Compared with other substances, the effects of cocaine don’t last very long.
A typical cocaine high only lasts for about 15 to 30 minutes, depending on how you ingest it. The effects usually come on hard and fast, which is part of why cocaine tends to have high addiction potential despite relatively short-lived effects.
Healthline does not endorse the use of any illegal substances, and we recognize abstaining from them is always the safest approach. However, we believe in providing accessible and accurate information to reduce the harm that can occur when using.
That depends on how you use it. The faster a substance makes it into your bloodstream, the quicker its effects kick in.
When you snort or gum coke, the effects come on slower compared with smoking or injecting it. This is because it has to get through mucus, skin, and other tissues before hitting your bloodstream.
Here’s the general onset time of effects for the different methods of use:
- Snorting: 1 to 3 minutes
- Gumming: 1 to 3 minutes
- Smoking: 10 to 15 seconds
- Injecting: 10 to 15 seconds
Again, it depends on how you ingest it and a few other factors. The methods that get cocaine into your bloodstream faster allow it to wear off faster, too.
Here’s what to expect in terms of how long the high lasts:
- Snorting: 15 to 30 minutes
- Gumming: 15 to 30 minutes
- Smoking: 5 to 15 minutes
- Injecting: 5 to 15 minutes
Keep in mind that the duration and intensity of a coke high aren’t the same for everyone. Some people might feel lingering effects for up to 2 hours.
How much you use and whether you’ve taken other substances can also affect how long a cocaine high lasts.
Once the high wears off, you’re likely to feel some lingering, not-so-pleasant effects as part of the comedown. This can last a few days.
Cocaine usually stays in your system for 1 to 4 days but can be detected for a lot longer.
Both depend on several factors, like:
- how much you use
- how often you use it
- how you use it
- your body fat percentage
- other substances you take
In terms of how long cocaine can be detected, it depends on the type of drug test used.
Here are the typical detection times by test type:
- Urine: up to 4 days
- Blood: up to 2 days
- Saliva: up to 2 days
- Hair: up to 3 months
There’s really no such thing as completely safe cocaine use, but if you’re going to do it, there are some things you can do that could make it a tad safer.
Keep the following in mind to reduce some of the risk:
- Test the coke before you use it. Cocaine’s often cut with other substances. These sometimes include speed and fentanyl, which can be lethal. You can order cocaine test kits at DanceSafe.org.
- Be smart about your props. Never share needles, pipes, and straws. Always inspect your devices before using. Check pipes and straws for chips or other damage, and make sure needles are sterile.
- Don’t mix. Your risk for serious effects and overdose are a lot higher when you mix substances. Don’t use coke with anything else, including alcohol.
- Go low and slow. Stick to a low dose. Avoid redosing for as long as you can. Consider only keeping a small amount accessible to you during a session. Keep in mind that cocaine has a high potential for addiction. The more you use it, the higher the chances of developing dependence.
- Avoid it if you have a heart-related condition. Stay away from coke if you have high blood pressure or any other heart condition. The effects of cocaine use on the cardiovascular system are well
documented, including the increased risk of heart attack even in otherwise healthy people. Your risk is even higher if you have an existing medical condition.
- Don’t do it alone. Have a friend with you in case things go south and you need help. It should be someone you trust who knows how to spot the signs of an overdose.
If you’re doing coke or are around someone else who is, it’s important to know the signs of an overdose.
Call 911 or your local emergency services right away if you or someone else experiences any of these signs or symptoms:
- irregular heart rhythm or pulse
- difficulty breathing
- nausea and vomiting
- rise in body temperature
- high blood pressure
- chest pain
- extreme agitation
- loss of consciousness
Don’t worry about law enforcement getting involved. You don’t need to mention the substances used over the phone. Just be sure to tell them about the specific symptoms so they can send the appropriate response.
If you’re looking after someone else, get them into the recovery position. Lay them on their side with their body supported by a bent knee. This position helps keep their airway open. It can prevent choking in case they begin to vomit.
Cocaine highs are usually intense but short-lived. Even so, this powerful stimulant has a high potential for addiction and overdose.
If you’re concerned about your cocaine use, help is available. Consider talking to your primary healthcare provider.
Be open and honest about your substance use. Patient confidentiality laws prevent them from sharing this information with law enforcement.
You can also:
- Call SAMHSA’s national helpline at 800-662-HELP (4357), or use their online treatment locater.
- Find a support group through the Support Group Project.
- Find a local Narcotics Anonymous helpline or meeting
Adrienne Santos-Longhurst is a freelance writer and author who has written extensively on all things health and lifestyle for more than a decade. When she’s not holed up in her writing shed researching an article or off interviewing health professionals, she can be found frolicking around her beach town with husband and dogs in tow or splashing about the lake trying to master the stand-up paddle board.