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How Long Does Cocaine Stay In Your System

how long cocaine stays in your system

Every day feels the same. You wake up after only spending a few hours asleep and binge on cocaine. The high keeps you awake enough to get what you need to get done. However, in a few hours, you already want more, and the cycle repeats. It is beginning to feel like a tedious task you can’t escape. You have to satisfy the urges. By midnight, you wonder if this is even worth it as your body feels exhausted from the crash. The pull to consume it is more than you are willing to admit. A part of you feels like you need help, but who is open at night to give you that assistance? You fear that by the time morning comes, you will be back to taking cocaine.

In 2020, 1,451 people received treatment for cocaine use disorder in Texas. At SUN Behavioral Health Houston, you can access 24/7 crisis care, ensuring you can begin treatment during hours or days when other resources are unavailable. When you decide to let it go, it can feel like a crisis as symptoms of withdrawal take effect. You might wonder how long cocaine stays in your system.

Immediate Effects of Cocaine Use

People often take cocaine for its immediate effects. These effects often occur within a few minutes to an hour and may encourage people to continue to use the substance. These effects may include euphoria, mental alertness, sensitivity to sound, and a decreased need for sleep or food. However, there can also be some immediate adverse effects that people may experience. These effects often include increased heart rate and blood pressure, restlessness, anxiety, and paranoia. 

Long-Term Effects of Cocaine Use 

Repeated exposure to cocaine can have more long-term effects. People might experience a tolerance that encourages them to use more to feel the same effects, which may increase their chances of experiencing an overdose. Long-term cocaine use may result in the person who uses the substance being more focused on it than they are on eating or relationships. If someone regularly participates in cocaine binges, they might have an increase in irritability, restlessness, and auditory hallucinations. 

The method by which you use cocaine may cause long-term effects as well. For example, snorting the substance can result in nosebleeds, irritation of the nasal septum, and a loss of the sense of smell. Smoking it, on the other hand, may result in damage to your lungs, or if you have asthma, it can worsen those symptoms. Injecting it may result in an increased risk for HIV and hepatitis C.

You may also experience withdrawal symptoms if you have not used cocaine in some time. Here are some withdrawal symptoms you might experience

  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Discomfort
  • Intense cravings
  • Increased appetite
  • Vivid dreams
  • Irritability

How Long Does it Take to Feel Cocaine’s Effects?

How someone takes cocaine can determine how long it will take to feel the effects. The most common ways people take this substance is by snorting, smoking, injecting, or swallowing. How long it takes to feel its effects often depends on several factors, such as other substances taken alongside cocaine and the method you take it. However, on average, there can be an expected length of time before you feel its effects, assuming cocaine is the only substance you are taking and you don’t have other health concerns. For example, injecting or smoking it can be felt within 5-10 seconds. However, it typically takes 3-5 minutes to feel its effects when snorted, while swallowing cocaine may take 10-30 minutes. 

duration of cocaine in body system

The Duration of Cocaine Use Effects

But how long do the effects of cocaine last? On average, the effects may last around 20-90 minutes. Because of how short of time cocaine effects can last, many people engage in binges where they use it multiple times in a short period to maintain the effects for a longer timeframe.

The Timeframe for Detecting Cocaine 

There are several ways people may test you for cocaine in your system. The most common method to test for cocaine in your system is urine tests. Typically, cocaine urine tests detect cocaine for 2-3 days after your last use, but you may still test positive for 2 weeks. Other forms of cocaine tests may include saliva tests, blood tests, and hair tests. When it comes to saliva tests, results are only able to detect cocaine for 1-2 days after your last use. Blood tests will typically only show cocaine for around 12 hours. Hair tests can detect cocaine for several months after use, depending on the length of your hair.

Factors that Influence the Time Cocaine Is in Your System

Several factors determine how long cocaine stays in your system. Some of these factors may include how long you have used it and how much you take. It can also be a matter of genetics, as some people take more or less time to remove cocaine from their bodies. Also, younger people will be able to remove the substance from their system faster than older people. If you have any health conditions, such as with your liver, you might find it takes longer to remove cocaine from your system thoroughly.

Does the Method of Use Impact Cocaine’s Duration in Your System?

One of the most significant factors in cocaine length is how much you take. However, the method by which you take cocaine does not necessarily impact how long it stays in your system. While the different methods can have different timelines of feeling the effects, there is no evidence that the method dictates how long it will last in your system.

How Does Cocaine Impact Your Metabolism?

Like many things, cocaine metabolizes in the liver with enzymes that help break it down into substances that allow the body to move throughout the body until it eventually leaves the body. Associated with metabolism is the half-life of cocaine, which is how long it takes for your body to remove half of the substance you consumed. For most people, the half-life of cocaine is around 1 hour, but this can vary based on several factors, such as the speed of your metabolism, how much you have taken, and how many times you have taken the substance. 

Mixing cocaine with alcohol and other substances is very dangerous because they can be unpredictable when combined. These other substances can make it harder for your body to break down cocaine, which in turn can result in a longer time for your body to remove the substances. It can also be impossible to accurately estimate how long it will take your body to remove cocaine from your body when mixed with these substances due to their unpredictable nature.

Testing Positive for Cocaine Due to Other Substances 

Typically, tests for cocaine are sensitive and specifically for it and its metabolites, which means other substances do not result in false positives for cocaine. False negatives can occur if you receive the test too early, but there have been no reported false positives for any method of cocaine test.

Factors that Impact Cocaine Detection Time

Several factors can impact the detection time of cocaine. These include:

  • How much you use
  • The method you used
  • The purity of the cocaine you used
  • Your body’s ability to metabolize it
  • What type of test you take

Is it Possible to Get Cocaine Out of Your Body Faster?

There is no proven way to remove cocaine from your body faster than just allowing time to pass. Your body will take as long as needed to remove the substance from its system. However, staying hydrated may help slightly increase your metabolism, but drinking more water than necessary to keep hydrated will not make it speed up even faster. Instead, it may create more problems. Ultimately, removing cocaine from your body takes time, but it’ll be worth it in the end.

cocaine detection timeframes

Cocaine Use Disorder Treatment Options in Houston, TX

Letting go of cocaine can be easier said than done in most cases. It might feel like an impossible task, especially if it has been a part of your life for several years. You might not even know who you are without cocaine, and imagining what that could look like seems like a fantasy. However, seeking treatment for cocaine addiction can make that fantasy a reality. You can lay the groundwork of your life with skills, techniques, and support that will transfer you to a brighter, healthier future. 

SUN Behavioral Health Houston solves unmet needs in Houston, TX. Our no-cost care assessments allow you to meet with a representative to help you determine the best care plan for your needs. To get started on your cocaine use disorder recovery journey, or if you have any questions or concerns, call us at 713-796-2273 today.


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