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Full text of "Free Base cocaine"



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EVERYTHING YOU'LL EVER 

NEED TO KNOW 

ABOUT 



FREEBASE COCAINE 



THE 

GREATEST 
THING SINCE SEX. 

by 
J. M. ANVIL 



* 1979 World's Fair Publishing Company 
Published by Flash Post Express 



To Lew and Irv 

Special thanks to Bill and Skip 
CoverArtL.P.&Laura 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 

Page 

INTRODUCTION .1 

FLASHBACK 2 

I MEET THE "FIRST BASEMAN" , . 4 

EQUIPMENT 6 

FREEBASE EXPLAINED 7 

PROCESS 8 

MORE DETAILS 9 

SMOKING TECHNIQUE 16 

EPILOGUE 19 

APPENDIX 20 





INTRODUCTION 

"The best, eh? Shit, that's what everybody says. I been 
smokin' base all over the country for years now and every- 
body's got the best. Come on, lemme try some of your 
shit anyway." 

Oh boy, I thought as I loaded the pipe and lit the torch, 
I hope this big mother likes it. I mean, I have confidence 
in my product— I told him this was gonna be the best free- 
base he'd ever tried— but goddam he was big and so was 
his buddy and I sure wanted them to stay happy. Both 
were first-string NFL football linemen and either one of 
them made two of me. So, considering he was in much 
better condition than I and had far more lung capacity, I 
put a pinch more on the pipe than 1 usually do for myself. 

He stood up— more lung expansion when you're standing. 
1 started to tell him not to draw too hard on the pipe but 
was abruptly cut off: 

"Come on, man, I know how to smoke the shit. Just 
give me a good torch job and don't burn the moustache!" 

With the propane flame perfectly adjusted 1 began heating 
the glass bowl until I saw the white crystals on the screen 
liquefy. Gently from above then I teased the melted cocaine 
and dense white smoke began filling the pipe's chamber 
while he steadily drew in. Thick white smoke continued 
as he drew and drew and drew. For thirty seconds he drew, 
I was thinking this man must have bionic lungs when at 
last the smoke ended and 1 cut off the torch. 

He stood there in the center of the room, towering, 
holding his precious breath. All eyes were upon him. Soon 
a smile crept over his bearded face but not the slightest 
exhale had escaped. A few seconds later his eyes widened 
and we could tell he was appreciating the high. Some chuck- 
les were heard. Still no exhale though he'd been holding it 
for close to a minute. All of a sudden he fell to his knees, 
fighting to hold his wind even longer. From his expression 
it was certain that he was really getting off; in his antics he 
fell flat on the floor, rolled over onto his back and kicked 
his legs in the air. Then he exhaled and lay still. The room 
was silent. 

"Well?" I said. He sat up, smiling. 

1 



"Brother, I mean brother, that is the best goddam base 
I have ever had— bar none! Wow! I'm flying— and just one 
hit. You sho' that's base?" 

"Sure I'm sure, man. It's base made right, that's all. Now 
you so sure you been smokin' base for a year?" We all 
laughed. 

"I ain't never had no shit that good. Here, gimme another 
sample—" 

Suddenly the others in the room piped up: 

"Hey, fuck you, he gon' pass it over here first ... Get 
to the end of the line motherfucker! You had yo' turn!" 

Once again, I knew my confidence was well-founded. The 
Best. They'd be spoiled forever. 

Getting to know the best freebase is both a blessing and 
a curse, but those who partake of it are indeed spoiled 
forever, as you, dear reader, soon shall be. Read on. 

There are hundreds— nay, thousands— of "experts" on 
freebase. At this early stage of the game practically every 
user is a self- proclaimed "expert." Like my football player 
friend said, everybody's got the best. Yet the reality is that 
only a handful of people know what they're doing and how 
to make a truly good product. It's astounding that people 
actually smoke some of the shit around that's supposedly 
good base. Even the freebase kits on the market are pain- 
fully inadequate— certainly far below state-of-the-art. Things 
really haven't changed much since I was first turned on to 
base years ago; which is a shame as many people are turned 
off to what they think is good base, just like I was initially. 
Let me take you on a little 

FLASHBACK 

"Freebase? What's that?" 
"You've never heard of it?" 
"No. What the hell is it?" 
"Here, try some, all you do is—" 

"Wait a minute, man, I like to know what I'm ingesting. 
Tell me what it is first." 

"It's cocaine in a different form." 
"Just cocaine? Nothing else?" 



"That's right, pure cocaine, nothing else." 

