How long does cocaine stay in your system?
Cocaine levels peak in the blood about 30 minutes after you take it. But cocaine’s action in and on the body depends upon several factors. Dosage, mode of administration, single vs. multiple use. But in general, cocaine and its metabolites stay in the system and can be detected 2-4 days after use.
More on cocaine half life, peak levels, and drug testing for cocaine here. Please leave your questions or feedback about cocaine in your system in the comments section below.
What is cocaine used for?
When applied topically, cocaine can be used as a local anesthetic. Traditionally, coca leaves are chewed as a stimulant or brewed into a tea for refreshment and to relieve fatigue. Recreationally, cocaine is used to increase alertness, relieve fatigue, feel stronger and more decisive, can become highly addictive due to its intense euphoric effects (a strong feeling of well-being). Getting high on cocaine is possible because cocaine blocks the removal of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain. This result in an accumulation of dopamine that causes continuous pleasurable stimulation of brain cells.
Peak levels and half life of cocaine
The high you get on a single dose of cocaine depends upon how you take it. In general, the effects of an ingested dose of cocaine lasts about 20-30 minutes. Peak levels of cocaine in blood plasma also vary by mode of administration. When snorting cocaine, levels peak around 30 minutes. In comparison, oral administration of cocaine usually results in peak plasma concentrations at 1 hour. Single intravenous doses of cocaine produced an average peak plasma concentration within 5 minutes. Smoking cocaine base peaks at 45 minutes.
- Intravenous = 5 min
- Snorting cocaine = 30 minutes
- Smoking cocaine base = 45 minutes
- Oral cocaine = 60 minutes
The apparent half life for cocaine is short, roughly 1 hour. That means that the time required for cocaine levels to decrease by half in the body is somewhere around 60 minutes. However, with chronic use, cocaine accumulates in the body and resulting a prolonged terminal elimination phase for cocaine and its metabolites.
Cocaine drug testing
For how long can cocaine show up on drug a screen? Drug tests called immunoassays aim to detect the main metabolite benzoylecgonine when testing for cocaine. Cocaine drug tests generally use a cut-off of 300 ng/mL to indicate positive use. Very low concentrations of cocaine may be detected in urine during the initial few hours after use. In general, cocaine metabolites like benzoylecgonine can be detected in urine 2–4 days after use for sporadic users and up to 12 days after use for chronic users or following a binge.
Still, another factor in the detection of cocaine in the system is mode of administration and dosage. For example, an intravenous dose of 20 mg cocaine can be detected for 1.5 days while street doses of cocaine (administered via different routes) can be detectable up to 1 week. Extremely high doses of cocaine can be found in the system up to 3 weeks after last use.
Cocaine and addiction
Do you have a problem with cocaine? Cocaine can be very addictive, and can affect the brain in ways that you may not expect. If you’re ready to get help and don’t know where to turn, please send us an email or write us in the comments section below. We can help you locate cocaine detox, drug addiction centers, or drug addictioncounselors in your area. If you are ready for help, if you are ready to stop, there is a way. And you don’t have to do it alone.
Reference sources: Detection time of drugs of abuse in urine
National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration performance fact sheet on cocaine
Elimination of cocaine and metabolites in plasma, saliva, and urine following repeated oral administration to human volunteers.
Methamphetamine, Cocaine Abusers Have Different Patterns of Drug Use, Suffer Different Cognitive Impairments
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