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Cocaine is a stimulant drug with short-term effects – that is, a high that wears off quickly – and a high potential for abuse and addiction as a result. Those who abuse cocaine usually find themselves needing to take more of the drug in higher doses to continue feeling the same effects.

But even though the drug itself feels like it wears off quickly, the truth is that the substance stays in your system for much longer. Found in blood, saliva, and urine, cocaine continues to contaminate the body for a long time. This is one of the reasons why the process of full detox takes time and withdrawal effects during recovery may be experienced for a while.  

What are the effects of cocaine and how long do they last?

Cocaine can be smoked, snorted and injected. “The intensity and duration of cocaine’s effects…depend on the route of drug administration. The faster cocaine is absorbed into the bloodstream and delivered to the brain, the more intense the high. Injecting or smoking cocaine produces a quicker, stronger high than snorting. On the other hand, faster absorption usually means shorter duration of action: the high from snorting cocaine may last 15 to 30 minutes, but the high from smoking may last only 5 to 10 minutes.”

The effects of using cocaine are both short-term, in that they are experienced almost immediately after ingestion, and long-term, in that health concerns, are likely to arise once cocaine has been abused for a while. 

The short-term effects include:

  • Increased energy
  • Reduced fatigue
  • Heightened alertness
  • Engaging in risky behaviors due to a drug-induced sense of confidence
  • Agitation or feeling restless
  • Increased body temperature/sweating
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Difficulty breathing 

The long-term effects include: 

  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Paranoia
  • Psychosis
  • Intense mood swings
  • Dependence on the substance
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms if you attempt to stop using cocaine

When dependence begins to occur and you find yourself preoccupied with obtaining and using cocaine, it might be time to seek out the guidance of a mental health counselor to help get your health back on track.

How long does cocaine stay in your system?

Signs of cocaine use remain in the body for a long period. When cocaine is used, the body breaks it down into particles called metabolites, which remain in the body for up to several months. This is why the remnants of cocaine can be detected through testing for a long time. 

  • Cocaine stays in the blood for up to two days after use
  • It can be detected in saliva for up to two days as well
  • Urine tests will reveal cocaine for up to four days after the last dose
  • Hair samples can indicate cocaine use for up to 90 days following the last use

How cocaine is used does affect how long the effects are felt, but it will not affect how long it stays in the body, nor does it affect how long the metabolites take to show up (usually three to six hours after the last use).

What affects how long your body retains cocaine?

How long your body retains cocaine depends on a variety of different factors. For example, the more cocaine you have taken, the longer it takes for the body to rid itself of it. The frequency also affects retention – the more often the drug is consumed, the less likely the body will be able to fully detox itself. 

Weight also plays a role, as a high amount of body fat means the slower cocaine will be metabolized. 

Additionally, the route in which cocaine was used, as well as whether or not alcohol was consumed with cocaine, will change the length of time it remains in the body. Combining substances will cause cocaine to remain in the body longer; smoked and injected cocaine tends to wear off faster than snorted cocaine. 

Looking for cocaine addiction treatment?

If you or a loved one needs addiction treatment, Silvermist Recovery is here to help. With personalized treatment plans, holistic approaches and credentialed staff, you will find the support and accountability you need to begin your journey towards freedom and wellness.

To speak with our staff today, contact Silvermist Recovery at 724-268-4858 to learn more.