"Well why are we smoking it then? Let's have a snort," 

"You can't snort this, man, it's not water-soluble. You 
gotta smoke it. Here take the pipe." 

"Alright. Won't fuck me up will it?" 

"No, no. Now look. I'll heat it for you with this torch. 
What you do is exhale first and then start drawing on the 
pipe, slow and steady. That's it. Now don't stop, keep going. 
Good, good. You've got it— now hold your breath as long 
as you can." 

Lungs full, I held my breath and waited. The smoke was 
surprisingly coo! and easy to hold. 

"You got a rush yet?" said my friend, attentively, 

I shook my head, not ready to exhale. I wondered what 
I should feel. Then it hit me, but it wasn't at all what I'd 
been expecting. 

"Uh ... I don't know," I said, expelling a rather oddly 
metallic tasting breath. A slight queasiness in my stomach 
had developed. 

"Sometimes it takes a couple of hits the first time," 
said my friend. "Here, try another," 

What the heU, I thought, I'd sure like to get high. I'll 
try it again. "OK," I said, "give me a good hit." 

"I'll give you a super hit this time," he replied. 

Later that afternoon I left my friend's house with a 
decidedly negative opinion of freebase, to say the least. 
Any high that I'd experienced had been completely over- 
shadowed by the intense nausea I felt after the second 
and third tokes. For a while I was so close to vomiting 
that to control the urge I had to sit and do breathing exer- 
cises. My friend had shrugged it off with the comment that 
"a lot of people get sick the first time they try it," but that 
was no answer for me. Shit, if you want to you can accustom 
yourself to regular doses of strychnine— but who needs it? 
Just before I left I made him give me two fat lines of regular 
coke so I'd be straight, and I felt much better for it. How 
could anything be better than regular old coke? 

Well, following that introduction to freebase I didn't 
have the slightest desire to repeat the experience, not for 
several months anyhow, mainly because I was prejudiced and 



neither knew nor met anyone who seemed knowledgeable 
enough to change my opinion. Also, there weren't many 
opportunities anyway, it was such a new thing. But the few 
chances I had I turned down, remembering that awful nausea. 
When I finally was persuaded to try freebase again it was 
only after hearing these convincingly-spoken words: "Man, 
this won't make you sick. This base is made right— it's not the 
usual garbage. Once you smoke this you'll never want to 
snort coke again !" This formidable challenge, one I could 
hardly refuse— especially as it came from this particular 
person— now leads us into our next chapter, where we'll 
begin learning about freebase at its best. 



I MEET THE "FIRST BASEMAN" 

Just to give our story a little more background, let me 
preface this chapter by telling you that I happen to have 
the good fortune of having some excellent connections in 
the entertainment industry, particularly around Hollywood. 
This is where, amongst the actors and actresses, producers, 
rock stars, and all other kinds of high-rollers, chat the free- 
base phenomenon years ago got its start in this country. 
And it was here one evening at a wild party high in the 
Hollywood Hills that a very good producer friend of mine 
called me aside into his private office, saying "come with 
me, there's someone I'd like you to meet." 

Inside the richly-furnished room, away from the noise 
of the party, a distinguished middle-aged gentleman was 
waiting. From a crystal decanter behind his desk my friend 
the producer poured us each a snifter of cognac. Then he 
addressed me: 

"J.M.," he said, "I'd like you to meet Professor P." 

"Pleased to meet you," I said to the older man, wonder- 
ing what all this was about. 

"Professor, J.M. is one of my oldest and dearest friends." 

"Good," said P., "you understand my need for discre- 
tion." 

"J.M., " continued my friend, "the Professor and I would 
like to have your assurance that what we're about to discuss 
will remain absolutely confidential. 1 have a proposition 



for you, but whether or not you accept you must agree to 
keep the matter entirely to yourself," 

Now my interest was really perked. "Of course," I said, 
"go ahead." 

"Good, I'll be brief. As you know, I'll be leaving in the 
next few days along with the cast and crew of the film 
I'm working on. We'll be going to location in New Mexico 
for about 2 or 3 weeks, I'd like you to come along, as my 
guest, of course." 

Why not, I thought. "But what can I do for you," I asked, 
"and where does the Professor fit in?" 

My friend swirled his brandy, glanced at the Professor, 
and went on, "Well, first let me explain one of the tech- 
nicalities of the movie business, then you'll understand. 
The people involved— cast and crew— are very good at what 
they do. The work very hard, and naturally they party very 
hard, too. And, some of them are prima donnas. I'm like 
the lord overseer, and one of the things I've got to do is 
keep them all happy, and that's getting more difficult all 
the time." 

