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How long does cocaine last?

What are the effects of cocaine on the brain, how long does cocaine work, and is cocaine detectible in body fluids (cocaine in blood, hair, or urine)? Here, we review the way cocaine affects the brain and body, its duration and determinants of intensity. Your questions about finding help for cocaine addiction are invited at the end.

Cocaine effects on the body and brain

Acting as a strong central nervous system stimulant, cocaine increases the levels of dopamine (a neurotransmitter in the brain), which helps regulates both pleasure and movement. When cocaine is present, it causes serious disruption of the neurons and their activities in the brain and central nervous system. Cocaine prevents dopamine from being brought back to the cell that released it, which allows dopamine build up in the nerve synapse (the space between nerve cells). In this way, dopamine released by cocaine acts as a destructive signal, manifesting malfunctions in internal brain communication with transmitters. This is the main reasons why users feel euphoric when high on cocaine.

However, repeated use of cocaine can cause many short and long-term effects on the body and brain, each requiring medical attention. Furthermore, one of the most common mistakes that cocaine users make, especially relatively new ones, is to try to achieve the highest level of euphoria with first dose. However, fatalities from cocaine overdose can occur, even within previous drug dosing and considering tolerance levels.

Cocaine duration of action

Cocaine duration of action depends first upon mode of administration. Cocaine effects are different when administered by smoking, snorting, or iv injection. In fact, these methods becomes even more dangerous for the short and long term effects on your health, due to the rapid absorption of cocaine into your system. The basic relationship is this: the faster the absorption, the faster the high from cocaine but the shorter the duration of effect. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Despite the fact that main cocaine metabolites, such as ecgonine methyl ester, are centrally inactive, cocaine manages to be bound in plasma up to 90%.
  • Injecting cocaine produces effect within 30 seconds, but after oral administration, general effects will last for 2 hours.
  • Post-effects of cocaine may continue for days, especially with binge use.
  • Bioavailability reaches up to 70% after smoking cocaine, meaning that the brain is affected almost instantly.

Drug concentrationAdditionally, the presence of cocaine in the bloodstream can not directly be associated with a certain level of impairment or specific effects without additional information. The level of individual tolerance to cocaine and minor artificial changes to cocaine during storage also act their role in the length and strength of effects.

How long do cocaine effects last?

Dosing of cocaine is differentiated from the significant overlap of between therapeutic, toxic, and lethal cocaine concentrations in patients and addicts. Furthermore, repeated doses, also called binge use, can make a big difference on cocaine effects in the system. For a comparison, here is a list of cocaine doses taken through different routes, reaching plasma concentration peak levels at different time windows.

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  • A single dose of 30mg taken through intravenous injection, reaches peak levels only after 5 minutes.
  • After snorting a dose of 100mg cocaine, peak levels in plasma concentrations are reached 30 minutes later.
  • When 50mg of cocaine base are smoked, peak plasma concentrations are produced within 45 minutes.
  • After orally taking 140 mg/70 kg of cocaine, peak levels are reached after 1 hour.

Cocaine time in the body

Cocaine has a very short half-life of only 0.2 -0.8 hours. However, that does not mean that effects or evidence of cocaine are eliminated during this time. Benzoylecgonine, one of the main cocaine metabolites, can be present in urine for up to 4 days. This number is more than double for heavy chronic cocaine users, mainly following a binge use. Up to 2% of cocaine manages to leave the body unchanged through urine and about 70% of the initial amount of cocaine is recovered after 3 days.

How long does a cocaine high last?

The intensity and duration of high effects of cocaine depend on the way it is administered. In order to prolong their high pleasurable effects, user often practice binge use, where doses of cocaine are repeatedly taken within a relatively short period of time. While the user is still high from the last dose, he decides to go for another one. However, practicing this dangerous technique can often lead to addiction, a chronic relapsing disease. Addiction to cocaine is caused by drastic changes in the brain, of which the user is not aware, which results in strong cravings and constant compulsion for cocaine use, neglecting the negative consequences to health and environment.

