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Difference Between Cocaine and Amphetamine

cocaine-psychological-pdCocaine vs. Amphetamine

Cocaine and amphetamine are two different drug forms, with varying specific mechanisms of action. They are perhaps viewed with much confusion, because their general effects on the user are somewhat similar.

Firstly, cocaine is crystal-like in form or appearance, and is derived from the coca plant. It acts mainly to stimulate the CNS, or Central Nervous System, thereby causing a feeling of elation or euphoria. It can also act as a drug to suppress one’s appetite. It is one of those drugs that are known to have addictive properties. This is attributed to how greatly it affects the mesolimbic system.

It is ironic to note that cocaine in itself is an illegal drug. Its distribution and sale, especially for non medical or non government authorized purposes, is purely prohibited. However, it is also a known fact that cocaine is a drug that is widely used among many social classes and races throughout the world.

Amphetamine, like cocaine, is a drug that can induce euphoria. It increases one’s alertness and initial concentration by lessening the levels of fatigue. This increased wakefulness can however reduce one’s appetite. Because of this nature, the drug has been a popular fad for those who wish to lose weight and control their food cravings. Otherwise known as ‘speed’, amphetamine stimulates the nervous system, particularly the CNS. For medical reasons, it is used for the therapeutic management of ADHD, narcolepsy and severe cases of prolonged fatigue.

Other physical effects of using amphetamine includes: Pupil dilation, skin flushing, dryness of the mouth, headaches, heightened BP, increased heart rate and even erectile dysfunction among men. In more critical scenarios, convulsions may occur, most especially when the drug is taken in high dosages. Continuous drug abuse of such can also lead to heart attacks, which is also seen in cocaine overdose.

In terms of the more in-depth physical mechanism of cocaine, it can bind directly with a DAT1 transporter with greater efficacy than that of amphetamine. It also has a half life of only an hour, whereas amphetamine lasts from 12 to 13 hours.

Amphetamine can be taken in any of the following routes of administration: PO (oral), IV (intravenous), vaporization, rectal, sub-lingual (below the tongue) and also insufflation. Cocaine can be taken topically aside from PO, insufflation and intravenously.

Although both amphetamine and cocaine stimulates the CNS to cause euphoria, and possibly decrease appetite, these drugs differ in the following aspects:

1. Cocaine has greater efficacy than amphetamine.

2. Cocaine can be taken topically, unlike amphetamine.

3. Amphetamine has a longer half life compared to cocaine.


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23 Comments

  1. So in a nutshell, ritalin is “basically legal” cocaine? Correct? Oh, and without the serious health risks if used as prescribed. Great to know this is what we give children who have been poorly diagnosed with ADHD. It seems a though doctors are corrupting today’s youth just as much as society is. Wow! Preposterous.

    • Ritalin is not like legal cocaine.

      Ritalin contains Methylphenidate which is not exactly the same as the amphetamine mentioned in this article. Both can be used to treat ADD/ADHD symptoms… as well as some off label use for resistant treatment depression and narcolepsy.

    • The very first sentence says “Cocaine and amphetamine are two different drug forms”. ADHD medications are an amphetamine, and cocaine is NOT an amphetamine.

      And yes, the report also says “Amphetamine, like cocaine, is a drug that can induce euphoria”. This is NOT the same as saying they are the same thing. It is saying that they can have the same percieved effect on the user. For example, both Advil and Benadryl may make you sleepy (thats the percieved effect on the user). Just because the user percieves the same effect from differnt drugs, does not mean that they drugs are the same chemically, and doesnt mean the drug is processed by the body or brain in the same way.

      Please make sure you understand what you are reading before you 1) jump to conclusions and 2) spread misinformation.

      • Jay,

        You are correct. Methylphenidate, amphetamine, and various other phenethylamines are not the exact same things as cocaine. They have almost exactly the same effects, but they are not the exact same molecules. So, Ritalin is not legal cocaine. I agree. It just has the exact same effects as cocaine.

        LSD and ALLAD (which is legal) are different molecules, with almost the exact same effects. If a drug company started giving kids ALLAD, then that company could truthfully claim that they were not giving legal LSD to kids. That would be completely true: LSD and ALLAD are not 100% exactly the same thing. Of course, it would also be true that these companies were giving a chemical with almost the exact same effects as LSD to children.