"Quite," said P., laughing. 

"Anyway, it used to be that a few ounces of cocaine on 
the set kept everyone happy, but not so anymore. Now they 
all want freebase, and they're like spoiled children if they 
don't get it," 

"Freebase?" I said, incredulous. "That shit? It makes me 
sick." 

The Professor smiled, and my friend went on: 

"Obviously then you've never had good freebase, That's 
where the Professor fits in: he's a chemist and teaches at 
the University, and he makes the best base in the world. 
In fact, he's the man who started it, turned us all on. Pro- 
fessor, let's turn this man on— besides, I could use a hit my- 
self." He opened a drawer, produced a pipe, and loaded it 
with beautiful white crystals from a silver snuff box. "Here, 
J.M., this won't make you sick. Be my guest." 

Well, that was the time when I really got turned on to 
freebase. I had about three hits and was into one of the 
best highs-no, the best- I'd ever had. No nausea, just an 
indescribable euphoria. But back to the story; 

"I'm convinced, I'm convinced," said I, the convert. 



"I love it. Now I understand why your people want it. 
But what can I do?" 

"You can help me keep them under control. You see, 
none of them know how to make it and I want to keep it 
that way. I provide it for them— that is, with the Professor's 
help. So they work hard for me and I can limit their intake. 
None of them know the Professor. You, J.M., will be going 
along as the chemist, after Professor P. teaches you the 
methods. That way I can still keep them happy and retain 
control. I can trust you." 

"Why not have the Professor make up a supply in advance 
for you?" I asked. 

"The problem is," said the Professor, now lighting a 
cigar, "that freebase is not particularly stable. In fact it 
loses its potency rather quickly after conversion. One must 
have a steady, fresh supply. And I'm afraid I am unable 
to make this journey." 

"So what do you say, J.M.?" queried my friend. "Are 
you in?" 

"Sure I am, man. I'm always ready for something new, 
and this is educational, too. Professor, I'm honored to be 
working with you." 

The old man chuckled. "Excellent," he said. "So let's 
begin. I must be running along soon before my wife comes 
looking for me. Here, look this over while I get the equip- 
ment ready." He handed me a typewritten sheet: 



EQUIPMENT 

For processing 1 gram cocaine hydrochloride 
into free base 

Test tube, pyrex, screw-on cap 

Eyedropper, 6 to 8", for extraction {plastic 
OK) 

Eyedropper, 3 to 4", for chemicals (glass, 
precision) 

2-Medium (4 to 8") watch glass or evapor- 
ating dish 

Single-edge razor blades 



Optional Equipment 

Gram scale 
Small funnel 

Amber glass bottles for storage of reagents 
Ph papers— range (approx.) 4-10 plus 
or minus ,5 

Chemicals 

Ammonium Hydroxide (NH4OH) solution 
Ethyl ether anhydrous [j^Hg^O] 

Optional chemicals 

Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH) 
Petroleum ether (Ligroine) 



FREEBASE EXPLAINED 

"What exactly is free base, Professor?" I asked. 

"Simply speaking, freebase is cocaine that's been sep- 
arated from its acid radical. You see, what you're accustomed 
to snorting is cocaine hydrochloride. The chemical formula 
for cocaine hydrochloride is C17H21NO4HCI. The hydro- 
chloride (HCl) portion of the molecule makes it water- 
soluble and acidic, with a normal Ph factor of around 4 
to 4.5. In our process we will 'free' the cocaine from the 
hydrochloride in the molecule, resulting in 'free base', which 
is chemically represented as C^^jNO^. At the same time 
the cocaine loses its water- solubility and its acidity. Ideally, 
freebase will have a fairly neutral Ph, about 7, and a melting 
point of approximately 94-98° C, versus nearly 100° C higher 
for cocaine hydrochloride." 

"What are the advantages?" 

"Well, primarily in the mode of ingestion. Since freebase 
isn't water-soluble it must be smoked. The cocaine is much 
more readily absorbed through the lungs than through the 
nasal membrane. A small quantity is much more effective 



in smoking than in snorting. Furthermore, because free- 
base is neutral in Ph it doesn't alter your body chemistry 
like hydrochloride." 

"What do you mean?" 

"A simple example will illustrate. Haven't you ever noticed 
that the razor blades you use to chop your cocaine soon 
corrode and rust?" 

"Yeah, I have." 

