Drugs

Hello everyone! Following my inquiry question how do drugs affect your brain, I decided to start my first batch of research on methamphetamine and cocaine. Majority of drugs release and flood dopamine into your brain causing you to feel an extreme high, yet by overusing your neurotransmitter you become unable to release dopamine and feel pleasure and well being without the extreme high felt from these damaging drugs thus the addictive nature of drug use. 

Methamphetamine can be produced in simple home based labs or kitchens and uses such ingredients as camp fuel, white gas, acetone etc. Methamphetamine is very inexpensive costing the user between $5-10 for an with the effects lasting two to twelve hours. opposed to the crack cocaine user, who spends approximately $300-500 per day. Of note methamphetamine is also commonly found within ecstasy (MDMA). Here is a scan of the human brain before and during the usage of meth, the first scan shows a healthy brain, in the second image you can see the beginning stages of the toll this drug takes on your brain, and in the the third scan you can see the drastic effect this vicious drug has on the brain. When using meth your brain releases a large amount of dopamine , which is a chemical we are equipped with in our brain that is discharged and allows us to feel happy, pleasure and energized. By using this drug your brain begins to lack the ability to feel pleasure because of the severe rush you receive while using meth, and the damage caused between dopamine to dopamine transmitters. Well known terms of this drug are also meth, chalk, shatter, ice and crystal it is a white odourless bitter tasting substance that can either be inhaled through the nose, injected with a needle or smoked and generally lasts six to eight hours. Using meth may cause delusions, confusion, anxiety, insomnia, violent actions, psychotic behaviour, paranoia, and mood disturbances. Methamphetamine has also revealed that abusers of this drug may have structural and functional changes linked to memory as well as emotion, which are likely to relate to the cognitive and emotional issues that users display. Methamphetamine is an extremely damaging and powerful drug.
Cocaine is produced by the coca leave, yet chemicals are used to cut and refine the drug into its powder or solid form. Cocaine is used as a CNS and is commonly inhaled, injected or smoked. Here is a scan of the brain before and during the usage of cocaine, the second image shows that the brain becomes less active and develops holes and begins to look more spongelike then normal. This drug once again increases the amount of dopamine released and basically causes the brain to be flooded by a rush of energy and pleasure that gives you the high from the drug. well known names for cocaine are coke, flake, blow, nose candy, rail, and appears as a fine white crystal powder that is odourless. Cocaine is one of the more expensive street drugs costing anywhere between $10-30 per use and only lasting approximately 15-60 minutes. Abusers of this drug often suffer from vertigo, paranoia, tremors, constricted blood vessels, muscle twitches or tics as well as commonly display violent and erratic behaviour (excited delirium). Based on the severe side effects of this drug prolonged usage or over usage will most likely end in hospitalization or death.
 
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Original Post

 Hi Jayna! 

 I really enjoyed your research! It's very helpful to see the visual of how the brain is being eaten away. It was also interesting to learn what the average cocaine user spends as well, in relation to how long the high lasts. It was also interesting to know how drugs can make a person feel really good one minute and terrible the next. 

 If you're looking specifically at how the brain is affected, it could be interesting to see specifically what parts of the brain are being altered. I was also wondering; are you looking at just the two drugs you specified or anything else? I'm assuming you're focussing on illegal substances rather than prescription drugs, because "drugs" is a pretty broad term, but you've narrowed it down in this round of research. 

Good luck with future research! 

Hi Jayna,

This is an extremely interesting topic! I loved how you used brain scans to clarify your research. You go very in-depth into the neurological effects of methamphetamine and cocaine which is great and emphasizes how dangerous the consequences of taking these drugs are. It's astonishing how long it takes for the brain to turn somewhat "normal" abstaining from meth. A cool idea would be to look into how the brain recovers during prolonged abstinence. How does the neural circuitry go back to what it once was before exposure to meth?

Excellent research and I'm excited to see what you have in store
Erica Won.

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