THE SCIENCE BEHIND NARCOTICS
By Varun Vasudeva
When mankind discovered that plants serve not just an environmental and aesthetic purpose, but also a medicinal one, we’ve been using herbs as the base of all medicine ever since. The tulsi plant’s leaves can cure a cold, bronchitis and loss of appetite. The bael plant’s leaves can cure dysentery and diarrhoea and so on.
However, with these medicinal plants, there were other interesting plants, that once discovered, fell on the not-so-legal side of the justice system. These plants and their extracts act as powerful hallucinogens, giving the user a good high when ingested. The above mentioned plants are now the base behind what we know now as narcotics (or drugs).
Drugs are obviously not legal, for many reasons, but we are not here to make the differentiation on its legality. What causes these narcotics to be deemed illegal in the first place? It’s just a plant, what could it possibly do?
The basic premise of the function of strong drugs is the release of certain chemicals in the brain that trigger sensations of happiness. Primary chemicals consist of dopamine and oxytocin, which upon release, give a person immense pleasure. These chemicals are naturally released when indulging in activities like exercise, listening to music, talking to someone you like. But then again, that’s why narcotics are dangerous.
When an excess amount of dopamine is released in the brain, the body will recalibrate and get accustomed to that amount of the chemical. Hence, the next time you aren’t on that drug, the dopamine release will be less and you won’t be as happy. You will need to consume more of the drug, due to the tolerance your body has built up. As an extension of this, to feel more happy each time, you’ll have to continue taking that drug, because without it, the dopamine that your brain releases naturally will not be nearly enough to cause happiness. This is known as “tolerance and dependence” and it’s essentially what causes drug addiction.
Extremely hardcore drugs such as heroin and cocaine are especially dangerous because tolerance and dependence occurs incredibly quickly, making an addiction in users very common.
This is why you all should stay far away from narcotics of any sort. And just remember, if you wanna get “high”, there’s plenty of better ways to do it.