Does Cocaine Make You Lose Weight?

Cocaine is an extremely addictive substance known for its stimulating effects. This substance is a powerful central nervous system drug derived from coca leaves. During the early 1900s, cocaine hydrochloride was isolated from the coca plant and used in many medicinal elixirs and tonics. However, cocaine is now classified as a Schedule II drug due to its habit-forming properties and high-risk of abuse. Cocaine may be abused by people who want to stay awake longer and get high, but some people abuse it because of the connection between cocaine and weight loss.

Individuals who abuse cocaine often suffer from an array of adverse side effects. Cocaine addiction is known to cause severe physical and mental health effects. Unfortunately, many people continue to abuse this drug despite facing negative consequences.

Spotting the signs of addiction may be difficult early on. Oftentimes, cocaine is linked to rapid weight loss and malnutrition. While some individuals may find this to be an attractive quality of cocaine, experiencing cocaine-related weight loss is extremely detrimental to one’s health.

Side Effects of Cocaine Abuse

Cocaine works by sending large amounts of dopamine to areas of the brain that control reward and pleasure. When individuals receive abnormally high levels of dopamine stemming from cocaine use, they will experience a “high” associated with increased energy and alertness. However, cocaine abuse is associated with many short- and long-term adverse side effects on the body.

Short-term side effects of cocaine misuse include:

  • Increased heart rate and breathing
  • Dilated pupils
  • Disturbance of sleeping patterns
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Hyperstimulation
  • Irritability and erratic behavior
  • Intense euphoria
  • Paranoia or anxiety
  • Depression
  • Loss of appetite

The long-term side effects of frequent cocaine abuse include:

  • Permanent damage to the heart or brain
  • High blood pressure
  • Liver, kidney, and lung damage
  • Destruction to the nasal cavity due to snorting the substance
  • Hallucinations
  • Tooth decay
  • Extreme exhaustion
  • Disorientation
  • Infertility in women
  • Irritability and mood disturbances
  • Psychosis
  • Severe depression
  • Malnutrition and weight loss

Weight loss is one of the most common health issues related to frequent and long-term cocaine addiction. This form of rapid weight loss is not healthy and may lead to the weakening of the body and organs. With that being said, utilizing cocaine as a weight-loss tool is not effective, as it will cause more damage to an individual’s body, mental health, and ability to function in daily life.

The Connection Between Cocaine and Weight Loss

Cocaine and Weight loss

Because of cocaine’s appetite-suppressing qualities, weight loss and cocaine are frequently associated. While many individuals believe cocaine users eat less because the substance is an appetite suppressant, this is not entirely true. Oftentimes, cocaine abuse changes the process which in the body digests and stores food by altering an individual’s metabolism.

As a result, cocaine users become unnaturally thin and malnourished over time. Even though many cocaine users tend to eat fatty foods consisting of higher amounts of fat and calories, their bodies will continue to become thinner. Unfortunately, losing weight and body fat at such a rapid speed will begin to wreak havoc on a person’s heart, liver, and kidneys.

According to an article on cocaine abuse and weight loss,

“The cocaine-dependent men in our study reported increased food intake, specifically in foods that are high in fat and carbohydrates, but there was no concomitant increase in body weight. In short, our findings challenge the widely held assumptions that cocaine use leads to weight loss through a global suppression of appetite. Rather, they suggest a profound metabolic alteration that needs to be taken into account if we are to understand fully the deleterious physical consequences of repeated use of this drug.”

Individuals who abuse or are addicted to cocaine will begin to have a hard time eating full and balanced meals. If you or a loved one are addicted to this stimulant drug, it’s important to contact professional help before malnutrition takes place.

The Dangers of Cocaine-Induced Weight Loss

Sadly, many individuals who are addicted to cocaine might become equally addicted to the weight loss they experience. However, losing weight as a result of cocaine abuse is not a permanent solution to obesity. Additionally, cocaine-induced weight loss comes with a variety of severe adverse health effects.

These effects can include:

  • Poor eating habits – Due to appetite suppression, the individual may develop eating habits that might deprive them of vital nutrients.
  • Malnutrition – Follows closely after poor habits develop.
  • Neurological problems – This might include chronic headaches or migraines, strokes, seizures, and in some cases– coma.
  • Gastrointestinal complications – The drug causes a reduction of the blood flow to the gut, reducing gut motility. This results in pain, nausea, or rotting of the gut.
  • Paranoia, anxiety, and erratic behavior – These effects will compromise an individual’s daily life as well as disrupt activities like school, social gathering, or work.
  • Rapid weight gain after quitting – Because cocaine suppresses the body’s ability to store fat, after an individual stops using the drug, their body will revert to normally storing fat, resulting in rapid weight gain.

Treatment for Cocaine, Weight Loss, and Malnutrition

If you or a loved one are suffering from the effects of cocaine-induced weight loss and malnutrition – the time for professional help is now. Dealing with the adverse health effects of cocaine addiction and drug abuse on your own may be extremely difficult and in some cases, life-threatening.

By attending professional addiction treatment, addiction experts and medical professionals will help you or your loved one recover from cocaine abuse and the lasting effects. Contact The Best Treatment Center in West Palm Beach today for more information on how to get started.

Medically Reviewed: September 25, 2019

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.