"Consider that they are stainless steel, young man. The 
acid in your cocaine eats into stainless steel. Imagine what 
repeated use does to your body. Not only does it ruin your 
nose but it acidifies the blood. Freebase eliminates these 
noxious effects, as well as most of the common 'cuts' found 
in street cocaine." The Professor had assembled a small 
gorup of equipment on the desk before him. "Well," he 
continued, "we're about ready. Before we begin take a look 
at these instructions." He passed me another typewritten 
sheet: 



PROCESS 

Work area should be free of all flame, including 
pilot lights. Extinguish all cigarettes. 

1. Weigh 1 gram cocaine hydrochloride and pul- 

verize. 

2. Using funnel to prevent spillage, pour cocaine 

into clean test tube containing 1-lVi" clean, 
room-temperature water, preferably distilled. 

3. Cap tube and shake for approximately 1 minute 

or until dissolved. (Residue after 2 minutes 
is "cut") 

4. Using glass eyedropper add 4-5 drops ammon- 

ium hydroxide. Swirl to mix. Dense white 
cloudy precipitate will form immediately. 

5. Using funnel or clean, dry eyedropper, add 

l h to 3 4" ethyl ether (anhydrous). Cap tube 
securely and shake vigorously for 1-2 min- 
utes. 

8 



6. Place test tube upright. Allow liquids to settle 

for 1-2 minutes. Separation will occur. 

7. When bubbling reaction stops, uncap tube. 

Using clean, dry eyedropper or pipette, 
draw off most of top liquid and transfer to 
clean watch glass or evaporating dish. Set 
aside. Ether will evaporate within 5 minutes, 
leaving fxeebase. When dry, use razor blade 
to scrape off plate. Smoke and enjoy. (Be 
sure to save liquid remaining in test tube.) 

"Well this seems pretty simple," I commented. 

"Yes," said the Professor, "just the 'basics,' you might 
say. Ha, ha. But now we're ready to begin here with a live 
demonstration during which I'll give you some more detail. 
Pay careful attention and we'll go through it step-by-step." 

"Look," said my producer friend, "I'm going back to the 
party before I'm missed. But let me have another hit before 
I go. J.M., watch closely, the Professor's a good teacher." 

"OK. Professor, you just go ahead and I'll try not to 
interrupt. But give me another hit first, too." 



MORE DETAILS 

"First," he began, "make sure your working area is free 
of all flame. The ether you're using is highly flammable, 
and it's best if your area is well-ventilated, although you 
must be careful that any neighbors you may have don't 
smell the fumes. The smell of ether carries a great distance 
and it's a dead give-away. Like a hospital. Now, please 
extinguish your cigarette. 

"Next we take one gram of cocaine hydrochloride, such 
as this, and break it up to remove any rocks so that it will 
dissolve readily, saving time. Always weigh the, amount 
you're using so you can adjust the formula accordingly. 
Now, as you can see, I have placed about an inch of water 
in this test tube, into which we now add our cocaine. If you 
use a small funnel like this there'll be no spillage. Cap 



the tube and shake until dissolved. Good coke like this will 
dissolve rapidly leaving no residue. See? But if there is any- 
thing left after a minute or two don't worry about it. It's 
cut, and it'll be separated in the next few steps. 

"Next you add the alkali, which in this case is ammonium 
hydroxide (NH^OH), If you're using a laboratory grade 
solution it will be quite strong— about 27%— so strong it'll 
knock your head off if you get a good whiff, so be sure 
not to breathe the fumes and don't get it on your skin. 
Use a glass eyedropper to dispense it. With the undiluted 
27% solution you should start with 4-5 drops per gram of 
cocaine, Carefully drop it directly into the tube containing 
your dissolved cocaine. An immediate reaction will occur 
turning the solution white; cap your tube and swirl to mix it. 
If the solution remains clear at the bottom after swirling, 
add another 1-2 drops ammonium hydroxide— no more- 
cap, and swirl again until the entire solution is cloudy. 

"This is perhaps the most critical stage of the process, 
the adding of the alkali. Care must be taken not to over- 
alkalify the solution by adding too much ammonium hydrox- 
ide. Unfortunately, adding too much ammonia is the most 
common error people make in this process. This results 
in a too-alkaline product which has a foul metallic taste 
and often makes you sick when you smoke it." 

"So that's what made me sick," I remarked. 

"Probably so. Too much ammonia. Gradually one becomes 
accustomed to it but continued use of over-alkalified free- 
base can lead to a condition known as alkalosis, an increased 
alkalinity of body fluids. We'll come back to our discussion 
of alkalis later, but for the moment let's go on with our 
process. 

