Commonly used Drugs that Affect the Mind

The three most commonly used Drugs that Affect the Mind are alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine. They are called GATEWAY DRUGS, the gateway to all other drugs.

1. Alcohol

Alcoholism is a major issue outstared by the society. Even the slightest amount of alcohol affects your body systems. It causes emotional as well as physical changes leading to body distress. Too much drinking has long-term impacts on your body leading to serious health complications.

There are a number of harmful effects of drinking alcohol. It affects the different parts of your body in a grave manner leading to alarming damage.

Brain-The term blacking out is extremely menacing and risky. Passing out is very common when going out for a party; consume alcohol, and then the next day you just wake up without having any memories of last night. Usually, we see people indulge in activities like drunk driving, unsafe sex or sometimes vandalization under the influence of alcohol. This clearly shows that alcohol muddles with your brain making it very difficult for an individual to think clearly. A person undergoes mood swings sometimes unveiling violent behavior.

Immune System

Excessive drinking leads to a weaker immune system, making your body an easy prey to diseases. Problems like nerve cell damage, ulcers in the stomach, diabetes, pneumonia, and cancer are very common among chronic drinkers.

Heart

Alcohol drinking enfeebles the heart. There are a lot of people who consume alcohol on a regular basis and as a result face severe heart problems such as high blood pressure, stroke, cardiomyopathy- a problem related to heart muscles, etc.

2. Marijuana

Impact of marijuana on brain

Since THC acts on the specific brain cell receptors that usually react to the natural THC-like chemicals, the discovery of the presence of cannabinoid receptors in the brain by Miles Herkenham and his team at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in 1989 unlocked the door of mystery. This was a major milestone in understanding the effects of marijuana in humans. Here are some of the effects of marijuana that came to light after years of research and clinical trials:

Changes in sleep pattern: As one of the most disputed symptoms of marijuana use, some research and studies suggest that a high level of THC can cause sleep problems and restlessness. Although the build-up of tolerance is suspected to alter sleep patterns in marijuana users, it is known that the presence of THC reduces the duration of rapid eye movement (REM) during sleep, a phase during which a person tends to dream.

Rise in heart rate: Marijuana use can trigger myocardial infarction. When a person uses marijuana, increased heart rate is a common phenomenon. Studies have found that there is 4.8 times risk of heart attack after smoking marijuana.

The desire for munchies: A stoked appetite is a common effect of marijuana use. Prior research has discovered that cannabinoid receptors in the hypothalamus can activate the release of the hormones leptin and neuropeptide Y that trigger appetite.

Memory impairment: Marijuana use affects the brain region known as the hippocampus, which plays an important role in the formation of new memories. Although marijuana use does not destroy old memories, it inhibits the creation of new memories by changing the cellular process of the hippocampus. Studies suggest that the long-term use of marijuana reduces an individual’s IQ and creates difficulties in thinking and problem-solving, which fail to improve even after the person quits the drug.

Diminishment in body movement: Miles Herkenham found that a bundle of cannabinoid receptors is located in the hippocampus, amygdala, striatum, and cerebellum. Brain regions like the striatum and substantia nigra are responsible for coordinating movements. When THC is present in a person’s system, it disrupts his or her motor control ability as witnessed in the case of alcohol. This poses a great deal of risk, especially when a marijuana user takes the control of the wheel after using marijuana.

3. Cocaine

Cocaine is a drug that is obtained from the leaves of the coca plant and is an extremely powerful stimulant for the nervous system of the human body. Medically this is known as Benzoylmethylecgonine. It is used in various applications in the medical industry. But because of its, ability to affect the brain and cause a euphoric sensation and the addictive nature, this is one of the most preferred drugs of abuse.

In most parts of the world, it can’t be grown, cultivated or distributed freely apart from the sanctioned uses in medical and governmental fields. Even then the usage and production of cocaine remain extremely controlled. In spite of such restriction for cultivating, distributing and using the drug, it remains one of the widely used drugs in the world. In street language, it’s known as crack and is actually an inferior quality of cocaine that is used by drug addicts.

What are cocaine and its effects on the body depends on the pattern of usage and the reason for usage?

Since this is an extremely powerful nerve stimulant, the effects of the drug can last anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour, depending on the way that the cocaine has been taken. There are several mechanisms for taking cocaine such as snorting, inhaling and even injecting it.

Since it increases the alertness, feeling of wellbeing and euphoria in the body, these drugs tend to be taken by sportsmen, performers and those that are under constant pressure to perform very well. With chronic use of the drug, it can severely impair the senses and also affect all organs of the body. In extreme cases, when overdosing of the drug is seen; it can also cause the death of the person.

The physical effects of the addiction to cocaine can cause hemoptysis, bronchospasm, pulmonary and systemic eosinophilia, pain in the chest and lungs, asthma, sore throats, flu-like symptoms, degradation of the cartilage that is present in the nose (due to frequent snorting) and many more. Cocaine addicts are also at a higher risk of getting many types of autoimmune deficiency and disorders. These include lupus, Goodpasture’s disease, Stevens-Johnson’s disease and many more. Since the cocaine addicts are prone to sharing needles for injecting themselves with the drug, they can also contract HIV and AIDs.

The addicts are also susceptible to a risk of many heart problems.

Other manifestations that can be seen when a person has become a cocaine addict is depression, mood swings, fatigue, erectile dysfunction, increased or decreased appetite, anxiety, suicidal tendencies, aches, frequent runny nose and many more.