Is Cocaine a Stimulant or Depressant?

Is Cocaine a Stimulant or Depressant?

Cocaine is a powerfully addictive stimulant drug made from the leaves of the coca plant.

Although it can be used for valid medical purposes, such as local anesthesia for some surgeries, recreational use is one of the most common uses of cocaine. The recreational use of cocaine is illegal.

There is some validity to cocaine having the qualities to be both a stimulant and a depressant. Used recreationally,  cocaine is typically viewed as a powerful stimulant, creating a sense of euphoria and increased alertness. However, it also can have depressant qualities because it can slow down the transmission of signals between the brain and the body, leading to feelings of depression, anxiety, and irritability.

How is Cocaine Used?

Cocaine powder can be snorted through the nose, or it can be rubbed into the mouth along the gums. Cocaine can also be dissolved and injected into the bloodstream. Some people inject a combination of cocaine and heroin (known as..Speedball).

Another method of use is to smoke cocaine that has been processed to make a rock crystal-type substance (also called “freebase cocaine”). The crystal is heated to produce vapors that are inhaled into the lungs. This form of cocaine is called Crack, which refers to the crackling sound of the rock as it’s heated. Some people also smoke Crack by sprinkling it on marijuana or tobacco and smoking it like a cigarette.

Understanding the nature of cocaine and the effects it can have on the body is essential for anyone considering using the drug. Ultimately, the effects of cocaine depend on the individual, the amount taken, and the frequency of use. It is important to be aware of the potential risks and dangers associated with cocaine use and to seek help if needed.

Cocaine Effects on the Brain?

Cocaine can increase levels of the brain’s natural chemical messenger dopamine in brain circuits related to the control of movement and reward.

During normal brain activity, dopamine recycles back into the cell that released it, shutting off the signal between nerve cells. However, cocaine can prevent dopamine from this natural cycle and from being recycled, causing large amounts to build up in the space between two nerve cells, blunting or stopping their normal communication. This flood of dopamine in the brain’s reward circuit strongly reinforces drug-taking behaviors. With continued drug use, the reward circuit may adapt, becoming less sensitive to the drug. As a result, people take stronger and more frequent doses in an attempt to feel the same high and to obtain relief from withdrawal. This becomes a vicious cycle of addiction for individuals.

How Does Cocaine use Lead to Addiction?

As with other drugs, repeated use of cocaine can cause long-term changes in the brain’s reward circuit and other brain systems, which may lead to addiction. The reward circuit eventually adapts to the extra dopamine caused by the drug, becoming steadily less sensitive to it. As a result, people take stronger and more frequent doses to feel the same high they did initially and to obtain relief from withdrawal.

Withdrawal symptoms include: Depression, fatigue, increased appetite, unpleasant dreams and insomnia, slowed thinking

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