Cirque Lodge > Blog > All Posts > How Long Does a Cocaine High Last?

Cocaine is an illegal substance with stimulating effects. Due to the intense high that comes hand-in-hand, many people continue using the drug, resulting in sustained cocaine abuse and substance use disorder. Otherwise known as coke, cocaine's high can be extremely powerful. However, this high is typically short-lived. How long cocaine affects an individual is dependent on a number of factors, such as the way it is administered, the dose, if other substances are also abused, and the purity of cocaine. If you or a loved one is suffering from cocaine addiction, help is available. Addiction treatment programs can help you or your loved one recover from substance abuse and secure sustained sobriety. Reaching out for help takes a lot of courage and strength, but doing so is physically and psychologically rewarding. Read on to find out more about how long the high of cocaine lasts, or contact us today to find out more about the substance abuse and addiction treatment we offer.

What Is Cocaine?

Cocaine is a powerful stimulant drug that works by speeding up the central nervous system, leaving a user energized, alert, and experiencing an increase in attention. As cocaine enhances the production of the chemical dopamine in the brain, it also offers a temporary euphoric feeling. Originating from the coca plant, which is native to South America, cocaine is usually sold as a white, powdery substance. However, it can also come in a rock formation known as crack cocaine or crack.

What Is the Difference Between Cocaine and Crack Cocaine?

In terms of appearance, cocaine is generally a white, fine powder. In contrast, crack cocaine is rock-like in appearance and can be white, cream, or light brown. Crack cocaine is derived from cocaine powder. It is generally less expensive because it was initially developed as a cheaper alternative to cocaine. When made, the powder form of cocaine is mixed with water and sodium bicarbonate before being boiled to form its solid appearance. When the rock has cooled down, it is broken into small parts. Crack cocaine is highly addictive because it has a very high concentration of cocaine. Crack cocaine is typically smoked. Cocaine, on the other hand, is generally snorted or rubbed on the gums.

How Long Does a Cocaine High Last?

A cocaine high is relatively brief compared to other drugs as it has a short half-life. However, some factors that affect the duration of a cocaine high include:

  • The way it is taken
  • The amount taken
  • If there are any additives in the substance
  • Whether cocaine is mixed with other drugs

The quicker a drug enters the bloodstream, the faster it will take effect in the body. For this reason, snorting cocaine or rubbing it on the gums will prolong how quickly the effects are felt. Typically, snorting and gumming cocaine causes the effects to appear within one to three minutes. In contrast, the effects of cocaine are felt much quicker when injecting cocaine intravenously or smoking the drug. But how long does a cocaine high last? This varies from person to person. In general, the initial high of cocaine peaks after 15 to 30 minutes. Users typically experience lingering effects of cocaine and adverse side effects a few days after taking it. This is known as a comedown, which can leave someone feeling tired, anxious, and irritable. If cocaine is injected, the high usually arises, peaks, and wears off in a similar length of time as crack.

How Long Does a Crack Cocaine High Last?

Due to being highly concentrated, a crack cocaine high is generally more intense and powerful than a cocaine high. Smoking or injecting crack pushes it into the system incredibly fast, with a user feeling the effects within as little as 10 to 15 seconds. The peak of a crack cocaine high is generally felt two to five minutes after taking it, while the effects of crack cocaine usually dissipate faster than cocaine due to the way it is administered. Overall, the effects of crack cocaine typically last 30 minutes to one hour.

Mixing Drugs

Taking other substances alongside cocaine is incredibly dangerous and puts a user at an increased risk of cocaine overdose and even death. Taking other drugs at the same time as coke should always be avoided, especially as certain combinations are particularly fatal. For example, abusing alcohol when taking cocaine can have extremely harmful effects. These substances mix in the body and form cocaethylene, a toxic chemical that can harm the liver and heart. Mixing drugs can impact the duration and intensity of cocaine highs. Some people engage in a practice called 'speedballing,' which is when heroin and cocaine are taken simultaneously. This enhances the effects but unfortunately puts people who participate in this behavior at an increased risk of a cocaine overdose.

What Are the Effects of Cocaine?

When taken, cocaine users typically experience the following effects:

  • Happiness
  • Alertness
  • Excitement
  • Confidence
  • Arrogance
  • Being animated
  • Talkativeness
  • Agitation
  • Restlessness
  • Feelings of paranoia
  • Anxiety
  • Panic

Some other effects of cocaine include:

  • Dilated pupils
  • A faster heartbeat
  • High blood pressure
  • Suppressed hunger
  • Increased body temperature
  • Nausea

What Are the Long-Term Effects of Cocaine Use?

As a powerful stimulant, cocaine use has severe effects and is harmful to all that take it. However, there is an increased risk for those with high blood pressure or heart conditions. Cocaine affects the heart by putting it under a lot of stress, damaging the cardiovascular system. Cocaine abuse can also lead to a stroke or seizure. Chronic cocaine use can result in malnourishment as the drug causes a user's appetite to decrease. In addition, long-term cocaine users are at risk of bleeding within the brain, lowered attention span, poor memory, inadequate decision-making abilities, and impaired impulse inhibition. Sadly, taking too much cocaine can also put a user in danger of cardiac arrest and cocaine overdose. Alongside the physical health effects, cocaine has many negative consequences on a person's psychological health and well-being. Prolonged use leaves many people feeling depressed, anxious, paranoid, and run down. Too much cocaine can also put a user at risk of psychosis. The way a user administers cocaine can also severely impact their health. When people snort cocaine, their sense of smell and structure of the nostrils become damaged. When injected intravenously, as with other drugs administered this way, those who use cocaine are at greater risk of encountering various diseases like HIV and Hepatitis C. Meanwhile, smoking cocaine can cause severe lung damage.

Seeking Help

Long-term cocaine use has huge, sometimes irreversible, health consequences. When a cocaine addiction arises, it can be frightening, especially as many people find it difficult to escape the cycle of addiction. However, help and support are available to treat substance use disorder, enabling many people to live a life free from drug use. If you are struggling with a substance abuse problem, addiction treatment programs can help you end your cocaine use in a safe, supported way. Inpatient or outpatient addiction treatment programs can help you break physical dependence and support you psychologically to overcome your drug addiction. Likewise, speaking to family members or those you trust about your drug addiction or using a confidential service such as the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) national helpline can take a weight off your shoulders. You do not need to struggle with drug addiction alone, and you can recover from this time and live a life free from cocaine use. Should you find yourself worried that a loved one is using cocaine, we welcome you to contact us. In doing so, we can provide you with a wealth of information about our cocaine treatment program.

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