How long does Cocaine stay in your urine 

How long does Cocaine stay in your urine 

In this article, you are going to find out what is cocaine and how long does cocaine stay in your system.

We are also answering some questions like “How does cocaine affect the brain?” and “ What factors can affect how long cocaine stays in your urine?”

Keep reading to find out more.

What is Cocaine?

Cocaine is a powerfully addictive stimulant drug made from the leaves of the coca plant native to South America.

Although health care providers can use it for valid medical purposes, such as local anesthesia for some surgeries, recreational cocaine use is illegal. 

As a street drug, cocaine looks like a fine, white, crystal powder. Street dealers often mix it with things like cornstarch, talcum powder, or flour to increase profits.

They may also mix it with other drugs such as the stimulant amphetamine, or synthetic opioids, including fentanyl. 

Adding synthetic opioids to cocaine is especially risky when people using cocaine don’t realize it contains this dangerous additive.

Increasing numbers of overdose deaths among cocaine users might be related to this tampered cocaine.

Also called: snow, C, Charlie, coke, rock, dust, white.

Short-term effects 

  • Effects of cocaine start quickly but only last for up to 30 minutes
  • You may feel more alert, energetic, exhilarated and confident
  • Your heart and pulse rate speed up suddenly
  • Hyperactivity, dilated pupils, dry mouth, sweating and loss of appetite
  • Higher doses can make you feel very anxious and panicky
  • Increased sex drive

Long-term effects

  • Tightness in chest, insomnia, exhaustion and unable to relax
  • Dry mouth, sweating, mood swings and loss of appetite
  • You may become aggressive or even violent
  • You may feel depressed and run down
  • Damage to nose tissue
  • Digestive disorders, dehydration, and anorexia
  • Kidney damage
  • If you use it often you may lose your sex drive
  • Injecting may cause abscesses
  • Smoking may cause breathing problems
  • Anxiety, paranoia, and hallucinations, if you use a lot
  • Weight loss

Other dangers

  • Overdose can cause epileptic fit, stroke, breathing problems and heart attack
  • Damage to veins if you inject
  • Risk of HIV and hepatitis if you share needles
  • When you mix cocaine with alcohol, they combine to produce cocaethylene, which increases the risks of damage to the heart or heart attack
  • Extremely dangerous if you inject it with heroin, known as a ‘speedball’
  • Increased sex drive can lead to unsafe sex, with the risk of unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or HIV
  • Debt – cocaine is an expensive habit and you may find yourself borrowing money to buy it

How does cocaine affect the brain?

Cocaine increases levels of the natural chemical messenger dopamine in brain circuits related to the control of movement and reward.

Normally, dopamine recycles back into the cell that released it, shutting off the signal between nerve cells.

However, cocaine prevents dopamine from being recycled, causing large amounts to build up in the space between two nerve cells, stopping their normal communication. 

This flood of dopamine in the brain’s reward circuit strongly reinforces drug-taking behaviors, because the reward circuit eventually adapts to the excess of dopamine caused by cocaine, and becomes less sensitive to it.

As a result, people take stronger and more frequent doses in an attempt to feel the same high and to obtain relief from withdrawal.

How long does Cocaine stay in your urine?

Cocaine’s half-life is roughly one hour. This means that it takes about an hour for the body to eliminate half of the cocaine currently in the bloodstream.

However, long-term use may lead to longer elimination times, allowing certain tests to detect the drug in the system for an extended period.

Detection timeframes for different types of tests are listed below:

  • Cocaine or its metabolites typically can be detected in the blood and the saliva for up to 2 days after the last use.
  • It may be detectable in a hair sample for months to years.
  • Its metabolites can usually be detected in urine for up to 3 days, but it can remain detectable for up to 2 weeks in heavy users.

Despite the different testing methods available, urine toxicology screening remains the most commonly used method of testing.

Anyone who is concerned about testing positive for cocaine should review the dangers of cocaine use and consider stopping use.

If they find they are unable to stop using, they may have a cocaine use disorder.

Those who struggle with cocaine addiction should seek substance use treatment as soon as possible.

Individuals also seek answers to other questions related to drug consumption, such as ‘How long does heroin stay in your system?’

What factors can affect how long cocaine stays in your urine?

Factors that may affect how long cocaine stays in your system include:

  • The dose.
  • Frequency of use.
  • When you last used cocaine.
  • Urine pH.
  • The concentration of urine.
  • Kidney or liver impairment.
  • Body mass.