Cocaine high effects

Cocaine high effects are almost nothing like any other drug, according to users. The high from cocaine usually consists of two phases. The early phase is mainly psychological and consists of euphoria, excitation, feelings of well-being, general arousal, increased sexual excitement, dizziness, self-absorbed, increased focus and alertness, mental clarity, increased talkativeness, motor restlessness, offsets fatigue, improved performance in some simple tasks, and loss of appetite.

Higher doses may exhibit a pattern of psychosis with confused and disoriented behavior, delusions, hallucinations, irritability, fear, paranoia, antisocial behavior, and aggressiveness. Physiological effects of cocaine use include increased heart rate and blood pressure, increased body temperature, dilated pupils, increased light sensitivity, constriction of peripheral blood vessels, rapid speech, dyskinesia, nausea, and vomiting.

The late phase of cocaine effects include psychological symptoms such as dysphoria, depression, agitation, nervousness, drug craving, general CNS depression, fatigue, or insomnia. Physiological symptoms of late phase cocaine use include itching/picking/scratching, normal heart rate, normal pupils.

Cocaine duration questions

After reading this article, do you still have some questions about cocaine? If you would like to know more about how long cocaine lasts, please post your question(s) and share your comment(s) in the next section. We will try to answer you personally and promptly.

Reference Sources: Hazardous Substances Data Bank TOXNET: Cocaine
National Highway and Traffic Administration: Cocaine
National Institute on Drug Abuse: Cocaine

Photo credit: DHHS

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52 Responses to “How long does cocaine last?
Pam
11:20 am April 5th, 2014

Is it possible for your brain to become “normal” again after long term cocaine use and if so how long does it take the brain to recover?

11:55 am April 7th, 2014

Hello Pam. Cocaine can cause long term effects on the brain, especially impacting the ability to feel or experience pleasure. PAWS (protracted or post-acute withdrawal symptoms) from cocaine can last for months after last use. Are you seeing a psychologist or a psychiatrist for help in cocaine use recovery?

sandra
10:38 am October 6th, 2014

can u answer a question for me please. if someone has used crack cocaine, only twice in the last 8months, will it show up in a hair drugs test? thank you

11:43 am October 6th, 2014

Hi Sandra. Cocaine concentrations in hair are visible for at least 90 days after dosing. However, cocaine does not leave its marks at the root of the hair, but to specific areas. That means that it is there until the hair falls out or is cut off.

sandra
5:29 pm October 6th, 2014

will cocaine show up in a hair drug test going back 7months if it has only been used a couple of times?

sandra
9:58 am October 7th, 2014

thank you for your reply to my question, is there any chance that you could give me a rough estimate as to how much it would cost to have a hair strand test to detect crack cocaine and alchohol please as my son has got to have one for the courts. without having the test done he cannot have any contact with his 4 year old daughter. we need to know roughly as he is not working at the moment & depending on the price me & his father might be able to pay for this, thank you very much

7:58 am October 8th, 2014

It is very possible to detect it if the hair hasn’t been cut. Especially if your son has used within the past 90 days. The average cost of this method is in the $100-$150 range.

john doe
5:05 am November 7th, 2014

Can you achieve that same high when you first did it. I haven’t done it in about 2 years. Justna question. thanks.

stuart
2:37 am December 26th, 2014

how long dos a run nose last for

1:09 pm December 29th, 2014

Hi Stuart. Try using a nasal spray, it might get rid of the irritants before they get bad or for a long-term solution, quit using cocaine.

kieshauna
12:30 am January 18th, 2015

I smoked crack on the 2 second of January a few times and that was it now I had a urine test done by dyfes on the 14th of January in between that time I drank plenty of water,, large amount of apple juice my the urine was sent out to a lab im not a binge smoker do u think I will pass the test

lucky
7:16 pm February 23rd, 2015

If I just took three hits of crack Saturday night would it show up in my plasma Tuesday

sherry
3:26 pm March 3rd, 2015

I snorted cocaine last Thursday i have a drug test this Tuesday is it still in my system

Daniel
9:58 am March 14th, 2015

i like amphetamine
I snorted it right now

denise
3:59 am March 17th, 2015

I snorted cocaine on a Monday the 9th and I have to go and do a urine test Tuesday the 17the will the test still read positive r negative has it been long enough for the cocaine to be out of my system by now

BB
2:19 am March 27th, 2015

what happens if they test the same urine twice after 3 days

10:49 am March 27th, 2015

Hi BB. The urine sample should stay unchanged, so the results will probably be the same.

michelle
6:30 am April 13th, 2015

Hi my husband has been doing cocaine since he was 15 he didn’t do it as much as he does now he won’t admit to me of what’s going on with him his nose bleeds when he blows his nose and his pupils are dilated . I’m very concerned about him he’s very aggressive at times he’s also very tired . How can i get him to admit it to me and for him to stop .

