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Medically Reviewed

How Long Does PCP Stay in Your System?

- 12 sections

Medically Verified: March 12, 2024

Medical Reviewer:

Sahil Talwar, PA-C, MBA


All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Phencyclidine (PCP) is a dissociative anesthetic drug. It can cause out-of-body experiences, perceptual changes, and hallucinations.

Due to a high risk of abuse and addiction, PCP is not used medicinally and is illegal in the United States. Phencyclidine is considered a Schedule II drug.

According to a study published in the National Library of Medicine (NLM), 6.3 million people have abused PCP at some point in their lives.

People might snort, smoke, inject, or swallow PCP. No matter how it is used, PCP abuse is incredibly dangerous. Also referred to as “angel dust,” this drug can lead to delusions, self-injury, seizures, and life-threatening overdoses.

While it can take up to 4 days for PCP to leave your system, drug tests can detect PCP in urine for 7 to 14 days.

What are the Effects of Phencyclidine (PCP)?

PCP is a dissociative anesthetic, so it can cause someone to experience hallucinations. You might also feel like you are outside of your own body while under the influence of PCP.

The common effects of PCP include:

  • Floating feelings
  • Disconnection from reality
  • Rushes of euphoria
  • Believing you are thinking clearly despite facing delusions
  • Having delusions of invincibility or superhuman strength
  • Numbness throughout the body
  • Loss of coordination
  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature
  • Aggressive or self-injuring behavior
  • Extreme suspicion and paranoia
  • Being unable to feel pain

Abusing PCP long-term will result in a substance use disorder. Due to the effects of PCP, addiction can be incredibly dangerous. Abusing this drug puts you at risk of harming yourself or others around you.

The effects you experience will depend on the dose of PCP you take. For example, small doses might only cause slight hallucinations and increased energy. However, large doses may lead to aggressiveness, and delusions, and even cause you to commit violent crimes.

How Does Your Body Metabolize PCP?

Phencyclidine begins to cause symptoms at a dose of 0.05mg. Doses of 20mg or more can lead to dangerous effects like seizures, coma, and even death.

That being said, when someone consumes PCP it travels through their bloodstream and eventually goes to the liver. PCP is mainly metabolized by the liver before it is eliminated via urine.

The half-life of PCP is 21 hours. Since it can take 4 to 5 half-lives for your body to eliminate a substance, PCP might stay in your system for 4 days.

How Long is PCP Detected by Drug Tests?

While PCP leaves your system after 4 days, drug tests can find metabolites of the drug left behind in different areas of your body. How long PCP is detectable by a drug test depends on the type of test being used.


Urine tests are the most commonly used drug test because they are cheap and minimally invasive. If you are in a drug rehab program or taking a drug test for employment, it will usually be a urinalysis.

Urine tests can detect PCP for 7 to 14 days after your last use.


Saliva tests are less commonly used because they offer a shorter window of detection. Law enforcement often uses them during traffic stops when they suspect you are under the influence of a drug.

Saliva drug tests can detect PCP within 5 to 10 minutes after consumption and for up to 3 days after your last dose.


Blood tests are not used as commonly as urine tests. This is mainly because they are invasive. However, hospitals might use them when they take bloodwork to check if a substance is contributing to your symptoms.

Blood tests can detect PCP for 24 to 48 hours after your last dose, so they are best used while someone is currently experiencing the effects of PCP.


Hair tests offer the longest window of detection for any type of drug. However, some experts note that they are less reliable, causing biases based on things like hair color.

Some high-clearance jobs might use a hair test to test for PCP before offering employment. These tests can detect PCP for up to 90 days after your last dose.

What Factors Affect How Long PCP Stays in Your System?

How long PCP stays in your system can vary from person to person. There are several factors that can influence how long a substance stays in your body.

The main factors that influence how long PCP stays in your system include:

Dosage and Frequency of Use

The dose of PCP that you use can influence how long it remains in your body. For example, someone taking high doses of PCP will test positive longer than a person who takes small doses.

Additionally, how often you use PCP can affect how quickly your body metabolizes it. Taking PCP every day will cause you to test positive for the drug longer than others.

Metabolism and Overall Health

Everyone has a different metabolism. Your metabolism is affected by factors like genetics, age, the function of your liver, and your overall health. As a result, some people might metabolize things like food and drugs faster than other people.

Your overall health also plays a role in how long PCP stays in your system. Someone with liver disease will not be able to metabolize drugs as quickly, causing them to test positive longer.

Hydration and Nutrition

Another factor that influences how long PCP stays in your system is your hydration and nutrition levels. If you are not drinking enough water, it will take your body longer to eliminate substances like PCP.

Additionally, the way you eat can affect how fast your metabolism is. Someone who eats healthily will have a faster metabolism than a person who skips fruits and vegetables.

Find Help for PCP Abuse and Addiction

If you or a loved one regularly abuses PCP, you are suffering from a substance use disorder. PCP addiction can be incredibly dangerous, often doing great harm to your mental and physical health. Attending a drug rehab program can ensure you develop the skills necessary to overcome PCP addiction once and for all.

The first step in recovery from PCP addiction is medical detox. At Charlotte Detox Center, we offer medications and treatments to lessen withdrawal symptoms. This keeps you safe and comfortable throughout the entire process.

Charlotte Detox Center bridges the gap between the luxury and comfort of your home with the safety and medical supervision of a hospital. Our exclusive, private facility in Charlotte, North Carolina is an ideal place to begin your journey of recovery. Our highly trained medical and clinical staff can manage your physical symptoms and discomfort while providing you with encouragement and emotional support.

Contact us today to learn more about our medical detox center.