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How Long Does Crack Cocaine Stay in Your System?

The high experienced from using crack cocaine lasts only minutes but can remain in a person’s system much longer. Crack cocaine can be detected in the system for days or weeks after last use. Learn more about how crack cocaine works in the body and the risks associated with long term use.


Crack Cocaine

Cocaine is used as an herbal medicine in an unrefined form as a coca leaf in parts of Latin America. Coca plants are illegal in the United States. Crack cocaine, on the other hand, does not have any legitimate medical use other than for its stimulant properties and the high it produces. Restlessness, excitement and related issues such as paranoia can occur after use.


What is Crack

A form of cocaine, crack is crystallized into a hard ‘rock’ using baking soda. Unlike other forms of coke, which are snorted or injected, crack is heated to release vapor which is inhaled into the lungs. Inhalation ensures rapid absorption into the body while injection also administers the drug directly into the bloodstream for a quick high.


Peak Levels and Half Life

Fifteen minutes is the low end of crack’s half life with a high lasting a total of 5-10 minutes. The levels of cocaine in the blood depend upon how much a person has smoked, tolerance in the body and how often crack is smoked. Peak levels are around 0.31 mg/L within five minutes of taking the drug.


Crack Drug Testing

While absorbed rapidly, very small levels of the drug linger in bodily fluids or hair for days, sometimes weeks. Hair samples are the most accurate way to test for the presence of crack even months after suspected use of the drug.


Presence of Crack

The period of time in which crack is detectable in the body is brief and depends on what is tested as to how long it will remain present. Hair, urine, saliva and sweat are the most typical methods to test for presence of crack cocaine.

Hair – Crack can be detected in hair samples for months or even years following use. The best determining factors include length of hair, amount taken and frequency of use.


Urine – Cocaine is detected in urine for 1-4 days after use. Factors such as amount taken, size and metabolism of individual who used crack play a role. High doses may show up a week later.


Saliva or sweat – Cocaine can be detected in saliva and sweat which may find very low, trace amounts of the drug. For this reason, a positive test can occur for several weeks after smoking the drug.



Smoking crack produces a euphoric high which can compel a person to use over and over again to experience the same high, leading to dependence and eventually addiction. Habitual use has many negative side effects including:

  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Malnourishment
  • Paranoia
  • Overdose or death


Cocaine is highly addictive, even after just one use. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction to drugs, The Villa offers personalized treatment plans to help you recover your life. It is never too late to get treatment and start over. Call today for more information.