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How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your System?

How long does cocaine stay in your system? Read on to learn about cocaine, the effects of cocaine, and treatment options. 

Overview

People misuse cocaine by snorting it, smoking it, or injecting it. The effects of cocaine are felt almost immediately and can last for 30 minutes to an hour. Cocaine is a powerful stimulant that increases alertness, feelings of euphoria, and energy. Unfortunately, it also decreases appetite and can lead to insomnia.1

Cocaine is addictive and long-term use can lead to serious health problems such as heart attack and stroke. Cocaine is detectable in the body for a short time after use, but how long does cocaine stay in your system? And what are the risks associated with using it?

How long does cocaine stay in your system

What Is Cocaine?

Cocaine is a psychoactive substance that stimulates the central nervous system. It is derived from the coca plant native to South America. The active ingredient in cocaine is tropane alkaloid, which acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain.2 Cocaine was first isolated in 1859 by German chemist Albert Niemann.3

Cocaine Half-Life

How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your System?

Below lists common questions and answers regarding how long cocaine stays in your system: 

  • How Long Does It Stay in Your Hair?: Cocaine traces can be found in your hair for up to 90 days.
  • How Long Does It Stay in Your Saliva?: Cocaine is detectable in your saliva for up to 48 hours.
  • How Long Does It Stay in Your Urine?: Cocaine can be found in urine for up to four days.
  • How Long Does It Stay in Your Blood?: Cocaine can be found in your bloodstream for up to two days.

In the early 1900s, cocaine was widely used as a medicinal drug and was even an ingredient in Coca-Cola. However, its use became increasingly controversial and eventually outlawed in most countries. Today, cocaine is a Schedule II drug in the United States, meaning that it has a high potential for abuse but can be used for medical purposes under strict controls.

Despite its illegal status, cocaine remains a popular recreational drug, with approximately 14 million people using it yearly. Although cocaine use comes with several risks, including addiction and overdose, it is continued to be used recreationally. Cocaine is one of the most used drugs in the United States, and almost 5.2 million people in the U.S used this drug in 2020.4

Factors That Affect Cocaine Detection Time

Several factors can affect how long cocaine stays in your system, including:

  • Dosage
  • Type of drug test
  • Urine pH
  • Frequency of usage
  • Body weight
  • Metabolism

How Long Do the Effects of Cocaine Last?

Cocaine is a potent central nervous system stimulant. Its effects can last anywhere from a few minutes to several hours, depending on the dose and the amount taken. Cocaine increases levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain, resulting in feelings of pleasure and euphoria.

It also decreases the need for food and sleep and can increase alertness and energy levels. However, cocaine also has many harmful short- and long-term effects. So first, let’s look at the short-term effects of cocaine.

Short-Term Side Effects

The short-term effects are:

  • Euphoria
  • Increased alertness
  • Increased energy
  • Decreased appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety 
  • Aggression
  • Restlessness
 

These are just some of the short-term effects of cocaine use. If you or someone you know is experiencing these effects, it is essential to get help immediately, as they can be very dangerous.

Long-Term Side Effects

Cocaine is a highly addictive drug, and long-term use can lead to serious health problems. Some of the long-term effects of cocaine include:5

  • Brain damage
  • Heart disease
  • Lung damage
  • Stroke
  • Seizures
  • Ulcers
  • Kidney damage

How Long Does It Take to Get Addicted to Cocaine?

While the answer to how long it takes to get addicted to cocaine may not be simple, some risk factors can contribute to a quicker addiction. For example, the first time someone uses cocaine, they may feel an intense rush of energy and happiness. This feeling is caused by the drug increasing dopamine levels in the brain.

Dopamine

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s pleasure center. While the initial high from cocaine may only last for a few minutes, the effects of dopamine can last much longer. With repeated use, people build up a tolerance to cocaine and need larger doses to get the same high. Unfortunately, as their tolerance grows, they also become more dependent on the drug, both physically and psychologically.6

While there is no definitive answer to how long it takes to become addicted to cocaine, research suggests that it can happen after just one use. Therefore, the best way to avoid addiction is to prevent using cocaine altogether.

Cocaine half life

Get Help for a Cocaine Addiction at Alta Centers

If you or a loved one are struggling with a cocaine addiction, it is essential to seek professional help as soon as possible.  Alta Centers offers a comprehensive treatment program to help our clients overcome addiction and lead healthy lives.

Our knowledgeable and experienced staff provides individualized care, ensuring that each client receives the specific resources and support they need to succeed. We offer various services, including individual therapy, group therapy, and family counseling. These give our clients the tools to recover from addiction and build a foundation for long-term sobriety. If you are ready to take the first step on the road to recovery, contact us today at Alta Centers. We are here to help you every step of the way.

The Bottom Line

Cocaine is a powerful stimulant drug that can have serious side effects, including heart attack, stroke, and death. Long-term cocaine use can also lead to anxiety, paranoia, and depression.

While cocaine is sometimes used recreationally, its potential for addiction and harm makes it a hazardous drug. However, if you or someone you know is struggling with cocaine addiction, resources are available to help. Seek professional help today to avoid the potentially deadly consequences of cocaine use.

Questions About Treatment?

Our knowledgeable team is ready to discuss your situation and options. Your call is confidential with no obligation required.