“Cocaine is a hell of a drug.”
That quote belongs to the singer, songwriter, and occasional cocaine-user Rick James. Cocaine in the system causes a rushing high and euphoric happiness, but the United States has also made the controversial substance illegal since 1914.
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), approximately 1.5 million Americans use or have used cocaine. While this number has declined over the past decade, that number still represents one out of 218 people in the country using cocaine. The prevalence of the drug is why many tests, including the ever-popular 10-panel kit, include results for the presence of cocaine.
Whether you are a frequent user or tried coke once, urine tests will quickly reveal the concentration of the banned substance in your body. It is essential to understand how the drug functions in your body and how long it will linger there. In this article, we will provide you with everything you need to know about cocaine in tests.
What Is Cocaine?
Snow. Stash. Base. Blow. Crack. Candy.
There are an endless variety of names for cocaine, though they all do the same thing. Cocaine is a powerful stimulant that releases dopamine in the brain. This release causes a spike in energy, joy, and alertness, which also comes with the potential for abuse.
Let’s get into the science for a second. Researchers believe that cocaine works by inhibiting the reuptake of monoamine neurotransmitters. When this absorption is inhibited, it increases the number of neurotransmitters. The body releases dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin into the brain, which provides these amazing feelings.
While cocaine is known for its fast-acting effect on the nervous system, it matters how someone ingests it. Injecting or smoking cocaine will produce the desired results within seconds and will last for up to twenty minutes. Oral ingestion takes ten to thirty minutes before the effects kick in, however, and can persist up to ninety minutes.
How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your Urine?
Cocaine’s half-life is only six hours, which means the drug is broken up quickly by the body. A half-life of six hours means the body will have reduced the concentration of cocaine to fifty percent during that time. Cocaine is detectable in urine for approximately twenty-four hours.
There are ways to detect cocaine in the body without finding the specific drug itself, though. When the body breaks down cocaine, it transforms the drug into other substances called metabolites. If laboratory technicians see the presence of cocaine metabolites, they will treat the cocaine urine test as a positive result.
One of the most significant metabolites is called benzoylecgonine. It has a half-life of 12 hours and is what laboratories often look for in a cocaine test. People will have traces of benzoylecgonine for up to four days after using coke or crack.
How long cocaine stays in your system depends on different factors; that includes age, health, metabolism, usage, weight, and dosage. It is best to take these detection windows as guidelines rather than benchmarks.
For instance, the liver is the vital organ responsible for breaking down cocaine. If someone suffering from liver disease uses cocaine, that person is going to test positive for a significantly extended period. Similarly, the Journal of Analytical Toxicology did a study on chronic cocaine users and found that the substance is much harder to eliminate if you use it frequently.
How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your System?
Urine tests are the most straightforward and cost-effective option available on the market. Urine tests do have more shortcomings, however, and are easier to fake.
Companies or organizations are more likely to opt for blood, saliva, or hair tests. These methods are slightly more expensive but tend to be more reliable. While there are ways to pass these other tests if you are not clean, it is significantly more challenging.
It is helpful to know how long saliva, blood, and hair allow for the detection of cocaine. Saliva will show traces for one to two days, blood will contain trace amounts for twenty-four hours, and if you have a cocaine hair test, you will have detectable amounts for up to ninety days.
Can You Falsely Test Positive for Cocaine?
The short answer is yes. The slightly longer answer is it’s doubtful.
Testing for cocaine in urine is relatively reliable compared to other methods. The least effective way, surprisingly, is a cocaine hair test. The person does not need to ingest cocaine for it to end up on their hair follicles, for example.
It is also possible to test positive for cocaine if you have consumed the South American beverage called coca tea. Studies from the Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center in Seattle published a paper in 2006, indicating that five individuals tested positive despite never ingesting cocaine. They advised health care professionals to consider coca tea consumption before interpreting any toxicology results.
How to Deal With Cocaine Tests
Every person will have a different experience when it comes to dealing with a cocaine test. One way to see if you will pass is with a cocaine test kit. These provide professional insight, so you can know whether you need to worry about the day of reckoning.
The first and most effective step is detoxification. Make sure you abstain from using cocaine in any form while increasing your levels of exercise to metabolize the drug quicker. You can also use full-body detox kits, which have vitamins and supplements to flush out unwanted toxins, complementing all your hard work.
Eating healthier foods will increase your likelihood of success, too. Not only will it improve your body’s metabolism, but you will be left with fewer fatty storage areas for the cocaine to linger. The ideal diet avoids any foods that are high in sugar and fat.
Finally, if you are entirely sure that you will fail, buy fake urine. Synthetic urine comes with a 99.9 percent passing rate because it includes all the components of real pee, like creatinine, proteins, and urea. It even has the same golden appearance and musty odor.
If you or a loved one is using cocaine, it is time to consider getting professional help. There are hotlines and addiction centers that can provide you with the resources you need to get clean. These treatment services are available around the clock and will provide completely confidential and professional support.