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How Long Does Crack Cocaine Stay in Your System?

Medically Verified: 2/1/24

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All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Crack is a powerful stimulant and illegal drug that is derived from cocaine. Crack cocaine is created by combining powdered cocaine with baking soda and cooking it until it becomes a hard crystalline substance. Usually, crack is smoked using a straight glass pipe and a lighter or torch.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ),  6,222,000 people in the United States have abused crack at some point in their lifetime.[1]

If you or a loved one misuses crack, you might be wondering how long it stays in your system. The effects of crack can last anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes, which is why binging on the drug is so common. Since the half-life of crack cocaine is between 0.7 to 1.5 hours, it can remain in your body for up to 8 days.[2]

Smoking crack is always dangerous, putting you at risk of experiencing mental health emergencies, developing heart conditions, and succumbing to a life-threatening overdose. Thankfully, the South Carolina Addiction Treatment Center is here to help you overcome crack addiction.

In this article, you will learn:

  • How long the effects of crack last
  • How crack is metabolized in the body
  • How long crack stays in your system
  • How long crack cocaine can be detected by drug tests

How Long Do the Effects of Crack Last?

Crack is a highly addictive stimulant drug that can cause symptoms like increased energy, fast heart rate, euphoria, and paranoia. Typically, the effects of crack only last between 5 to 15 minutes. As a result, it is common to binge on crack, using it multiple times in a row to keep the high going.

The effects of crack may include:[3]

  • A euphoric rush
  • Increased energy
  • Feelings of alertness
  • Decreased need for food or sleep
  • Dilated pupils
  • Fast heart rate and increased blood pressure
  • Anxiety, irritability, and paranoia
  • Aggressiveness or violent behavior
  • Intense cravings to abuse more crack

While you might experience feelings of happiness when you first use crack, you can also develop adverse effects. It is common to deal with extreme paranoia while you are high on crack, causing you to peek out of windows or believe the cops are after you. Unfortunately, this means that smoking crack can cause you to become a danger to yourself or others.

How is Crack Metabolized?

Crack is usually smoked and the drug travels from your lungs into your bloodstream. From there, crack travels throughout your body. Eventually, it is metabolized in the liver and excreted through urine.[4]

Since crack is metabolized in the liver, smoking it long-term can lead to liver damage. You can also experience other adverse effects when using crack long-term, including damage to the heart and other organs.

The half-life of crack cocaine is between 0.7 to 1.5 hours.[2] It takes about 4 to 5 half-lives for a substance to be eliminated from your system. In other words, it can take up to 8 days for your body to metabolize crack. [5]

How Long Does Crack Stay in Your System?

While crack leaves your system within 8 days, the substance leaves behind metabolites in other areas of your body. Oftentimes, metabolites stay in your system longer than the drug itself. These metabolites are what drug tests look for to determine if you have recently abused crack.

Detection times for crack cocaine can vary depending on what type of test is being used. Additionally, certain factors can influence how long crack stays in your system, including frequency of use, duration of use, and your overall health.


Urine tests are the most commonly used drug tests for a couple of reasons. First, they are relatively cheap when compared to other drug tests. Urine tests are also minimally invasive, making them easy to conduct in a variety of settings.

Drug tests can detect crack in urine for 1 to 5 days after your last use. If you abuse crack long-term, you will test positive longer than a first-time user.


Blood tests are not as common as urine tests because they are invasive, requiring a needle and a blood draw. Additionally, they tend to provide a shorter window of detection than other types of

drug screens.

Blood tests can detect crack in your system for two to 12 hours after your last dose.


Saliva tests are not used as commonly as urine tests for the same reasons as blood tests. However, they are common among law enforcement as they are easy to use for field sobriety tests. Crack can be detected in your saliva for up to 24 hours after you last used it.


While hair tests offer a long window of detection, many medical professionals shy away from using them. This is because they often discriminate based on things like hair color.

Hair tests can detect crack or any other substance for up to 90 days after your last dose.

Finding Help for Crack Abuse and Addiction

Crack cocaine is a highly addictive substance. If you or a loved one abuses crack, it’s time to seek help from a professional addiction treatment program. At South Carolina Addiction Treatment, we will help you recover from your withdrawal symptoms, mental health issues, and the root causes of your crack abuse.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you recover from crack addiction.


  1. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ): Crack Cocaine Fast Facts
  2. Science Direct: Cocaine pharmacokinetics in humans
  3. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): Cocaine
  4. Oxford Academic, Journal of Analytical Toxicology: Major and Minor Metabolites of Cocaine in Human Plasma following Controlled Subcutaneous Cocaine Administration