How Long Does PCP Stay in Your System?

PCP stays in your system for less than a week when used occasionally. Urine tests can detect infrequent use for up to five days and regular use for up to 30 days. The drug remains detectable in saliva samples for one to two days.
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PCP is a type of hallucinogen that can cause addiction. The effects of the long-acting drug generally last four to six hours. People who use the drug regularly can feel lingering effects of PCP for up to seven days.

A single use of PCP can be detected by a urine test for up to five days. When used habitually, the drug can be detected in the urine for up to 30 days.

PCP is stored in fat tissue and slowly released. This can drastically increase the amount of time it takes the body to remove the hallucinogen.

A 2007 study published in The California Journal of Emergency Medicine estimated the half-life of PCP to be three days. This means it takes about three days for half the dose of PCP a person consumed to be eliminated from the body.

The researchers also found that PCP can be stored in the brains of people who used the drug regularly for up to one week.

Drug Tests for PCP

Most standard drug screenings test for PCP. Urine tests are used to detect PCP use more commonly than saliva and hair tests. On a drug test, phencyclidine means the same thing as PCP. The latter term is a street name for the drug.

A PCP urine test can detect the drug up to five days after last use, according to Quest Diagnostics. However, the detection window may be longer for people who use the drug frequently. The more PCP a person uses, the longer it remains in the body.

Saliva tests can detect PCP for between 24 and 48 hours. Hair tests can detect the drug for up to 90 days. A variety of factors can affect the amount of time PCP can be detected on a drug test.

Factors Affecting PCP Detection Times

Each person metabolizes substances at a different rate. In general, dose and frequency of use are the most significant factors affecting PCP detection time.

With repeated use of PCP, more and more of the drug builds up in fat tissue. It also takes the body a longer time to metabolize and excrete a large dose of PCP than a small dose of the drug.

Other factors that affect PCP detection times include:

  • Method of administration
  • Age
  • Weight
  • Genetic factors

The only way to decrease the amount of time it takes to clear PCP from the body is to stop using the drug.

Detox drinks, cleanse diets and other at-home methods for beating drug tests do not work, according to the American Association for Clinical Chemistry. Follow-up tests can confirm that a person used these products, resulting in a failed drug test.

If you’re unable to quit using PCP despite an upcoming drug test, you may have a PCP addiction. People addicted to the drug are unable to stop using the drug despite legal problems or employment difficulties. Treatment for addiction can help people stop using drugs, find stable employment and live happier lives.

Medical Disclaimer: aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

Chris Elkins, MA
Senior Content Writer,
Chris Elkins worked as a journalist for three years and was published by multiple newspapers and online publications. Since 2015, he’s written about health-related topics, interviewed addiction experts and authored stories of recovery. Chris has a master’s degree in strategic communication and a graduate certificate in health communication.

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