What are the short term effects of using cocaine?

What Are The Short Term Effects of Using Cocaine?

Ingesting cocaine will create serious long term effects, both on the brain and on the body. Whether it is snorted, injected, or smoked, it has harmful, lasting effects that far out-weigh the short-term gains.

Effects To The Brain

Cocaine creates one of the highest highs, but there are several short term effects that prove that even one attempt is extremely harmful to a person’s well-being. Many of the dangerous and undesirable side-effects occur almost immediately, and eventually turn into the lasting effects that destroy users’ lives. Here are some of the short-term and immediate effects of cocaine use:



  • nosebleeds and inflammation of the nasal tissue from snorting powdered cocaine
  • adverse reactions: since cocaine is often mixed with other chemicals when sold on the street, users are often ingesting additional things they aren’t aware of, and can have bad reactions to these chemicals
  • short intense high followed by an extremely low comedown, which can lead to depression and depressive behaviour
  • increased heart rate, high blood pressure, high body temperature and heightened breathing, like panting
  • nausea and vomiting
  • extreme moods, ranging from excitability and feelings of supremacy to irritability, panic, paranoia
  • erratic and unpredictable behaviour
  • drug binges
  • mixing drugs and alcohol for increased sensations
  • loss of sleep
  • seizures, convulsions, stroke, coma and even death by overdose
  • desperation for the next high, which can lead to violent behaviour and bad decisions
  • itchy feeling, as though bugs are crawling on user’s skin
Short Term Effects That Turn Long Term

Cocaine Short Term EffectThe onset of the high comes differently depending on how the drug is ingested. Smoking crack and injecting cocaine lead to immediate highs, as the drug hits the bloodstream right away. Once the drug is in the blood, it goes to the brain and begins its work. Snorting coke, or blow, through the nose leads to a less immediate high, although it still works very quickly. In this case, the drug enters the bloodstream through the nasal tissue inside the nose, which is why many coke users experience nosebleeds and a constant runny nose.


With many of these effects, the onset is immediate, and may seem like a small price to pay for the high, but some of them lead to long term, chronic problems. Just one use can be enough to block the brain’s ability to enjoy natural highs, through everyday activities and the natural chemicals in the brain. This numbness can lead to addiction very quickly.

Noticeable Immediate Symptoms

Noticeable symptoms in a person high on cocaine are constant sniffling and itching, as well as dilated pupils. The person is probably very excited, and possibly in an angry way. This person is probably showing high levels of energy, talking and doing things very quickly. They might seem agitated and twitchy.

Non-physiological Effects

Cocaine is known to be a very expensive drug, so obtaining the next high can be costly. Thousands of cocaine addicts have spent all of their money, borrowed money, stolen money, and even turned to criminal behaviour to try to get their next fix. These actions might seem short-lived, as an addict’s perspective is short-sighted. Their priority is getting the next fix, and they do not see the big picture of the life of being an addict. Oftentimes people will lose their jobs, their families, their marriages, and their friends because the high becomes more important than investing in personal relationships. One of the early effects of cocaine use is loss of interest in normal activities that used to give that person pleasure, and this means that people often turn their backs on their lives when cocaine becomes their main focus.

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