Cocaine itself doesn’t last in the body very long. Depending on how users take it, the drug lasts anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour and a half. When snorting, smoking, or injecting the drug, it can last up to 20 minutes. However, when ingesting it orally, it can last up to 90 minutes.
Even though the drug’s felt effects don’t last very long, drug tests can detect traces of cocaine for a much more extended period. There are several common types of tests, and each can detect the drug for various durations.
What happens is that the body breaks cocaine down very quickly. It has a six-hour half-life, which means the body eliminates half of whatever is left every six hours. However, in breaking down cocaine, the body produces other substances that drug tests can detect. The primary substance that most drug tests look for is a metabolite known as benzoylecgonine. This metabolite has double the half-life of cocaine.
What is Cocaine?
Cocaine is a fine, white powder derived from the coca plant’s leaves. Native to South America, this potent drug is highly-addictive and highly-regulated in the United States. You might have heard one of the other names for it: Crack, Blow, Snow, Coke, or Rock, among others.
Most users ingest the drug via snorting, injecting, or smoking. It’s often mixed with other substances like talcum powder or sugar. Sometimes dealers mix other drugs into it, like procaine or amphetamines.
Cocaine use is dangerous and can lead to severe short-term and long-term consequences. Indeed, overdosing with the drug can lead to death from respiratory failure, stroke, heart attack, or a cerebral hemorrhage.
What are the short-term effects of cocaine?
Cocaine impacts your body almost immediately after a single dose. The duration of effect depends on how much you used and how you took it. For example, snorting the drug takes longer to get high than smoking, but the high usually last longer. When you use cocaine, the drug releases high levels of dopamine into your brain. This flood of chemicals leads to euphoria, high energy, and alertness. In this “high” state, you might experience extreme sensitivity to your senses like sight, sound, or touch.
You might experience intense happiness for awhile. However, it might cause you to feel opposite emotions, too, like anger or irritability. You could have feelings of paranoia like everyone is out to get you. Also, you might have sensations of tremors or vertigo. Physically, the drug constricts your blood vessels. This constriction leads to dilated pupils and increased heart rate. Also, it raises your body temperature and blood pressure.
Severe medical problems can occur from a single dose, even if the user has never done cocaine before. Common issues include cardiovascular issues, including heart attacks. Other effects are neurological, including seizures, strokes, or even coma. Moreover, on rare occasions, even death can occur from the first use of the drug. Combining cocaine with other drugs like heroin or even alcohol can be extremely dangerous. Alcohol and cocaine mixture increases the risk of heart damage. Heroin’s sedating effects can offset the stimulant experience of cocaine. This offset can increase the risk of overdose.
What are the long-term effects of cocaine?
When you use cocaine regularly over long periods, your brain begins to adapt to the presence of the drug. That means that it increasingly takes more and more of the drug to produce the same effects. In other words, you begin to develop a tolerance to the drug. At the same time, you might experience increased anxiety or negative moods when not taking the drug. These signs of withdrawal may lead you to seek cocaine more often. You might even neglect friends, family relationships, or work.
The combination of higher tolerance and sensitivity can increase the risk of overdose. Moreover, binging on the drug can lead to panic attacks, increased paranoia, and even psychosis. In this state, users completely lose touch with reality and often experience hallucinations. Long-term use of cocaine can also lead to organ damage, heart disease, and various cancers. Snorting can lead to nasal damage. Injecting can lead to track marks and scars. Smoking the drug can lead to lung or throat cancer.
However, the primary risk of repeated use of cocaine is addiction. When it comes to cocaine use, various tests can find it in the boyd’s system for much longer than people may realize. Here are some typical drug test types and their detection times:
How long does cocaine stay in the urine?
Cocaine is detectable in urine for around two to four days. However, in some cases, heavy users can fail a urine test even after a couple of weeks. Urine tests are non-invasive, unlike blood tests, but results can take up to a week to get back.
How long does cocaine stay in the saliva?
Saliva tests can detect cocaine for up to two days since the last dose. This test is also non-invasive.
How long does cocaine stay in the bloodstream?
Drug tests can detect cocaine in the blood for up to two days. Blood tests are quite invasive and can be painful. However, the results are immediate.
How long does cocaine stay in your hair follicles?
Drug tests can detect cocaine in hair for anywhere from months to a few years. The reason is that traces of blood end up in the hair follicles. This test is difficult to cheat, and the results are more accurate.
What Factors Affect How Long it Stays in Your System?
Numerous factors determine how long cocaine stays in the body. People usually can’t change most of these factors easily or quickly.
Height, Weight, and Age: Typically, the younger or healthier a person is, the better the body will be at eliminating the drug. People who are overweight may have more problems breaking down cocaine in the body.
Amount and Frequency of Use: The history of drug use can impact how long it takes for the body to break down the drug. Generally speaking, the higher the amounts and the more often you use cocaine, the longer it takes for the body to break down.
General Health: Your liver is responsible for breaking down substances like cocaine in the body. For people with liver damage or disease, the liver can take longer to break cocaine down.
Last Dose: If someone used cocaine recently, it would take their body longer to eliminate the drug than someone who took the drug months ago. Also, the drug’s purity level can affect how long it takes the body to break it down.
How You Used It: The method of ingestion affects how long it takes the body to remove it. Snorting or gumming cocaine will generally take the body longer to remove it than smoking or injecting it.
Metabolism: Everyone’s metabolism is different. For people with higher metabolisms, the body can break down the drug faster than others. Slower metabolisms take longer to eliminate the drug.
How Do You Get Cocaine Out of Your System?
There are no shortcuts to get cocaine out of your system. The only way to do it is through detoxification (also known as detox). Detox technically starts the moment you stop using the drug. You may experience various withdrawal symptoms during detox.
Compared with alcohol withdrawal, cocaine withdrawal usually has less severe physical symptoms. However, the withdrawal symptoms of cocaine are typically psychological and can be extreme.
Here are some of the most common withdrawal symptoms:
- Difficulty concentrating or confusion
- Anxiety or agitation
Cocaine withdrawal symptoms will begin within the first 24 hours of your last use. This “crash” period can last for a few days. In the first few days, you will begin to experience exhaustion, depression, and anxiety.
After a couple of days, you will begin to experience symptoms like lethargy, mood swings, and irritability. This period is when you will start to experience intense cravings for cocaine. This phase generally lasts anywhere from a week to several weeks. Beyond that, you can continue to experience cravings and depressed moods for several months.
During detoxification, you are likely to experience intense cravings for cocaine. It’s not uncommon for people to relapse because of severe withdrawal symptoms. Getting help during detoxification is an essential part of recovery.
Getting Help Safely
There are many methods of treatment during detoxification. You might talk to a counselor about the cravings and triggers and how to avoid them. You might work with a psychologist to help cope with the stress or any underlying mental health issues.
Here are some of the risks to manage during detoxification:
- Intense cravings
- Mental health risks
- Cardiovascular problems
Depending on your situation, you will choose either inpatient detox or outpatient detox. The difference is that outpatient detox programs let you go home in the evenings. Inpatient programs treat you on a full-time basis. Outpatient programs are generally cheaper and are best for those with strong support at home. Inpatient programs are essential for severe cases or those with dangerous home situations.
Whether you or a loved one needs help with cocaine detoxification, Coastal Detox is here to help. Contact us today to learn how we can help you recover from cocaine addiction.