Wondering how long does cocaine stay in your System? The answer to that can depend on the mode of administration, dosage and frequency of use. The most common mode of administration include oral (by chewing), intranasal (by snorting or inhaling) and intravenous (by injecting). Levels of cocaine peak in the blood after 30 minutes of its intake. However, cocaine and its metabolites (products of its breakdown, mainly benzoylecgonine) can remain present in the system for up to 3days or longer (long-term cocaine usage)
- If you want to clear your system from cocaine, it’s necessary to discontinue its intake.
- After discontinuation, cocaine can be present in the system from anywhere between 3.3-5.5 hours.
- But benzoylecgonine, the primary metabolite of cocaine, can take up to 1-2 days to get fully eliminated from the system.
- 40% of cocaine is hydrolyzed to form benzoylecgonine while the remaining 40% is changed to ecognine and methyl ester after being metabolized in the liver.
Following factors can affect the duration cocaine can stay in the system:
- If ingested in greater quantities, cocaine and its metabolites take longer to get fully cleared from the system.
- High dosage of cocaine will take a longer while to be metabolized fully and then excreted from the body.
- Very low dosage of cocaine is cleared from the body much more rapidly than it is expected.
- Therefore, the lesser the dosage and/or quantity is consumed, the better is the aftermath.
- Mode of Administration:
- Some modes of administration result in quick absorption, short duration with rapid HIGH while others result in longer HIGH with slow absorption.
- Some modes of administration have faster elimination as compared to others.
- The intravenous mode of administration:
- It is the most rapidly acting and efficient mode of administration.
- If taken via an intravenous injection, cocaine HIGH is reached within seconds or minutes and the effect can last from 5-15 minutes.
- Cocaine taken via this mode is eliminated quickly, usually within 30 minutes, from the system.
- If cocaine is snorted into the system, HIGH is reached within minutes and duration of effect can be between 10-30 minutes.
- 75% of the cocaine taken by this mode would be eliminated within an hour and 100% elimination would take around 2.75 hours.
- Smoking freebase cocaine results in the quicker onset of effects as compared to oral intake.
- Cocaine taken in its freebase form can take up to 4 hours to get eliminated from the system.
- Oral ingestion:
- Oral ingestion results in the slower onset of effects after administration.
- It can take around 1 hour to reach the drug HIGH and can last for up to around 2 hours.
- Cocaine taken using this mode can take up to 5.5 hours to get eliminated from the body.
- Duration of Usage:
- If taken for a longer term, the drug stays in the system for longer as compared to short-term users.
- The drug gets stored within the fatty tissues, for example, liver, after every consecutive use.
- It takes much longer for the body to fully eliminate the drug.
- The fatty tissues slowly release the drug into the blood stream hence long-term users can test positive on certain tests as compared to short-term users after quitting cocaine.
- Frequency of Usage:
- The frequency of usage of cocaine can highly affect the duration cocaine stays in the system.
- If taken 2 times a month or 24 times in a year by a person, cocaine would stay in the system for longer as compared to a person who took it 3-4 times in a year.
- Higher the frequency of usage, lesser would be the efficiency of the body to clear it.
- Tissues of frequent users tend to accumulate the drug and frequent users also tend to build up a tolerance to smaller doses and they end up taking larger doses which increase the duration cocaine stays in the body.
- Therefore, if the cocaine is consumed frequently, a person is at a higher risk to retain it in his body and develop tolerance as compared to the occasional users who use it lesser the number of times that of the habitual users.
- Purity of Cocaine:
- Cocaine is sold in powder form as cocaine hydrochloride and crack form as cocaine freebase.
- Purer form of cocaine would result in the greater potency of effects.
- Pure cocaine would have greater amount of active ingredients making it stay in the system for longer.
- Diluted, impure cocaine would be having lesser active ingredients and would be cleared quickly from the system.
- Thus the more is the product in its impure form; the higher are its chances to be released from the body efficiently and on time.
- Individual factors:
- These factors vary from person to person.
