What Is Cocaine?
Cocaine, also known as coke, blow, and white, is a powerful stimulant drug. SAMHSA explains that stimulants increase activity in the central nervous system, resulting in a powerful, euphoric high.
The effects of cocaine are intense but brief. They peak within 15 minutes of use and subside within 45-60 minutes. The effects are highly desirable, so the short-lived nature of the high drives many users to take more once the effects begin to wear off. Frequent cocaine use leads to mental dependence, making it extremely difficult to stop.
How Long Does Cocaine Stay in the System?
When you use cocaine, the body breaks it down into chemicals known as metabolites, which are what show up in drug tests. There are four standard tests used to detect cocaine. These are:
Cocaine metabolites remain in your blood for up to two days after last use.
Cocaine metabolites remain in your saliva for up to two days after last use.
Cocaine metabolites remain in your urine for up to four days after last use.
Hair sample tests can detect cocaine metabolites for up to 90 days after last use.
What Factors Influence How Long Cocaine Stays in the Body?
The above tests and timelines are not exact. They are an approximate timeline for how long cocaine metabolites remain in the system and can be detected.
Several factors influence how long cocaine remains in the body. These include:
- How much cocaine has been used – higher doses of cocaine lead to higher concentrations of metabolites.
- The method of consumption – cocaine can be snorted, dabbed on the gums, smoked, or injected. Snorted or dabbed cocaine remains in the system for longer than injected or smoked cocaine.
- Frequency of use – regular use of cocaine keeps metabolites present for longer than they would remain after one-time use.
- Polydrug use – simultaneous use of cocaine and alcohol can keep metabolites in the system for longer than they would remain if cocaine were used by itself.
- Weight and metabolism – cocaine remains in the system for longer in those with a high percentage of body fat.
What Are the Signs Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction?
If you have recently used cocaine or know that a loved one has recently used cocaine, it’s essential to understand the signs and symptoms of abuse.
Primary Care explains that cocaine has a high potential for abuse. Dependence and addiction can happen after even a short period of misuse. If you believe that you or a loved one may be struggling with cocaine addiction or is likely to develop an addiction, be aware of the following symptoms, as outlined in the Journal of the National Medical Association:
- Anxiety, panic
- Mood swings
- Difficulty in cutting down or stopping use
- Stealing, borrowing, or begging for money to fund cocaine use
- Lies and secrecy about drug use
- Feeling that you need cocaine to function in daily life
If you have noticed any of the above signs and symptoms in yourself or a loved one, seek professional help. Effective, evidence-based cocaine addiction treatment is available. Addiction is a progressive condition, which means it gets worse the longer a person goes without treatment. The earlier you seek treatment, the greater your chance of successful recovery.
Psychotherapeutic and behavioral interventions are available to help you overcome cocaine addiction. These approaches consider your history of substance use and your personal background. Addiction often has its roots in other issues, such as unresolved trauma, so it’s essential that treatment addresses the entire person.