cocaine in blood

When Does Cocaine Leave Your System?

It gives me the edge I need to stay ahead of work.

I need it for school. It helps me stay awake and study for longer hours.

I tried it with the guys while pregaming for the big party the other night, but I am not sure it’s for me.

But now, a random drug test.

For anyone who has snorted or injected cocaine, there is a question that may come up.

How long is cocaine in my system? Am I going to fail a drug test?

 What Is Cocaine?

Usually recognizable by its white, powdery appearance, cocaine is a stimulant. Stimulants are a specific group of drugs that target a person’s central nervous system.

Cocaine, notoriously known for its role in many Hollywood blockbuster movies like “Scarface,” is an entirely illegal substance. It’s taken recreationally by people looking to achieve quick highs that increase energy, awareness, and alertness.

Because of its ability to provide short bursts of energy and alertness, cocaine is a substance that is misused by many people in many age groups with many different backgrounds.

In its most common form, a powdery white substance, cocaine is typically snorted. Over the course of time, this can cause many issues for someone’s breathing as it damages their nasal passages.

Cocaine can also be smoked or injected. When injected, it is often dissolved in water and then injected into a vein.

 A Brief History of Cocaine

Cocaine comes from the leaves of the coca plant , which is native to South America.

The first recorded use of cocaine known to date is from around 3000 B.C. when groups would plant the coca to help them in their lives. Groups would chew on the leaves of the plant to speed their heart and breathing when needed. Because they lived in the mountains, the use of coca leaves would allow for better breathing in the thin air.

Cocaine has a history of being used as a tool of power and control as well.

Spanish forces, after invading and holding many Peruvians captive in the 16th century and forcing them to work in silver mines, would control the captured laborers by providing them with coca leaves that left the captured addicted and dependent.

It was not until the mid 19th century that cocaine was first isolated from coca leaves. German scientist Albert Niemann was the man responsible.

Within 30 years, cocaine began to be used in medicine. Sigmund Freud rather famously published articles in 1894 that expressed his belief in cocaine as a cure for depression or impotence.

Freud was noted as publishing many pieces that were seen as more opinionated than scientific. This is especially true given his regular use of cocaine recreationally. He eventually developed a cocaine addiction from his recreational use — something he battled for many years of his life.

Around this time, a famous fun fact was created. In 1886, an Atlanta pharmacist created Coca-Cola using coca leaves as an ingredient. As one would expect, Coca-Cola was extremely popular because of this ingredient and caffeine from the kola nut. They removed cocaine from Coca-Cola’s formula in about 1903.

It was not until 1922 that the United States banned cocaine.

How Many People Consume Cocaine in America?

Cocaine use in the United States has remained steady for the past 20 years. According to the most recent findings of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the use of cocaine is part of millions of Americans’ lives.

SAMHSA reports that 40.6 million Americans ages 12 or older have tried cocaine at least once in their life.

SAMHSA found that 5.9 million Americans claimed to have consumed it in the past year. For use in the past month, 2.2 million Americans claimed to have consumed cocaine.

While crack cocaine is technically the same thing, they are statistically different.

Crack cocaine, sometimes simply called “crack,” has been consumed by 9.6 million Americans at least once. At the time of the most recent survey, 930,000 Americans claimed to have consumed crack in the past year, and 473,000 claimed to have consumed crack in the past month.

Are Crack and Cocaine the Same Thing?

Crack cocaine and cocaine are in fact the same thing. Crack is cocaine in crystal rock form.

Crack cocaine offers a quicker and greater high, causing it to be considered more addictive than powdered cocaine.

Crack is consumed by heating and then inhaling the drug.

Side Effects of Cocaine

Cocaine is a stimulant that increases the speed of your body’s systems. It improves alertness, awareness, energy, talkativeness, and focus. It also provides a feeling of joy.

Despite the positive effects the drug provides for the person consuming it, there are even more negative effects.

For example, in the short term, cocaine increases heart rate and breathing, and that can lead to anxiety or panic.

More short-term side effects that can last from immediately after dose up to an hour or two after use include:

  • Increased body temperature
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Violence
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Panic
  • Paranoia (fear someone is trying to hurt you)
  • Tremors
  • Vertigo (dizziness)
  • Muscle twitches
  • Seizure

With consistent use, long-term side effects can set it. As with any substance, the mind and body will continue to crave more of the substance, leading to a greater and greater potential for overdose.

More long-term side effects are:

  • Lung damage
    • Including asthma
  • Dependence
  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Panic attacks
  • Increased risk of getting diseases like HIV or Hepatitis C
  • Loss of senses
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Heart attack
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Coma
  • Death

What Is the Half-Life of Cocaine?

