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How long does crack last?

How long does it take to feel the effects of crack?  From nearly immediately to about 1-2 hours after use. But how does crack impact the brain? How does use of crack affect the body? We address these questions here and invite you to ask more questions about crack or treatments for problems with crack in the comments section at the end.

Crack effects on the body and brain

As a strong central nervous system stimulant, crack increases the levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine in brain circuits that regulate pleasure and movement. It also prevents the normal cycle of dopamine recycling, which causes excessive amounts of dopamine to build up between neurons. This intensifies the dopamine signal which leads to disruption of the normal communication between neurons in the brain. A flood of dopamine is created, and it causes a short-term high – euphoria, energy, and talkativeness which is very characteristic for crack as well as cocaine use.

Crack can also affect the body in a number of ways. It affects the cardiovascular and respiratory systems the most, but crack can also cause headaches and gastrointestinal complications, abdominal pain and nausea. Similarly to insufflated cocaine use (snorting cocaine) binge use of crack may lead to anxiety, irritability, and restlessness.

Crack duration of action

The duration of most drugs’ action time depends upon mode of administration. Crack is no different. Crack’s duration of action is short lived but intense. Here are the basic of HOW crack starts working.

Crack is nearly always smoked in a small glass pipe. Ingested this way, large quantities of cocaine are delivered directly to the lungs. While some people snort crack, doses of cooked cocaine become bioavailable up to 70% after smoking, which means it is almost instantly delivered into the bloodstream and crosses the blood-brain barrier, producing an immediate and intense, but short-lasting euphoric effect – high. Main cocaine metabolites bind in plasma up to 90%.

Crack time in the body

Crack is very rapidly absorbed due to its form of administration – smoking. But, ‘the life’ of crack in the body is short, approximately 0.8 ± 0.2 hours because it is being metabolized very fast to several compounds. The major metabolites are benzoylecgonine, ecgonine, and ecgonine methyl ester and are inactive ones. Benzoylecgonine, which is produced upon loss of the methyl group, is a urinary metabolite that can be present and discovered in urine after for up to 4 days.

How long do crack effects last

Crack effects only last for a couple of hours, max. After 50 mg of crack is smoked, the peak plasma concentration occurs within 45 minutes. But even though the first effects of crack diminish pretty quickly, other general effects may continue for 1-2 hours after administration depending on the dose. In continuous, binge use, long term effects can go on for days, and are very serious and very dangerous and can lead to severe health problems, even death.

How long does a crack high last

Typically, due to its method of administration, crack immediately creates an intense high experience which lasts 5-15 minutes. Because of this short duration of pleasurable effects, users tend to take one dose after another… before the previous one wears off. This practice is very dangerous and can lead to physical dependence on crack, addiction and/or serious changes in the brain.

Crack high effects

Crack high effects are very similar to those of cocaine, but with some additional risks. They can can be separated in two cycles: first-wave (early phase) and second-wave (late phase) effects.

1. First wave crack high effects – First-wave effects include anxiety, dilated pupils, increased body temperature, irritability, and restlessness. Very fast elevation of heart rate and blood pressure also occur. The psychological effects of crack include euphoria, excitation, feelings of well-being, general arousal, increased sexual arousal, dizziness, 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 lead to psychosis, confused and disoriented behavior, delusions, hallucinations, irritability, fear, paranoia, antisocial behavior, and even aggressiveness.

2. Second wave crack high effects – The second-wave can include agitation, dysphoria, depression, nervousness, drug craving, general central nervous system (CNS) depression, fatigue, insomnia. Physiological effects manifest as itching and scratching, while the heart-rate stabilizes, and the pupils start to look normal.

Questions about crack

Still have questions about crack, its metabolism, or duration of effects? Please leave us your questions in the comments section below. We’ll do our best to answer your questions personally and promptly…or refer you to someone who can help.

Reference Sources: National Institute of Drug Abuse: Cocaine
U.S. Attorney General: Crack
National Institute of Drug Abuse: Easy to Read Facts: Cocaine
National Drug Intelligence Center: Crack cocaine fast facts
NIDA for Teens: Cocaine

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17 Responses to “How long does crack last?
7:22 pm August 27th, 2015

Hi. Could you please tell me how long it takes for pupils to go back to normal after using crack? Thanks!

