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How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your System?

declining a bag of cocaine

Cocaine is a highly addictive drug that alters the nervous system. It’s a stimulant drug, which increases activity in the central nervous system, and can cause a person to feel more energetic and may also increase anxiety or aggression.

Effects of Cocaine on the Body and Brain

Cocaine use can have a variety of short- and long-term effects on the body. Short-term effects of cocaine use including:

  • An intense high 
  • Rapid decrease in energy levels
  • Paranoia
  • Anger/irritability

The more you use cocaine, the higher your tolerance for it will be. The higher, more frequent doses can also cause long-term changes in your brain’s chemistry. Your body and brain will begin to rely on the drug. It can make it difficult to sleep, think, and affect memory. 

Risks of Cocaine Use

Cocaine use carries a number of risks that increase with each dose taken, and it can be life-threatening. Cocaine elevates vital life functions, such as blood pressure, body temperature, and heart rate, which can lead to major issues.

Damage to the heart and liver is common, as is organ failure. Cocaine can also cause brain damage and neurological issues which can lead to a stroke, seizure, tremors, and more.

When using cocaine, overdose is always a possibility, whether it is your first time using it or your one hundredth time. Cocaine overdoses can cause a variety of other health issues, and can be deadly if not treated immediately.

Method of Cocaine Use

There is a lot of debate surrounding the effects of cocaine use, but one thing that is unquestionable is that snorting, smoking and injecting cocaine all affect the body in different ways.

Snorting cocaine: Snorting cocaine will irritate the lining of the nasal passages, the throat, and the sinus cavities. It can lead to more frequent sinus infections, nosebleeds and post-nasal drip.

Injecting cocaine: Injecting cocaine directly into the bloodstream produces a more intense, but shorter lasting high. It can cause skin and blood vessel linings to deteriorate, and sharing needles can put a person at risk of contracting HIV, hepatitis C or other bloodborne illnesses.

Smoking cocaine: Smoking cocaine crystals (crack) can lead to respiratory issues, chronic cough, and lung diseases.

Signs & Symptoms of Cocaine Abuse

If you are concerned that you or someone you know may be abusing cocaine, it is important to be aware of the signs & symptoms. There are certain indicators that can suggest addiction to cocaine, and if left unchecked, these could lead to serious problems. 

upset man with head in arms

Some of the key signs & symptoms of cocaine use abuse include:

  • Anxiety and paranoia, mood swings, and restlessness
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Restlessness
  • Weight loss and loss of appetite
  • Continuing to use cocaine, despite serious consequences
  • Increased energy
  • Persistent nosebleeds

In predicting the risk of addiction, how fast and how often drugs get to the brain can be more important than how much is consumed. If you notice any one or more of these signs in yourself or someone else close to you, it is advised that you seek help as soon as possible.

The Duration of Cocaine in the Body

Cocaine has a short half-life of about one hour, and metabolizes quickly. Although the effects of cocaine may have worn off, it doesn't mean that the cocaine has completely left your body.

Here’s approximately how long cocaine will remain in your system:

Blood - up to 48 hours
Saliva - up to 48 hours
Urine - up to 4 days
Hair follicles - up to 90 days

What Factors Can Affect How Long Cocaine Stays in the Body?

Cocaine can be metabolized quickly or slowly, depending on a variety of factors.

Individual Metabolism

For people with a fast metabolism, cocaine will be metabolized and leave their body quickly. In contrast, people who have a slow metabolism may take longer to metabolize cocaine.


Dosage and Frequency of Use

Generally, the longer cocaine remains in a user's system, the higher its concentration will be. Taking too much cocaine can also increase levels of cocaine in your bloodstream - which can stay there for a while.

Other Substances Consumed

When it comes to cocaine addiction, it is important to be aware of the various substances that can interfere with cocaine's elimination from the system. Some of them are medications and alcohol, both of which can slow down cocaine metabolism.

Can You Speed Up the Removal of Cocaine?

Cocaine use can be a very harmful habit. However, there are ways to speed up the elimination of this substance from your system. Cocaine is eliminated in urine and feces, drinking lots of fluids and eating fiber-rich foods will help speed up the detoxification process.

Refrain from drinking alcohol and consuming caffeine, which can make it more difficult for cocaine to leave the system. Exercise can also assist in removing cocaine more quickly.

Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms

Detoxing from cocaine use can be a difficult and long process. These symptoms can last for weeks or even months, but they will not be permanent.

woman upset holding a bag of cocaine

Some withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Insomnia
  • Intense cravings for the drug
  • Trouble regulating emotions
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Nausea and headaches
  • Problems with focus and memory

Detox from Cocaine Safely

Cocaine detox can be daunting and difficult, but it is necessary. If you have decided to quit or cut back on cocaine, it’s important that you do not attempt to detox on your own. Instead, seek help from a treatment center, where you can detox in a safe environment where you have medical professionals ensuring your safety and comfort. 

Cocaine is one of the most addictive and dangerous drugs in the world. Its effects on the body are long-lasting and can have serious consequences.

If you or someone you know is struggling with cocaine addiction, please reach out to our addiction recovery team at Paramount Recovery Center. We offer a stabilization program that allows patients to detox from drugs in a safe environment. 

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