- It refers to the fact that in one person, the factors can appear differently while in another person with a separate unique profile, the will be of a newer intensity.
- People with strong detoxification abilities, fast metabolism, taking supplements or those who ingest a small amount release the drug better and rapidly than those who have a slow metabolic rate and/or consume large amount per pound of the bodyweight.
- Thus, those whose metabolism works faster are at a lesser risk to carry cocaine in the body than the ones with a slower metabolic rate.
- Besides these other contributing factors include, body weight, body size, stamina, physique, exercise, other medications intake, supplements intake, diet, age, gender, medical status, nutritional balance, height, water intake, dietary habits, lifestyle, sleeping cycles etc.
- All these factors combine to affect the excretion of cocaine from the body.
- Concomitant usage of cocaine with alcohol:
- Using cocaine alongside the usage of alcohol will increase the stay of its metabolites in the body and hence they are excreted late.
- Alcohol along with cocaine would combine to form “coca-ethylene”, a compound that takes a longer span of time in order to be fully removed and/or excreted from the body.
- Therefore, the users are advised to discontinue the intake of alcohol in order to prevent its reaction with cocaine that results in the formation of the combination compound, which stays in the body for more than the usual duration.
Table of Contents
- 1 How Long Does Cocaine Stay In Your Urine:
- 1.1 What Exactly Does Drug Addiction Refer To?
- 1.2 What The Society Thinks About Addicts?
- 1.3 What is Cocaine?
- 1.4 The Peak levels and half life of cocaine:
- 1.5 Absorption of cocaine in the body:
- 1.6 Side effects of cocaine:
- 1.7 Tests that done to see the quantity of cocaine in body:
- 1.8 For chronic users:
How Long Does Cocaine Stay In Your Urine:
- It would depend on the mode of administration of the drug, potency of the drug, dosage that was taken, the frequency of usage of the drug, age, gender, overall health, drug tolerance and metabolic rate of the person!
- Almost 10% of the cocaine taken up by a person is eliminated in the urine unchanged.
- Metabolites of cocaine (ecgonine methyl ester, benzoylecgonine, and ecgonine) can be found in different amounts in the urine depending upon the method used to ingest the drug.
- Metabolites can be found in the blood plasma for up to 144 hours after use, though most of the cocaine is eliminated from it after about 4 hours.
- If a person’s urine test result shows benzoylecgonine to cocaine ratio of 100:1 or below, it means cocaine was taken about 10 or fewer hours ago of urine sample collection and test and it is taken as a positive cocaine usage test.
- However, this test procedure does not tell about exact time and accurate dose of the drug. But you here can find out how much Dose Of Oxycodone Should Be Taken
- Cocaine’s presence in the body is usually measured by its plasma half-life. Half-life of cocaine is the time taken for the concentration of cocaine to drop by half.
- Among other measurement methods, cocaine’s presence is measured by urine sampling which includes cocaine’s urine elimination half-life.
- Cocaine’s plasma half-life is around 1.5 hours and urine elimination half-life is 19 hours.
What Exactly Does Drug Addiction Refer To?
The addiction of cocaine is one of the most widely used forms of addiction.But what exactly does it mean? Addiction is a chronic disease and is often characterized by seeking drugs that are compulsive and difficult to control despite the harmful outcome. Usage of drugs which is not voluntary and out of control of the user will turn into its abuse and addiction leading to serious harm and overdose.
The questions that arise are;
- Have you ever used cocaine?
- How often do you use it?
- Have you ever wondered how long does cocaine stay in your system or urine?
- Do you use it regularly to get through the day or just once in a while partying?
All these questions might get you thinking at times if you have ever had the guts to gulp down the cocaine into your body.
The consumption of cocaine or any other drug, apart from the occasional intake, comes due to the habit of drugs in routine as in addiction or abuse. Drug addiction is a serious matter and needs to be addressed by learned and well-versed professionals. The after effects and consequences of the consumption of these drugs affect the body in many ways, mostly harmful for the normal physiological functioning of various systems.