"Now, using a clean, dry funnel or eyedropper, put into 
your test tube about Vi to %" of ether, if you are using the 
ethyl anhydrous variety. Cap the tube tightly and shake well 
for a minute or two. The freebase is readily dissolved into 
the ether, although it is no longer water-soluble. Let the 
tube settle for a while, until no reaction is visible, then uncap 
the tube slowly. 

"Using your ether eyedropper— by the way, always keep 
your eyedroppers separate, one for alkali, one for ether- 
draw off most of the ether, which will be the top liquid 

10 



in the tube, and transfer it to a clean, dry watch glass or 
evaporating dish. Save the remaining liquid in the test tube. 
After the ether evaporates from the watch glass your free- 
base will be left. When it is thoroughly dry use a razor blade 
to scrape it off and it is ready for use. Ethyl ether will 
evaporate usually within five minutes, a little more rapidly 
than petroleum ether. I shall discuss several other differing 
characteristics of the two types of ether later, but now we 
are ready to perform our second extraction on the liquid 
remaining in the test tube so we shaU go on." 

"To the remaining liquid in your test tube carefully add 
1 drop ammonium hydroxide and swirl, if the solution 
shows a strong reaction by turning dense white, as it did 
the first time, add 1 more drop ammonium hydroxide, 
cap, and mix well. Now repeat the extraction process with 
the ether. Usually all the freebase will be liberated after 2 
or 3 extractions using ethyl ether. Each time after you have 
pulled off your ether add one drop ammonium hydroxide to 
the liquid left in the tube. As long as you see a cloudy 
reaction there's still some freebase in the solution, so add 
some more ether, shake well, and pull off to an evaporating 
dish. When finally a drop of ammonium hydroxide to the 
test tube causes no more reaction the process is complete 
and the solution is free of cocaine and may be discarded. 

"If possible it's best to use a separate watch glass for each 
extraction. This way you can observe how much freebase 
is being liberated each time, and with a little experience 
you'll know when you've got it all out by judging from your 
last yield. Yield of material on the plates will of course 
diminish progressively. 

"Speaking of yield, from uncut, pure South American 
cocaine you can expect a return of about 85-90% of the 
original weight. In other words, beginning with one gram of 
cocaine hydrochloride we will have a yield in freebase of 
,8 5-. 90 gram, if our cocaine was pure. There is a loss of 
approximately 10*15% in weight when the acid radical 
(the hydrochloride) is freed from the cocaine. Keeping in 
mind this normal loss in weight the freebase process can be 
used as a rapid and fairly reliable method of determining 
the purity of one's cocaine, if one is more concerned with the 
percentage of cocaine than with the identification of adult- 

11 



erants (cuts). For example, if one were to get a yeild of 
Vi gram freebase from 1 gram cocaine hydrochloride then 
one could reasonably assume that there was an approximate 
40% cut on the original sample. 

'"Well, I think that about covers it. Let's see, is there 
anything I've left out?" 

"You said you'd come back to some details on ether, and 
the alkalis." 

"Ah, yes. Certainly. Before I forget let me tell you some- 
thing about your ammonium hydroxide. If you are using the 
laboratory grade solution it may be wise to dilute it 50% 
before using in order to reduce the risk of over-alkalifying 
your solution while you are still a beginner at this process. 
You might find this suggestion particularly helpful during 
the second and third extractions, when it is quite easy to 
add a bit too much. Also I might add that in a pinch one 
can use plain old household ammonia in place of laboratory 
grade ammonium hydroxide. Household ammonia is really 
the same thing, only diluted quite a bit. 1 prefer the reagent 
grade chemicals, of course, but not everyone can obtain them 
easily, if one must use household ammonia, however, it's 
necessary to increase the amount about 5 times over the lab 
grade ammonium hydroxide, that is, 5 drops to 1. And be 
certain to use plain ammonia, with no additives such as 
detergents or fragrances. 

"Sodium hydroxide (NaOH), commonly known as lye, 
may also be used as an effective alkali in this process. To 
make a suitable solution, add 100 grams sodium hydroxide 
crystals or sticks to 8 fluid ounces of water. When using 
sodium hydroxide follow the same instructions and be sure 
to avoid skin contact as it is highly caustic. 

