, cocaine is seen as a relatively safe and low-impact drug that wears off quickly and has few side-effects other than a hangover and maybe a nosebleed or two. At the same time, 1.4 million Americans aged 12 or older (0.5% of the population) also have a substance use disorder or problematic usage of cocaine.

In addition, while millions of Americans will use cocaine and then only use it occasionally, it remains dangerous. Cocaine is a powerful stimulant that causes stress on the cardiovascular system and can result in heart attack or heart problems. In addition, it interacts badly with many other drugs. And, increasingly, cocaine is cut not with potentially illness-inducing white powders but with other, stronger drugs that look similar but cost less to acquire.

As a result, every single time you use cocaine, you could end up in the hospital. Using a drug like cocaine is always a risk. That’s because it’s unregulated, you have no idea what you’re taking, and you could experience negative cardiovascular side-effects that could be fatal.

Why is Cocaine Cut?

Cocaine can be cut for a number of reasons. However, the most common is that the dealer is trying to save money or the person they bought it from is. Here, cocaine is often mixed with white powders that look similar to cocaine, or so much so that you couldn’t tell the difference.

Cocaine can also be cut if what you’re taking is not actually cocaine. For example, it’s increasingly common to see products that are essentially fentanyl powder cut with baby powder or talk sold as cocaine. There’s no actual cocaine in the product, but the dealers often don’t even know that. Instead, they get “cheap” cocaine, which they can then sell for a higher profit margin or pass on cheaply.

In each case, the primary goal is more money for someone in the chain of manufacturer to dealer. And, in some cases, that can result in significant danger to the user, because the person selling the cocaine doesn’t necessarily know what they are selling or what safe usage looks like.

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What is Cocaine Cut With?

female looking at the cocaine cut in the tableCocaine is cut with a large number of substances. The only thing they have in common is that all of them are white powders. Adulterants and cutting agents can include:

  • Flour
  • Baking soda/powder
  • Baby powder (unscented)
  • Talcum
  • Boric acid
  • Gypsum powder/chalk

These “fillers” increase the quantity of “cocaine” the dealer has to sell. Often, they are used to increase the volume of the cocaine to increase profit margin. In this case, it’s common to see ratios of 10-60% of what are essentially household ingredients used as cutting agents.

However, there are other cutting agents often used. These are typically added in the case that the cocaine has been cut too much and someone could tell that their cocaine isn’t doing anything or that it tastes different. They can also be added in the case that there isn’t any actual cocaine in the product you’re being sold, and the dealer wants to ensure that the drug “does something”.

  • Levamisole (veterinary strength dewormer with a similar taste and melting point to cocaine)
  • Fentanyl (high strength opioid drug which is available cheaply and is commonly used to create faux cocaine)
  • Amphetamines (Used to create a euphoric high similar to cocaine, but more cheaply)
  • Caffeine (used to create a high similar to cocaine, but with higher risk of cardiovascular complications)
  • Hydroxyzine (antihistamine medication)

If there’s a filler in your cocaine, it’s very likely to be one of these. However, you might also end up with a filler like a local analgesic or painkiller, powdered paracetamol, or a similar filler. These are less common but may still be used to cut cocaine.

Are Fillers Dangerous?

In the best-case scenario, fillers in cocaine can be relatively harmless and merely reduce the strength of whatever you’re taking. For example, it’s not exactly healthy to snort flour up your nose or inject it into your veins, but you’ll probably survive it (although injecting it can cause you to go into shock).

However, many substances that are used to cut cocaine are not safe for taking in any kind of volume. Most are also not intended for use via the membrane layer in the nose or mouth or for injection. This means you can easily reach toxicity with substances that might be safe to take via a pill.

What else? Cutting agents like fentanyl can be extremely strong. If you don’t know what you’re taking, you run the risk of an opioid overdose, without having an overdose reversal agent like Naloxone on hand. Finally, agents like amphetamines can be extremely habit inducing and can result in psychosis, behavioral dependency, cardiovascular problems. Cocaine also penetrates the membrane layer between the brain and the cardiovascular system. It can saturate that layer, drawing other substances with it, and can cause toxicity on its own. In this case, the result is often sudden death.

What Can You Do About Cut Cocaine?

Cocaine is never safe to use on its own. Every time you use it, you take on risks to your health. However, additives and fillers add new layers of risk, because you simply don’t know what you’re taking. For that reason, there are many drug testing organizations in the United States, some of which will test your drugs for free. The best solution is always to not use illicit drugs. However, if you’re going to use them anyway, organizations like DanceSafe provide avenues to ensure that you’re using in as safe of a way as possible. Often, that means ordering drug testing kits or taking a sample of your drugs in to be tested. This won’t get you into trouble. However, you will get a report back on what’s actually in your cocaine, so you can make a decision about whether it’s safe enough for you to use.  For example, most people might be surprised to learn that about 5% of all cocaine collected by the DEA includes fentanyl or heroin. Understanding the risks and that you are taking an opioid can allow you to practice much better drug safety.

