Cocaine and its effects

Almost instantly after taking a single dose of cocaine the effects will be apparent and will disappear relatively quickly. Generally a single dose will be up to 100mg making the user feel elated, chatty, energised and alert, whilst at the same time decreasing the desire for food or sleep. Dependent on how the user administers the drug, it will affect them in different ways. One way of taking cocaine is through snorting it: this has a  moderately shorter absorption rate where the high lasts between 15-30 minutes; if you smoke it, the high may last up to 10 minutes due to the faster absorption.

Short term physical effects

The short term physical effects include increased temperature and heart rate, constricted blood vessels and high blood pressure. With  increased amounts of cocaine there will be a greater high but also greater effects, potentially leading to behavioural delusions. The user may also experience paranoia, vertigo and twitches. Some users of cocaine report feelings of restlessness, irritability, and anxiety. There have been occasional circumstances where people have suddenly died due to cocaine use, this will be in relation to cardiac related problems or respiratory arrest.

Cocaine is one of the most addictive drugs. It is very common that after first trying cocaine the user will have a strong desire to continue using it without being able to foresee or control the degree to which they use. The addictive effects of cocaine are due to its ability to inhibit the re absorption of dopamine by nerve cells. Dopamine’s released as part of the brain’s reward system, this is either directly or indirectly involved in the addictive properties of every major drug of abuse.


A tolerance to cocaine can build up relatively easily, with the majority of cocaine users reporting that they find it hard to achieve the initial high that is first experienced. Therefore users will have to continue to increase their intake to achieve the intense euphoric high. Taking the drug repeatedly with increasingly high doses is called a binge. When this occurs it can result in heightened irritability, restlessness and paranoia. In some circumstances a full paranoid psychosis can occur. This is when the user will completely lose touch with reality and can have hallucinations.

Health consequences

There are multiple consequences associated with cocaine abuse. The most common complication as a result of using cocaine is cardiovascular trouble, for example, heart attacks. Furthermore, there are neurological effects including strokes and seizures and respiratory effects like chest pain and respiratory failure. There are also gastrointestinal complications involved with cocaine abuse leading to abdominal pain and nausea.

There is however more impact to taking cocaine than its immediate physical effects.


Ultimately cocaine abuse has incredibly severe effects that should and cannot be taken lightly. If you, a loved one or anyone you know is abusing cocaine and think may have a cocaine addiction and are at risk of suffering from the long term effects, entering a long term rehabilitation programme can be the most promising and successful way to not only avoid the fore mentioned effects but also to kick the habit.

The Haynes Clinic is a drug and alcohol rehab clinic which provides treatment for cocaine addiction.

Call 01462 851414 for free and confidential advice.

Cocaine and its effects