4:01 pm April 15th, 2015

Hi Michelle. It’s a lot for one person to have to do it all on you own. I believe you should seek professional help for your husband to quit use, get through withdrawal and then continue treatment that will prevent relapse and ensure long-term sobriety. I also advise you to seek counselor’s help for yourself and get some guidance on how to deal with the whole situation.

maria
4:53 am April 23rd, 2015

If someone yes cocaine Friday night and they dorp on Tuesday wiiil they still come out drity

Jimmy
5:39 pm May 13th, 2015

Hello, I have not used cocaine in 3 years but just yesterday I decided to get some more. It was a mistake. However, I still have some left.. a lot left in fact. My question is.. well, I feel the cravings again. Sigh.. I’m seeing a psychologist and we have made so much progress and now I feel that I’m falling back into old habits. What other treatment options would be helpful for me to get on the right track and get off this stuff for good. Any and all advice will be much appreciated.

12:29 pm May 14th, 2015

Hi Jimmy. Counselors, psychiatrists or group therapy are some of the options. You have to work hard and be disciplined to stay sober. Cravings come and go, maybe you can work with addiction professionals to learn practical ways for resisting triggers and staying on track.

zazz
6:34 pm May 17th, 2015

How long after smoking cocaine does it reach your urine.For instances if i used cocaine /crack an then urined immediately after would it be in the urine already.

manuel
4:48 am June 20th, 2015

two snife of cocaine how much it last in system

Dee
6:03 pm July 24th, 2015

After a week of not messing with cocaine can a person pass a saliva test.

Laura
4:17 am July 27th, 2015

How long does it take for the dopamine levels to level back out because i am not a cocaine abuser but tried it even having depression and anxiety in the recent past but had just gotten to a point where the depression and anxiety were gone but after the cocaine, i feel really angry and depressed.. help please. I will never touch that stuff again..

Heather
7:06 pm September 13th, 2015

I shared an 8 ball with my friend last night. Started at 11 pm and finished by 12 noon the next day. My heart is pounding about 96 bpm. I haven’t used this amount since February. Should I be worried?

4:02 pm September 22nd, 2015

Hi Heather. If you feel the symptoms are getting worrying and more intense, please seek medical help. It may be nothing, but risking your life is not an option.

Concerned
4:39 pm October 3rd, 2015

How long after use does cocaine affect a person’s perceptions and reactions?

cesar
8:43 am November 11th, 2015

if someone has 8 days without cocain use an has a blood test done would it be detected

Gabriel
12:36 am November 13th, 2015

How long your pupils will be dilated ? For 1-2 hours ?

2:01 pm November 13th, 2015

Hello Gabriel. It depends on so many factors. If you are a frequent user, the dilated pupils can be followed by constricted pupils. How long will they stay dilated depends on how cocaine is taken. If smoked (crack) pupils are dilated the fastest, if inhaled – a bit slower.

Sherry
1:30 am November 24th, 2015

What is the best way to have someone tested for cocaine in there system. My boyfriend is an addict and wants to stop. He agreed to get tested as often as I want to have him tested to prove he hasn’t used it. I want to know the best way and how often is recommended to be able to see if he is staying clean.

4:50 pm November 24th, 2015

Hello Sherry. There are plenty drug tests out! Experts claim that hair drug test can detect drug usage up to 90 days. However, I suggest you consult a laboratory professional to advise you on cocaine drug testing. Also, here’s an article on the topic which I hope you find useful: http://drug.addictionblog.org/how-long-does-cocaine-stay-in-blood-hair-or-urine/

johnb
7:28 am December 5th, 2015

I sniffed 1.2 grams tonight, in the space of about roughly 6 hours, how long will the effects last

Anthony
7:25 pm December 14th, 2015

I wanted to know if a person uses cocaine every Saturday how long would it take to come out your system

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
9:14 pm December 14th, 2015

Hi, Anthony. Cocaine can be detected up to 4 days in the urine. But, this number can be bigger for heavy cocaine users. Also, it all depends of dosage, frequency of use, person’s metabolism, etc.