"Now concerning the ether: as far as I am concerned there 
is no substitute for ether in this process, although it can be 
done using other solvents or none at all, for that matter— 
but I don't recommend those methods and shall not elabor- 
ate on them for that reason. Ether is pure and clean and 
leaves virtually no residue. Out of roughly 100 types of 
ether there are only two types I will recommend: ethyl 
anhydrous, and petroleum. Either variety is excellent for 
making freebase but there are some differences. Ethyl ether 
is about twice as costly as petroleum ether although neither 

12 



is prohibitively expensive. Actually it works out about the 
same cost-wise since one uses far less of the more expensive 
ethyl variety than the petroleum, 

"Ethyl ether requires careful handling and storage. After 
opening it should be kept refrigerated in the original con- 
tainer or in well-sealed amber glass bottles. During use one 
should not leave the bottle open any longer than necessary 
and care must be taken so as not to introduce any water 
or foreign materials into the ether, which is why we always 
use the same eyedropper for our ether. 

"Thus far in describing the freebase process we have 
assumed the use of ethyl ether as the solvent. Now let me 
say a few words about the alternative, petroleum ether 
(ligroine), which is equally acceptable. Petroleum ether 
is less volatile than ethyl and doesn't require the special 
handling, but the use of it does require some modification 
to our freebase process, Petroleum ether doesn't absorb 
the freebase from solution as readily as does the ethyl, 
therefore it's necessary to increase both the amount of ether 
used and the number of extractions performed when using 
it. As a general rule one should triple the amount of ether 
when using petroleum, i.e., put l'/z to 2" of petroleum ether 
in your test tube after adding the hydroxide to your cocaine 
solution. Shake for 3-5 minutes before pulling off the ether. 
The appearance of the precipitate will be quite different 
in the test tube when using petroleum ether than with ethyl, 
with numerous white chunks apparent. As many as five 
extractions may be necessary to liberate all the freebase 
when using petroleum ether. In addition, you'll notice a 
much difierent crystal structure of the freebase on your 
watch glass when using petrol ether. As the ether evaporates 
the freebase will grow into a dense forest of small 'trees' 
several centimeters high, quite lovely in appearance, resemb- 
ling miniature coral or he hen. These little 'trees' are ex- 
tremely light and delicate, fluffy, you might say. The fluffi- 
ness of the freebase crystals obtained when using petro- 
leum ether makes the yield appear considerably greater than 
when using ethyl ether, but in fact, weight-wise the yield 
will be the same regardless of which type of ether is used. 
Incidentally, these 'trees' will only appear on a spotlessly 
clean watch glass; if you are using a glass that hasn't been 

13 



thoroughly scraped and cleaned from" a previous extraction 
the freebase will deposit itself as a thick uniform coating. 
In either case when petroleum ether freebase is completely 
dry it is so light that it sometimes literally flies off the plate 
during scraping, so it's a good idea to scrape it while it's still 
very slightly wet and then let it dry in a pile." 

"Professor, can you mix the two types of ether?" 

"Absolutely not. Your extraction must be made with one 
or the other. However, you may want to experiment with 
combinations of freebase. Try smoking a 50/50 mixture 
of ethyl-made and petroleum-made freebase. I thinjt you'll 
find it noticeably mote potent than either variety alone." 

"What kinds of things can go wrong with the process. 
Professor?" 

"Precious little, I've already cautioned you about over- 
alkalifying the solution, the most common mistake. While 
you're still a beginner it may be helpful to use Ph papers to 
judge the acidity or alkalinity of the solution. Using Ph paper 
you'll notice that the dissolved cocaine solution, before 
adding hydroxide, is about 4-5, quite acid. Following the 
first extraction, before adding additional hydroxide, the Ph 
will have moved closer to 7. Try not to allow the Ph to 
exceed 8. Should you make an error and over-alkalify the 
solution, this may be corrected by adding a little more 
cocaine hydrochloride. Remember, the best freebase comes 
from a solution having a fairly neutral Ph (7), With or with- 
out the Ph papers, however, you should obtain an excellent 
product if you simply follow my instructions. 

"Of course, with the tremendous variety of cocaine 
found on the street, it's impossible for me to anticipate 
every reaction you may encounter. There are so many dif- 
ferent types oi adulterants found in illicit coke. All I can 
tell you is that the freebase process will extract all of the 
cocaine and at the same time eliminate most of the usual 
cuts, such as mannitol (mannite). inositol, lactose, etc. If 
you are using high-quality cocaine to begin with this process 
is virtually fool-proof, and will yield an exceptionally fine 
product. 

