By Ioana Cozma

Last updated: 07 June 2024 & medically reviewed by Dr. Lindeman

An eight ball of cocaine represents an eighth of an ounce. This article explains the origins of this term, why this quantity is so popular, and if you can overdose from an 8 ball of coke. You will also find out what other drugs are sold as 8-balls and how much an 8 ball of coke costs.

Key takeaways:

  • Anecdotal reports claim that an 8 ball of cocaine costs between $300 and $380.

  • When sold as an 8 ball, cocaine is usually packaged in large baggies or wrapped in cling film.

  • 8 balls are popular among party, rave, and festival goers where drugs are shared more freely.

8 Ball of Cocaine

What is an 8 ball of cocaine?

The term 8 ball when referring to drugs represents an eighth of an ounce or 3.5 grams and is most frequently used in relation to cocaine, hence “8 ball of coke.”[1] An ounce of cocaine is 28g. 

'8 Ball' became common slang for an 8th of an ounce in the mid-1980s when the price for this quantity was $300-$350.[1]

Why use the slang term “8-ball”?

Cocaine is an illicit drug. Illegal drug dealers and users often use street names to disguise their activity and over time they become common usage.

Other slang terms for an 8 ball of drugs include bozer, teen, a ball, game, and 9-piece.[2]

How much does an 8 ball of coke cost?

An 8 ball represents 3.5 grams of cocaine, the cost (based on an average cost of $120 per gram of cocaine) should be $420. However, anecdotal reports claim that an 8 ball of cocaine costs between $300 and $380.

This makes the cost of an 8 ball far more attractive to those who abuse cocaine.

What does an 8 ball of cocaine look like?

Cocaine is most commonly a white powder, sometimes with a yellow tinge if it has a lot of impurities. Crack cocaine resembles small yellow rocks that have a slight sheen.

Powder cocaine and crack is sold on the street in many different packages. common examples include:

  • Small sealable bags (baggies)

  • folded into paper (known as tickets or zips)

  • in plastic carrier bags (often rolled into tight balls)

  • In cling film (Saran wrap)

When sold as an 8 ball, cocaine is usually packaged in large baggies or wrapped in cling film.

What types of cocaine are sold in an 8 ball?

All types of cocaine can be sold in 8 ball weights, however powder cocaine, crack, and fish scale cocaine are the most common forms sold in this weight.

Where does cocaine come from?

Cocaine comes from the coca plant commonly found in Colombia and other parts of South America. The leaves of the coca plant are harvested in vast quantities and go through a long refinement process to make pure cocaine or cocaine paste.

From here, the cocaine paste travels thousands of miles around the world, often being cut and diluted many times over before it reaches the end user.

Why is cocaine sold in 8 balls?

Cocaine is sold in 8 balls because of its convenient price, easy distribution, and appealing quantity.

Convenient price

Current surveys put the price of cocaine is $120 per gram in the US, with prices varying worldwide between $6 to $286.[3] As an 8 ball costs less than the accumulative cost of 3.5g at $120, many users prefer to buy in this amount to save money.

Easy distribution

Selling cocaine in higher quantities is often the preferred method of business for drug dealers. Selling cocaine by the eighth allows the dealers to offload their product more quickly, making their turnaround a lot faster.

An 8 ball is also a popular option for drug dealers to sell as it isn’t a large enough quantity to hold a high sentence conviction if they are caught in possession of it.

Appealing quantity

Most people who abuse cocaine regularly do so in high quantities. This is due to the way cocaine affects the limbic reward system in the brain, the center that regulates pleasure and reward, creating intense feelings of euphoria. The euphoric effects of cocaine are shortlived however, and users will require more of the substance regularly to maintain their high.

This is why 8 balls are popular amongst users as it removes the need to top up their product from dealers and they can continue their high without having to come down.

Eight balls are also popular among party, rave, and festival goers where drugs are shared more freely.

Other drugs sold as 8 balls

While 8 balls are a commonly sold weight of cocaine owing to the value for the consumer and ease of distribution for the dealer, many other substances are also sold as 8 balls for the same reason.

Some common drugs sold as 8 balls include:

What drug is being referred to when talking about 8 balls can often vary depending on your location. For instance, in areas where cocaine and heroin abuse are low but meth addiction is high, an 8 ball will typically be referring to meth.

Is an 8 ball of cocaine enough to cause an overdose?

Yes, an 8 ball of cocaine is enough to cause an overdose.

However, individual users respond differently to the same quantity, depending on:

  • Purity: Taking cocaine with other dangerous substances increases the risk of overdosing.

  • Method of ingestion: Snorting an 8 ball of coke is likelier to lead to overdosing than ingesting the same amount.

  • Type of cocaine: Using crack cocaine instead of powder makes overdoses more likely.

  • Tolerance: A person used to consuming illegal drugs, not necessarily cocaine, would have typically built a higher tolerance. As such, people who have never consumed drugs are likelier to overdose from an 8 ball of coke.

  • Individual factors: Ethnicity, age, and preexisting medical conditions influence toxicity symptoms.[5]

The first signs of cocaine overdose include raised blood pressure, shallow breathing, warm skin, elevated heart rate, nausea, and headaches. Seizures, incontinence, hypertension, and heart attack indicate a higher level of cocaine toxicity.[7] 

Remember: Call for medical assistance immediately after noticing these symptoms.

The cost of cocaine abuse

The cost of cocaine abuse transcends the matter of how much an 8 ball of coke costs.

The consequences include:

However, specialized cocaine addiction treatments help overcome addiction and begin the road to recovery.