        Personally, I don’t care if methylphenidate and ALLAD are legal or not. The one has the same effects as cocaine and the other the same effects as LSD. I think that’s reason enough to keep drug companies from selling these drugs at an enormous profit to the parents of sick children. Fortunately, despite its legality and status as a “research drug” ALLAD hasn’t yet been mass manufactured as a wonder drug for ADHD,. Of course, ALLAD isn’t massively addictive like methylphenidate (Ritalin) or the cocktail of amphetamines in Adderall, so there’s not as much money in getting kids hooked on it. I wonder if that has anything to do with why drug companies aren’t mass producing ALLAD for distribution to minors.

        • Amphetamines have been used to treat ADD for over 40 years and have been proven safe and effective. Patients taking amphetamines at medical doses are very unlikely to become addicted and, unlike amphetamine substitute drugs like methamphetamine, has been shown to improve brain function. You also do not experience euphoria, changes in mood or any of the other symptoms that characterize the “high” of cocaine when taking amphetamine at a clinical dose.

          The fact of the matter is that Amphetamine can greatly improve the quality of life of a person suffering from ADD and is safe, while cocaine has almost no known beneficial properties and is unsafe.

          • As a person with raging ADHD now on medication based on amphetamine, this is very true so thank you for posting the information, I will counter slightly that it does elevate you a little bit, so that effect is there but extremely minor, nothing like an actual high.

          • The only negative effect of cocaine stems its short half-life and high release of dopamine. Were it not for those two factors it wouldn’t be so mentally addictive and would still be widely used for its medical benefits.

          • You’re a fool and clearly have never taken either drug. Every kid who was prescribed adderal, that I know of, eventually abused it regularly and/or never stopped taking it. “Im not addicted, I just need to take it ALL THE TIME.”

            another victim of american sheople syndrom or ASS
            Amazingly, there is no pharmaceutical drug to treat this

          • Your rite , when teens run out from adderall they replace with coke or meth , been there.
            Adderall is a hard drug imo. If taken at the proper dosage its auguable, but most will take more than the dosage as tolerance builds or accidentally take them too close and experience euphoria.
            Yes ritalin and amp children have gherr brain pathways altered over time causing the street drugs filling the void.
            Just a matter of when

          • All drags no matter whether or not they alter your brain or your body have the ability to cause harm ! All drags have ability to harm you whether they are legal or illegal! I have put a lot of thought and educated myself as much as possible to the thought of all drugs potential helpful purposes when used in a controlled setting. Eating too much food or the wrong types can cause obesity! We all know how harmful this condition to your health. food can be used as a drug, drinking too much water at one time can Cause and in balance in electrolytes! severe dehydration Causes death in small children, and elder adults!
            With that being said, does anyone know that LSD has the ability to effectively And definitively combat or cure alcoholism and provide a effective way to cure drug addictions by removing the one element of the reason people become addicted. LSD is not known to be an addictive drug. People can become addicted from the experience it delivers if they like and can tolerate the side effects of it. It is a psychological addiction with this drug not a physical addiction. people can become addicted psychologically addicted to anything. The thought of anything they can do to gain some pleasure from can become an addiction not just drugs but to food that can cause your brain to produce happy drugs ! The drugs in chocolate stimulate the pleasure center in the brain and induces the production of dopamine, serotonin and other drugs to give you a morphine like feeling. Chocolate is legal and a lot of people run to it when they want a happy feeling. people can become addicted it too! The drags do not cause a physical craving of addiction but a psychological one. There are Drugs in chocolate that that stimulate the production of hormones in the brain to cause a pleasure sensation more than just a sugar rush! Its real look it up. Tryptophan in turkey makes you sleepy like a sleeping pill. The list goes on and on. just trying to enlighten everyone to be careful not to be judgemental out of ignorance.
            LSD while it has a bad reputation because of its recreational use in the hippie era does have some promising medical uses. It also has some side effects there is a lot of studies being done and have been done to show a that this drug can and suffering caused by physical and chemical addictions. Of course more research will need to be gained and the drive may need some genetic modification in order to eliminate some of it’s nasty side effects but it could be a miracle drug in the future that can solve all of the issues that are being discussed here if it is done in a honest transparent and controlled environment that keeps the patient safe. Actually some of the Studies suggest One dose of LSD can eliminate The physical cravings of drug addiction and alcoholism and The mental addiction associated with the Pleasure Center of the brain. LSD is definitely not without side effects but wouldn’t it be better for someone to sub for the strange affects of LSD for a short period of time, in a protected and medically supervised environment. What is known about LSD is it absolutely has no lasting effects physically on human body but there are some psychological side effects associated . Not all people suffer these side effects and most people enjoy the euphoria and temporary escape from addiction. And actually it is reported that the euphoria and I listening as temporary side effect can have some benefit psychologically it’s kind of like a mental break for that person. There is no permanent harm reported from this drug. Morphine causes euphoria and has a greater risk of harmful side effects to it but we use it as a legal drug I pass it out like it is candy to people who are in pain and have no other options to relieve it! Morphine is not a cure for anything it’s absolutely a Band-Aid approach to dealing with a detrimental condition! It always has to be taken one started for weaned off of Due to its physical addictionTo me I am trying to enlighten you all to the possibility of a drag that actually COULD Be a very promising treatment to end a Chemical Life deprecating addiction. Using a short duration low dose controlled pharmaceutical grade Corse of treatment could be a cure or actually even one dose it could be a A temporary or permanent cure to a distractive social problem. I would enjoy hearing your viewpoint and the potential pitfalls I did not voice here. Look it up then give me your opinion if you could support The legalization of this drag for uses defined in clinical trial and if you would take a chance and seek this treatment for someone you love who has an addiction that has not been cured by all other legal and conventional options ! What would you give to finally end a loved ones suffering! Of course I am not suggesting this as a first option when all other options have tried and failed could you support it?

