Short term effects
Cocaine’s effects can last from 20 minutes to several hours depending on the dosage, purity and how it was taken. Common initial signs are an intense sense of euphoria, hyperactivity, restlessness and increased blood pressure and heart rate.
The initial rush commonly wears off fast and is usually followed by feelings of discomfort, depression and a craving to experience the drug again. Side effects include twitching, paranoia and impotence which usually increases with frequent use.
The immediate craving to use more cocaine is strong, because euphoric effects often subside within an hour of the last dosage. Binge use is usually followed by a ‘crash’, or the onset of restlessness and anxiety, with increasing exhaustion until sleep is achieved.
Cocaine causes body temperature to rise and hyperthermia (overheating) can occur. This may cause muscle cell destruction and ultimately result in kidney failure.
Long-term or excessive use has many physical and psychological health consequences, such as:
- hallucinations and paranoid delusions
- erratic heartbeat, itching, and psychosis
- nausea and vomiting
- loss of concentration and coordination
- loss of interest in sex
- loss of ambition and motivation
- sensitivity to light and sound
- nose bleeds
- eating disorders and weight loss
- cerebral atrophy (wasting of the brain) and impaired thinking
- depression and anxiety.
Tolerance develops after excessive use over long periods, so users require larger doses to achieve desired effects. This increases the likelihood of harm to health.
Smoking cocaine long-term can result in chest pains, lung trauma, shortness of breath, sore throat, and aching flu like symptoms.
Snorting breaks down the cartilage in the nostrils and can cause it eventually to disappear.
Long term injection use can cause blocked blood vessels, collapsed veins, tetanus, abscesses, and damage to the lungs, heart, liver and brain.