How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your System? Benzoylecgonine Drug Detection Test
Cocaine becomes detectable within 2 to 3 hours of its intake in our body, and may be seen till around 3 days. So, its clearance takes around 72 hours, though it depends upon many factors. The elimination time may be much long if the amount consumed is heavy or you’re a frequent user.
Benzoylecgonine is the main metabolite of cocaine. It is also its signature metabolite. The presence of this metabolite is almost a certain indication that a person has consumed the drug. Therefore, in cocaine users, benzoylecgonine testing in urine is commoner than testing of cocaine itself.
Benzoylecgonine may be visible in your system longer than cocaine itself.
Factor Affecting Time Taken For Drug Clearance
- The amount of drug taken
- The purity or quality of drug consumed
- How frequently or regularly you are taking it
- Individual body weight and height
- Level of physical activities
- Eating and drinking habits
- Your overall rate of metabolism
- Condition of your vital organs, particularly the liver and kidneys.
When a person takes cocaine (chemically benzoylmethylecgonine), it circulates in blood to reach all body organs. It reaches the liver to get metabolized and gets converted into a metabolite called, benzoylecgonine. The metabolite is, finally, excreted out in urine via the kidneys.
Cocaine Elimination From Your System
Cocaine elimination starts as soon as it enters the blood stream. The chemical is recognized as hazardous by our live, which quickly breaks it down into smaller metabolites.
If the dose taken is very small and you are one time user of the drug, you may get rid of it in less than 12 hours. However, if the dose is heavy, it may take about 72 hours. After this period it is usually not detected in urine.
However, there is an exception. If a large quantity of alcohol has also been consumed with cocaine, it takes even longer to eliminate- 5 days approximately.
Cocaine And Alcohol- A Deadly Combination
It is common among users to drink heavy while they use cocaine. This Combination potentiate the effects of cocaine. Toxicity of the drug is increased and effects last much long.
Liver metabolizes the two chemicals in combination, to give out Cocaethylene as a metabolite. This chemical is very difficult to eliminate from the body. It stays much long than cocaine and its metabolites.
For a one time user of the drug, who has also taken alcohol, it may take 5 days, as opposed to 3 days for cocaine alone, to cleanse the body enough to pass a urine test.
Coke Metabolite – Benzoylecgonine
Benzoylecgonine takes longer to get eliminated than cocaine. Even if the amount of cocaine was very less, minimum time for it to get eliminated is 4-5 days.
In case of heavy use, it may take as long as 10 days. If you are a regular user, even if you take little amounts, elimination time is around 20 days. This happens because when the drug is used frequently, a portion of it gets stored in the fatty tissues of our body. This stored drug is very difficult to clear off.
Again, if alcohol is also being taken along, then around 25 days or even a month are required for complete elimination of the drug.
Dos To Speed Up Cocaine Clearance
- Drink Plenty of water. This would help your kidneys filter out the toxins more efficiently.
- Stay physically active. This helps you sweat out and also increases the baseline metabolic rate. Both these factors would help in speedy cleansing.
- Include fresh fruits and vegetables in each your daily meals. They work are excellent detoxifiers.
Don’ts That Delay Cocaine Clearance
- Abstain from alcohol, while you’re cleansing yourself off the drug.
- Limit intakes of caffeine, this means avoiding excess tea, coffee and caffeinated soft drinks. These chemicals interfere with the breakdown of the drug in the liver, delaying its clearance.
- Avoid fatty food stuff, junk food, processed foods, chips etc. This is to avoid any extra load over your liver and let it concentrate on cocaine excretion more efficiently.
- Avoid any other drug or pills you’re taking, unless prescribed for some medical illness.
Threshold Value for Detection
Usage is detected by screening for Benzoylecgonine. A threshold level set at 150 ng/mL is used by most labs.
More precise testing may set the cut-off is set at 100 ng/mL.
Around 30 to 40% of cocaine or crack is metabolized by enzymes in the liver to form ecgonine methyl ester. Another 30 to 40% is hydrolyzed spontaneously without enzymes to form benzoylecgonine.
Both of them are water soluble compounds and are active. While cocaine has a half life of 1 hour, benzoylecgonine has a half life of 6 hours.
Types of Drug Screening
Saliva test- Cocaine is detectable in saliva after 5 to 10 minutes of taking the drug. It may be detected in saliva till 2 to 4 days.
Urine test- Detectable after 2 to 5 hours of use, till a period of 3 to 4 days.
Blood testing is more specific. The drug is detected after 5 to 6 hours till around 5 to 7 days or even more.
Hair test- The drug starts showing in hair after 5 to 7 days till around 80 to 90 days.
Urine testing is most popular because it is painless, easy and inexpensive. Home kits available in the market are also based on urine testing.
Why Do Chronic Users Take Longer To Cleanse?
In long-term or regular users, the drug is stored in the fatty tissues, especially that of the liver and subcutaneous fat that we have under our skin. After each use, a fraction of the drug consumed is stored, adding up to the stock each time.
This stored drug is released on a continuous basis into the blood stream. So the user is detected positive even if he hasn’t taken the drug for some time.
Total cleansing of the user may take as long as 5 to 6 months, after which he may be called drug-free.
False Positive Test Results
People often complain of positive results with urine drug testing for cocaine, when they have not taken this drug at all.
This is certainly possible. False positives do occur.
Firstly, it is not cocaine itself that is screened in urine. Actually it gets out of urine in as little as 12 hours, so its testing is not that reliable.
The metabolite of cocaine, benzoylecgonine, is screened by most of the testing labs. This shows in urine till 3 to 5 days, or even a month if the dose intake was heavy.
It’s a fingerprint metabolite of cocaine. No other drug or prescription medicine produces exactly the same metabolite as benzoylecgonine.
However, certain medicines produce metabolites that are similar in structure. So labs with cruder instruments may label you as ‘positive’, if you are consuming those medications.
Some of the medications that may produce false positive test results include local anesthetics that are used by dentists, including lidocaine, novocain and tonic water.
Apart from these, patients with chronic liver or kidney diseases may also show altered results.
What to Do If You Get a False Positive Result?
If you’re sure that you don’t have cocaine in your system, immediately request for a confirmation test.
The standard EMIT test used by most labs may be confirmed by GC/MS (gas chromatography/ mass spectrometry) test. This detects the benzoylecgonine structure with more specificity, screening out similar looking compounds.