How Long Do the Effects of Cocaine Last?

How Long Do the Effects of Cocaine Last?

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Cocaine has become increasingly popular in the UK since its days as a party drug for the upper class in the 1980s. The increasing popularity of the drug has meant that more people have become addicted to it. According to the latest ONS report, between 2022 and 2023, 290,635 adults were in contact with drug and alcohol services. 40% of those people had problems with cocaine and crack cocaine.

Cocaine is popular because of the effects it has on people. If you are worried about substance abuse problems, you should know about the impact of cocaine, how long they last and what you can do to break the cycle of addiction. Cocaine can have a devastating effect on your body and life in general, so you must get help before it’s too late.

What is Cocaine?

Cocaine is an addictive stimulant that is extracted and refined from the leaves of the coca plant. This plant is found in South America and was at first used medically before becoming more of a recreational drug starting in the 1970s.

Cocaine is usually found in a white powder form. In this form, it is generally snorted or rubbed into the gums and was extremely popular amongst the rich and famous in the 1980s.

When powder cocaine is dissolved in water and baking soda, it turns into hard rocks. When this is heated and smoked through a pipe, you get crack cocaine. This rose to prominence in the 1980s, especially in the USA, resulting in an epidemic that brought about the War on Drugs.

Cocaine can also be dissolved and injected, but this is a rare form to find it in.

Immediate Effects of Cocaine Use

Cocaine is popular in the social setting due to the fast acting and seemingly pleasant effects it has on you.

Cocaine will make you feel euphoric and more energetic. You will have more confidence and be more talkative, likely becoming a bit of a social butterfly. As you feel wide awake, it will decrease your need for sleep and inhibit your appetite.

This all sounds good, but cocaine may also increase your heart rate, raise your body temperature, make you more anxious and act erratic or aggressive. Cocaine can also make you feel paranoid and edgy.

How Long Do the Effects of Cocaine Last?

Method Effects Start Duration
Smoking Immediate 10-20 minutes
Injecting Immediate 10-20 minutes
Snorting 5 minutes Up to 30 minutes

The duration of cocaine effects depends a lot on the method by which you take it.

If you smoke the drug, you will begin to see the effects of cocaine almost immediately as it goes into your bloodstream quickly. The high you experience will last for around 10-20 minutes. Similarly, injecting cocaine will have nearly immediate effects, and the high will last for a similar amount of time.

Snorting cocaine, which is the most common way to take it, results in the slowest ingestion. The high can last for up to 30 minutes, but it will take around 5 minutes to kick in. Whilst the high may be longer, it will be less intense than the one experienced by crack cocaine smokers.

Cocaine can stay in your system for around 1.5 hours, but a metabolite called benzoylecgonine, produced when the body processes cocaine, remains for about 7.5 hours. Benzoylecgonine is used to detect cocaine use and can be found in urine for up to 4 days, in blood and saliva for up to 2 days, and in hair for up to 3 months.

Factors Influencing the Duration of Cocaine’s Effects

The question of “How long does cocaine last?” depends on factors besides the method by which it is taken.

Individual Health and Metabolism

If you are a healthy individual, your organs will be better at eliminating toxins from their systems. A faster metabolism will clear cocaine from the body quicker than a slow one. This can all be affected by your weight, hydration levels, age and how much you exercise.

Purity and Dosage of Cocaine

The larger the dose, the longer it will stay in your body. A purer product will also have more potent effects on you and remain in your body longer than something weaker.

Other Substances

Mixing cocaine with other substances can alter how well your body deals with it. Cocaine and alcohol are an incredibly potent mix, producing cocaethylene, a substance that stays in your body longer than cocaine and can be more dangerous for you.

History with Cocaine

If you regularly take cocaine, your body can build up a tolerance to the drug, meaning that higher doses are needed to achieve the same effects. The built-up tolerance means the body is used to the higher dopamine levels that come with cocaine use, and users are often left chasing that feeling by consuming more of the substance on a regular basis, creating an addiction cycle that can have devastating consequences.

What are the Long-Term Effects of Cocaine?

Though more known for the immediate impact it provides, the effects of cocaine can be long-lasting and devastating.


Due to its euphoric effects and non-invasive method of use, it can be easy to get sucked in by cocaine. As you become used to the impact it has on you, you soon need more to gain the same effects as the first time. Addiction to the drug can strike quickly and have far-reaching consequences.

Long-term Health Issues

Cocaine can cause untold damage to your body. Heart attacks, strokes, damage to the stomach and intestines, breathing issues and problems with your mouth and nose are all possibilities. Your mental health is significantly at risk due to addiction issues and anxiety and paranoia brought on by cocaine.

Cognitive Function

Cocaine can change your brain’s physical structure. Long-term use can lead to a decrease in cognitive function, impacting your motor skills and decision-making and reducing your long-term memory. This can have a significant impact on how you live every day and your overall well-being.

Recognising Cocaine Abuse

Being aware of the signs of cocaine abuse is vital to getting the help you need. If you can recognise the signs of addiction, you can get yourself into a cocaine rehab more quickly before your situation worsens.

Physical symptoms of cocaine addiction:

  • Weight loss
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Dilated pupils

Behavioural symptoms of cocaine addiction:

  • Social isolation
  • Denial of addiction
  • More obsessive
  • Lack of control

Treatment Options for Cocaine Addiction

The good news is that there is treatment available if you are struggling with cocaine addiction.

Both inpatient and outpatient programmes offer medically sound and therapeutic approaches to addiction treatment. You can expect to go through cocaine detox and undergo therapy sessions that deal with the underlying issues.

After rehab, continued engagement with aftercare support group meetings and honing your recovery strategies can decrease the risk of relapse occurring.

How We Can Help

If you are worried about your cocaine use and need help, Rehab Clinics Group are here for you. We offer residential addiction treatment that gives you the best chance of achieving your long-term recovery goals.

For more information, call us now at 0800 470 0382 or text HELP to 83222.