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How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your System?

How long does cocaine stay in your system? The answer depends on many factors, including the rate of use.

What Is Cocaine?

Cocaine is a white, powdery substance that comes from coca plant leaves. It is typically snorted but can also be injected or smoked. Cocaine produces a short-lived high that is followed by feelings of euphoria, increased energy, and alertness. Cocaine is highly addictive, and long-term use may lead to serious health problems, including a substance abuse disorder.

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How Is Cocaine Used?

Cocaine can be taken in a variety of different ways. These include:

  • Smoking: Smoking cocaine is a less common method of use but consists of the cocaine being heated and then inhaling the vapors.
  • Snorting: Snorting is the most common way to use cocaine. The powder is inhaled via the nose, where it is absorbed into the body’s bloodstream.
  • Ingestion: Cocaine can also be ingested. This is typically done by mixing it with food or drink. Ingesting cocaine takes longer for the effects to be felt, but the high lasts longer as well.
  • Injection: Injecting cocaine is the most dangerous way to use the drug. It is also the most efficient way to get the drug into the body’s bloodstream. Injecting cocaine may lead to serious health problems and joint damage.

How is Cocaine Metabolized in Your Body?

Cocaine metabolism works in your body via the liver. The liver breaks down cocaine into metabolites that are then excreted into your urine. Cocaine’s half-life is about one hour. Therefore, it takes about one hour for your body to break down half the cocaine that has been consumed.

How Long Do the Effects of Cocaine Last?

The effects of cocaine and how long they last often depend on the method of administration. This ranges anywhere from fifteen minutes, if one is smoking the substance, to up to ninety minutes, if one is ingesting it. 

Side Effects and Health Risks of Cocaine Use

Some common side effects of cocaine usage can include heart attack, stroke, and seizures. Cocaine use can also lead to mental health problems, such as anxiety and paranoia.

Short-Term Effects

Short-term cocaine effects include euphoria, increased energy and alertness, increased heart rate and blood pressure, dilated pupils, and loss of appetite.

Long-Term Effects

Long-term cocaine use can lead to a substance abuse disorder, and other physical effects like prolonged seizures and heart problems.

Cocaine Dependence and Addiction

Cocaine addiction is a serious problem. Cocaine addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease that is characterized by compulsive cocaine-seeking and use, despite harmful consequences.1

Cocaine Overdose

Cocaine overdose is a medical emergency that may lead to death. Symptoms of a cocaine overdose include seizures, convulsions, and heart attacks. If you start to notice the symptoms of what you think is a cocaine overdose in either yourself or a loved one, immediately contact emergency services so you can get the help you need.

How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your System?

Cocaine’s half- life is about one hour. The half-life of cocaine means it takes about one hour for your body to break down half the cocaine that has been consumed, meaning it’s no longer as potent in your body anymore.2

Detecting Cocaine in Your System

Even though the half-life of cocaine is only about an hour, the length of time that it’s possible to detect cocaine in your system varies depending on the method of detection, along with if a tolerance has been built up. These methods of detection include blood tests, urine tests, hair tests, and saliva tests. The detection times for these differing methods include: 

  • Blood:  Cocaine detection time for blood is up to forty-eight hours after use.
  • Urine: It is detectable in urine up to seventy-two hours after use.
  • Hair: It is detectable in hair for several months—sometimes years in some extreme cases.
  • Saliva:  It is detectable in saliva up to two days after use.

Factors That Affect How Long Cocaine Stays in Your System

There are many different factors that affect how long cocaine stays in your system as well. These are: 

  • Genetics
  • Dosage
  • Drug use history
  • Frequency of use
  • Urine pH
  • Type of drug test
  • Pre-existing health conditions

Cocaine Withdrawal

Cocaine withdrawal symptoms include fatigue, depression, anxiety, and irritability. In more serious instances, cocaine withdrawal may lead to hallucinations and delusions.3

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to knowing how to cope with cocaine withdrawal. Some people may find that they can cope with cocaine withdrawal on their own, while others may need professional help.

Rehab for Cocaine Addiction and Abuse

How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your System

How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your System

A cocaine rehab program can aid you or a loved one in overcoming a substance abuse disorder. A cocaine addiction rehab program will typically include a detox period, followed by counseling and therapy. All rehab programs look slightly different depending on what the patient needs, but each program is there to help and support the patient with whatever they may need. 

Cocaine Detox

Cocaine detox is the first step in most, if not all, rehab programs. During cocaine detox, your body will rid itself of the cocaine and its metabolites. Doing so in a treatment facility makes sure that you or a loved one are able to detox in a safe environment with access to medical care if needed. Cocaine detox can be a difficult and uncomfortable process, but it's important to get through it in order to start your recovery.4

Inpatient Rehab

Inpatient rehab is a type of cocaine addiction treatment that requires you to stay at the facility for a certain period of time. Inpatient rehab can be an effective way to get through cocaine withdrawal and successfully start your recovery.

Outpatient Rehab

Outpatient rehab is a type of treatment that allows you to live at home while you receive treatment, which is usually accomplished by going into the treatment center for a few hours every couple of days. This is best suited for people who have a strong support system at home, or who might have other responsibilities that preclude them from doing an inpatient rehab.


Aftercare is an important part of recovery and aids you in staying on track after treatment is over so you can avoid potentially relapsing.

Contact Boardwalk Recovery for Help

If you or a loved one struggle with a cocaine substance abuse disorder, we can help. Contact Boardwalk Recovery today to learn more about our treatment options. We offer a variety of clinical addiction services, therapies, and modalities. With our help, you can get your life back on track.
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