          • Maggie, either you are a russian troll who can’t spell drug in that word salad, or you’re bipolar having a manic episode. Neither is helpful.

      • Dont defend corrupt american medicine. We all know it is a very flawed system, more interested in having their hand in the lucrative drug business then actually saving or improving lives. The govt understands that consenting adults will do as they please, so they “prescribe medicine” to those unsuspecting and thise very hip to it’s functionality. Look at the whole war on Kratom, at it’s clear to see that the gov’t wants you to do their dope, so they’ll ban anything else as a schedule 1, making it unable to be researched- yet they’re reasoning for the ban? “We don’t understand enough about it”- DEA… Hahaa what a joke..just like you, you brainwashed shell of a being. Boo

        • One more thing I respect the medication, I do not take the medication out of the prescription dosage range and I follow up with my doctor consistently because it is so important to my well-being I could not live without it! I am one of the few blessed people who suffer with no real side effects from this medication but I get constant monitoring and I abide by my doctors orders. All drugs have side effects even the ones that are considered less harmful if taken out of prescription range can be lethal Tylenol can destroy your liver if you take more than 3000 mg a day you don’t have to take it every day to cause damage if you take too much at one time he can Hi irreversible damage to your liver and it’s available over the counter. Tylenol is more harmful to your body then Adderall to tell you the honest truth and so is aspirin should be a prescription and if you were discovered at this time would be can cause you to bleed out and can in some people causes worsened asthma symptoms that can kill you and that’s if you follow the correct ghost who hasn’t taken aspirin for a headache to 325 mg tablets which happens to be 8 x the dose of 81mg that is prescribed to keep your blood then and keep your blood cells from sticking together and causing a blood clot! Can relieve the headache but what if your bleeding somewhere in your body maybe your headache is the result of either a blood vessel that is bleeding? And simple over the counter medication can kill you! We used to give aspirin to children and it caused rise syndrome so now we don’t do that we give them Tylenol one of the least safe drugs over the counter! He people don’t even know how to measure liquid medications properly or understand the difference between cc ML’s or tablespoon and teaspoon and how would equates to cc and ml’s! Cc and ML‘s are exactly the same metric we don’t use that in this country and most people don’t even know that 5 mL or 5cc equals a teaspoon and that 15 Ml and or 15cc = a tablespoon. So you can harm your child more by your own innocence in trying to help them with a fever then you can giving them Ritalin so that you can help them learn. A minor calculated overdose of Ritalin will absolutely be more tolerated and cause less harm to a child then an overdose or a minor overdose of Tylenol can! I’m just stating this as food for thought on the subject.