What The Society Thinks About Addicts?
There are various people of many kinds categorized according to their way of using the drugs. From the occasional user to chronic habitual addicts, there is a long list of people who are dependent on the use of drugs for their needs and satisfaction of urges. But how does one become a drug addict? How does someone develop the habit of compulsive use of drugs? How is a certain person so helpless to take addiction as the last resort? How does addiction help in satisfying the craving and needs? And how does chronic, prolonged use of the drugs will harm the human body negatively leading to serious outcomes? These are all the questions that relate to an addict or an abuser and need proper scholarly explanation and answers.
However, the way these matters relate to separate individuals is not similar rather it differs a lot. Some people become habitual easily and cannot fight the urge to control the excessive use of harmful drugs while others take the drugs just for the sake of pleasure occasionally and do not develop an addiction. How one thing affects two individuals differently is a separate is a most frequently asked question. Whatever the case may be, in both ways, the usage of drugs is harmful to the body. The most misunderstood fact is that of the image of an addict. Most people in our society think that an addict is a morally corrupt person with no values and esteem and has no character. However, in real, quitting addiction needs a lot more than just a strong willpower or high guts. It needs a complete medical help, therapy and proper education to help the addict leave the habits and then put him in rehab so that the urge of going back and getting a relapse is fought well.
What is Cocaine?
The National Institute of Drug Abuse describes cocaine as;
“Cocaine is a powerfully addictive stimulant drug. For thousands of years, people in South America have chewed and ingested coca leaves (Erythroxylon coca), the source of cocaine, for their stimulant effects. The purified chemical, cocaine hydrochloride, was isolated from the plant more than 100 years ago. In the early 1900s, purified cocaine was the main active ingredient in many tonics and elixirs developed to treat a wide variety of illnesses and was even an ingredient in the early formulations of Coca-Cola®.
Before the development of synthetic local anesthetic, surgeons used cocaine to block pain.
However, research has since shown that cocaine is a powerfully addictive substance that can alter brain structure and function if used repeatedly.
Today, cocaine is a Schedule II drug, which means that it has a high potential for abuse but can be administered by a doctor for legitimate medical uses, such as local anesthesia for some eye, ear, and throat surgeries. As a street drug, cocaine appears as a fine, white, crystalline powder and is also known as Coke, C, Snow, Powder, or Blow. Street dealers often dilute (or “cut”) it with non-psychoactive substances such as cornstarch, talcum powder, flour, or baking soda to increase their profits. They may also adulterate cocaine with other drugs like procaine (a chemically related local anesthetic) or amphetamine (another psychoactive stimulant).
Some users combine cocaine with heroin—called a Speedball.
People abuse two chemical forms of cocaine: the water-soluble hydrochloride salt and the water-insoluble cocaine base (or freebase). Users inject or snort the hydrochloride salt, which is a powder. The base form of cocaine is created by processing the drug with ammonia or sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and water, then heating it to remove the hydrochloride to produce a smokable substance. The term crack, which is the street name given to freebase cocaine, refers to the crackling sound heard when the mixture is smoked.”
Drugs other than Cocaine that are used for Addiction
- There are many drugs that are used for the sake of seeking pleasure or as an abuse and addiction.
- Some of them are even used for therapeutic purposes in normal dosage but when exceeded the limit, they make the user addicted to them and are then used as an abuse.
According to NIDA, the National Institute of Drug Abuse, the most commonly used drugs for addiction and abuses around the globe by different people are mentioned as follows;
- Anabolic steroids
- Bath Salts
- Club Drugs
These are some of the most commonly used drugs but other than these there are many others out there as well which are used for the purpose of abuse.
Changes that happen in your brain:
The intake of drugs affects the brain in a certain way by interfering with the normal mechanism. The drugs affect the reward system of the brain by flooding it with the chemical messenger that is dopamine. The stimulation of the reward system is directly influencing the activation of the feelings of pleasure and motivates a person to repeat certain activities like eating and sleeping.
