How Long Does Pcp Stay In Your System
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How Long Does PCP Stay in Your System?

Phencyclidine, commonly known as PCP or Angel Dust, is a powerful hallucinogenic drug that acts as a tranquilizer and can produce effects that range from pleasure and euphoria to fear and anxiety. The drug was originally developed as an intravenous anesthetic in the 1950s but was quickly discontinued for medical use after it caused people to become agitated, delusional, and irrational. However, in the 1960s and 1970s, PCP became a popular drug of abuse due to its hallucinogenic properties.

PCP is still sold on the streets today and can be found in various forms, including a powder, pills, and liquid. It can be swallowed orally, smoked, or injected. How long the effects of PCP last and how long it stays in your system can be affected by the method of administration as well as other factors. In most people, PCP can be detected in urine for 7-14 days after the last dose.

What are the Effects of PCP and How Long Do They Last?

PCP may produce a variety of short and long-term effects. Shortly after it is consumed, it may produce:

  • Hallucinations
  • Distorted perceptions of reality
  • Delusions
  • A sense of detachment
  • Dissociation
  • Mood changes
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion

The effects of PCP and their duration can vary greatly depending on the dosage taken, tolerance level, frequency of use, and individual health.

Potential long-term effects of PCP include:

  • Memory loss
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Psychosis
  • Respiratory problems
  • High blood pressure
  • Kidney damage

The most popular way to use PCP is to smoke it by mixing it with tobacco, marijuana, or other smokable products. The effects can appear anywhere from one to five minutes after smoking it, peak between 15-30 minutes, and last for about 6-7 hours. In high doses, PCP can produce lingering effects that last anywhere from 1-2 days.

How Does The Body Process and Eliminate PCP?

After smoked or ingested, PCP quickly absorbs into the bloodstream via the lungs or gastrointestinal tract. The bloodstream carries it throughout the body and the brain, producing psychoactive side effects. Then, it is metabolized by the liver. The liver relies on enzymes to break PCP down into specific metabolites that are excreted from the body primarily via urine, but also via feces, sweat, and breath.

The exact speed of absorption, metabolism, and excretion of PCP depends on various factors, such as individual metabolism, dosage, and the presence of other drugs or alcohol in the body. With that said, the estimated half-life of PCP is about 21 hours, however, it can range from 7-46 hours. The half-life describes how long it takes the body to reduce the drug’s concentration in the body by half.

With an exceptionally large half-life range, how long PCP stays in your system can vary greatly. For example, it can take anywhere from 2-10 days for an average person who took an average dose of PCP to eliminate it from their system. However, in someone with a high body fat percentage, PCP may stay in the system for up to 17 days since PCP metabolites are stored in fat cells.

Factors that Influence How Long PCP Stays in Your System

There are several factors that can include how long PCP stays in the body, including:

  • Dosage – Taking PCP in higher doses can cause it to stay in your system longer.
  • Frequency of use – Using PCP more frequently causes metabolites to build up in fat cells, leading to longer elimination times.
  • Individual metabolism – A faster metabolism may process and eliminate PCP more quickly.
  • Diet and hydration – Drinking plenty of water and eating a balanced diet can help flush toxins from your body and increase metabolism.
  • Polysubstance use – Using PCP with alcohol or other drugs can make it stay in your system longer.
  • Health – Certain health factors such as age, weight, gender, genetics, liver function, and kidney function can affect how quickly the body metabolizes drugs.
  • Urine pH – Individuals who have highly acidic urine may eliminate PCP faster than those who have less acidic urine

Drug Test Detection Times for Phencyclidine (PCP)

PCP can be detected in the body by various types of drug tests, including urine, blood, hair, and saliva. The most commonly used type of drug test is a urine test. Urine tests can detect PCP anywhere from 4-6 hours after use and for up to 7-14 days.

While urine tests are affordable, accurate, and easy to administer, blood tests are the opposite. Blood tests are typically only used in medical settings and have a short detection window. PCP can generally only be detected in blood for 24-48 hours after use.

Another type of hair test that is gaining popularity is a hair follicle test. These tests screen for substances in the hair follicle and they have an exceptionally long detection time. Hair tests can detect PCP use for up to 90 days.

Finally, saliva tests may be used in rare situations. A saliva test can detect PCP within 5-10 minutes after taking it and for up to three days.

False Positive Drug Test for PCP

In some cases, certain over-the-counter medications and prescription drugs can cause a false positive for PCP on a drug test. These medications include:

  • Ibuprofen
  • Dextromethorphan
  • Antidepressants
  • Tramadol
  • Diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
  • Imipramine
  • Ketamine

Am I Addicted to PCP?

While most people use PCP intermittently, some people use it more frequently than others. Using PCP regularly may lead to the development of a substance use disorder. Further, if you are concerned about passing a drug test because you’ve been using PCP, but you still can’t stop taking it, you may be addicted.

Other signs of PCP addiction include:

  • Using PCP more frequently and in higher doses than you used to
  • Feeling sick (withdrawal) if you stop taking PCP
  • Neglecting responsibilities
  • Wanting to quit but being unable to
  • Trying to quit but being unsuccessful
  • Continuing to use PCP despite negative effects on your health or social life
  • Lying to friends and family about substance use
  • Having cravings for PCP
  • Feeling like you need to take PCP to function normally

Find Help for PCP Abuse and Addiction Today

If you or a loved one are struggling with PCP abuse, it’s time to seek help. There is effective treatment available, and treatment usually begins with detox.

Located in San Antonio, Texas, our premier drug and alcohol detox center offers medical detox services to the greater San Antonio area. What makes us unique is that we are able to provide a medical detox from drugs and alcohol in a safe, comfortable, and effective manner on an outpatient basis.

With an intimate setting and a dedication to patient care, you can rest assured that you or your loved one is receiving the highest quality of care possible. There is no excuse to wait. Give us a call today to get started.


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  2. National Library of Medicine: Phencyclidine Intoxication and Adverse Effects: A Clinical and Pharmacological Review of an Illicit Drug, Retrieved November 2023 from
  3. National Library of Medicine: Metabolism of phencyclidine by human liver microsomes, Retrieved November 2023 from
  4. National Library of Medicine: Persistence of phencyclidine (PCP) and metabolites in brain and adipose tissue and implications for long-lasting behavioral effects, Retrieved November 2023 from