'Another common error beginners are apt to make is 
accidentally drawing off some of the water/hydroxide 
liquid along with the ether during extraction. When trans- 

14 



ferred to the watch glass this becomes evident as small water 
droplets are seen interspersed among the drying freebase. 
To correct this problem wait until most of the ether has 
evaporated and then, using a piece of tissue paper, gently 
blot the water droplets away. 

"Occasionally, when using ethy! ether, one will find a 
gummy deposit left on the watch glass after the ether has 
evaported. This usually results from excess humidity in the 
air. To correct this situation simply mix the residue with the 
flat edge of a razor blade (or spoon), using circular strokes 
on the watch glass. After thorough mixing the residue will 
dry completely and one may then scrape it up and smoke it." 

"What about storage?" 

"Well, freebase is less stable than cocaine hydrochloride 
and begins to lose its potency relatively soon after conver- 
sion, I doubt you'll ever have to worry about storage, because 
you'll probably use it as fast as you can make it. But should 
you have some left -overs, seal it in an air-tight container and 
put it in the freezer. It'll be good for several weeks at the 
least." 

Suddenly the door opened and my producer friend entered 
the room, "Hey, how's it going with you two?" he asked. 
"Got a hit of base for me?" 

The Professor stood up and began packing his case. "Your 
friend J.M, seems to be an excellent student. 1 think he's 
got it all down now. I'm just departing, but I'll leave these 
several fresh plates of base for you. Why don't you give 
J.M. some lessons in smoking techniques?" 

"Good idea," I said, 

"I can see you're already becoming as bad as the others," 
said my friend, only half in jest. "I wonder if I'll really be 
able to trust you," 

"Oh come on," I protested, "what'd you mean—" 
"He's right J.M.," said Professor P. "And he should know- 
he's had plenty of experience. Your freebase lessons wouldn't 
be complete without a warning of the potential "for its 
abuse. But I'll leave that to our mutual friend here, as I 
must be on my way. Goodnight, gentlemen . . ." 

"Goodnight, Professor, thanks so much for your help." 
"Au revoir, Professor, see you when I get back," 

15 



SMOKING TECHNIQUE 

"Well, iet's break out the pipe, J.M.," said my friend, 
after showing the Professor out, "and I'll give you your 
final lessons. First of all let me explain about the pipe: 
It should be a glass (Pyrex preferred) water pipe having 
125-250 ml capacity, with a Pyrex bowl, I prefer a bowl 
that has a straight stem and is removable from the pipe for 
cleaning. You can make your own using an erlenmeyer or 
distilling flask, a small Pyrex funnel, and a rubber stopper; 
or, you can buy something like Toker II or SnowToker at 
your local head shop. In the bowl you should place 3-8 
extra-fine screens, stainless steel if possible. By the way, 
always burn your new screens before using to eliminate 
toxic residue fumes. 

"Now, to vaporize the freebase on the pipe 1 recommend 
using a propane torch. Propane torches— found in hardware 
stores— burn very clean and arc adjustable to a very precise 
flame. Just about everything else- butane, matches, lighters- 
leaves a dirty carbon residue and is hard to regulate when 
using. 

"OK, after you've loaded the pipe -you don't need much, 
just a good pinch— set your propane on a medium-low flame 
and apply the heat underneath the bowl until vou sec the 
crystals begin melting. Then start drawing on rhe pipe, 
slow and steady, not too hard or you'll suck the melted 
freebase down into the water before combustion. Keep the 
heat on and continue drawing and the smoke will begin 
coming. Keep drawing until all the smoke is finished, then 
hold your breath as long as you can. You can even expel 
your breath into a balloon and re-inhalc it so as not to 
waste any smoke. 1 call it 'recycling energy!" Be sure to let 
the pipe cool before loading it again, else the freebase will 
melt immediately on the hot screens. 

"One thing that's very important is to keep a steady 
draw going on the pipe while the heat is being applied. 
if you stop drawing before the base is all vaporized remove 
the flame prior to stopping or the base may ignite into 
flame, which will produce a bad carbon taste, ruining the 
toke. if you want to speed the vaporization you can tease 
the melted base on the screen from above with the propane 

16 



torch, just make sure you don't set it afire. A small hint of 
blue flame off the base is fine, but don't let it flame up 
orange-yellow— it tastes terrible! 

"Here's a toke for you, J. M." 

'"Bout time," I laughed, *'l was wondering when you were 
gonna pass it over here." 

"Getting pretty fond of the stuff, aren't you?" inquired 
my friend. 