The half-life of a drug refers to the point at which the drug has halfway run its course of life in a body’s system.

Half-life is used to estimate the life of a drug.

For example, if a drug has a half-life of two hours, this means the drug’s original value will be cut in half after two hours in a person’s body. In the next two hours, the remaining half will be cut in half. So for a drug with a two-hour half-life, the drug will be 75% out of a person’s system in four hours. The drug’s concentration will continue to be cut in half every two hours..

For cocaine, there is a short half-life — at least relative to most other drugs.

For instance, Tylenol has a half-life of two to three hours. Benadryl has a half-life of 3.5 to 9.5 hours. These numbers are according to the National Institutes of Health.

Cocaine’s half-life is closer to one hour. The half-life closely mirrors how cocaine produces a short, quick, and intense high for its consumer. While cocaine is effective and efficient, the high from a dose of cocaine is rapid and tends to fade within a very quick period of time.

Along with half-life, metabolism plays a big role in the life of a drug. Cocaine is typically metabolized (meaning broken down and processed by the body) by the liver and blood enzymes. Cocaine metabolizes so fast it’s hardly possible to see cocaine that is unchanged by going entirely through your body.

How Soon Can I Pass A Drug Test?

This depends on many factors, including what type of drug test is given.

In the most common form of drug test, urine, cocaine is typically detectable for three to six hours (according to a study from the University of Arizona).

The way a person takes cocaine (injected, snorted, inhaled) has little effect on how long the drug is detectable in a person’s system. The way it is taken will only affect how fast the substance provides a high and how long the high lasts.

There are many factors that play a role in how long cocaine will remain in the body of a person.

Those factors include:

  • Amount of dose
  • Tolerance
  • Time of last use
  • Urine concentration and acidity (pH level)
  • Frequency of use
  • Age
  • Body mass
  • Metabolism
  • Kidney and liver function

We have discussed urine drug tests so far, but they are not the only tests given. There are also blood tests, saliva tests, and the rare hair follicle test.

It’s important to know about these other tests because detection time can be much different from what urine tests provide (to the tune of MONTHS).

In blood tests, cocaine can be seen often for up to 12 hours. In saliva tests, cocaine is detectable for about 48 hours.

Hair samples, again, are rare but of note because of their long detection window. A hair follicle drug test is done by having hair samples sent to a lab. No amount of product, hair dye, or washing can change the results of a hair follicle test.

Hair follicle testing has a detection period of up to 90 days for cocaine.

Cocaine Withdrawal

Detoxing from or quitting cocaine is not easy. That is not meant to scare you away from it but rather to give you a warning that it is a tough journey.

Quitting cocaine cold turkey on your own is downright dangerous. The withdrawal from cocaine is intense and can have serious health consequences when done without the supervision of doctors and nurses.

By attending a detox program, patients can get 24-hour-per-day monitoring to help them throughout this process.

Possible symptoms of cocaine withdrawal include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Cocaine cravings
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Nausea
  • Chills
  • Nightmares
  • Nerve pain
  • Muscle aches
  • Fever
  • Sweating
  • General discomfort

Withdrawal symptoms for cocaine can begin as soon as three hours after the last dose for a person who commonly uses cocaine.

At 24 hours, the general discomfort and other symptoms set in.

cocaine in system

Cocaine Addiction Treatment and Detox

Cocaine detox and treatment may be necessary for you or your loved one to finally rid yourself of the harmful toxins in the substance.

At Vertava Mississippi, we will work with you through detox and treatment using evidence-based forms of treatment in our inpatient and outpatient programs.

Our treatment includes one-on-one counseling, group therapy, activity-based therapy, and much more to help our clients in their recovery journey.

Today Is the Day To Change Your Life

Your strength is a huge part of your recovery process. We know you have the ability to change your life and guide it in the direction you want. Don’t hesitate to call us today to begin the journey.

Call Vertava Mississippi today at (888) 956-6369 to learn more about treatment or to simply ask questions you may still have about cocaine.


How long does cocaine stay in your urine system?

Cocaine is traceable in a person’s urine system for three to six hours. The exact length of time comes down to a number of factors like:

  • Amount of dose
  • Tolerance
  • Time of last use
  • Urine concentration and acidity (pH level)
  • Frequency of use
  • Age
  • Body mass
  • Metabolism
  • Kidney and liver function

How long does cocaine stay in your blood system?

Cocaine is detectable in a blood sample for up to 12 hours after use.

Call Vertava Health now!