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How Long Does Cocaine Stay In Your System

Man wondering, "How long does cocaine stay in your system?"

Usually recognizable by its white, powdery appearance, cocaine is a powerful stimulant. Stimulants are a specific group of drugs that target a person’s central nervous system. Cocaine, notoriously known for its role in many Hollywood blockbuster movies like “Scarface,” is an entirely illegal substance. It’s taken recreationally by people looking to achieve quick highs that increase energy, awareness, and alertness. The real question, however, is how long does cocaine stay in your system?

Because of its ability to provide short bursts of energy and alertness, cocaine is a substance that is misused by many people in many age groups with many different backgrounds. In its most common form, a powdery white substance, cocaine is typically snorted. Over the course of time, this can cause many issues for someone’s breathing as it damages their nasal passages. Cocaine can also be smoked or injected. When injected, it is often dissolved in water and then injected into a vein. Cocaine addiction treatment can help you or a loved one heal.

Side Effects of Cocaine

Cocaine is a stimulant that increases the speed of your body’s systems. It improves alertness, awareness, energy, talkativeness, and focus. It also provides a feeling of joy. Despite the positive effects the drug provides for the person consuming it, there are even more negative effects. For example, in the short term, cocaine increases heart rate and breathing, and that can lead to anxiety or panic. More short-term side effects that can last from immediately after dose up to an hour or two after use include:

  • Increased body temperature
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Violence
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Panic
  • Paranoia (fear someone is trying to hurt you)
  • Tremors
  • Vertigo (dizziness)
  • Muscle twitches
  • Seizure

With consistent use, long-term side effects can set it. As with any substance, the mind and body will continue to crave more of the substance, leading to a greater and greater potential for overdose. More long-term side effects are:

  • Lung damage (including asthma)
  • Dependence
  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Panic attacks
  • Increased risk of getting diseases like HIV or Hepatitis C
  • Loss of senses
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Heart attack
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Coma
  • Death


What Is the Half-Life of Cocaine?

The half-life of a drug refers to the point at which it has completed half of its course in the body. It’s used to estimate the drug’s duration. For example, if a drug has a two-hour half-life, its value in the body will be halved after two hours, and then halved again in the next two hours. So, in four hours, the drug will be 75% eliminated.

Cocaine has a short half-life of about one hour, which explains its intense but short-lived effects. Metabolism also affects a drug’s lifespan, and cocaine is rapidly metabolized by the liver and blood enzymes.

How Soon Can I Pass a Drug Test?

This depends on many factors, including what type of drug test is given. In the most common form of drug test, urine, cocaine is typically detectable for three to six hours. The way a person takes cocaine (injected, snorted, inhaled) has little effect on how long the drug is detectable in a person’s system. The way it is taken will only affect how fast the substance provides a high and how long the high lasts. There are many factors that play a role in how long cocaine will remain in the body of a person. Those factors include:

  • Amount of dose
  • Tolerance
  • Time of last use
  • Urine concentration and acidity (pH level)
  • Frequency of use
  • Age
  • Body mass
  • Metabolism
  • Kidney and liver function

There are also blood tests, saliva tests, and the rare hair follicle test. It’s important to know about these other tests because detection time can be much different from what urine tests provide. In blood tests, cocaine can be seen often for up to 12 hours. In saliva tests, cocaine is detectable for about 48 hours. Hair samples, again, are rare but of note because of their long detection window. A hair follicle drug test involves sending hair samples to a lab. No amount of product, hair dye, or washing can change the results of a hair follicle test. Hair follicle testing has a detection period of up to 90 days for cocaine.

Cocaine Withdrawal

Detoxing from or quitting cocaine is not easy. That is not meant to scare you away from it but rather to give you a warning that it is a tough journey. Quitting cocaine cold turkey on your own is downright dangerous.

The withdrawal from cocaine is intense and can have serious health consequences when done without the supervision of doctors and nurses. By attending a detox program, patients can get 24-hour-per-day monitoring to help them throughout this process.

Cocaine Addiction Treatment and Detox

Cocaine detox and treatment may be necessary for you or your loved one to finally rid yourself of the harmful toxins in the substance. At Woodland Recovery Center, we will work with you through detox and treatment using evidence-based forms of treatment in our inpatient and outpatient programs. Our treatment includes one-on-one counseling, group therapy, activity-based therapy, and much more to help our clients in their recovery journey.

Don’t hesitate to call us today to begin the journey. Call Woodland Recovery Center today at 662.222.2989 to learn more about treatment or to simply ask questions you may still have about cocaine.