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How Long Does Cocaine Stay In Your System?

Cocaine can stay in your system for two days to several months after the last use.

Cocaine is a powerful central nervous system stimulant that is highly addictive. Like other drugs, when you use cocaine, it will take some time to work its way out of your system. As a result, its metabolites can show up on a drug test.

Many factors influence how long it takes for cocaine to be fully eliminated from your body, but here’s how long it can show up on a drug test:

  • Urine test – up to 3 days after the last use (up to 2 weeks for heavy cocaine users)
  • Blood test – up to 2 days after the last use
  • Saliva test – up to 2 days after the last use
  • Hair test – several months (or even years)

To more fully answer the question, “How long does cocaine stay in your system?” we’ll explore the influential factors and provide more details about how cocaine affects your body below.

If you or a loved one is struggling with cocaine addiction, the caring professionals at Briarwood Detox Center are here to help. We provide supportive medical observation throughout cocaine detox to ensure your safety and comfort. Call (888) 857-0557 for more information.


What Are the Side Effects of Cocaine Use?

Cocaine is a highly addictive and fast-acting central nervous system stimulant. It produces a powerful but short-lived high, which usually lasts several minutes to an hour, depending on how it was used. The high that cocaine produces is euphoric and it makes you feel great (temporarily), providing you with a burst of confidence, energy, and pleasure.

The short-term effects of cocaine include:1

  • Euphoria
  • More energy
  • Talkativeness
  • Mental alertness
  • More sensitivity to sight, sound, and touch
  • Decreased appetite
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Panic
  • Paranoia
  • Tremors
  • Vertigo
  • Muscle twitches

Cocaine creates some pleasurable effects by binding to dopamine transporters in the brain. This prevents the dopamine from being recycled back into a transmitting neuron. The disruption of this normal process in the brain results in a buildup of dopamine, which contributes to the pleasurable immediate effects of cocaine.2

Short-term physiological effects of cocaine include:1

  • Constricted blood vessels
  • Dilated pupils
  • Increased body temperature
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure

Using large amounts of cocaine can also cause erratic and violent behavior. Ongoing cocaine use can produce serious medical complications like:1

  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Gastrointestinal complications (abdominal pain and nausea)
  • Seizures
  • Strokes
  • Coma
  • Sudden death (rare)

The long-term effects of cocaine use include:2

  • Loss of sense of smell
  • Nosebleeds
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Hoarseness
  • Inflamed and irritated chronic runny nose
  • Puncture marks (called track marks) on forearms
  • Increased risk of HIV and hepatitis C
  • Tears and ulcers in the gastrointestinal tract
  • Weight loss and malnourishment
  • Severe chest pain
  • Inflammation of the heart muscle
  • Increased risk for stroke, seizures, and Parkinson’s disease

Any type of cocaine use is dangerous and can lead to harmful side effects, dependence, and addiction.


How Long Do the Effects of Cocaine Last?

The duration of the high depends on how the cocaine was used (whether it was smoked, taken orally, snorted, or injected). The faster the cocaine is absorbed, the more intense and short the high will be.

For example, smoking cocaine produces an immediate high that can last anywhere from five to 10 minutes. On the other hand, taking cocaine orally will result in slower effects that are felt within 10 to 30 minutes but that can last for up to 90 minutes.3

After the high (or rush), cocaine users experience a crash. The crash is extremely unpleasant so many people use more cocaine to counter the crash, which can lead to tolerance and addiction.


What Drug Testing Methods Are Used to Detect Cocaine Use?

As cocaine is processed in the body, benzoylecgonine (the major metabolite for cocaine) is formed and serves as evidence of cocaine use. Benzoylecgonine use can be detected with several different types of drug tests. The most common type of drug test for cocaine is a urine screening. Urine testing is very accurate but alternative testing for cocaine use is also available with blood tests, hair tests, and saliva tests.

The half-life of cocaine is about one hour, which means it takes 60 minutes for half of the cocaine to leave the body after use.4 However, if someone uses cocaine heavily for a long time, it can be detected by certain types of drug test for longer.


