How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Urine? How to Check?
Cocaine is a dangerous, fast-acting central nervous system stimulant that can have devastating effects on the body – some of which are felt immediately and others that may linger for years, depending on the length and intensity of use. If you or a loved one is struggling with cocaine addiction, it’s important to know how it affects your body and how long those effects can last.
The short answer? Cocaine can be detected by a blood or saliva test for up to two days after use. How long does cocaine stay in urine? It can show up in a urine test for up to three days – though heavy habitual users can show traces of cocaine in their urine for up to three months. In addition, cocaine can be found in hair testing for up to years after use.
Table of Contents
Here are the most important things you need to know about how long cocaine remains in the body:
- Individual factors affect how long cocaine stays in your system
- How you ingest cocaine affects how it affects your system
- The type of test matters
- Key metabolites are the indicators a test looks for
- Using cocaine with alcohol could keep it in your system longer
- You can’t really speed up the process
Now here’s a little more detail about each of these important facets of cocaine’s effect on the body:
Individual Factors Affect How Long Cocaine Stays in Your System
Every physical body is different, and the characteristics of your body have a heavy influence over how long cocaine remains in your system. For example, factors including metabolism, body mass and weight will affect how long cocaine can be detected. In addition, the size of the dose and the frequency of use are highly influential – the more you use at one time and the more often you use, the harder it is for your body to completely clear it. And if you’re taking a urine test, additional factors like the concentration and pH of your urine also have the power to affect test results.
How You Ingest Cocaine Affects How Long it Affects Your System
One of the most dangerous facets of cocaine use it that it can occur in so many different ways, each of which affects your body differently. Consider the differences among the following cocaine delivery methods:
- Smoking – Generally, effects are noticeable within five to 10 seconds and can last as long as 20 minutes.
- Snorting – Effects can be felt within three to five minutes and last for up to 20 minutes.
- Oral ingestion – Effects noticed within 10-30 minutes and last for as long as 90 minutes.
- Intravenous delivery – Effects can be seen within five to 10 seconds and last as long as 20 minutes.
And while each of these delivery methods influences how quickly cocaine reaches your brain and begins to have a noticeable effect, the method of ingestion does not seem to have much influence over the amount of time cocaine remains detectable within your system.
The Type of Test Matters
Cocaine typically has a half-life of about an hour – which means it takes roughly that long for half of the drug the bloodstream has absorbed to make it out of the body. But – especially for heavy and/or long-term cocaine users, the drug may be absorbed into body tissues, which means it can be detected by certain kinds of tests for much longer.
Here are some general guidelines about different types of tests and what they can detect:
- Saliva or blood test – generally can detect the presence of cocaine and/or its associated metabolites for up to two days after the most recent cocaine use
- Urine test – the most common form of drug testing, a urine test can pick up cocaine and/or its metabolites for roughly three days after the most recent use, though for heavy users, that timeframe can extend to as much as two weeks
- Hair test – can reveal the presence of cocaine and/or its metabolites for months, or even years, after use
Key Metabolites are The Indicators a Test Looks For
Like most chemical substances, cocaine must be processed by enzymes occurring in both your blood and your liver in order to pass successfully through your system. Metabolites produced throughout this process then show up in your urine – the two key metabolites for cocaine detection are benzoylecgonine and ecgonine methyl ester. Benzoylecgonine is often stored in fatty tissue, which is why those with more body mass and/or higher concentrations of fatty tissue will have a harder time completely clearing that metabolite.
Using Cocaine With Alcohol Could Keep it in Your System Longer
Using cocaine in conjunction with alcohol is a dangerous choice on several levels, not least of all because it can slow down your body’s ability to metabolize them both, maybe by as much as 20 percent. In fact, combining the two can lead to as much as a 30 percent increase in the cocaine level in the blood.
You can’t Really Speed Up The Process
You might see lots of claims on the Internet with sure-fire ways to flush cocaine from your system so that you can pass a drug test – but none of them has proven effective. You can drink a ton of water to help your body flush out the metabolites associated with processing cocaine, but that is no guarantee that you’ll be able to pass a drug test. Your best bet is to either stop using or never to start in the first place.
The bottom line: it’s hard to give a good rule of thumb about how long cocaine stays in your system since that timeline is influenced by so many individual factors. But regardless of how long it remains in your system, ingesting cocaine in any form and with any frequency carries with it the high risk of addiction and severe bodily harm. If you or someone you love is addicted to cocaine, please reach out to a treatment professional as soon as possible so you can started on the road to recovery. The highly trained team of professionals at Freedom House stands ready to take your call anytime – and to help you or a loved one on the road to recovery.