However, if this reward system is stimulated, again and again, it will take a person into a state of euphoria and/or a specific kind of high and hence there would be an irresistible kind of need and urge to take the drug and curb the guilt.
As a person continues the practice of taking drugs, the brain will adjust to the increased production of dopamine and makes less of it and/or reduce the ability of the cells in the reward circuit to respond to it. This is that level of high or euphoria that the person feels as compared to the state they felt when the drug was taken for the first time – this effect is known as developing tolerance.
This will make the person get less joy from things he once enjoyed doing like eating, traveling, socializing and other activities. Long term use of drugs will develop the urge to take them again and again and hence can also adversely affect the normal chemical composition and the physiological functioning of the brain. This in return will put a negative impact on the day-to-day routine and other activities of the person.
The activities that suffer the most are;
Despite being familiar to the harm that is caused by the drugs to the body, people continue to take them and feel helpless in getting rid of the habit. This is the nature of addiction.
The Peak levels and half life of cocaine:
It is a powerful drug and has a short life of about 0.8 to 0.9 hours. The half-life of benzoylecgonine, which is the main cocaine metabolite, is 6 hours. The performance of cocaine in the body depends on the route through which it has been administered.
For instance, snorting 160 mg of cocaine will result in the peak levels at about 30 minutes; the peak of benzoylecgonine is around 3 hours. Both the drugs reach the peaks differently, After 140 mg cocaine is administered via the oral route, the peak levels would occur in plasma concentrations at about 1 hour. Whereas 32 mg of cocaine when injected into the body intravenously, the peak plasma concentration will be produced within 5 minutes. Smoking cocaine reaches the peak levels at about 45 minutes.
Around 30% to 40% of cocaine or crack will get metabolized by the enzymes once it enters into the liver and will form, ecgonine methyl ester, the breakdown substance of the metabolism.
Another 30% to 40% is hydrolyzed spontaneously without the usage of enzymes and forms the benzoylecgonine.
Both of these metabolites are water soluble and are active compounds.
Absorption of cocaine in the body:
- The proportion of absorption of cocaine by various routes depends on the way the drug is administered.
- If taken orally, it takes 30 minutes for cocaine to appear in the blood and its concentration reaches to maximum after 50-90 minutes.
- If taken via nasal passage, clinical effects start to show in 3 minutes of drug usage and can last for up to 60 minutes, while plasma concentration reaches its maximum in 15 minutes. 60-80% of cocaine is absorbed by the system if taken by oral and intra-nasal routes.
- If inhaled, 20-60% of cocaine is absorbed depending upon vasoconstriction after intake.
- The effects of cocaine on the brain can be very violent, taking place rapidly and can last from 5-10 minutes.
- If cocaine is injected intravenously, peak blood levels of cocaine are reached within 2-5 minutes.
- After absorption, cocaine reaches all body tissues and can cross the blood-brain barrier.
- Cocaine is lipid soluble, after large regular doses, it can get accumulated in adipose tissue and central nervous system of the body.
- Cocaine can also accumulate in the fetus after regular intake as it can pass through the placental membrane.
What is the average time for benzoylecgonine (active metabolite of Cocaine) stay in your system?
Benzoylecgonine is an active metabolite of cocaine that is formed in the body after its consumption. The drug tests that are used for detecting the presence of cocaine in the body are based mostly on the presence of this active metabolite in the system. Users who would consume a small amount of cocaine are seen to be marked as the metabolite-free rapidly, usually in a span of 2 days. However, in those cases where there is frequent consumption of the drug or those people/addicts who take a large amount of the drug are seen to take around 5 to 10 days in order to completely excrete the drug from the body. Besides this, other factors like user’s age, diet, health and certain individual factors tend to affect the duration of the stay in the body as well.
Side effects of cocaine:
Following are the main side effects of the chronic usage of cocaine.
- It increases the chances of getting a stroke and makes the person at a higher risk to develop coronary disorders and cardiac defects.