Junior
8:38 am December 25th, 2015

If you use cocaine how long does it take too lose the effects in the same day 2 hours or 3?

M
6:15 pm December 28th, 2015

How long does a cocaine high last when snorted? How long for individual to ‘recover/come to normal state’ after drug use?

Roxy
3:12 pm December 30th, 2015

I find that cocaine seems to have a different effect on me than it does for most people. I only use maybe 4 times a year, maybe 12 times total. I snort it in the binge method described and only do slightly less than my companions, who use more frequently. I notice that after I use I don’t feel any different at all, not for the rest of the night. The next morning, maybe 8-10 hours later I feel absolutely wonderful. Not high, but less depressed, awake and happy. This is unusual for me, as I have severe depression and hypersomnia. It’s especially a contrast from my companions who feel like crap in the morning. This good/ energetic feeling usually continues until the end of the next day, never any crash or comedown. This has happened every single time I’ve used. Going to bed sober I almost never wake up feeling “good”, it’s a struggle just to get out of bed. This kind of reaction doesn’t make any sense, is there any record of people feeling energized for 48 hours after snorting coke? I am female, slightly overweight, in my 20’s.

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
7:32 pm December 30th, 2015

Hi, M. Cocaine high time varies from person to person. It depends on dosage, frequency of use, the body itself, etc.

M
6:01 pm December 31st, 2015

But how long after a one night use will it take that individual to be at a ‘normal state’?? Clear thinking, positive attitude etc.

Anne
11:01 am January 2nd, 2016

Hi. I do coke 3 or 4 times a year. Last night I took 1 bump and 30 min later I was vomiting, nauseous, dizzy, headache, sweating. These symptoms have persisted for 22 hours now. It was strong, but is it possible to OD on just one bump? And is it possible that symptoms could last so long? I drank 3/4 bottle of champagne over a 7 hr period with not a lot of food. What might be the issue here? Thanks.

Karen
7:19 am January 31st, 2016

I am 59 weigh 245 and did a half gram of cocaine on 1/30/2016 and have a drug test on 2/16/2016 will I pass be OK with staying away from it for 17 days

sebs
2:54 pm February 10th, 2016

how much coke do i snort. first time. how long will the peak last

Pablo
9:34 pm February 19th, 2016

Hi I have a question
What can I take or do to wear offor the high of cocaine?

Mike
2:36 am February 21st, 2016

Ruins people’s lives and there families

Joanne
5:56 pm February 21st, 2016

How long does the tachycardia last?

saucy
12:53 am February 24th, 2016

The man I have been seeing for a few weeks has told me he loves me and I’m everything to him , will he be telling the truth as he only tells me when he has taken cocaine? ??

Lacey
5:04 pm April 28th, 2016

I was positive for cocaine 21 days (3weeks) after a heavy binge use. I used multiple drugs take prescription drugs and liquid methadone daily. I also drink little water and I’m not very l what is the explanation for.

Tarryn
4:15 am June 11th, 2016

Hi there,

My husband did cocaine once after his been drinking a lot at a party. He is a sports man and doing drugs is not at all his thing, in his nature or culture.
But it happened about 4 times now where he doesnt come home after drink with colleagues and admit to doing crack cocaine. The only time this happens is when his been drinking heavily. I have so many queations… Can this craving or brain wave happen only when his drinking. Should he quit drinking totally or go to a rehab? I am not sure what to make of this.

Deej
11:51 am August 19th, 2016

Every person that has asked the say question shouldn’t even be trying crack or coke if they are going to ask if it’s going to show up in a ua test a week later. The answer is no. I’ve been on ua’s for the last 12 years. I’m a heavy user of alcohol and coke. I’ve failed 4 ua’s the whole time. 3 for alcohol, once for coke. Stop stressing. (I’m also 150, and 5’8. Fast metabolism. Just know your body if you want to party.

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