Cocaine is a highly addictive drug that comes from the coca plant. Cocaine effects are usually felt within minutes. The drug enters the bloodstream and reaches the brain to increase the levels of dopamine. Dopamine works as a messenger, sending signals to different areas of the body. This process triggers heightened senses of pleasure and euphoria. And that process is also what makes cocaine so addictive, taking users who enjoy this experience to a point where they want to continue repeating it.
How Does Cocaine Enter the Body?
Cocaine can be snorted. It can be rubbed on the gums; it can be dissolved in water and injected. Crack cocaine, which comes in rock form, can also be heated and dissolved to be smoked or injected.
Depending on how it was consumed, cocaine can take more or less time to get to the bloodstream. Here is how long it usually takes for the effects to kick in depending on how cocaine was consumed:
- Snorted: 1 to 3 minutes
- Rubbed on the gums: 1 to 3 minutes
- Smoked: 10 to 15 seconds
- Injected: 10 to 15 seconds
Smoking or injecting cocaine will have an immediate effect compared to the other methods. However, the effects would wear off quickly, making the two approaches more susceptible to binge consumption. These approaches can lead promptly to abuse and cocaine addiction.
How long the effects last depending on how it was ingested:
- Snorted: 15 to 30 minutes
- Rubbed on the gums: 15 to 30 minutes
- Smoked: 5 to 15 minutes
- Injected: 5 to 15 minutes
These effects can vary depending on the quality of the drug, the user’s frequency of using cocaine, and the dosage of the drug. Mixing cocaine with other substances can be dangerous to the body and can lead to overdosing. Most people who abuse cocaine tend to pair it with alcohol, marijuana, and opioids.
Effects of Cocaine On the Body
Cocaine can damage the body and have devastating effects on the user’s health. Depending on how cocaine is consumed, there are additional dangers to the person’s health and body that include:
- Injected cocaine: when sharing needles, the user can get blood-borne diseases like HIV, AIDS, hepatitis C, or ulcers.
- Snorted cocaine: damages to the nose, nosebleeds, problems breathing and swelling, and even loss of smell.
- Swallowed cocaine (through gums): bowel decay due to low blood flow, gum disease, oral cancers
- Smoked cocaine: lung-related impairments and diseases like coughing, asthma, lung infections, pneumonia, and impaired lung functions.
How is Cocaine Processed in the Body?
After cocaine is consumed, it will try to make its way to the bloodstream to increase dopamine levels in the brain circuits. This natural chemical messenger is related to the control and movements of the body.
Dopamine usually recycles back into the cell from which it’s released, and it shuts off any signals between nerve cells. But with cocaine consumption, dopamine is not recycled, and it creates large amounts to build up in between two nerve cells. Cocaine stops the regular communication between nerve cells, and it reinforces drug-taking behaviors.
What Does Cocaine Do to Your Body and Brain?
Cocaine can cause a quick increase in energy levels and has tremendous effects on different body areas. It can increase heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, tremors, and nausea. If the sudden rush is not correctly handled, it can lead to anxiety and paranoia.
Some of the other short-term effects of cocaine use are:
- Short-lived happiness
- Extreme energy
- Increased mental alertness and clarity
- Hypersensitivity to light, sound, and touch
- Decreased appetite
- Intense distrust of others
After prolonged use, cocaine consumers will develop tolerance to higher doses, leading to more frequent uses. To get to the same level of pleasure, users can reach dangerously high doses. The more tolerance, the more cocaine is used, and there are higher chances to overdose.
Cocaine abuse can lead to:
- Heart attacks
- Coronary artery spasms
- Constricted blood vessels
- High body temperature
- High blood pressure
- Sudden death
What Does Cocaine Do to Your Body Over Time?
Abusing cocaine can lead to an increased risk of severe impairments like malnourishment, convulsions, seizures, hallucinations, paranoia, and can even lead to movement disorders like Parkinson’s disease.
Repeated consumption will make the brain start to adapt to the effects of cocaine, meaning that it will take the user more cocaine to reach the same effect (tolerance).
Cocaine Addiction Recovery
If you or someone you know is dealing with cocaine abuse, please know help is available through detox and a comprehensive addiction program targeted to your needs. Recovery from cocaine addiction is possible when you work with a team of qualified specialists.