How Long Does Cocaine Last?
A cocaine “high” can affect individuals differently. However, generally, a high start almost immediately and can last up to a couple of hours. It sounds simple, but there’s a lot going on behind the scenes. Once a person ingests cocaine, whether by snorting, smoking, or intravenously, it instantly affects the brain. Cocaine disrupts the brain’s normal communication between neurons. Therefore, this causes a surge of the “feel-good” chemicals, such as serotonin and dopamine.
Excessive dopamine build-up is what causes the intense feeling of euphoria that we call high. It also serves as a stimulant, promoting excessive energy and excited talking. In addition to affecting the person’s brain, cocaine can also negatively affect the body as a whole. The duration of the effect depends on many factors, including the person’s health condition, duration of use, and purity of the drugs.
As with other psychoactive drugs, repeated use of cocaine can cause long-term changes in the brain’s reward circuit and other brain systems, which may lead to addiction. The reward circuit eventually adapts to the extra dopamine caused by the drug, becoming steadily less sensitive to it . As a result, people take stronger and more frequent doses to feel the same high they did initially and to obtain relief from cocaine side effects and withdrawal.
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How Long Does It Take To Feel Effects?
The method by which cocaine is used—whether it’s injected, smoked, snorted, or taken orally—can impact both the duration and intensity of the high. For example, snorting cocaine can give a relatively slow onset of the high that may last from 15 to 30 minutes. This is because it has to get through mucus, skin, and other tissues before hitting your bloodstream. Smoking this drug, on the other hand, will result in more rapid effects that last five to 10 minutes. But this high is typically instantly followed by a crash that can cause anxiety and tension, agitation, depression, and exhaustion. It’s this quick cycle that makes this illegal stimulant so addictive.
How Is Cocaine Detected?
Cocaine metabolites are often detectable in a person’s urine for only two to three days after the last use of the drug. However, individuals who use large amounts of cocaine may have detectable levels for two weeks.
The liver is the organ in the body that is responsible for metabolizing cocaine. It breaks down the drug into smaller compounds that are called metabolites. A major cocaine metabolite is called benzoylecgonine, which is normally measured during urine analysis to determine if a person has used cocaine recently since it can be detected in urine for a longer period of time than cocaine itself.
There are several different methods to test if this drug is present in a person’s system.
- Cocaine can be detected in sweat for up to a few weeks after last use.
- Cocaine metabolites can often be detected in urine samples for two to three days after last use, but individuals who are heavy users may have detectable metabolites in their urine for up to two weeks.
- Cocaine in blood samples is typically detectable for 12 hours after last use. Benzoylecgonine can be detected in blood for about 48 hours after the last use of the drug.
- Hair samples may have detectable levels of cocaine for months and even years after last use.
- Cocaine or its metabolites can be detected in saliva for about one to two days after last use.
Several different factors influence the amount of time that cocaine remains in an individual’s system.
- An individual’s metabolism has an important influence on the amount of time that cocaine or any drug remains in an individual’s system.
- The amount of cocaine a person uses and how often they use it can impact how long the drug remains in their system. Cocaine and its metabolites may be detectable for longer periods of time in heavy users.
- Since most individuals who use cocaine obtain it from illicit sources, there is no regulation of the purity of that cocaine. Thus, the actual dosage of cocaine that a person uses can vary greatly. As aforementioned, the amount of cocaine that a person uses can affect how long it is present in their body.
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Cocaine Drug Test
Cocaine drug tests work not by searching for the presence of cocaine, but for proof that the body has recently metabolized (proving the ingestion of) cocaine. While cocaine takes roughly 6-24 hours to leave the body, the product created when the body metabolizes cocaine, benzoylecgonine, can be detected up to 5 days after the last consumption. Metabolites are substances that our bodies create after metabolizing a certain toxic substance. The process of metabolizing cocaine usually takes between 6 and 24 hours depending on the height, weight, and metabolism speed of an individual.
Another factor that plays an important role in cocaine drug testing is the consumption of alcohol during and after consumption of cocaine. Unlike most other drugs, cocaine reacts with alcohol in a way that creates a new substance called cocaethylene. This substance has a longer half-life than benzoylecgonine, meaning it will be detectable in one’s system for a longer period of time. In most cases, it takes up to seven days for cocaethylene to be completely cleaned out of a person’s body, provided they do not consume more cocaine or alcohol and remain properly hydrated during this period.
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Cocaine Urine Test
How long does cocaine stay in urine? A urine test is the most common one and is usually performed as a routine test in a company. Its non-invasiveness and ease of administration have made it an industry standard when it comes to company-wide scheduled drug testing. It is quite accurate, with most urine tests being able to detect levels of 300ng/l. A urine test will usually give positive results if the person being tested has ingested cocaine 2-5 days prior to the test giving a urine sample.
Hair Drug Test Cocaine
A hair sample test has the longest detection time, usually up to 90 days. However, it normally takes five to seven days for traces of cocaine metabolites to start accumulating in the hair. Another downside to this method is that hair cocaine drug test requires specialized equipment to carry out, so it cannot be completed on the spot.
Cocaine In Blood Test
A blood test is the most accurate if administered during a detection period. However, it requires an invasive method to collect a sample and the samples provided are generally small, which means that confirmation testing usually isn’t possible. Another benefit to this method is that it is virtually impossible to adulterate a sample for a blood test.
Cocaine Saliva Test
A saliva test has the shortest detection time but is the easiest and least invasive one to administer. The sample is taken with a cotton swab from the area between gums and lower cheek, and it takes around 10 minutes to produce a result. The saliva test is rising in popularity among employers as it can be administered at random and on the spot. However, the downside is that it can be adulterated relatively easily, and its detection time rarely exceeds two days when testing for cocaine use.
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Cocaine Addiction Rehab
The best way to pass a cocaine drug test is to stop using immediately and let the body flush out the toxins naturally. Do not drink alcohol under any circumstance; mixing cocaine with alcohol causes the body to produce a metabolite called cocaethylene, which takes even longer to get out of the system. One should also quit drinking alcohol altogether as mixing cocaine and alcohol causes the creation of cocaethylene in the liver, a substance that takes up to 50% longer to metabolize than benzoylecgonine and will also be detected by a cocaine drug test.
Cocaine addiction treatment typically involves cocaine detox and therapy in an inpatient drug rehabilitation program. These programs greatly increase your chances of a successful recovery, even though psychological dependence on cocaine is a severe condition that is difficult to overcome. If you are suffering from cocaine side effects and considering treatment for cocaine addiction, it is helpful to seek a substance abuse evaluation from an addiction professional to determine the right type of support.
Deciding to find treatment for cocaine addiction is the first step toward recovery. It is also the most important step. Once you admit to yourself that you’re struggling with cocaine addiction, the only way to go is forward. The brain does not simply go back to normal when the drug use stops. It could take several supports, therapy, counseling, and treatment methods to help you effectively overcome the disease. Not everyone needs cocaine addiction treatment, but such help is beneficial to those who have suffered adverse reactions to their sustained drug use, including cocaine overdose.
Treatment for cocaine addiction may include:
There are thousands of treatment centers in the country, but not all of them are right for everyone. Those looking for help need to find a center that specifically offers treatment for cocaine addiction. It is important that this center is also able to treat other drugs being used and co-occurring mental conditions. “How long does cocaine stay in urine? ” is a question that many abusers of the drug may have. Our counselors know what you are going through and will answer any of your questions. If you or a loved one is struggling with cocaine addiction. We Level Up NJ addiction specialists are standing by to help.
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 NIDA – https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/cocaine/what-are-some-ways-cocaine-changes-brain