How can people get treatment for cocaine addiction?

Behavioral therapy may be used to treat cocaine addiction. Examples include:

  • cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • contingency management or motivational incentives—providing rewards to patients who remain substance-free
  • therapeutic communities—drug-free residences in which people in recovery from substance use disorders help each other to understand and change their behaviors
  • community-based recovery groups, such as 12-step programs

While no government-approved medicines are currently available to treat cocaine addiction, researchers are testing some treatments that have been used to treat other disorders, including:

  • disulfiram (used to treat alcoholism)
  • modafinil (used to treat narcolepsy—a disorder characterized by uncontrollable episodes of deep sleep)
  • lorcaserin (used to treat obesity)
  • buprenorphine (used to treat opioid addiction)

What help is available? 

  • Self-help support such as Narcotics Anonymous
  • Counseling or psychotherapy
  • Complementary therapies, such as acupuncture
  • Support from your doctor to withdraw or keep off coke
  • Residential treatment programs (clinics)
  • Aftercare
  • One to one or group family support

Conclusions

In this article, we wrote about what is cocaine and how long does cocaine stay in your system.

We also answered  some questions like “How does cocaine affect the brain?” and “What factors can affect how long cocaine stays in your urine?”

Cocaine metabolites can usually be detected in urine for up to 3 days, but it can remain detectable for up to 2 weeks in heavy users.

Despite the different testing methods available, urine toxicology screening remains the most commonly used method of testing.

Anyone who is concerned about testing positive for cocaine should review the dangers of cocaine use and consider stopping use.

If they find they are unable to stop using, they may have a cocaine use disorder.

Those who struggle with cocaine addiction should seek substance use treatment as soon as possible.

Please feel free to leave a comment or any questions you may have in the comments section below.

FAQ about How long does cocaine stay in your urine

Does Method of Use Affect How Long It Stays in Your System?

The method of use affects how quickly the drug reaches the brain.

But it does not affect how long cocaine stays in a person’s system.

Regardless of how it is used, cocaine and cocaine’s metabolites will show up in urine 3 to 6 hours after the last use.

How is cocaine metabolized?

Cocaine is metabolized by enzymes in the liver and blood.

Its main metabolite present in urine is benzoylecgonine, followed by ecgonine methyl ester.

Does Cocaine Stay in Your System Longer if It’s Combined With Alcohol?

Cocaine appears to be eliminated slower when it is combined with alcohol.

Can Other Substances Cause You to Test Positive for Cocaine?

False positives with cocaine immunoassay urine drug screens are rare.

But they can happen, and the result can cause issues for the person. 

What Are the Long-Term Effects of Cocaine?

Some of the long-term effects of cocaine include an increased risk of stroke and seizures; Inflammation of the heart muscle; Reduced ability of the heart to contract; Aortic ruptures; Increased risk of Parkinson’s disease; Deficits in attention, inhibition, memory, decision-making, and motor tasks; Malnourishment; Weight loss; Loss of sense of smell; Nosebleeds; Trouble swallowing, and many others.

What Are The Medical Consequences Of Cocaine Use?

The medical consequences can occur through both short and long-term use of cocaine.

Some of the most severe complications that can occur with cocaine use involve the heart, such as irregular heart rhythm, chest pain, and heart attacks.

Recommendations

  1. Rewire: Change Your Brain to Break Bad Habits, Overcome Addictions, Conquer Self-Destructive Behavior
  2. The Addiction Recovery Workbook: Powerful Skills for Preventing Relapse Every Day
  3. Recovery: Freedom From Our Addictions
  4. Addiction Heartbreak: a story of taking your life back when someone you love is dealing with cocaine addiction 
  5. Cocaine Addiction: An Essential Guide to Understanding Cocaine Addiction and Helping a Cocaine Addict Before It’s Too Late 
  6. Beyond Addiction: How Science and Kindness Help People Change 

References

  1. Drug and Alcohol Information Support – drugs.ie
  2. Advanced Recovery Systems – DrugRehab.com

How long does Cocaine stay in your urine 

Nadejda Romanciuc

Nadejda Romanciuc holds a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and a diploma in Addiction studies. She is part of the Romanian Association of Integrative Psychotherapy as a psychotherapist under supervision. She's practicing online counselling for over two years and is a strong advocate for mental health.