Drug and Alcohol

Cocaine: How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your System & More

How long does cocaine stay in your system? How long can drug tests detect cocaine? We answer these and more in our blog.

Cocaine: How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your System & More

Table of contents

Written by

Brian MooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

Jeremy ArztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

June 21, 2023

The Forge Recovery Center

\So, how long does cocaine stay in your system?

This isn’t just an idle question. For some, it helps them determine how long they have until cocaine withdrawal starts. For others, it might let them know when it’s safe to take a drug test.

Cocaine is a highly addictive illicit stimulant. By answering some questions about this drug, it can also let someone know when it’s time to get help for cocaine abuse.

Cocaine Abuse Stats:

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) of 2021 found that 1.7% of persons aged 12 and older admitted to using cocaine in the previous 12 months.

What is Cocaine?

Cocaine is an intense stimulant often sniffed, inhaled, or administered. Cocaine is most often seen as a white, flaky powder. It can also be injected and smoked as crack cocaine.

The growing demand for cocaine as a recreational substance is due to the high it produces. Cocaine creates euphoric effects and makes people more talkative and sociable. It can also cause organ damage, heart attacks, strokes, and addiction.

Are there Street Names for Cocaine?

Below are some slang terms or street names of cocaine:

  • Blow

  • Coke

  • Crack

  • Speedball (this is a mix of cocaine and heroin)

  • 8 Ball

  • Woolies

  • Cocoa puffs

How Long Does It Take Cocaine to Take Effect?

Cocaine is widely known to be highly toxic and compulsive, and its impacts are based on how it is consumed. The euphoric effects take a toll on people for around 20 to 30 minutes when they snort or sniff cocaine immediately after smoking. This euphoria prevails for around two hours.

When people use injections to inject themselves with cocaine, the effects rise in about 5 minutes, and this rush stays for less than 60 minutes. 

Cocaine may take longer or shorter to enter the circulatory system based on how it was ingested. Based on the manner of cocaine intake, below is the period it requires to take effect: 

Injecting Cocaine in Your System

Ten to fifteen seconds

Snorting Cocaine in Your System

One to three minutes

Smoking Cocaine in Your System

Ten to fifteen seconds

Rubbing Cocaine on the Teeth & Gums

One to three minutes

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How Long Do the Effects of Cocaine Last?

Generally, a cocaine high will only linger for approximately half an hour, which urges individuals to consume in large doses. However, the adverse impacts can last for much longer.

The duration of the effects is also determined by how the substance was consumed. Based on the technique of usage, the lasting period of the cocaine rush is:

  • By using injections: Five to fifteen minutes

  • By snorting: Fifteen to thirty minutes

  • By smoking or inhaling: Five to fifteen minutes

  • By rubbing on the teeth or gums: Fifteen to thirty minutes

What Are the Side Effects of Cocaine Consumption?

The negative impacts of cocaine in the short-term include:

  • Jumpiness and irritation

  • Getting into dangerous activities because of extreme zest

  • Elevated body temperature

  • Elevated pulse rate

  • Profuse sweating

  • Possible stroke

  • Respiratory problems

  • Flu-like conditions

Long-term use of cocaine can cause:

  • Psychotic behavior

  • Unable to stop your drug consumption even if you want to

  • Drastic changes in mood and conduct

  • Lack of sleep

  • Depressive episodes

  • Panic attacks

  • Feelings of helplessness from cocaine dependency

After consuming cocaine, you might additionally encounter a phase referred to as "cocaine comedown" the following day. Based on the level of coke in your system, the signs of a cocaine crash can differ; however, the most typical sign is extreme lethargy.

People might also encounter emotional and behavioral changes, including depression, agitation, and bodily effects such as abdominal pain. 

What is the Half-Life of Cocaine?

The half-life of cocaine is generally 60 minutes. This indicates that the system requires almost 60 minutes to remove 50% of the cocaine in the blood flow. But prolonged cocaine consumption might result in an increased time for removal, enabling specific drug tests to identify cocaine in the body for a longer time. 

Cocaine or its derivatives can often be detected in a person's blood or saliva examination for a maximum of 48 hours, a urine sample for 36 hours, and a hair follicle exam for several months to years. For example, a person who consumes cocaine in large quantities can show positive for two weeks in a urine examination.

However, various variables such as digestion, body mass, quantity, and regularity of consumption can all affect the duration that it remains in a person's body. Also, consuming alcohol while using cocaine could slow down the process of removal, which can prove to be hazardous. 

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What is the Significance of Cocaine Lab Testing?

Companies that hire candidates for specific job positions conduct drug testing in search of cocaine and other narcotics. Benzoylecgonine and cocaine, as well as the subsequent cocaine derivative ecgonine methyl ester, are particularly detectable using the commonly used testing technique known as enzyme immunoassay (EIA).

A blood test is a probable method for determining whether someone uses drugs at any specific moment. A person's cocaine use can be detected by conducting a hair test for a maximum of ninety days following the last use.

Because saliva tests are considerably less intrusive and more affordable than follicle or blood examinations, they are becoming more common for identifying illicit drug usage. Cocaine can be identified in salivary swabs for one day following the last dose. A relatively affordable urine analysis can identify cocaine if used in the last week. 

How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your System?

Drug tests can tell you how long cocaine has been present in particular areas of your body. Here’s how long cocaine can be detected by various drug tests:

Blood Drug Test

Cocaine can be detected for up to two days in a blood drug test.

Urine Drug Test

Traces of cocaine can be seen in urine for up to three days and longer in a urine test.

Saliva Drug Test

Cocaine is detectable in saliva for up to two days.

Hair Follicle Drug Test

Like many other drugs, traces of cocaine can be detected in hair for three months and longer in a hair drug test.