7:24 am January 15th, 2016

I am concerned about my 52 year old adult daughter. She was sober for awhile and now presents with her old behaviors. I thought she was drinking again, and I was correct, she is. However, she has been VERY antisocial, aggressive, mean, and dislikes everything, everyone, anything. Lately she has been hanging with these people whom, I have found out, are doing crack.
She lost her job last May (layoff) and I have been helping her (enabling) to pay all of her bills. She seems to have a sense of entitlement, doesn’t seem to be appreciative and is always out of money. I’m on SS and can’t afford to help her anymore as my husband passed away and I no longer have him to help financially, emotionally and, most importantly, physically .I am ill.
She can be at someone’s house (like my sister) and my sister will say she was fine, ate a bowl of soup, talked about this subject or that. Then, five minutes later she’ll be at my house and explode in rage over nothing…and by nothing I mean if I ask what her plans are. She’ll scream and yell, curse at me, tell me she’s never going to speak to me again, storms out of my house screaming she doesn’t need me or my money (I wish) and then, a few days later, will deny it happened.
Tonight I heard, from someone who thinks I am aware of what she does, that she said to someone that she does crack only on a few occasions, here and there. I almost fainted. I NEVER thought she’d do that ever. If I had been told PCP, her drug of choice, I would believe it. Crack? I don’t understand it. She divorced her husband because he started crack.
Anyway, I do not wish to be an enabler although I am afraid if I detach from her, even with love, she will be morose, unable to cope and be worse off than she is now. She has no insurance, no job, nothing. I am all she has,
I purchased a mobile home for her, rented lot, and she has had every kind of derelict living there since I bought it for her two years ago.
I want to get her help, don’t know how since she has no insurance, and also don’t know if she wants help. I know that I can go to Al-Anon but that won’t help me if I get a call that she’s OD’d.
I am lost and have no idea how to help her. Any thoughts?
I live in SC and I don’t know about Medicaid etc. Thanks for any help you may have to offer.

Sorry, I posted here and forgot to ask this question. I know my daughter is bi-polar and manic depressive. She was in a dual dx rehab for 2 years about 25 years ago.
However, my question is if one uses crack do they need less sleep, are the able to do more tasks, can they work 18 hours a day? She can. Is this because of the bi polar disorder or could it be crack. Last year, the timeframe when someone said she had used crack, she was very thin. This year she isn’t thin…a bit heavier. Also, she eats everything. Does crack give one a large appetite?
Thank you again for your help.

5:22 pm February 8th, 2016

Why is it so addictive??? Like when u buy u keep buying until u dont got money anymore

1:55 am January 25th, 2017

I am inquiring due to the fact I think my sister 67 years of age is occasionally using how long does it stay in system before it shows up In urine tox screen I am concerned as she has cll and other medical issues

9:33 am March 16th, 2017

Best high is the resin high and it brings y down for the night. Yea baby

5:08 am June 15th, 2017

I smoked crack for like 5 hours 11 days ago will pass swab today haven’t smoke since

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
10:34 am June 19th, 2017

Hi Rese. Crack usually can be detected 2-6 days in urinalysis. However, this period of drug detection may be extended due to heavy use and/or binge use. If you want to learn more, download our FREE e-book ‘The Definitive Guide To Drug Testing’ here:

6:21 pm October 26th, 2017

Been clean for 60days from crack cocaine unused about 6grams in a 2day period Tuesday and Wednesday drug test on next Tuesday it’s a urine test will I pass if I drink plenty of fluids and take midol and vitamins

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
5:30 pm November 1st, 2017

Hi Meme. Crack can be detected in the urine up to 4 day after the last intake. BUT, this detection frame is longer for binge and/or long-term users. If you like to learn more about drug testing, download our free guide here:

4:43 pm December 30th, 2017

I smoked $60 worth of crack on Fri. How long will it be in system if not normally smoked and am 6ft4 245 lbs

4:44 pm December 30th, 2017

I smoked $60 worth on fri and am 6ft4 and 245 and need to know how long will be in system

11:43 am January 2nd, 2018

Hello Brian. Cocaine has a half-life of less than one hous. 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. More on detection of cocaine in the system here:

8:12 pm March 26th, 2018

Kindly please describe what crack smoke smells like .
Thanks! ! !

6:02 pm June 27th, 2018

I’m worried about my husband. He is sleeping and I keep waking him up to make sure he is breathing. He binged all night on crack and alcohol. He also takes suboxone. I don’t know what to do. How long will he sleep for?

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
11:19 am June 28th, 2018

Hi Sarah. You husband may have serious substance use disorder. I suggest that you stage an intervention for him.

6:17 pm October 5th, 2018

Will I be able to pass a drug test on 10/22 after smoking crack a couple days ago.i smoked $350 worth of crack on 10/1

3:50 pm October 8th, 2018

Hi Karen. It depends on many factors how long does crack stay in your system. I suggest you check our “Definitive guide to drug testing” and find the answer you need. Here:

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