How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your System?

Cocaine in Your Blood, Urine, Hair, & Saliva

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It is almost impossible to determine an exact timeframe that cocaine (also known as coke, crack, flake, rocks, and snow) will show up on a drug test. How long cocaine stays in the system depends on many variables, including a person's metabolism, body mass, age, hydration level, and other factors.

The various kinds of screening tests that can be used—blood, saliva, urine, or hair follicle—also have different windows of time in which they can detect the drug. These can range from 24 hours to up to three months.

Cocaine is a Schedule II controlled substance because of its high potential for abuse and severe psychological and physical dependence. It is available legally for use in certain medical and surgical settings, but not legal for prescription. Its recreational use is illegal in the United States.

Cocaine detection times

Verywell / Gary Ferster 

How Long Does It Take to Feel Effects?

The method by which cocaine is administered—whether it's smoked, injected, taken orally, or snorted—can affect both the intensity and duration of the high. For example, snorting cocaine can produce a relatively slow onset of the high that may last from 15 to 30 minutes. Smoking cocaine, on the other hand, will result in more immediate effects that last five to 10 minutes.

The cocaine high can make you feel really good, giving you feelings of pleasure, confidence, and energy beyond what you would normally experience. You’ll also experience a "euphoric high," which can last up to 30 minutes, and make you feel:

  • Hyper-stimulated
  • Invincible
  • Less sleepy
  • Mentally alert
  • More talkative
  • Sexually aroused

But this high is typically immediately followed by a crash that can cause anxiety and tension, depression, agitation, and exhaustion. It's this quick cycle that makes cocaine so addictive. Immediately after cocaine use, you can expect the following physical effects to take place:

  • Constricted blood vessels
  • Dilated pupils
  • Faster breathing
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Rising body temperature

How Long Does Cocaine Last?

The half-life of cocaine is about one hour, which means it takes that long to eliminate half of the cocaine from the bloodstream. Cocaine itself is metabolized by enzymes in the liver and blood, and it happens so rapidly that it is not detectable in most screening tests.

Those tests actually screen for benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine that is detectable in the body for a longer period of time than cocaine. The following is an estimated range of times, or detection windows, during which cocaine can be picked up by various testing methods.


Blood tests, which are typically done in a hospital setting, can detect cocaine in your blood for 12 hours after use and benzoylecgonine for 48 hours.


Cocaine metabolites can typically be detected in hair follicles for up to three months, however, the results may depend on where the hair sample is taken.


A saliva test uses a special device to extract a sample of saliva from your mouth and deposit it directly into a tube. With these tests, cocaine metabolites can be detected for up to two days after use.


Urine drug screens for cocaine are very accurate in the detection of recent cocaine use because cross-reactivity between the screen and other non-cocaine substances is nearly nonexistent.

As a result, it is the most common test used. A urine screening can detect cocaine metabolites for up to three days after use. In people who use cocaine heavily, however, detection times have even been reported for up to two weeks after use.

Factors That Affect Detection Time

It is very difficult to determine an exact detection window for how long cocaine can stay in someone's system. The length of time it remains in your body depends on many different factors, including body mass, metabolism, and hydration levels.

Frequency and Potency

The more cocaine you use per session, the longer the benzoylecgonine metabolite remains and can be detected, according to some studies. In addition to the volume and frequency, the purity level of the drug can also affect how quickly benzoylecgonine is eliminated from the body.

Alcohol and Caffeine Consumption

Alcohol can "bind" cocaine and impede its excretion. Similarly, caffeine can also impede the excretion of cocaine.

Body Fat

Benzoylecgonine can be stored in fatty tissue. So, if you have higher levels of body fat, the drug can accumulate in that fatty tissue and stay in your system longer.


If you're dehydrated, the drug may stay in your system longer. This is because water can speed up the excretion of cocaine metabolites.

Physical Activity

Cocaine is excreted faster in people who are active and have a higher metabolic rate.

Method Used

The method by which you take cocaine—snorting, smoking, or injecting—also influences detection time. In general, the faster the drug is absorbed into the bloodstream, the shorter the detection window. This means if you smoke or inject cocaine, it will leave the body faster than if you snort it.

How to Get Cocaine Out of Your System

Many websites claim that there are immediate ways to "flush out" your system after cocaine use, such as drinking lots of water, taking a detox pill, eliminating alcohol and caffeine, consuming fresh fruit high in antioxidants, and taking natural herbs.

However, none of these claims have been substantiated under scientific conditions. The only reliable way to get cocaine out of your system is to stop use and allow your body time to metabolize and eliminate it.

Symptoms of Overdose

Using too much cocaine or taking a higher concentration of the drug can result in a condition known as cocaine intoxication, which can produce serious side effects and symptoms. Symptoms of cocaine intoxication can include:

  • Anxiety and agitation
  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Confusion
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Enlarged pupils
  • Feeling of euphoria
  • Hyperactivity and muscle damage
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Kidney damage
  • Seizures
  • Stroke
  • Sudden death
  • Sweating
  • Tremors

With high doses of cocaine, psychosis and other signs of mental illness can occur. Some of these psychiatric symptoms can occur with any level of cocaine use. Overdoses can occur unexpectedly, even on the first use, and the risk of overdose can increase if cocaine is combined with other drugs or alcohol. Signs of overdose can include vomiting, tremors, and difficulty breathing.

If you suspect someone has overdosed on cocaine, call 911 immediately.

Getting Help

If you are concerned about having too much cocaine in your system or testing positive for the drug, consider seeking help. For people who use cocaine regularly, a consistent and long-term solution is required, starting with naturally ridding the body of the substance (detoxing) and seeking counseling and medical therapy.

If you use cocaine regularly, you may experience some withdrawal symptoms when you stop including mood changes, fatigue, sleep problems, and increased appetite. These symptoms can become more severe after heavy use.

Obtaining treatment for mental health conditions such as depression is also highly recommended. Finally, joining a support group is more likely to decrease your chances of a relapse.

If you or a loved one are struggling with substance use or addiction, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area. 

For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.

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11 Sources
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