Monday, June 23, 2008

EW SMOKE BREATH

Today's post is about nicotine.

Before I launch into a rather calm treatment of the neuropharmacology of this, let me say that smoking is bad and your nervous system is not to be messed with, because it can have irreversible issues.

Nicotine is a stimulant of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, specifically two kinds of receptor: the ganglion type nicotinic receptor and the CNS type nicotinic receptor. Nicotine interferes with the reception of acetylcholine by nicotinic acetylcholine receptors and can be blocked by curare and hexamethonium. Since it blocks acetylcholine, it produces a high. In the ganglion type nicotinic receptor, it stimulates production of adrenaline, and in the CNS type nicotinic receptor, it stimulates production of dopamine. Therefore, it makes you feel awake and good. This is why people often smoke when stressed - nicotine gives them a jump.

The most little-known side effect of nicotine is the fact that it raises the heart rate (duh - it releases adrenaline into the body) and releases the body's stores of fat into the blood. Nicotine by itself can cause strokes.

Therefore, reducing addiction to nicotine would require simply inhibiting nicotine's ability to attach to the receptors, right? Varenicline (Chantix) is a drug that has been tried, but it causes suicidal thoughts in drug users, probably due to the fact that it prevents acetylcholine from bonding to the receptors. Acetylcholine is important for cognitive function and mood, and inhibiting it would cause symptoms similar to depression. The only way to safely stop nicotine is to quit cigarettes cold turkey.

And nicotine is only one of many drugs that make you feel good when you take them, but do some really stupid shit to your body when you take them - so don't use drugs.

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3 comments:

cfityler said...

Hey there, I'm an intern at Center for Inquiry Transnational in Amherst, NY. I stumbled on your blog today and was wondering if you were involved in any atheist/freethought/humanist club at your school? Throw me an e-mail at thandley@centerforinquiry.net

Rick Renzi said...

Chantix has shown great results of quitting the smoking even in the chronic cases of smokers. This drug is proved more effective in comparison to other medications available in the market. Many online drug stores are providing cheap chantix medication. http://www.chantixhome.com/

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