Addiction

What Is the Half Life of Cocaine?

The half life of cocaine is the amount of time it takes for the body to clear half the amount. We’ll look at the half life of both cocaine and its metabolites.


Many drug users are interested in the half-life of a drug. The half-life refers to the amount of time that it takes for the body to clear half that amount. The half-life of cocaine will have a profound effect on its drug detection window, as well as the length of time that it can effect the drug user. We’ll explore the half-life of cocaine and its metabolites in detail in this article.

What Is the Half Life of Cocaine?

Anyone who has abused cocaine will tell you that the effects are rather potent, but short-acting. Most drug addicts will need to snort several lines in an hour to keep the effects going. A cocaine addict will need more and more of the drug to achieve the same effects.

This is mainly because the half-life of cocaine is fairly short in comparison to other drugs. It takes the body anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes to eliminate half of the amount of cocaine that is in the body. The discrepancies are based on the method of administration. Some frequent users smoke cocaine to get a more potent high while others may snort it.

The half-life period may fluctuate a bit depending on several factors, like the length of time that heavy drug abusers have been using cocaine, their overall health and condition and their age and weight. The half-life of cocaine may also be lengthened if it is taken with other substances. For example, when combined with alcohol, cocaine metabolization slows down by as much as 20%!

Cocaine Metabolites

Your liver is the main organ responsible for metabolizing cocaine. Once cocaine enters your body, it will travel via the bloodstream to the liver. There, the liver will break cocaine down into several smaller metabolites, like:

  • Benzoylecogonine
  • Ecgonine methyl ester
  • Meta-hydroxy-benzoylecgonine
  • Para-hydroxy-benzoylecgonine
  • Nor-benzoylecgonine


The main metabolites are benzoylecogonine and ecgonine methyl ester. The other metabolites are present in such minute quantities that they won’t affect the body and should not be taken into account. Cocaine and metabolites break down at different rates.

Benzoylecogonine

Benzoylecogonine is the main metabolite that cocaine is broken down into. This is also the main compound that most drug tests, like urine drug tests and hair tests, look for because it has a longer half-life than cocaine. This compound has a half-life of approximately 12 hours. Some studies report the half-life to even approach a day in some addicts.

Ecgonine methyl ester

The other main cocaine metabolite is ecgonine methyl ester, which is also known as methyl ecgonine. This compound also has a longer half-life than cocaine. Most studies show that the half-life of ecgonine methyl ester averages anywhere from 40 to 45 minutes.

Ecgonine methyl ester is an opioid analgesic. When cocaine is broken down into this compound, it’s usually left in its inactive form. With that said, large amounts of this metabolite can be used to relieve pain without any loss of consciousness.

Speak with an Addiction Expert to Learn More

If you have any further questions about the half-life of cocaine, contact us to speak with an addiction expert. Any use of cocaine is considered abuse, as this drug is not approved for medical purpose. Furthermore, since this drug is purchased illegally on the streets, there’s no telling what type of substances it is mixed with. Anyone who is abusing cocaine may face negative health consequences and mental health issues.

To stop cocaine abuse, you may need professional addiction treatment from a drug rehab. As cocaine withdrawal symptoms are not life-threatening, an outpatient rehab may work.

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