And, of course, most of us aren’t to pleased with the prospect of using household cleaning products or baby powder as a drug either.

a female client struggling with cocaine addiction getting help at rehab center in riverside CAGetting Help

If you or a loved one is using cocaine, it’s important to understand that it is a risk. For example, in 2022, roughly 10,000 people died of stimulant-related overdose without contaminants like fentanyl and a further 47,000 died of overdose-deaths after taking a stimulant mixed with fentanyl or heroin.

Many people see cocaine as a safe drug that they can use and have vanish in a few hours. While that’s often the case, the drug comes with its own significant risks and it’s never safe to use, even if you’ve safely used it before. That may mean it’s important to get help, to look into talking to your doctor about drug use, and to get treatment or therapy to explore the reasons behind using, so you can improve those direct causes and not need it.

Does Cannabis Really Help with Hangovers?

cannabis

Does Cannabis Really Help with Hangovers?

cannabisIf you drink often enough to deal with hangovers, you’ve probably heard all sorts of tips on how to get rid of them. Often, from raw eggs to drinking more in the morning, those cures range from the gross to the outright dangerous. While it’s true that taking an ibuprofen in the morning will help with your headache, very few “hangover cures” are actually cures. Instead, you get, at best, a short-term solution with painkillers.

That’s also true with cannabis, which is touted as a way to help hangovers. You’ll see people all over Reddit claiming to cure hangovers with weed – and that unfortunately often means self-medicating with another drug while you should likely be at work and sober.

Of course, there are truths behind the concept that cannabis can help with hangovers. We’ll look at those, as well as what’s really going on, and give you the information you need to make the healthy decision.

First, What Causes a Hangover?

Most people are aware that a hangover is a result of drinking too much alcohol. But, you can get a hangover from any kind of drug abuse. In fact, hangovers are a combination of dehydration and congeners, or built-up chemicals left over from metabolizing drugs and alcohol. These alcohol byproducts stick around, sometimes for as long as two days, leading to fatigue, headache, light and sound sensitivity, and sometimes even nausea. And, the more you drink the worse they get.

What else? Alcohol and many other drugs are inflammatory, which means they cause inflammation across the body which can lead to muscle and joint pain and fatigue.

Finally, as a diuretic, drinking a lot of alcohol can mean you’re short on liquids and electrolytes.

That’s a lot to go wrong for a single night out.

Where does Cannabis Come In?

Cannabis isn’t completely useless at helping with hangovers. In fact, cannabis has been shown to be an anti-inflammatory drug – much like paracetamol, although it’s less good at being an anti-inflammatory than paracetamol or ibuprofen. However, this result is entirely linked to CBD and CBG and not to THC. This means that if you smoke a joint, you’re primarily taking in something that does not actively help with your hangover. What’s more, the anti-inflammatory effects of cannabis are comparable to those of garlic, meaning you could just eat a lot of garlic, or take an Aspirin.

What’s worse, is that cannabis can actually cause a hangover. If you take in enough THC< you’ll experience hangover effects. That normally means hangover, cotton mouth, and delays in functioning.

However, Cannabis can also help with nausea. In one study, THC was actually shown to have greater nausea reducing effects than CBD. 96.4% of users smoking joints reported reductions in nausea. This means that many people use cannabis to try to reduce or get rid of nausea after a hangover.

What else? Cannabis is a muscle relaxant, which means it can help you go back to sleep. That’s one of the reasons it’s not safe to use if you’re driving or going to work. However, it can help patients to relax and to go back to sleep, which can “help” with a hangover.

Finally, a lot of people get downright cranky when they have a hangover. If you want to improve  your mood, there’s nothing like drugging yourself to get that result. Cannabis is calming and soothing, meaning that crankiness and irritability can disappear, making you much more tolerable to be around for your family, friends, and coworkers. It’s not a cure, and you’ll probably feel worse when it wears off, but it will prevent you from snapping at people.

Cannabis can also help with hangover in some unexpected ways. For example, if you have a variety that causes the munchies, it can encourage you to actually eat food, which will generally just help with the nausea. Once you get something in your stomach, the rest of the symptoms seem much less pressing, and cannabis can help you do that.

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Does Cannabis Cure Hangover?

man with hangoverCannabis can temporarily relieve head pain and muscle pain by relieving inflammation. However, cannabis only tackles one of the causes of a hangover.

