When Pleasure Kills: The Lasting Effect Of Cocaine

Cocaine high

Cocaine is a drug made from the leaves of the coca plant, a native plant of South America. It is a powerful and addictive drug used for medical purposes as anaesthesia for surgeries. However, consumption and selling of cocaine are illegal. Cocaine looks like a fine crystal powder. Drug dealers often mix it with substances like cornstarch powder to earn a profit. 

People may inject, snort, or inhale cocaine as smoke. It starts reacting within seconds or minutes and lasts up to five to ninety minutes. It gives a feeling of sexual arousal, intense happiness, shun away from reality, restlessness, emotional breakdown etc. It may also include physical symptoms like sweating, enlargement of pupils, increased blood pressure etc. Cocaine is also known by some popular names- Snow, crack, rock, blow, coke.

How long does the cocaine high last?

The effect of cocaine depends on several factors or ways in which it is taken. Here, are durations of how long does the cocaine high last into your system if taken through different methods.


  • The effect starts within 3-5 minutes
  • Lasts up to 15-20 minutes.


  • The effect starts immediately
  • Lasts up to 5-15 minutes.


  • The effect starts immediately
  •  Lasts up to 5-15 minutes.


  • The effect starts within 10 minutes
  • Lasts up to 15-30 minutes.

The faster it gets injected into the bloodstream or your system, the faster it reacts. Due to the high exuberance effect one gets from cocaine, it becomes very addictive and people crave for more. People who consume cocaine often say that they crave for it again and again to reach the peak of exuberance which they are not able to experience with one dose.

 After reaching the peak point, its effect starts to deteriorate, depression and anxiety kick in and this leads to serious addiction. Cocaine withdrawal results in extreme and unbearable depression, restlessness, a feeling of irritation, anxiety, troubled sleep and exhaustiveness.

Effect of cocaine in the brain

Cocaine triggers a chemical reaction in the brain. A paracrine messenger called dopamine which controls our mood and reactions and sends messages to neurons via the nerve, reacts very little after the consumption of cocaine.

 Cocaine shuns the transmission of messages or signals between the nerve cells as a result of the accumulation of large quantities of dopamine in the brain circuit. This accumulation results in a yearning for more cocaine. This influx of dopamine in the brain reward circuit greatly promotes drug-taking habits, as the reward circuit gradually adapts to and becomes less susceptible to the overload of dopamine caused by cocaine. As a result, people take stronger and more regular doses to try and experience the same cocaine high and to get relief from withdrawal.


Cocaine High

Effects of cocaine

The consumption of cocaine can be short as well as long term.

  • Short term effects of cocaine

Consumption of cocaine results in a feeling of extreme happiness and enthusiasm. It makes the brain mentally alert and sensitive to sound, touch, sight and other senses. It also gives a feeling of irritation and distrust. Some people claim that cocaine helps them to perform their tasks better as it gives them more energy and makes them active mentally and physically. While some may experience an opposite situation. 

However, if cocaine is consumed in large quantities, it can result in extreme behaviour. Its effect depends on the method used and its effect lasts accordingly. Cocaine high can last up to ninety minutes maximum and as less as five minutes. How long does cocaine stay in your system is dependent on the amount taken and the method used. 

  • Long term effects of cocaine

With regular consumption of cocaine, it may pose long term effects depending on the method used-

  • Smoking– Smoking cocaine regularly may pose problems such as respiratory distress, asthma and infections such as pneumonia.
  • Snorting– Consumption of cocaine may pose long term issues such as nose bleeding, loss of smell, runny nose, swallowing problem.
  • Consuming with mouth or gumming– cocaine consumption may lead to extreme intestinal decay due to decreased blood flow.
  • Injecting through needles– may pose a higher risk of contracting HIV AIDS, hepatitis C, bloodborne diseases, skin or tissue infections as well as collapsed veins.

Cocaine increases the risk of HIV as it arouses sexual feelings in individuals, which may force one to engage in sexual activities. Other problems include malnourishment as a result of loss in appétit, Parkinson’s disease, movement disorder; these issues may be seen after years of use. 

Furthermore, there is a feeling of irritability and unrest, as well as extreme anxiety, where they lose contact with reality and may even experience hallucinations and hear unreal sounds.

Other health ailments due to cocaine

Other than the above-stated issues posed by cocaine, it may also include the following-

  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Dilated pupil
  • Nausea
  • Increased body temperature
  • Raised blood pressure
  • Tremors and muscle twitches

How long does cocaine high stay in your system 

The various factors that influence the time cocaine high last in your system are-

  • Metabolism– An individual metabolism level plays a key role in the duration that cocaine lasts in an individual’s system. 
  • Amount of cocaine– The amount of cocaine consumed is directly proportional to the duration of its effect on an individual. People who consume cocaine regularly may become immune to its effect, such that a lesser dose may not make much of a difference to them. 
  • Purity of substance– Most of the people procure cocaine from an illegal source which may include adulteration in the form of cornstarch, talcum powder which the dealers add to earn a profit. Therefore not only the amount but also the purity of dose affects the duration of cocaine high lasts.

How to get rid of addiction?

Cocaine is a dangerous drug and its use or overuse will only lead to fatal results. There are certain ways which one can adopt to get rid of cocaine addiction.

  1. Rehabilitation centres – helps drug addicts through psychotherapeutic treatments to annihilate drug addiction. They aim to help the patient recover from drug addiction and substance abuse in a healthy way. 
  2. Medication – Certain medication may be prescribed during drug addiction recovery as an alternative which helps to attenuate withdrawal effects.
  3. Therapies -Therapies include individualized treatment of addiction to reach the root cause of the problem. Different types of counselling are available to get treated for drug addiction:
    • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
    • Contingency Management
    • Motivational Interviewing
    • Dialectical Behavioural Therapy
    • Rational Emotional Therapy
    • Motivational Model
    • 12 Step Facilitation

Cocaine has many benefits and is used for medicinal purposes and is used during many medical procedures that involve operations. This drug has many medicinal properties and is used in pills and tablets. If we have a brief look over the history of cocaine, it is revealed that it was originally used to cure tiredness and fatigue. It is only recently that it has been made into a party-drug. Cocaine, if taken in the right quantity and not regularly, can be beneficial to the body, but the regular dosage is proved harmful for physical and mental health.

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