What Factors Affect Cocaine Detection Time?

Determining exact detection times for cocaine use is difficult because there are several factors that affect how long cocaine stays in your body. Some of the most influential factors include:

  • How often you use cocaine: Research indicates that large amounts of cocaine taken over a period of several days will cause its metabolites to linger in your body longer. Therefore, it will be more easily detected by drug tests.
  • How potent the cocaine is: The purity level of the cocaine you use will affect how quickly its metabolites are eliminated from your body.
  • The method in which you use cocaine: The method of cocaine use (snorting, smoking, injecting, etc.) will greatly affect its detection window. Generally speaking, the faster the drug is absorbed into your bloodstream, the faster it will be excreted from your body. So, for example, if you smoke cocaine, it will clear out of your system faster than if you consumed cocaine orally.
  • Your body fat level: If you have higher levels of body fat, benzoylecgonine can build up in fatty tissues and stay in your body longer than in someone who has fewer fatty tissues.
  • How hydrated you are: Water speeds up the excretion process, getting rid of cocaine metabolites faster. If you are dehydrated, this process will occur more slowly, which means the drug may remain detectable in your system for longer.
  • How physically active you are: If you are physically active, your basal metabolic rate (BMR) will be higher. (BMR is a measure of the number of calories your body needs to accomplish its most basic functions, like breathing.) Cocaine is excreted more quickly in people with higher BMRs.

How to Get Cocaine Out Of Your System

If you’re trying to get cocaine out of your system, drug detox kits and products sold online are highly unlikely to work. There’s no proven way to rush the process. Instead, you have to wait for the cocaine to make its way out of your system over time.

Most people who use cocaine regularly are bound to get caught if they are drug tested. It’s very difficult to cheat a drug test and if you try, you are unlikely to be successful. Long-term cocaine users are also likely to suffer a lot of negative side effects and health problems that are much worse than failing a drug test.

If you’re concerned about failing a drug test due to cocaine use, you should consider stopping. If you find that you can’t, you might have a cocaine use disorder. Cocaine addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease so you should seek professional treatment right away.


What Happens During a Cocaine Detox Program?

Once you’re addicted, quitting cocaine can be very difficult. This is especially true if you’re a heavy user. In fact, if you try to stop using it, you’re likely to experience uncomfortable cocaine withdrawal symptoms like:5

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Depression
  • Sadness
  • Cocaine cravings
  • Poor concentration
  • Lethargy

These symptoms can occur a few hours or a few weeks after you stop using cocaine. Although not everyone experiences severe cocaine withdrawal symptoms, some people do. Inpatient detox is not always necessary for cocaine detox but it can be helpful in some instances.

For example, if you’re addicted to cocaine and other drugs, a detox program can provide 24/7 medical assistance to prevent medical emergencies due to unpredictable withdrawal symptoms. Medical professionals will also administer medications to keep you comfortable and safe during detox. Additionally, a cocaine detox program will provide access to other treatment services like:


Get Help to Recover From Cocaine Addiction

If you’re struggling with cocaine addiction, you’re not alone. The experienced and compassionate treatment professionals at Briarwood Detox are available to help you. Our individualized detox programs are designed to meet your unique needs and provide comprehensive care that will help you establish a stable foundation in sobriety. We provide a safe medical observation for cocaine detox to help you safely manage withdrawal symptoms.

To get started with a cocaine detox program today, call (888) 857-0557 to speak with an admissions representative at Briarwood Detox Center. We accept most insurance providers to ensure that treatment is as affordable as possible.

References:

  1. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/cocaine/what-are-short-term-effects-cocaine-use
  2. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/cocaine/what-are-long-term-effects-cocaine-use
  3. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/cocaine/how-does-cocaine-produce-its-effects
  4. https://methoide.fcm.arizona.edu/infocenter/index.cfm?stid=170
  5. https://drugpolicy.org/drug-facts/cocaine/withdrawal-symptoms

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