Hangovers are caused by:

  • Inflammation
  • Dehydration
  • Chemical buildup
  • Electrolyte imbalance

So, can you drink a Gatorade with your joint and be fine? Yes and no. Once you’re suffering from a hangover, taking steps to restore hydration and electrolyte levels are important for feeling better more quickly. You can also use anti-inflammatories to reduce head pain and improve focus if you’re struggling.

However, in most cases, unless you’re staying home, it’s not recommended to use something intoxicating, like weed. Instead, over the counter anti-inflammatories are cheap, safe, and effective.

Some people refer to cannabis as helping the headache, killing the nausea, and putting them back to sleep. Unfortunately, that might be effective on a case-by-case basis, but mixing cannabis with alcohol can cause worsening nausea in many users.

What Helps with a Hangover?

The best cure for a hangover is prevention. That means:

  • Eating before you start drinking
  • Drinking plenty of water alongside alcohol. A glass of water per 2 beers is a good rule of thumb.
  • Managing your alcohol intake

If it’s too late for that and you’re already suffering from a hangover while you read this article, try some pain relief options:

  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever, like an aspirin or two
  • Drink a sports drink, like Gatorade, to rehydrate and rebalance electrolytes
  • Go for a walk and engage in light activity to help your body speed up metabolization
  • Eat something. Even if you start with fries or leftovers, getting food in your stomach will help with nausea.
  • If you have nausea, Pepto Bismal or a similar product can help a lot

If you don’t have to go to work, consider going back to sleep and sleeping it off, after you drink some water. If you do have to go to work, don’t forget your sunglasses, extra painkillers, and maybe an apology to your coworkers.

Eventually, if you’re drinking to the point of needing a hangover cure on the regular, chances are, you should be cutting down on alcohol consumption. There’s nothing wrong with drinking to the point of having a hangover a few times a year. And, if that’s the case, you can try self-medicating with cannabis the morning after to see if it helps. It will mostly help you relax and go back to sleep and you’re probably better off with Aspirin. But, you can safely try it. Just make sure you’re not still drunk, because cannabis and alcohol can mix badly together. However, if it’s more than a few times a year and you’re looking into hangover management as a normal part of your life, you probably want to step back, talk to your doctor, and look into getting help with managing alcohol consumption. Looking into regular drug use is not the solution and cannabis will result in further headache and hangover, especially if you’re stacking it on top of alcohol use.

What’s the verdict? Cannabis can help your hangover symptoms in a variety of ways. At the same time, it’s not a cure. It’s also dangerous to smoke before work or driving a vehicle. And, you can often get the same or better results by drinking something, getting some food, and going for a walk.

Supporting a Loved One Coming Home from Addiction Treatment

Supporting a Loved One Coming Home from Addiction Treatment

Supporting a Loved One Coming Home from Addiction Treatment

Supporting a Loved One Coming Home from Addiction TreatmentIf your loved one is in treatment, they’re taking the steps to change their life for the better. Whether that’s after a long and hard battle to get them there or a sudden decision on their part doesn’t matter. Chances are, you want to support them and to provide the kind of help and support they need to continue to get better at home. That can mean taking steps to get therapy yourself, to change how you talk about and see substance use disorder, and to provide the kind of support they need.

It’s natural that you want to help. Chances are, offering support will also make a lot of difference to your loved one and how they feel coming out of addiction treatment. At the same time, they need to be in charge of their recovery and that means they set the pace. You can’t decide things for anyone, instead, you can only provide the emotional support they need to keep moving forward. Sometimes that will be difficult, especially if your loved one is struggling, appears to be backsliding, or is too caught up in dealing with their own problems to notice the help.

Addiction Treatment Doesn’t Mean Complete Recovery

In an ideal world, your loved one would go to treatment and come back completely recovered, with no more substance use disorder. Unfortunately, nothing ever works that way. Even if you were to send your loved one off for surgery for a broken bone, they’d still have months of recovery to follow – and you’d have to support them as they struggle through healing. Addiction treatment is the same, as you’ll have someone who’s been handed tools and a means of changing their life, but who still has to figure out how to apply that and if that application fits their life or if they need further support.

They will still experience cravings, they will have mood swings, they will revert to behaviors from addiction, they may even relapse a few times. The important thing is that they always stop and recognize negative things and get back on track, because healing is very rarely linear. If you need extra help with that, going to support groups like Al-Anon can actually help a great deal

It’s also important to keep in mind that nothing is bringing the “old” them back. Most of us send our loved ones off to treatment expecting to get the “them” they were before addiction happened back. That’s never going to happen, and setting expectations for it will only lead to disappointment. You’re going to have to get to know your loved one as they are now, with the impact of everything that’s happened since they started using, with the impact of substances on their brain, and with the impacts of therapy and treatment. They won’t be the same as before – but chances are, you’ll like the new version of them just as much as you did the old one.

