Cocaine is extracted from a plant species known as Erythroxylon coca Lam. This plant species, which is of the Coca plant family, is commonly grown in certain South American regions.
The plant’s use can be traced back to thousands of years when people in the region chewed it. By plucking its leaves and chewing it slowly, individuals would be able to curb hunger. Additionally, they were able to experience some form of mild stimulation. It’s popularity grew and now has a willing global market with greedy cartels looking to make money.
This, of course, raises the question: what makes it so appealing? First off, the drug works as a stimulant once it hits the bloodstream. The fact that the drug is specifically extracted from the Coca plant leaves makes it that much more potent.
Today, unlike its traditional days, cocaine can be administered into the body through different methods. And whether the drug is injected, inhaled or snorted, the results are the same. The dangers are also the same; an overdose today and a trip to the ICU tomorrow.
This means that it is a highly addictive drug. The fact that its effects only last for ten to thirty minutes once it hits the bloodstream makes it worse. It’s then no secret that people grow dependent on the drug because of how it makes them feel.
Triggers A State of Euphoria
Once the drug is in the bloodstream, the user is likely to experience a myriad of effects. Firstly, however, they enter an intense state of euphoria. Euphoria can be described as a heightened sense of happiness and pleasure.
This then leads to a sudden surge in energy, talkativeness, alertness and hyperactivity. It’s normal if the individual addicted to cocaine use starts feeling hot. The internal body temperature tends to rise as well, prompting the individual to sweat excessively.
According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, the mental alertness experienced from the drug is specific to touch, sight and sound. This is why cocaine is incredibly popular at parties or among party animals. The heightened senses make their surroundings exciting and intense.
Stimulates Dopamine Production
The drug targets the part of the brain responsible for Dopamine production. By stimulating an overproduction of the hormone, the user experiences an intense high. It acts as an instant mood lifter which then later leads to a dip in mood.
Increases Heart Rate and Blood Pressure
That’s right: cocaine also targets your hearts and blood vessels. Once the drug makes its way to the heart, it causes increased heart rate and blood pressure. This is due to the drug’s ability to constrict blood vessels and limit blood flow to the heart.
A study conducted by the Hospital of the Good Samaritan in Los Angeles confirmed this. This makes the user more susceptible to heart attacks, strokes, chest pains and so forth.
A study confirmed that the first hour after cocaine consumption heightened the risk of a heart attack tremendously. So even if the drug makes you feel intense pleasure, it’s slowly killing you at the same time. The physical pain that it makes you feel is a great indicator of its danger.
Imagine having a heightened sense of pleasure. A feeling so intense that it lasts only for a few minutes before you crush. After that, you’ll feel drained, fatigued and irritable.
This naturally affects your mood, as it shifts from one extreme to another. This is what is behind the sudden aggressive or violent outbursts cocaine users are known to have.
However, it also leads to depression, especially after long term use. This is because the drug ultimately shrinks the protein that manufactures Dopamine in the brain. Without enough Dopamine being produced, the individual struggling with addiction will succumb to depression.
Cocaine Steals Your Appetite
As previously mentioned, the Coca plant was traditionally chewed to stave off hunger. cocaine does the same thing to its users. With very little to no appetite, users of the drug tend to lose a lot of weight and become malnourished.
Increases Sex Drive
The individual suffering from Cocaine Use Disorder is likely to experience a heightened sex drive. Their stamina for sex increases, and so does there interest in the activity. This is probably why users engage in irresponsible sexual activity.
This behavior, in turn, makes them more susceptible to contracting HIV and Hepatitis C. Early pregnancy is also a common occurrence among female users.
Long term use will lead to impotence. Therefore, individuals suffering from cocaine substance abuse are encouraged to quit sooner than later.
Lower Immune System
The truth is, long term users of cocaine don’t feel or look their best. Their health decline is largely due to the suppression of the immune system by the drug. The weak immune system leaves the individual vulnerable to several diseases such as HIV.
Recent research shows that cocaine accelerates HIV infection in the body. This also sets the stage for the contraction of Hepatitis C.
Individual’s struggling with cocaine addiction are known to experience paranoia. This means that they become delusional, believing things and events that are not real. You’ll find that they may have a sudden distrust in someone and even unfounded feelings of fear.
They also tend to hallucinate a lot, including auditory hallucinations. This means that they tend to hear things that aren’t there.
In conclusion, cocaine, at its first initial stage of use, can make the user feel incredible. The intense sense of euphoria. The increase in energy levels and sensitivity to touch, sight and smell. It’s all very addictive.
Yet, after the high is an intense crush which leads to irritability and aggressive behavior. Physical malnourishment and paranoia can be extremely frightening and life-debilitating. In the long run, cocaine is not worth a penny.