How Long Cocaine Stays in Your System: Blood, Urine, Hair, and Saliva

How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your System?

drug testing for cocaine in a person's system

There is no way to predict precisely how long cocaine will show up on a drug test, especially if you’ve been using the drug for a long time. There are many different variables, such as the rate of your metabolism, the frequency of your drug use, the amount of the drug you use, and other factors that determine how long cocaine stays in your system. There are also several different types of drug tests that have different detection windows. As a result, cocaine may stay in the system anywhere from 24 hours to 90 days.

Cocaine is a potent stimulant drug that is a schedule II controlled substance. This means it has a high potential for abuse and addiction. While it may be administered in certain medical settings for treatment during surgery, cocaine is illegal for recreational use and unable to obtain via prescription.[1] If you’re worried about trying to pass a drug test because you’ve been abusing cocaine, it may be time to consider getting treatment for substance abuse.

How Long Does it Take For the Effects of Cocaine to Kick In?

People abuse cocaine in a variety of different ways. Some crush and snort the drug while others take it orally, smoke it, or inject it. The method of administration will affect both how long the effects take to kick in and how long the drug will stay in your system.

Snorting cocaine is the most common method of administration. The onset of the effects may take 2-3 minutes to kick in. Injecting cocaine, on the other hand, will produce near-instant effects but a shorter-lasting high. When snorted, the drug has to absorb through the mucous membrane and other tissues before producing effects. When smoked or injected, on the other hand, the drug is able to bypass these areas and enter the bloodstream immediately.

How Long Does a Cocaine High Last?

Depending on which method of administration you used, the effects of cocaine may last between 15-30 minutes. Sometimes, the effects may last for up to an hour. Factors like how much cocaine you are using and whether or not you’re taking other substances can impact how long the effects of the drug take to kick in and how long the high lasts.

When the high wears off, you may experience what people refer to as a “crash.” This refers to a come-down period where users often feel anxious, tense, depressed, or fatigued. In order to escape these symptoms, many people will use cocaine repeatedly and develop an addiction.

Even though the high produced by cocaine is short-lived, the drug may remain in your system for far longer. Cocaine has a half-life of approximately one hour. That means it takes one hour to eliminate half of the cocaine from your bloodstream. The drug is metabolized by liver enzymes that turn cocaine into benzoylecgonine. Benzoylecgonine is a cocaine metabolite that drug tests screen for to detect the presence of cocaine in the body.[2]

What Factors Determine How Long Cocaine Stays in Your System?

While it is impossible to know exactly how long cocaine will stay in your system, there are several factors that dictate the rate at which the body processes the drug. These include:

  • Frequency of drug use and potency of the cocaine – the more cocaine you use, the more often you use it, and the more potent it is, the longer it will take your body to process the drug.
  • Alcohol, caffeine, and water intake – both alcohol and caffeine dehydrate the body and can slow down the rate at which cocaine leaves your system. On the other hand, staying hydrated by drinking a lot of water can speed up this process.
  • Age, weight, and body fat – benzoylecgonine is stored in fat tissues and cells, so people with more body fat and a higher weight may take longer to process and excrete the drug. Older individuals may also have a slower metabolism and take more time to process substances.
  • Method of administration – the faster a substance is absorbed into the bloodstream, the faster it leaves your body, and the shorter the detection window for the substance is. If you smoke or inject cocaine, it may leave your system faster than if you had snorted it.

How Long Cocaine Stays in Your Blood, Urine, Hair, and Saliva

There are four different types of drug tests that will screen for benzoylecgonine: blood, urine, hair, and saliva tests. Each type of test has a different detection window. Here is a breakdown of approximately how long you can expect cocaine to stay in your blood, urine, hair, and saliva.[3]

Blood Tests

Blood tests are rarely conducted outside of a hospital setting. If you do have to submit to a blood test, cocaine may be detected in your blood for 12-48 hours after use.

Urine Tests

Urine tests, or urinalysis, are the most common type of drug screening. Depending on how often you use cocaine, it may stay in your urine anywhere between three days and two weeks after use.

Hair Follicle Tests

Hair follicle tests have the longest detection window of all drug test types. Cocaine metabolites may stay in your hair for up to three months.

Saliva Tests

Saliva tests are rarely used, however, they may detect cocaine for up to two days after your last use.

Find Help for Cocaine Addiction Today

If you have a drug test coming up and have been using cocaine, it’s understandable that you are worried about how long it will stay in your system. However, abusing cocaine or struggling to stop using cocaine are signs that you may have a drug problem.

Have you used cocaine recently? Are you worried that you won’t be able to stop using cocaine in time to pass your drug test? Do you find it extremely difficult to stop – even when your livelihood depends on it? If so, call us right now. We can discuss your cocaine rehab options with you and help you turn your life around for the better.

References:

  1. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/cocaine/what-cocaine
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11043648/
  3. http://www.datia.org/datia-resources/27-credentialing/cpc-and-cpct/931-workplace-drug-testing.html#q5

Medically Reviewed: September 25, 2019

Dr Ashley

Medical Reviewer

Chief Editor

About

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Dr Ashley Murray obtained her MBBCh Cum Laude in 2016. She currently practices in the public domain in South Africa. She has an interest in medical writing and has a keen interest in evidence-based medicine.


All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.