Cocaine & Weight Loss: The Details on the Skinny Drug | Banyan Heartland

Cocaine & Weight Loss: The Details on the Skinny Drug


Cocaine is a stimulant drug that is illegal in the United States but widely abused for various reasons.

Not only is it highly addictive, but its use can also lead to drastic changes in the body. Along with damaging internal organs, long-term abuse may also lead to a dramatic and unhealthy decrease in weight.

Does Cocaine Make You Skinny?

Everyone is different and how cocaine use will impact someone can vary. In general, however, there seems to be a connection between the use of cocaine and weight loss.

Sometimes nicknamed “the skinny drug,” cocaine weight loss is not uncommon. The illegal drug has a reputation for use among women for this specific reason. While traditionally considered a male’s drug of choice, more and more women are turning to cocaine to shed some pounds. Although they may have been successful in their weight loss journey because of it, the reward does not outweigh the risk. Because cocaine is so addictive, most people are unable to stop their consumption without formal cocaine addiction treatment even if they reach their weight loss goals. Other people become addicted to cocaine because of the euphoric high it provides, and weight loss is just a consequence of continued abuse. Regardless of the reason for abuse, over time this could cause the user to become underweight or even lead to malnourishment. Both can lead to other serious health problems if ignored.

Why is Cocaine Abuse & Weight Loss Connected?

Cocaine and weight loss appear to be connected for several reasons.

As a stimulant, cocaine causes people to feel energized and more alert. For regular cocaine users, this often means long periods of wakefulness and activity that may take the place of normal sleeping hours. For this reason, regular cocaine users may burn more calories than they would have otherwise. Along with an increase in energy, cocaine is also rumored to suppress appetite. Not only will users be awake and active, but also, they may not eat while under the influence of this drug. Regular and heavy cocaine users often don’t eat regularly and when they do, it is not a full meal. When these poor eating habits become routine, they can lead to unhealthy weight loss.

Although these other factors seem to contribute to cocaine weight loss, new research suggests that the biggest reason for weight loss from cocaine is because of the way the drug impacts metabolism and the body’s ability to store fat. A study of cocaine-dependent men found that although their diet was high in fat, they were not gaining weight as would normally be expected. Researchers believe that the main reason for this difference is because chronic cocaine abuse interferes with metabolism in a way that causes an imbalance in fat intake versus fat storage. Unfortunately, it takes time for the body to correct this imbalance so during cocaine detox and early recovery, many users will experience unwanted weight gain.1

At Banyan Treatment Centers Heartland, our residential rehab center in Gilman helps people not only overcome their substance abuse problems, but also address the ancillary issues related to these disorders. This combined with building a foundation for a healthy lifestyle leads to lasting success in recovery.

If you or someone you love struggle with addiction, call us today at 888-280-4763 to get help.


  1. NCBI- The skinny on cocaine: Insights into eating behavior and body weight in cocaine-dependent men
Alyssa is Banyan’s Director of Digital Marketing & Technology. After overcoming her own struggles with addiction, she began working in the treatment field in 2012. She graduated from Palm Beach State College in 2016 with additional education in Salesforce University programs. A part of the Banyan team since 2016, Alyssa brings over 5 years of experience in the addiction treatment field.

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