- Cocaine adversely affects the aorta and can rupture it as well.
- It leads to insomnia and lethargy and the person feels weak.
- It causes the hoarseness of voice.
- It causes damage to the brain which can bear severe consequences since it will interrupt the blood supply to the brain and as a result, the body parts will be damaged.
- It causes tooth decay. The person can also develop bruxism.
- It affects the sexual life adversely and causes infertility in most of the cases.
- Cocaine causes personality disorders.
- It leads to neurological defects. It promotes imbalance and loss of personality grip.
- It leads to weight loss. The person might suffer from severe malnutrition and hence can face serious health damage.
- The consumption of cocaine can lead to depression. Anxiety is a common consequence seen in chronic cocaine users.
- It causes the pupils to dilate and promotes tremors and seizures.
- It will also lead to muscle twitches.
- The body’s blood pressure is increased than the usual.
- It also causes an increase in the normal heart rate.
- Paranoia and vertigo are frequently seen in the chronic users.
- The vessels tend to constrict more.
- Abdominal pains, headaches, nose-bleeding, respiratory distress, cardiac arrhythmias and cardiac arrests are most commonly seen among the chronic users of cocaine.
- Loss of appetite, mood swings and psychological defects may result.
- It ravages the body from inside out. It will result in long-term serious side effects that keep on harming the body adversely and severely.
- It will cause an increase in the risk of developing diseases like HIV, AIDS and Hepatitis C.
According to this study, maternal abuse of cocaine leads to babies being born with structural deformities and functional deficiency of the heart and ventricle, abnormal heart rhythms, and conduction abnormalities. In many cases, these symptoms for months after the birth.
Tests that done to see the quantity of cocaine in body:
Following are the different types of drug screening tests used to see the level of cocaine in the body. you can also check level of Hydrocodone by blood test, urine test, and hair test.
Most commonly used test. Cocaine is detected after 5-10 minutes of the intake. It can also be detected till 2-4 days.
More specific test. The drug is detected after 5-6 hours. It is also applicable till 7 days.
Detectable after 5-6 hours of the intake. It can be used till several days.
The drug starts showing in hair after 5 to 7 days and can be seen in them till around 80 to 90 days.
For chronic users:
In the case of chronic users, the drug is stored in the fatty tissues of the body especially that of the liver. The drug keeps on stocking up and is stored in these tissues. The drug is released at particular intervals from the tissues into the blood stream so the user is marked positive even if he has not taken the drug. Total cleansing would take around 5-6 months after which he may be called as drug-free.
Watch this video by thinkTank about drugs and how long they take to get out of your body.
Can drug addiction be cured and/or prevented?
With the development of medical sciences and advancement in the field of rehabilitation, any sort of addiction can be treated and prevented from becoming worsened. Various results from a research funded by NIDA have shown that;
“Prevention programs involving families, schools, communities, and the media are effective in preventing or reducing drug use and addiction. Although personal events and cultural factors affect drug use trends, when young people view drug use as harmful, they tend to decrease their drug taking. Therefore, education and outreach are keys in helping people understand the possible risks of drug use. Teachers, parents and health care providers have crucial roles in educating young people and preventing drug use and addiction. Combining addiction treatment medicines with behavioral therapy ensures the best chance of success for most patients. Treatment approaches tailored to each patient’s drug use patterns and any co-occurring medical, mental, and social problems can lead to continued recovery.”
Points to remember:
- Drug abuse is a chronic disease and should be treated seriously seeking the help of experts and medical professionals.
- Change in lifestyle and adopting healthy habits and a positive approach will play a major role in the cure of the disease.
- Having the support of community and friends along with the encouragement of family will prove beneficial in regard to the patient and will help him lead a healthy life ahead.
- Addiction of any kind needs a step by step strategy and sudden withdrawal of the drug might end up in more severe consequences as compared to the ones faced while having the intake of the drug.
- Counseling and therapy sessions should be considered well as they are an integral part of the treatment.