Cocaine stays in your system for varying lengths of time, depending on multiple factors, including:
- Body Mass Index
- Metabolic Rate
- Frequency of use
It is believed that on average, cocaine stays in the system for 2-3 days. However, most tests do not test for cocaine itself. Instead, they test for the metabolite that is the by-product of cocaine, Benzoylecgonine.
Body Mass Index & Metabolic Rate
Like everything else that is introduced to the human body, cocaine must go through the metabolic process in order to be broken down and excreted from the system. Metabolites are the products left over after substances are metabolized. Benzoylecgonine is the by-product of cocaine and may be detectable for weeks in the system.
Benzoylecgonine is primarily processed through the liver and is excreted from our system via our urine and feces. There are always remaining metabolites that do not easily pass through the body’s excretion process ultimately end up stored in fat cells. A person’s body mass index is a major factor to consider when determining how long cocaine and its metabolites stay in your system. The percentage of fat a person carries is in directly related to the amount of metabolites in his or her system.
This means that people who carry a higher percentage of body fat will test positive for cocaine use on a drug test longer than someone with a low percentage of body fat.
Frequency of Use & Potency
Frequency of cocaine use is also a determining factor to consider when calculating how long cocaine stays in your system. Obviously, a person who uses cocaine regularly will have many more metabolites stored in their fat cells than someone who only uses cocaine sporadically.
The potency of cocaine is yet another factor to acknowledge. Typically, cocaine used in the United States has a purity level of around 60%. However, this is only an estimate and there are many different levels of purity. It is almost impossible to know exactly how pure cocaine is unless it is tested in a lab. Since higher potencies correlate to higher duration periods, it is difficult to determine how long cocaine stays in your system when the potency is unknown.
Once you are able to take these many factors into account, you will have a clearer idea of how long cocaine will stay in your system. As mentioned earlier, the average time cocaine stays in your system is 2-3 days but for some users, it can remain detectable for weeks.
Cocaine & Hair Drug Tests
Detecting cocaine use with a hair test is easier. Human hair is a chronological record of what we eat, drink and inhale. The bloodstream circulates metabolites throughout the body, and since the bloodstream nourishes developing hair follicles, metabolites are deposited into the hair shaft. Hair grows on average one half inch every 30 days. Therefore, if your hair is one and a half inches long, cocaine and Benzoylecgonine will be detectable for 90 days.