"1 must admit that the Professor's freebase is dynamite." 
I said as J put the pipe to my mouth. "But what're you 
trying to say, and what's the warning you and the Professor 
were talking about? 1 hope you're not gonna lay any bullshit 
on me about how dangerous it is or something— you know 
I've been using coke for 1 5 years now." 

"Well, anything can be dangerous when taken in excess, 
you know, even water. But I'm not trying to say that free- 
base is dangerous, per se. In fact, I would say that properly 
made, freebase is considerably less harmful, physically, 
than regular cocaine, in any quantity. I say this from a 
great deal of experience with both. Hell, I've smoked as 
much as 7 grams in a single night, and I've used 3-4 grams 
daily for weeks at a time without any side-effects more 
serious than weight loss and lack of sleep. All I'm trying to 
convey to you is that freebase is a lot more seductive than 
regular coke, if you can believe that, and people will show a 
tendency to use more of it than they stop to realize— as 
long as it's available. 

"Remember. J.M., I'm taking you along on this trip- 
arid 1 had the Professor teach you the freebase process— 
for one reason; control of my movie people. I won't have 
time to worry about the freebase supply, so you're going 
to be the quartermaster. And the bottleneck. I want you to 
limit everyone, including yourself, to one gram of freebase 
per day." 

"Including you?" I asked. 

"Myself included. I don't need any more than a gram a 
day, Now you're going to need a lot of discipline to enforce 
this mandate-self-discipline, that is— because the guys are 
going to try conning you, the girls will use all their wiles 
on you, and you're gonna want more than a gram a day for 
yourself; but you can't give in to anybody, or it'll throw 

17 



the whole camp into disarray. Do you think you can do it?" 
"Sure I can," I answered with perfect confidence, "By 
the way, one more thing: where do you obtain your chemi- 
cals?" 

"Nevermind. You don't worry about that, I'll give them 
to you. Now let's have one more hit apiece and call it a 
night." 



fig. 1 
STANDARD -SIZE TEST TUBE 



PETROLEUM ETHER LEVEL 
(method 2 



DIETHYL ETHER LEVEL 
method 1 



WATER LEVEL constant! 

DISSOLVED COCAINE HYDROCHLORIDE 
( 1 cram) 



18 



EPILOGUE 

New Mexico. On location with cast and crew of a major 
motion picture production. I was busy day and night in my 
makeshift laboratory producing freebase for everybody. 
I don't think there was a single one among them who wasn't 
into it. I've never seen so many propane torches in one place 
in all my life. The local hardware store people couldn't 
figure out what we needed with all the propane refills we 
bought— their entire stock was gone in two days! The movie 
went right along on schedule, but 1 swear 1 don't know how 
they did it— everyone was always high. Mine, however, was 
probably the, hardest job of all— limiting al! those crazies 
each to a gram a day. It was tough. I tell you, being both 
chemist aikl bookkeeper. Everybody was out for more: 
the guys tried conning mc, the girls tried hustling mc, all of 
them lied; but 1 kept my promise— one gram a day, period. 
That is, until the third day when I accidentally walked in 
on my producer friend and the leading lady m a storage room 
and saw them smoking base from a bag as big as a grapefruit. 
So that's why he could get along on a gram a day-he had 
his own stash! That night 1 made up over a half-pound and 
that movie camp went on a freebase binge that shut down 
the production for days. Later I tried explaining to my pro- 
ducer friend that it hadn't been out of spite. Freebase had 
simply got the best of inc. like it had got him and all the 
rest of us. I lost my job, anyway. But that was alright— I 
have no regrets— I'd learned a lot, not the least of which was 
don't work for your friends. And keep your own stash. 

And, P.S. I learned where to get the chemicals: Lab 
supply houses, or, where else? just about any drug store. 



19 



APPENDIX 






Melting Points* 




Centigrade 


Procaine (free base) 




60 


Lidocaine (free base} 




66-68 


Lidocaine HCl 




76-79 


Benzocaine 




90-92 


Cocaine (free base) 




96-98 


Butacaine sulfate 




100-103 


Tetracaine HCl 




147-150 


Procaine HCl 




153-156 


Mannitol (mannite) 




165-168 


Methedrine 




171-175 


Sucrose 




185-186 


Cocaine HCl (pure South American) 




187-189 


Cocaine HCl (pharmaceutical) 




195-197 


Lactose 




201-203 


Inositol 




224-227 


Caffeine 




235-238 


Yohimbine HCl 




300-302 


•Melting points given are for pure 


substances; mixtures 


may alter exact points. 






20 







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