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How Long Does Crack Stay in Your System?

Crack cocaine is processed cocaine powder that is typically smoked. There are several factors that determine how long crack can stay in your system, such as different methods of drug testing, frequency of uses, and dosage amount. 

Key Takeaways

Crack cocaine has several testing methods that each have different detection periods based on certain factors. 

  • Crack is processed from cocaine, making it more pure than powder cocaine, and is normally smoked.
  • How long crack stays in a person’s system depends on how heavy the doses are and if used frequently. 
  • Crack can be detected by its byproducts in the body rather than the drug itself.
  • There are several different types of drug testing that have different timeframes for how long the substance can be detected. 

When crack cocaine is used with other drugs, it lasts longer in the system and increases health risks that can even be life-threatening.

Crack Cocaine Explained

Crack cocaine, commonly referred to as crack, is made from the free base of cocaine powder. When the drug is processed from cocaine, it forms into a small white or off-white crystallized rock. Crack is considered to be a purer form of cocaine than cocaine powder. 

People use crack by heating the rock and inhaling the smoke. The smoke is absorbed into the bloodstream, causing an immediate euphoric rush where people feel energized and powerful. The rush is short-lived and can lead people to binge on the addictive drug to maintain the high. 

Crack Cocaine in Your System

The short-term intense feeling of crack can last as little as five minutes. After time passes, when the high has worn down, half of the drug amount is still in a person’s system but is dispersed in several areas. The average time frame of the substance being detectable in a person’s body depends on certain factors. 

For example, it can take less than an hour for half of the crack to be eliminated in your system after use. However, some byproducts can remain detectable for several months. 

Types of Drug Testing

Many different drug testing methods can detect a crack in your system. Each different testing method has a specific timeframe for the detectability of the substance. The majority of the drug tests detect crack metabolites rather than the substance itself. If crack is taken with other drugs, it can affect detection. Drug tests can usually detect crack within a few days after use but can be majorly extended if users develop crack cocaine addiction.

Blood Test

Blood testing is the least used to detect crack because the detection time is only a couple of hours from the last use. Depending on the metabolism of a person, the blood can be cleared in as little as two hours, but crack can remain in other areas of the system for 12 hours. Crack can appear on a positive test in as little as 0.7 hours after use.

Hair Test

Hair testing is a reliable form of drug testing. Crack and its metabolites can be found in hair follicles. A hair sample can result in a positive test from three months to a year, depending on hair growth. False positive results are common in hair testing because the drug’s particles and metabolites diffuse into the hair from the environment. To avoid a false positive test, wash your hair after being in an environment that has crack vapor. 

Saliva Test

Crack and its metabolites remain in blood and saliva for up to two days. The traces of the substance can clear within 24 hours after use. 

Urine Test

Urine tests have a limited time frame of detection depending on the frequency and intensity of drug use, the user’s metabolism, and other factors. Crack is normally detectable in the system between one to four days after use. However, in the case of heavy use, crack can remain detectable in urine for weeks at a time. 

Factors That Determine Detection Timing in a Drug Test

Red graphics on a white background symbolizing how long crack cocaine can be detected on different drug tests.

Several factors can contribute to the length of time crack remains in the system. Below is a list of some factor examples:

  • Drinking alcohol: Studies show that when a person drinks alcohol simultaneously when using crack, it can cause the drug to stay longer in the system. Not only does the detection last longer, but it is also dangerous because it increases the heart rate and can even cause death. 
  • Liver function: The liver is the organ that metabolizes crack, and if the liver function is poor, then a buildup of the drug and its byproduct extends the detection duration. 
  • Length and amount used: The longer and increased the amount of crack smoked, the longer it takes to be metabolized in your system. Therefore, it extends the timeframe of the substance being in the system. 
  • Food and water intake: Crack can be cleared from the system quicker if the individual has a healthy diet and regular water intake.

Long-Term Side Effects of Crack Use

Because crack is a highly addictive drug and the high is short-lived, people often chase the high and develop substance abuse. When individuals use crack for a long period, there are side effects that follow and can even be life-threatening.

Below are examples of long-term crack use side effects:

  • Lung damage
  • Respiratory infections or diseases
  • Heart attack
  • Seizures
  • Strokes
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Psychosis and paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Abnormal mood swings
  • Violent behavior
  • Depression and suicidal thoughts 

Crack Dependence and Withdrawal Symptoms

When people become psychologically and physiologically dependent on crack, the body and brain begin to adapt to having the substance in the system, causing withdrawal symptoms when individuals stop using the drug. Withdrawal symptoms from crack often cause disturbing physiological and cognitive behavioral effects but typically are not life-threatening. The symptoms can occur within a few hours after use and last several days. 

Some examples of withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Depression
  • Vivid nightmares
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia 
  • Increased appetite
  • Slowed thinking and body movements
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Intense cravings

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How long does crack cocaine typically stay detectable in the body?

Crack cocaine can typically be detected in a person’s system for one to three days after use. However, in certain cases, depending on the test used, traces of the drug can be detected for three months. 

What factors can influence how long crack cocaine stays in your system?

The length of time crack cocaine can stay in your system can be determined by several factors that include the individual’s metabolism, buddy mass, hydration level, overall health, and the frequency and quantity of use. Different types of drug tests also have varied detection timeframes. 

Which types of drug tests can detect crack cocaine use, and for how long after use?

Crack cocaine can be detected through several types of drug tests, such as urine, blood, saliva, and hair methods. The substance can be detected in urine for one to four days, two days in blood and saliva, and several months to a year in hair after use. 

How does the frequency of use or dosage taken affect the lifespan of crack cocaine in the body?

The frequency of use or dosage amount of crack cocaine can affect the duration of the substance in the system. Higher doses and frequent use can cause the drug to accumulate in the body, therefore expanding the detection time frame. Heavy users can test positive for crack for a significantly longer period compared to infrequent users. 

Get Help Today

If you or a loved one is struggling with crack cocaine addiction, contact us today to get help. One of our team members will be happy to find you the best course of treatment and answer any questions you might have. Don’t wait any longer when your well-being is on the line. Call Indiana Center for Recovery today at (844) 650-0064 for more information.