    • Ritalin is not the same compound as cocaine and just make you aware this is not new? Ridellan has been used for many years for learning disabled people who have problems paying attention there are many good uses for this drug besides just causing awareness. I am someone who suffers from ADHD and I am taking medication that is absolutely life transforming for me. I was not diagnosed with ADD as a child although my twin brother was and received Ritalin, We were both diagnosed with a learning disability. Now as an adult I can see that my problem definitely was because I did not have the ability to pay attention and consequently had trouble understanding essential concepts of math English and science even the ability to sound out words phonetically to learn to read. Gratefully I have stumbled enough throughout my early adult life for people to realize I to being female had ADD. I was someone who was apparently illiterate and resolved to working jobs that were simple and required less actual intelligence then physical ability. While my brother received Ritalin and was able to gain a great deal more from the education we were provided realized a much more concrete start to his adulthood. I stumbled a great deal before getting my diagnosis. Since receiving Adderall I have gained a masters degree in nursing and medicine and have been able to gain the education I missed out on to fill in the gap‘s but also I have realized a life of purpose not constantly stumbling over myself and trying to make my life worth something ! I urge you to rethink your position on your statement as when this drag or these class of drugs are used properly and monitored they absolutely can provide an opportunity to someone “ illiterate” do to attention issues. I still am not The best speller in the world or the best at English. I excel in science and math and I have a great deal of common sense, and I now can relate to people with confidence. has before I was ashamed for being “ illiterate” and did not feel good enough or smart enough to relate to people so I remained quiet and shy and Hidaway. These drugs can absolutely be life changing when prescribed properly and used for people who truly need them. I am a glowing example of how this medication can be used to g I am a glowing example of how this medication can be used to change someone’s life for the good! I now realize a life full of possibilities and options and I am no longer afraid of approaching extremely important influential or highly educated people for the purpose of gaining further knowledge . Something I could never have done before.

  2. This article definitely misrepresents the psychopharmacology of these two drugs.

    Get better

  3. Its not the same.
    Coke lasts only a few hours,while amphetamine can get you high for almost days (especially if were talking methamphetamine).
    Being a regular consumer of all 3 (meaning that I know my shit) I can only say the highs are all the same,the only difference being that the coke high is shorter and more intense,of all 3. Amphetamine lasts the longest,and methamphetamine is basically a coke high that lasts as much as an amphetamine high. Tbh,its the perfect combination of the best features of coke and amphetamine (thats precisely the reason its so addictive).
    My advice: STAY THE FUCK AWAY FROM ALL 3. Once you go there theres no turning back. Being high is so beautiful that even if you wont take anything for years,youre gonna secretly long to get that feeling back.
    Once a junkie always a junkie,cause your mind is still on that thing.
    Just FUCKING DONT TRY IT.
    Seriously.
    Its not that hard.
    Smoke some pot instead.

  4. Hi, I’m studying Drug / Alcohol abuse Counseling and doing a report on the Similarities / Differences of toxic effects. I agree to some of this and was wondering why nothing was mentioned about putting both in a schedule of groups 1 & 2, just wondering.

  5. Julie..i still believe ..amphetamines and coke addicts ..should pay police price.
    U give it wrong person..could be lethal
    Heroine..crystal meths… legal highs..
    And i saw cannabiss farm..in front my eyes
    But my daughter my daughter..untill arrested or caught..shes set me up with police..and…cons every one..never ever gets caught?

    Sam hates police..but can twist and turn the knife on family ?

    Thank you

    Toni goodhew

    • what are you talking about, please proof read, or find better education. You’ve contributed nothing to this thread.

  6. Toxic chemicals in brain..makes dissfunctional..and hallucination thoughts
    Also blood sweat and tears..
    Cold burn can set in…and ..fear..depression..anxiety..nurotic outbursts
    Paranioa…… vocies.
    I have give daughter counciling sesstion.wont make a difference in end shes kleptamaniac ?
    Arressted numerous times..gets off?
    She plays on physcosis to get attention seeking diploma you could applaus her shes so good ?
    Turns your doctors on you and …mental health if has two
    Shes outrun police since young child hood ?

  7. Toni Goodlew…were you high when you wrote those? Just curious.

  8. @colt Maybe, he looks like he was on something.

  9. These drugs chip away at the heart leaving scaring. Young men/women can develop cardio vascular desease which can lead to death. Why is this not taught in schools?

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