How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your System
Here you will learn how long cocaine stays in your body, especially in your urine, hair, saliva, and blood.
You will also learn what substances a cocaine drug screening is looking for. And more importantly, you will learn how long are you going to wait before your body gets clean.
To give you an overall picture, cocaine stays in the body in as little as two days to as long as three weeks. All that depends on the frequency of use and dosage.
Cocaine Metabolism and Excretion
Cocaine is a kind of drug that can be administered via different routes. It can be snorted (intranasal), it can be injected into a vein (intravenous), and it can also be smoked.
Each method of administration produces different “high” for the user as the body processes each method differently. It is thus proper to note that each method produces a slightly differing amounts of metabolites as well.
The liver and kidneys play a major role in the metabolism of cocaine. Although other vital organs of the body, such as the skin and lungs, also help in the drug metabolism process.
The large chunk of the drug metabolites will be excreted through urine and the remaining amount will wash away in your feces and sweat.
Smoking the drug will produce a unique thermal degradation product called anhydroecgonine.
Among the three drug administration methods mentioned, snorting produces the highest concentration of benzoylecgonine in the urine.
Other minor cocaine metabolites include norcocaine, m-hydroxybenzoylecgonine, m-hydroxycocaine, p-hydroxybenzoylecgonine, and p-hydroxycocaine.
Factors Affecting Excretion of Cocaine
Each individual is a unique being. This being said, the speed of how cocaine is metabolized and how long it is excreted from your body is very much dependent on your overall physical make up as well as other substances you took with the drug.
Here is the rundown.
Did you take alcoholic beverages with cocaine? If your answer is yes then you can expect that the drug will have an extended stay in your system.
Also, mixing the drug with alcohol produces a longer-lasting and a more toxic metabolite called cocaethylene.
Do you have a healthy liver and kidneys? Chronic drug users will find it hard to answer yes to this question as all drugs and alcohol we introduce into our body are processed here.
Since these organs are the body’s centers of metabolism, the healthier they are, the faster your body can flush out the drug out of your system.
Did you know that the drug’s purity also plays a large part on its excretion out of your body? Yes, a high-grade cocaine can be excreted out of the body faster compared to an impure one.
Is your body a storehouse of fat? If so, get to know that cocaine loves to cling to fat cells—the plumper you are, the slower your body gets cleaned up.
Lastly, your body’s metabolism rate also has something to say regarding drug excretion. The rule is that the faster your metabolism rate is, the faster your body can get rid of the drug.
How Cocaine is Detected on Drug Tests
After a drug is ingested, it is easily absorbed and metabolized by the body. And it is through the product of metabolism called metabolites that your drug use becomes apparent.
During metabolism, a drug is broken down by the body into simpler substances for easy elimination. Metabolism by-products are then absorbed by the different tissues and fluids in our body, such as the hair, urine, saliva, and blood.
Benzoylecgonine and ecgonine methyl ester are the two main inactive cocaine metabolites.
Between the two, ecgonine stays longer in the body providing for a longer window of detection as compared to benzoylecgonine. But it was the latter that is being watched out for during drug screens.
A concentration of benzoylecgonine in your urine that reaches or goes beyond 150 ng/mL will surely raise a red flag on your drug test.
How Long is Cocaine Detectable in the Body
Our body is a complex machine that works as one. It means that anything we ingest, including drugs, can end up in different parts of our body after metabolism and absorption processes are complete.
This is the reason why the drugs we take, whether orally, nasally, or intravenously end up in our blood, urine, saliva, and hair.
Did you know that cocaine’s half life is only around one hour? But its major metabolite, benzoylecgonine, has a longer half life at around 6 hours.
So don’t jump out of your seats just yet.
In order to fully understand how long cocaine can be detected in our body, let’s take a look at these following numbers.
For casual users, the drug detection window in urine is between two to four days only. But
chronic users can expect a longer detection time frame of up to 10 days after the last dose.
Since our blood undergoes a rigorous circulation and filtration processes, it is expected that any substance it carries will start to dissipate in no time, including drugs and its metabolites. This is the reason why cocaine only stays in the blood for up to two days maximum.
But then again, this depends on what type of user you are.
Your saliva is where cocaine stays the shortest. It stays there for only around two hours.
Hair test allows for a longer detection period due to the fact that all that we ingest, including drugs, are all deposited there.
That is the reason why traces of cocaine can still be detected in your hair for up to three months after your last dose.
What Can Cause False Positive
Because of a countless number of legal drugs out there in the market, chances are you have one in your medicine cabinet that could possibly trigger a false positive.
One of the most possible culprits is amoxicillin. Although no conclusive studies could back up this claim, still your amoxicillin intake should be discussed with your drug testing administrator to avoid any misinterpretation of your result.
Another reported case of a cocaine false positive result was brought about by therapeutics used to treat cancer pain. And although this case is one of the rarest, it is still worthy of note.
And lastly, mate de coca, a tea made from the dried leaves of the coca plant, can also be a source of a false positive. Its effect could still be detectable 36 hours after drinking it.
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