How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your System?
The amount of time that cocaine is still detectable in your body depends on several factors, such as how long you have been using, how much you use, and the type of detection method. Urine tests are the most often used testing method. Blood and saliva tests tend to have the shortest detection times, while hair tests have the longest.
Cocaine is an addictive stimulant drug from the leaves of the coca plant.1 It is a fine, white powder that is a Schedule II drug, meaning it has a high potential for misuse but can be used by a doctor for legitimate medical purposes.1 Cocaine has several methods of use. It snorted through the nose, rubbed into the gums, or injected into the bloodstream. Another popular method of use is smoking cocaine that has been processed to make a rock crystal (known as “crack”).2
Some people who use or have used cocaine may be concerned about how long it will stay in their system and how long it will continue to affect them. Others may be concerned about traces of the drug registering on a mandatory drug test. So, how long does cocaine stay in the body?
Cocaine Duration of Time
Cocaine is quickly absorbed after smoking with plasma concentrations peaking around 5 minutes, or 30-40 minutes if taken nasally.3 Cocaine is largely metabolized by enzymes in the blood and liver, and benzoylecgonine is the major metabolite of cocaine found in the urine.3 Depending on the amount taken, how frequently it is used, and metabolic variation, benzoylecgonine can be detected in urine for 48-96 hours after use.3
Plasma half-life is the amount of time it takes for the concentration of the drug in the blood to be reduced by half.4 Urine half-life is the time it takes for the drug concentration in the urine to be reduced by half.
One study found the average half-lives for cocaine to be as follows:5
- Plasma elimination= 1.5 hours.
- Saliva elimination = 1.2 hours.
- Urine elimination = 4.1 hours.
The study also estimated that cocaine’s metabolites (the breakdown products of cocaine) have a half-life ranging from 14.6-52.4 hours.5 This study suggested that chronic use of cocaine leads to a buildup of cocaine in the body, which increases the amount of time that cocaine and its metabolites stay in your system.5
How Long Is Cocaine Detectable in the Body?
The amount of time that cocaine is still detectable in your body depends on several factors, such as how long you have been using, how much you use, and the type of detection method.
Cocaine and its breakdown products may be detected in 1 of 5 different ways, each of which has varying typical detection duration times after last use of the drug:7
- Blood: 12 hours for cocaine, 48 hours for metabolites.
- Hair: Months for cocaine.
- Saliva: 1-2 days for cocaine or metabolites.
- Sweat: Up to a few weeks for cocaine or metabolites.
- Urine: 2-3 days for metabolites or up to 2 weeks for heavy cocaine users.
How Long Do the Effects of Cocaine Last?
The amount of time that you will experience the effects of cocaine varies by the route of administration or, in other words, how you used it:9
- Injecting: 15-20 minutes.
- Orally: 90 minutes.
- Smoking: 15-25 minutes.
- Snorting: 45-90 minutes.
Health Effects of Cocaine
Cocaine can have damaging short-term and long-term effects on multiple systems in your body.
Short-term effects of cocaine may include:1
- Dilated pupils.
- Extreme energy.
- Increased body temperature.
- Increased sensitivity to light, sound, and touch.
- Unpredictable behavior.
Long-term effects of cocaine may include:1
- Bowel decay.
- Collapsed veins.
- Increased risk of infections like pneumonia.
- Respiratory distress.
- Skin infections.
Treatment for Cocaine Addiction
If you actively misuse cocaine and are ready to cut the drug and its negative effects out of your life for good, you will want to start exploring your options for cocaine addiction treatment and recovery.
Treatment approaches for cocaine addiction include cognitive-behavioral therapy, contingency management, community-based recovery groups (e.g. 12-Step programs), and therapeutic communities.1 Many factors can influence addiction, and treatment should seek to address those factors that are contributing to an individual’s addiction. Any co-occurring mental illnesses should be treated through therapy and/or medication. Treatment may be provided in a residential inpatient or outpatient setting.
Getting Help for Cocaine Misuse or Addiction
Getting help for cocaine misuse or addiction is the first step on the path to recovery. You can contact American Addiction Centers (AAC) at to learn about cocaine addiction treatment options or fill out the form below to see if your insurance will cover the cost of treatment.