Cocaine can stay in your system for anywhere from 3.3 to 5.5 hours after you take it for the last time. Cocaine also has an active metabolite called benzoylecgonine, and that takes longer to be expelled from the body completely.

It’s usually between one and two days before the metabolite leaves the system. Estimates show that when someone takes cocaine, about 40% hydrolyzes to form benzoylecgonine. Then another 40% is metabolized by the liver, and then ecgonine methyl ester is produced. Cocaine, itself, has a relatively short half-life of around an hour, while the benzoylecgonine has a half-life of around six hours.

What Is a Cocaine Screening?

A cocaine drug test (often called a cocaine screen) can detect the drug using urine, blood, hair, saliva or sweat. It will show whether or not cocaine is present in the system, but also the metabolites of cocaine, if present. Metabolites are chemicals produced by the body in response to processing cocaine. The two metabolites that can show up in a cocaine drug test include benzoylecgonine and ecgonine methyl ester. A drug test for cocaine is included as part of a wider drug screening that also looks for opioids, marijuana, amphetamines, and PCP.

Drug tests can be done in a doctor’s office or clinical setting, and the results can be shown in just a few minutes when a rapid screening is done. The most common ways for a cocaine drug test to be conducted include having someone either urinate in a cup or giving a saliva sample from the mouth. While urine and saliva tests are more popular ways of doing a drug test for cocaine, hair can be used as well, and it can detect the use of cocaine for months after the person has actually done the drug, but it’s not always an accurate process.

How Long Does Cocaine Stay In Your Hair, Saliva & Urine?

Even though it metabolizes within about four hours, a cocaine screen can show the use of the drug for around two to four days in urine. With saliva cocaine testing, the half-life of the drug is around two hours, but there have been some traces of cocaine found in saliva as long as 19 hours after someone took the drug. With hair testing, cocaine may show up in results for at least 90 days after someone has used the last dose.

However, for someone who is a long-term or heavy user of cocaine, the drug can stay in their system and be detectable on a cocaine test for longer. In certain types of drug screens, cocaine can show up in the results for up to three months after someone uses it.

Some of the specific factors that determine how long cocaine stays in the system of a user include the amount they use, whether they mixed it with other substances, how often they use cocaine, and the method of drug testing they’re undergoing.

As a general guide, if someone has used cocaine only once, it’s usually detectable in urine for around three to five days. For someone who takes a larger dose of cocaine or uses it occasionally, it may show up in urine for three to seven days. For frequent or heavy cocaine users, a urine test can show the drug for five to 14 days after the last dose.

The Effects of Cocaine

Cocaine is a drug that’s often used during binge cycles because the effects are typically only felt for a few minutes and no more than an hour. This means that someone may use cocaine over and over again during a short period of time to stay high.

When someone uses cocaine, since it is a stimulant, it increases their energy levels and can cause a euphoric rush of happiness. Unfortunately, there aren’t just feelings of energy and euphoria that accompany the use of cocaine. Some people may react differently to cocaine so they may be paranoid, aggressive or violent.

What Impacts How Long Cocaine Lasts in Your System?

There are quite a few things that can determine how long cocaine will remain in the system of the person using it. Dosage is a significant factor. The larger the dose, the longer it will take to be fully eliminated from your system.

With cocaine, people who use cocaine long-term tend to have it stay in their body for longer periods of time, because it begins to be stored in fatty tissues. Detoxifying can take quite a bit longer than it would for those who use it short-term, and the substance may show up in drug tests for a longer period.

The more often you use cocaine, the harder it is for your body to eliminate it, because your body’s elimination systems lose functionality and efficiency with frequent use. Something else to be considered with how long it takes for cocaine to leave the system is the purity of the drug. The purer the cocaine, the more potent its effects will be, and the longer it will stay in the system.

Also relevant is the method of ingestion.

If you inject cocaine, you may get a very fast high that lasts for a shorter period of time, and this means the substance leaves the body faster. When someone injects cocaine, the half-life is around five minutes, which means it would clear from the system within 30 minutes.

For people who snort cocaine, a high may last from 10 to 30 minutes, and it would take just under three hours for it to be completely eliminated in most cases. If you smoke freebase cocaine, the half-life is around 45 minutes, and with that half-life rate, it could take more than four hours for the drug to be eliminated from their body.

Cocaine can also be ingested orally. With this method, it can take an hour to feel the effects of the drug, and they may last for two hours. The elimination half-life is about an hour, and it could take up to 5 ½ hours for it to be entirely eliminated.

If you are struggling with a cocaine addiction, The Recovery Village offers a variety of nationwide locations offering a full continuum of treatment services. If you would like more information regarding our programs and the ways The Recovery Village can help you, call to speak to one of our representatives. Calls are completely free and confidential. Begin the road to a cocaine-free life, today.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.