How Does Cocaine Produce Its Effects?
It is known that cocaine is a highly addictive substance. Scientists have been doing their research to find out why cocaine is too much addictive and gives a pleasant feeling to the user. They have discovered the region in brain affects all types of stimuli such as food, sex, happiness, etc.
The neural system which is highly affected by the use of the cocaine is the midbrain called “ventral tegmental area” (VTA). This is the region in brain that involves in rewarding. Here rewarding means pleasant feeling when cocaine is administered. It has been noted that rewards increase the level of brain chemical in nucleus.
The normal process of communication in brain is the release of dopamine by the neurons. These are recycled back in the transmitting neurons by specialized protein known as a dopamine transporter. When cocaine is there in the system, it interferes with “dopamine” transporter and can block normal recycle process, which increases the level of dopamine in brain and thus the pleasure effect is increased. The buildup of the dopamine is the cause of stimulation to receive the neurons continuous, and probably result in euphoria. This is generally reported by the cocaine abusers.
The continuous use of cocaine increases the tolerance level. Thus, the person requires frequent use and increases level of dosage to get same pleasure level feeling experience during the initial use. During the period when the person stays away from cocaine, memory of euphoria, which is associated with using cocaine, can cause tremendous craving as well as relapses.
The effect of cocaine depends on the way it is administered into the body. The sooner the drug is absorbed into the body higher the effect. However, duration of its effect is shorter. If the drug is administered through snorting, the effect is relatively slower but the duration is longer.