Although several testing methods are available, urine toxicological evaluation is still the most frequently used. People concerned about a positive cocaine test should learn more about the drug's dangers and think twice before quitting.

If someone finds it difficult to stop using cocaine, they may have an addiction. Therapy should be sought out as soon as possible by those addicted to cocaine.

Can Other Drugs Lead to a Positive Cocaine Test?

False alarms with urine testing for cocaine are uncommon. However, they can happen to anyone, and the test positive can lead to severe repercussions if unnoticed.

For example, according to the American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM), in one of their research activities, a screening result claiming to have a positive was found; however, it was a false positive, and the person in question had a negative impact on his pain management. 

If you or someone you know has faced a similar situation, it is recommended to take up with your physician or the concerned authority who demanded a drug test. Also, check if they can examine the reports with a different exam. For example, alternative tests might include tandem mass spectrometry or gas chromatography. 

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What Factors Influence the Time Cocaine Remains in Your System?

Specific elements are responsible for affecting the period cocaine stays in your body:

Your Body Mass and Digestion

It has been medically confirmed that the more the body weight of a person, the more time it takes to eliminate cocaine from the body.

How Often Cocaine is Used

If the frequency of cocaine use is periodic, it will remain in the body for longer.

The Amount of Cocaine Consumed

Highly addictive substances, such as cocaine, if taken in larger quantities, can stay longer in the system because of greater effects. 

Other Drugs Taken with Cocaine

If you are consuming cocaine paired with other substances such as liquor, doing so has been shown to prolong the drug's duration in your system.

How Cocaine Was Taken

Snorting or dabbing coke on your teeth or gums can enable it to remain in your body much longer than smoking or injecting it.

What are Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms?

When a person cuts back on or stops taking cocaine, signs of withdrawal may appear. Physical addiction sets up as the human body grows accustomed to retaining cocaine, which makes the brain crave cocaine to operate. When there is a spike in a person's cocaine use, the brain becomes accustomed to higher dosages and becomes less susceptible to its effects.

This often makes an individual consume in larger quantities and more regularly to avoid unpleasant withdrawal effects such as:

  • Lethargy

  • Lack of concentration

  • Increased hunger

  • Lack of sound sleep

  • Depression

  • Night terrors

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not authorized any pharmaceuticals to address cocaine withdrawal symptoms. This is because the withdrawal symptoms of cocaine mostly do not include severe patient distress or clinical hazards like withdrawal from narcotics and alcohol, so the requirement of medicines is not as urgent. 

What Causes Cocaine Addiction?

Dopamine is linked to 'euphoric' feelings, controlling physical activity, and generating reward mechanisms. People who use cocaine might feel a burst of happy sensations and euphoric feelings for a certain period; however, once the substance exits the body, they might encounter painful and uncomfortable symptoms such as irritability, turmoil, nervousness, and confusion. 

Such adverse reactions might force individuals to consume cocaine to dodge the unbearable withdrawal effects constantly. This constant urge to consume more until satisfied is the reason behind drug dependency. Reliance on a drug emerges when there is an increase in the dosage and regularity of drug use to attain the same degree of rush and temporarily lessen the adverse consequences of cocaine withdrawal.

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How to Identify a Cocaine Overdose

Becoming familiar with the symptoms of an overdose is crucial in case you or a loved one consumes cocaine. If you or another person exhibits any of the following early signs of a cocaine overdose, call emergency numbers immediately:

  • Seizures

  • Vomiting

  • Delusions

  • Increased heart rate

  • Nervousness

  • Chest pain

  • Drowsiness

  • Breathing problems

Cocaine sensations or feelings of euphoria are extreme. It lasts for a brief period, which is why this addictive drug possesses a great possibility of developing an addiction or poisoning.

If you are worried about your degree of cocaine consumption, always remember that support is available in every form. Try talking to a psychologist or rehab expert, or a general physician to understand more about the journey of recovery and treatment facilities.  

Treatment for Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine addiction is a difficult issue that involves physical, mental, familial, environmental, and hereditary aspects. When you are admitted to an addiction center or other treatment facility, you will be taught coping strategies and frequent therapy to understand the driving factors of your addiction and how to prevent them in the future. 

Addiction Centers

Addiction centers are used to address all facets of dependency. These courses may last anywhere from a few months to a full year. In addition, group meetings, therapy sessions, and rehabilitation programs are widely used. The availability of outpatient rehabs today also allows you to undergo therapy while attending to your obligations at home and work.

Behavioral Therapy

Behavioral therapy has a promising future in the fight against crack addiction. There are choices for inpatient and outpatient care in addiction treatment facilities. Drugs and therapeutic techniques are commonly mixed. Both behavioral regimens and psychotherapy, which focus on cognitive strategies to sustain your recovery, provide rewards for achieving goals related to giving up drug use.

Medication-Assisted Treatment

Although no pharmaceuticals are created specifically for treating cocaine addiction, there are a variety of medications with various uses, such as tranquilizers, that can be helpful.

Holistic Treatment

Relaxation, acupuncture, mindfulness, and herbal therapies are holistic solutions or alternative methods for treating cocaine addiction.

However, more research is needed to determine whether these therapies successfully treat cocaine addiction.

Cocaine Abuse is Treatable. The Forge Recovery Center Will Help

The cycle of cocaine abuse can seem helpless. While quitting a drug like cocaine is never easy, it’s possible with the right professional help. The Forge Recovery Center will help you break the cycle of cocaine abuse. Our evidence-based treatment and proven addiction medicine have helped many people leave drug abuse behind.

Cocaine is a dangerous drug to abuse, particularly with all the fentanyl out there. Why risk a drug overdose? Learn more about our cocaine treatment program by reaching out to The Forge Recovery Center today.

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