Understanding what Support Looks Like

It’s also important to consider what supporting your loved one actually looks like. That means stepping back and looking at which factor. In most cases, that means:

  • Having the ability to make informed decisions to support physical and emotional well-being
  • Having a stable and safe place to live
  • Having a meaningful and independent life with resources to participate in society
  • Having support, love, friendship, and family through relationships and social networks

You can often help with that in several ways. For example, you can help by listening, by providing a stable place to live, by offering respect, and by continuing to engage with them even when they are struggling. Support can look different depending on your relationship and for example, will take dramatically different forms depending on whether your loved one is living with you or not after treatment.

Committing to Healing Relationships

family members having relationship problems because of substance abuseIt’s important to keep in mind that substance use disorders often very significantly damage relationships. Often, you will build patterns of negative behavior and responses that can carry over, even after your loved one is in recovery. This means you may have to deal with your own negative emotions and being bitter, angry, or disappointed. Your loved one is not going to tackle those right away and may not even realize it has to be done. Putting the focus on their recovery first and working to build a relationship so you have the grounds to talk about the past is an important part of commitment.

  • It’s not about you, their focus on their recovery should be the most important thing for the first months out of recovery
  • It’s critical to set healthy boundaries and to say no when you cannot or do not want to do something or be involved with it
  • Setting guidelines on stepping out of situations where either of you is behaving or responding in a negative fashion is important.
  • Deciding to actively acknowledge and work around past behavior and patterns will be important, especially if you find yourself easily fighting, dismissing each other, etc.

Setting good boundaries can also help you to ensure that you behave in a healthy manner around your loved one. E.g., by ensuring that you aren’t enabling them or pushing them back into a pattern of substance abuse.

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emotiona-support-for-a-loved-one-to-help-her-get-clean

Create a Safe and Welcoming Environment

It’s important that you take steps to create a safe and welcoming environment for your loved one. That means:

  • Practicing acceptance of who they are now, with all faults and problems
  • Accepting that they aren’t recovered and are instead in recovery
  • Making space for mental health problems
  • Accepting that they will not be fixing your relationship right away
  • Accepting that substance use disorders are a behavioral disorder or an illness and not a personal choice

It also means taking steps to make your loved one feel like they are accepted, welcome, and wanted. That means:

  • Treating your loved one like a member of the family even when they can’t contribute to the family
  • Involve them in plans, events, etc.
  • Plan around their obligations and needs. E.g., having parties that are alcohol-free, taking their therapy or 12-step obligations into account when making plans, etc. Simple things like going “We can’t go out to dinner at Thursday at 5 PM because X has their 12-step meeting then, why don’t we do it Wednesday instead?” can make a lot of difference to people feeling like their needs are being taken into account.

A history of substance use disorder can mean there’s a history of avoidance, negative emotions, and not including people in plans. Changing that is one of the easiest ways to show that you accept they are trying and that they are part of the family.

Talk and Listen

Going into recovery and treatment often means that you’re basing your entire life around treatment. At the same time, your loved one is changing as a person. They’re learning new things, picking up new skills, picking up new hobbies, and making new friends. They’re in a state of enforced change and that can be difficult and traumatic. Making space to talk about that, about what they are learning, about what they are doing, about life goals, etc., is more important than talking about addiction, cravings, and getting better. Why? It makes your loved one feel supported, like you see that they are trying, and that you acknowledge they are a person beyond their substance use disorder and recovery from it.

Seek Out Family Therapy

people during a family therapyIn many cases, it’s going to be important to go to therapy and treatment yourself. That’s either by yourself or with your loved one. Family therapy can help you to improve your relationships, to undo old patterns, and to build new behavioral patterns with your loved one. It can also allow you to get support in figuring out how to be there for your loved one. That also often means having third-party insight into what your loved one is saying and what that means for you and for your family.

Family therapy can help you to work on healing relationships, to understand how your negative behavior patterns impact each other, and to see your relationship from their perspective as well as your own.

Building a Relationship

Moving forward from addiction means putting in a lot of work. It means accepting your loved one for who they are and as imperfect. It also means giving them autonomy, freedom, and privacy to make their own decisions. That means building trust and rebuilding a relationship based on who they are now. That can be difficult, especially if the past hasn’t given you the grounds to do so, but will give you a baseline to have a healthy and positive relationship with your loved one moving forward.

Rehab or addiction treatment gives your loved one the tools to move forward and to fix their life. It’s what they do with it as they leave rehab that counts. The most important thing you can do to support that is to make them feel loved, like part of the family, and like they are being seen for the effort they are putting in.