How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your System?

Cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant that’s been used for a long time. At the start of the 1900s, purified cocaine was the primary ingredient found in a variety of tonics designed to treat sickness and health conditions. The initial versions of Coca-Cola also contained cocaine. Before there were options for localized anesthetics, doctors would use cocaine to block pain during surgery. Since it’s earliest applications, cocaine has been shown to be very addictive. It can also impact the structure of the brain and cognitive functionality if it’s used long-term.
Cocaine snorted through a bill.
Cocaine is now classified as a Schedule II drug, which means it can be administered by a doctor as a local anesthesia in rare cases. It also means that it has a high potential for abuse. This drug is frequently cut with substances like baking soda or talcum powder. The versions of cocaine sold on the street typically appear as a white, crystalline powder. Crack is the street name of the version with the hydrochloride removed. When it’s heated, it makes a crackling sound. This version can be smoked, which results in an almost immediate effect, similar to what happens when cocaine is injected.

According to a 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, there were 1.5 million estimated people aged 12 and older who admitted to be using cocaine when surveyed, which meant they had used within the past month. The age bracket from 18-25 indicates the highest rate of current cocaine use.

One of the important reasons to understand how long cocaine stays in your system is the potential for overdose. As with most drugs, even though the high feeling of cocaine may wear off, that doesn’t mean it has left your system. People may take more to try and achieve the high again without having their last dose of the drug leave their body, which puts them at a higher likelihood for an overdose.

If someone overdoses on cocaine, it can lead to heart failure, brain hemorrhaging, stroke, respiratory failure and seizures. Even when someone doesn’t overdose, the likelihood of developing serious respiratory issues is a risk of smoking cocaine. In general, people who use cocaine in any form are more likely to have a heart attack or stroke compared to people who never use it at all. Even with recreational use, there is research that shows cocaine can lead to thicker heart muscle walls, higher blood pressure and harder arteries.

Cocaine can stay in your system for anywhere from 3.3 to 5.5 hours after you take it for the last time. It 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. The cocaine itself has a relatively short half-life of around an hour, while the benzoylecgonine has a half-life of around six hours.
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. Also relevant is the way you take cocaine. If you inject the drug, 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.

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.

How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your System?
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