How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your System?
Cocaine is a highly potent stimulant drug that is extremely habit-forming and addictive. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), “Among people aged 12 or older in 2021, 1.7% (or about 4.8 million people) reported using cocaine in the past 12 months.”
While cocaine only causes a brief high, people tend to abuse this drug continuously or binge the drug to maintain the effect they are experiencing. Unfortunately, this causes them to become addicted to cocaine rather quickly.
Cocaine binges can be dangerous because they can lead to a life-threatening overdose. Understanding how long cocaine stays in your system could prevent you from taking too much of the substance at once.
How Long Do The Effects of Cocaine Last?
Cocaine is usually snorted, and snorting substances makes the effects appear faster, causing a rapid and potent high within minutes. While the onset of cocaine is fast, the effects only last about 20 to 30 minutes.
The immediate effects of cocaine include:
- Increased energy levels
- Decreased appetite
- An inability to sleep
- Agitation and restlessness
- Overconfidence that leads to risky behaviors
- High body temperature
- High blood pressure and increased heart rate
- Seizures and strokes
It is important to note that cocaine can leave lasting side effects long after the drug wears off. The long-term effects of cocaine abuse may include:
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Intense mood swings
After using cocaine, you may experience a “crash” the next day. Depending on how much cocaine you abused, the symptoms of a cocaine comedown can vary. However, it is most common to experience extreme fatigue, depression, and symptoms of anxiety.
How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your System?
Cocaine has a half-life of one hour, which means your body removes half of the substance from your system in about an hour. While your body can eliminate cocaine rather quickly, the drug leaves behind metabolites in your system that can be detected much longer. These metabolites are known as benzoylecgonine and ecgonine methyl ester.
The length of time these metabolites are detectable in your body depends on the type of drug test you are using. The detection times include:
Cocaine is detectable for up to 3 days when you are using a urine drug test. However, people who have been abusing this drug frequently over an extended period may test positive for this substance for up to 2 weeks because the metabolites build up in your system when you are a heavy user.
While urine tests are the most common form of drug testing, you should be aware of detection times for other types of tests. Blood tests can detect cocaine in your system for up to 2 days after the last use.
Saliva tests are similar to blood tests, as they also detect cocaine for up to 2 days after your last dose. These tests are less common as they are not as accurate as urine drug tests, however, some companies may use saliva tests before offering you a job.
Lastly, hair tests can detect any substance in your system for up to 90 days after your last use. While this is the longest detection window for any drug test, hair tests are less common because they are expensive.
Factors that Affect How Long Cocaine Stays in Your System
While there are general timelines that indicate how long cocaine stays in your system, certain factors can affect detection times. For example, someone who was abusing cocaine for multiple years may have a longer detection window than an individual who only used the drug once or twice.
Other factors that affect how long cocaine stays in your system include:
- The dosage of cocaine you consumed
- How often you were abusing cocaine
- The method you used to abuse cocaine (snorting may stay in your system longer than smoking)
- Whether you abused other substances like alcohol or opioids
- Your weight and metabolism
- Your age
- Overall health, including liver and kidney functioning
Factors like weight and metabolism play a role because the faster your system works to eliminate substances, the shorter your detection times will be. Additionally, abusing other substances like alcohol may cause cocaine to stay in your system longer because there is more for your body to eliminate than it can handle.
Finding Help for Cocaine Abuse and Addiction
Cocaine addiction is a serious condition that can cause abrupt behavioral changes, increased mental health issues, and physical health emergencies like seizures, strokes, and overdoses. If you or a loved one abuse cocaine, you may require professional drug rehab. These programs can provide you with the tools and support you need to successfully overcome addiction and learn to maintain long-term sobriety.
For more information on our cocaine addiction treatment program, contact Carolina Center for Recovery today. Our highly experienced treatment team can create an individualized treatment plan that suits your specific needs.
Medically Reviewed: February 10, 2023
All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.