How Long Does Crack Stay in Your System?

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Crack is a highly potent stimulant drug that is derived from cocaine. People make crack by cooking powdered cocaine with baking soda until it is in a crystalline rock form. Crack was originally made to replace freebase, as a “safer” alternative to smoking cocaine.[1]

Unfortunately, smoking crack cocaine is never safe. Not only is the drug highly addictive, but it can lead to long-term health issues like lung infections, heart complications, and even life-threatening overdoses. If you or a loved one regularly abuses crack, it’s time to consider professional treatment.

If you abuse crack cocaine, you might be wondering how long it stays in your system. The half-life of crack is 0.7 to 1.5 hours, which means it only stays in your system for up to 8 hours.[2] However, drug tests can detect the substance longer, as metabolites remain in different areas of your body for an extended period.

In this article, you will learn:

  • How long the effects of crack last
  • How long crack stays in your system
  • How long crack cocaine can be detected by drug tests
  • Which factors influence how long crack stays in your system

How Long Do the Effects of Crack Last?

Crack is a stimulant drug that causes increased energy, heightened focus, and inflated self-confidence. While you might experience pleasurable effects when misusing crack, you can also experience negative side effects like anxiety, racing heartbeat, chest pain, paranoia, and more.

The common effects of crack cocaine include:

  • A rush of euphoria
  • Increased energy and alertness
  • Excitement
  • Lessened need for food and sleep
  • Dilated pupils
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Anxiety and paranoia
  • Aggressive or violent behaviors
  • Intense cravings to use more crack

Typically, the high from crack cocaine only lasts 5 to 15 minutes. As a result, you might be tempted to repeatedly smoke crack, using large amounts of it in one sitting. Unfortunately, this puts you at risk of experiencing a life-threatening overdose and serious cardiac complications.

How Long Does Crack Stay in Your System?

If you are wondering how long crack cocaine stays in your system, it’s important to understand half-life. A half-life of a drug explains how long it takes your body to eliminate half of the substance. Typically, it takes 4 to 5 half-lives for a drug to be removed from your body.

The half-life of crack cocaine is between 0.7 to 1.5 hours, so it can remain in your body for up to eight hours. However, crack leaves behind metabolites in your system that drug tests can detect for longer periods of time.

Different testing methods will have varying detection times.


Urine tests are the most commonly used drug tests out there. This is mainly because they are minimally invasive and cheap to use. These tests can detect crack in urine for one to five days after your last dose.


Blood tests are not used as frequently as urine tests for a couple of reasons. First, they are invasive, requiring a blood draw to be analyzed. And second, they tend to offer a shorter window of detection than urinalysis drug tests.

Blood tests can detect crack cocaine in your system for two to 12 hours after you last used it.


Saliva tests are not used frequently for the same reasons as blood tests. However, law enforcement might use them during field sobriety tests to determine if you are under the influence of an illicit substance.

You can get a positive result for crack cocaine on a saliva test for up to 24 hours after your last dose.


Despite offering the longest window of detection, hair follicle tests can be unreliable. Some studies have found that they discriminate based on hair color, causing untrustworthy results.[3]

That said, hair tests can detect crack cocaine in your system for up to 90 days after you last used it.

What Factors Affect How Long Crack Remains in Your Body?

If you are worried about how long crack cocaine stays in your urine, you might be tempted to try to flush it out. Drinking excess water will not make you pass a drug test. The only way to pass a drug screen is to remain sober from crack and other drugs.

Certain factors can influence how long crack cocaine stays in your system. These factors include:

  • Weight and body fat percentage
  • Age and overall health
  • The dose and frequency at which you abuse crack
  • The health of your liver and kidneys
  • Hydration and nutrition levels over time
  • Whether other substances or medications are in your system

Find Help for Crack Abuse and Addiction

If you or a loved one regularly abuses crack cocaine, you probably suffer from a drug addiction. Substance abuse treatment programs can help you overcome crack addiction using evidence-based treatment methods and mental health support.

At New Jersey Interventions, we connect our clients with treatment centers that are ideal for their needs. Contact us today to learn more about treatment for crack addiction and other substance use disorders.


  1. National Institutes of Health (NIH): Crack cocaine and cocaine hydrochloride. Are the differences myth or reality?
  3. American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU): Hair Tests: Unreliable and Discriminatory

Medically Reviewed: May 17, 2024

Dr Ashley

Medical Reviewer

Chief Editor


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

Dr Ashley Murray obtained her MBBCh Cum Laude in 2016. She currently practices in the public domain in South Africa. She has an interest in medical writing and has a keen interest in evidence-based medicine.

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

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