Your Brain on Cocaine

Just Say Know By Hannah Cohen

What is Cocaine

Cocaine is derived from the plant Erythroxyium coca which is native to South America. The leaves in this plant have been used for over 4,000 years and it is still used medicinally to prevent pain caused by surgical procedures. South Americans in the Andes Mountains legally and liberally chew the coca leaves as they are believed to be non addictive. The plant becomes addictive when the leaves are made into the drug itself. This drug can get into the body in many ways. One was is by injecting the drug into your veins. Cocaine is usually a white powder drug, but when heated to a certain point it cracks and melts forming the liquid for shooting the drug. The drug cocaine gets its name crack because of the cracking sound the drug makes when it is heated up. Cocaine can also be snorted. This is the most common way to get cocaine administered into the body and the fastest way to get a high from the dug. Like smoking cocaine, snorting cocaine allows the drug to get direct access to the lungs. Form the lungs the drug is released into the bloodstream which causes the high. Highs from cocaine don't last long at all so people who have tried cocaine find themselves having more and more of it to try and chase that long lasting high that they will never achieve. People using cocaine are in for some serious harm later on in life. There are short and long term effects that come from using cocaine. Some short term effects include: loss of appetite, increased blood pressure, increased body heat, increased heart rate, contracted blood vessels, increased breathing rate, dilated pupils, disturbed sleep patterns, nausea, hyper stimulation, bizarre and sometimes violent behavior, anxiety and paranoia, depression, increased drug craving and even sudden death can occur even just from one dose. Long term effects include: permanent damage to blood vessels and heart and brain, high blood pressure leading to heart attacks and strokes, liver, kidney and lung damage, damaged nose tissue if snorted, malnutrition and weight loss, severe tooth decay, sexual problems, severe depression, auditory and tactile hallucinations, and tolerance and addiction even after one dose. Cocaine acts by blocking the reuptake pumps of certain neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin. Cocaine prevents the neurotransmitters from crossing the synaptic gap to be absorbed by the neuron. In chronic cocaine consumers, the brain comes to rely on the drug to maintain a high degree of pleasure associated with the elevated levels of some neurotransmitters.
Your Brain on Crack Cocaine

More on Cocaine

The effects of cocaine can linger on in your body for longer than the high. The chemicals will stay in the plasma for one and a half hours and it will stay in your urine for nineteen hours. Cocaine will even stay in your saliva for hours after you use the drug. Cocaine effects are like nothing like any other drug. By injecting 30 mg of cocaine into your bloodstream the peak of the cocaine will come into effect about five minutes. By snorting 100 mg of cocaine the peak will come around 30 minutes. The half life of cocaine is short, is is around a hour. That means the that the time required for cocaine to decrease somewhere in the body takes roughly 60 minutes. Cocaine can even be detected in the body after a week of using it. Withdrawal for cocaine can be serious, but those cases are not reported often. Some symptoms of withdrawal form cocaine include depression, anxiety, chills, body aches, pain, challenges in concentration, and intense craving for more cocaine. Overdosing on cocaine is possible like most other drugs. When someone overdoses on cocaine it can cause so many problems including death. Some problems that can happen are: comas, headaches, intracranial bleeding, damage to organs like the liver, lungs and heart, and even in some cases an overdose of cocaine can cause death. Tolerance to this drug can occur to frequent users and even relate to problems such as cardiac arrest and respiratory failure. In the state of New Hampshire federal and state laws prohibit trafficking, sales, ans possession of cocaine. Cocaine is registered at a Schedule l or Schedule ll controlled substance in most states which means that they have the stiffest penalties for offenders. There are many support systems for cocaine. You can start to recover from your addiction in various ways like therapy, detox, and rehab centers.
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