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How Long Does Cocaine High Last?

By Kyle Kirkland
Cocaine highs can cause intense feelings that users may want to keep chasing. Understanding cocaine’s effects can help stop substance abuse before it starts.

Cocaine is an addictive stimulant drug. Cocaine overdose caused over 14,000 deaths in 2018. The drug can produce an intense “high,” which may cause a user to continue chasing that “high” and lead to substance abuse. Learning what a cocaine high feels like and the long-term effects of cocaine use may help you or a loved one understand when to seek help. 

What Does Cocaine High Feel Like?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a cocaine high has a long list of symptoms. Cocaine may cause the user to feel:

  • Euphoric
  • Energetic
  • Talkative
  • Mentally alert
  • Sensitive to sight, sound and touch

How Long Does Cocaine High Last?

The route of use, the dose and the presence of any contaminants can all affect a cocaine high,” Aaron Emmel, a pharmacist and pharmacotherapy specialist, tells WebMD Connect to Care. “People commonly think of cocaine as being ‘snorted’ via the nose. In this example, the high typically peaks at around 20 to 30 minutes after inhalation and will last from 1-2 hours. When smoked or injected intravenously, the peak high occurs within three to five minutes and the high will typically last less than an hour.”

Aaron Sternlicht, addiction specialist, tells WebMD Connect to Care, “Cocaine has a very short half-life, meaning that its effects wear off rather quickly, especially compared to other drugs.”

Sternlicht says the length of the high can be affected by physiological factors, like the user’s weight.

Long-term Effects of Cocaine Use

Since cocaine’s effects can wear off quickly, people may use it frequently, which can lead to cocaine addiction.

Long-term cocaine use can also cause a variety of health problems, Bankole Johnson, MD, chief medical officer of Adial Pharmaceuticals Inc., tells WebMD Connect to Care. Some of those side effects include:

  • Increased risk of stroke
  • Increased risk of cardiac arrest
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Dilated pupils
  • Kidney damage
  • Lung damage

Cocaine is often snorted through the nose. Continued use of cocaine in this method can cause nose damage, including nose bleeds, distorted nostrils and loss of smell. Johnson and Sternlicht say long-term cocaine use can also have psychiatric effects, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Overstimulation
  • Psychotic break
  • Depression
  • Increased risk of dementia

Don’t Wait. Get Help Now.

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, WebMD Connect to Care Advisors are standing by to help.