Cocaine and Amphetamines: Psychomotor Stimulants

psychpost | 7/15/2012 03:14:00 PM

Crack Cocaine, Smokable form of cocaine.
Origin: Cocaine is found in the plant Erythroxylon coca, native to South America. The cocaine can extracted from the coca leaves or the leaves can be chewed.

Routes of Administration:
Intravenously: An IV injection of cocaine will produce the quickest "rush" of cocaine's effects because the drug is immediately present in the blood. Not a preferred route of administration.
Freebasing (smoking): Smoking crack cocaine produces effects just a little bit slower than IV injection. A preferred route of administration.
Intranasally (snorting): The peak effects are not typically reached until 30-60mins. Effects are weaker than IV and smoking, but snorting cocaine can lead to more prolonged mild effects. Along with smoking, this is a preferred route of administration.
Orally: Powdered cocaine is water soluble and is readily dissolved into drinks. This method will produce the slowest "rush" of cocaine's effects because the drug must first travel through the stomach and liver before finally into the brain.

Mechanisms of Cocaine Action
Cocaine is able to block the reuptake (reabsorbtion) of the neurotransmitters: Dopamine, Serotonin, and Norepinephrine The reuptake is prevented by Cocaine binding to each of the neurotransmitter's transport protein and inhibiting them. This leads to an increase of the neurotransmitter concentration at these synapses.

Effects on the Sympathetic Nervous System
Cocaine is known as a sympathomimetic drug which means it produces effects of Sympathetic Nervous System activation which include: Increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, and elevated body temperature.

Behavioral Effects
The behavioral effects of cocaine can be generalized into two categories: moderate and severe effects.
Moderate Cocaine effects: Euphoria, increased energy, insomnia, increased motor activity, restlessness, talkativity, increases idea generation, increased sexual interest, increased anger and agression, mild anorexia, and increased self-esteem.
Severe Cocaine effects: Irritability, anxiety, fear, extreme energy, total insomnia, repetitive motor behavior, incoherent speech, total anorexia, and delusions.

Tolerance and Sensitization
Tolerance develops for the sympathetic nervous effects of cocaine. Sensitization develops for the behavior effects of cocaine. It is important to note that is cocaine is administered soon (a few hours) after a previous dose, the behavioral effects will show tolerance.

Health Risks
There are several health risks associated with repeated or high-dose cocaine use. These risks include: Stroke, seizure, irregular heart rate, damaged heart muscle, heart attack, panic attack, temporary psychosis (delusions and hallucinations), and alterations of dopamine areas in the brain. 

Reinforcing properties and Addiction
The high potential for addiction to cocaine is typically thought to be caused by the increased levels of dopamine in the brain. The "rush" associated with IV and smoked cocaine causes addiction to develop much faster than the slower-acting snorting and oral administration.

Amphetamines and Cocaine both belong the same class of drugs known as the psychomotor stimulants. These two drugs have very similar effects because they both block the reuptake of the same neurotransmitters. The main difference is that Amphetamines stimulate the release and prevents reuptake of dopamine whereas cocaine only prevents reuptake of dopamine.

2 responses to "Cocaine and Amphetamines: Psychomotor Stimulants"

  1. I've always wanted to know how addiction to cocaine worked when it comes to psychology so this is some interesting stuff to me, great post as always man.

  2. Mmm interesting post, nice! :P

Post a Comment