How Long Does A Cocaine High Last?

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D. on March 10, 2021

How long a cocaine high lasts depends on the method of intake and other factors. People that are addicted to cocaine can work towards recovery with the help of supervised detox and treatment.

How Long Does A Cocaine High Last?

A cocaine high will last between 5 and 30 minutes depending on the method of intake. While the “peak” may be relatively short, cocaine’s effects can linger for upwards of several hours.

Cocaine works to inhibit the reuptake of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin in the brain. It is a powerful central nervous system stimulant that can cause severe short and long-term health problems.

Cocaine comes in a powder form that is usually snorted, although it can be injected, smoked, and rubbed into the gums (gumming).

Cocaine that is cooked with a base, crack cocaine, is exclusively smoked. Smoking crack provides more intense cocaine effects, but lasts half as long.

Cocaine High Onset And Duration

How long a cocaine high lasts and how long it takes to wear off (known as the comedown) will differ depending on the route of administration.

High length by route of administration include:

Snorting Cocaine:

  • Onset: < 3 minutes
  • Duration: 15 to 30 minutes

Smoking Cocaine:

  • Onset: < 15 seconds
  • Duration: 5 to 15 minutes

Gumming Cocaine:

  • Onset: < 3 minutes
  • Duration: 15 to 30 minutes

Injecting Cocaine:

  • Onset: < 15 seconds
  • Duration: 5 to 15 minutes

What Happens After A Cocaine High (The Comedown)?

When the intensity of euphoria and good feelings wear off completely, the “comedown” may last up to two days where fatigue, restlessness, and irritability set in.

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Cocaine will stay in the body for up to four days.

Both the effects of cocaine and how long it stays in your system can depend on:

  • frequency of cocaine use
  • quantity of cocaine use
  • cocaine quality
  • method of intake
  • other drugs you take
  • your body composition and metabolism

Side Effects Of Cocaine Use

A person that has used cocaine may experience effects that impact both a person’s physical and mental health. These side effects can last beyond the short time a person is high.

Some more prominent side effects of a cocaine high can include:

  • high blood pressure
  • increased heart rate
  • agitation
  • excitability
  • restlessness
  • anxiety
  • talkativeness/rambling
  • extreme high
  • sweating/fever
  • lightheadedness
  • muscle tremors
  • confusion
  • nausea/vomiting
  • enlarged pupils
  • pale complexion

Risk Of Cocaine Overdose

When a person takes too much cocaine, binges the drug, or uses it with other stimulants or depressants like opioids, they can experience life-threatening overdose symptoms.

These symptoms can happen within minutes of taking too much cocaine at once.

When a person continually snorts the drug to avoid unpleasant withdrawals or comedown effects, they can also overdose.

A cocaine overdose can cause:

  • seizures
  • coma-like state
  • excessive sweating
  • trouble breathing
  • rapid breathing
  • chest pain
  • high blood pressure
  • heart arrhythmia
  • heart attack
  • psychosis
  • blue-colored skin
  • loss of bladder control
  • high body temperature

A person that is addicted to cocaine and uses alcohol may experience organ damage from the cocaethylene metabolite that builds up when alcohol and cocaine interact. This toxic build-up can cause kidney and liver failure and may be deadly.

Long-Term Effects

Cocaine abuse places strain on vital systems and can have a lasting impact on a person’s mental acuity and emotional well-being. Changes in brain chemistry can occur from chronic cocaine use.

Neurological and mental health concerns that can happen with cocaine abuse include:

  • memory loss
  • reduced mental clarity
  • psychosis
  • chronic anxiety and depression

The short-lasting cocaine high places a lot of stress on the heart and circulatory system. Continuous stress from an elevated heart rate and high blood pressure can do serious damage to these systems.

People that have a history of cocaine abuse or currently use cocaine may experience some of the following health concerns:

  • seizures
  • paralysis
  • stroke
  • heart damage (reduced coronary artery volume; reduced left ventricle function)
  • vascular syndromes
  • bowel ischemia
  • rhabdomyolysis
  • kidney failure
  • muscle destruction

Cocaine Addiction, Dependence, And Withdrawals

Seeking a cocaine high regularly can quickly lead to addiction. Cocaine withdrawals can set in very quickly depending on the level of dependence on the drug.

Withdrawal symptoms can include effects like:

  • extreme anxiety
  • extreme fatigue
  • lack of motivation
  • agitation
  • irritability

Addiction Treatment Programs For Cocaine Abuse

If you or a loved one has a substance use disorder or experiments with drug use, the effects can be deadly. Getting help for any type of drug abuse can ultimately be life-saving.

Call our substance abuse helpline for information about the treatment programs to help you best. Our inpatient treatment facilities can provide a safe environment for cocaine detox, rehab, and therapy.

Our outpatient centers can help you continue with your recovery with behavioral therapies that are beneficial for sustained sobriety.

We’re here to help you get better. Call now to get started.

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

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Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D. on March 10, 2021
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