How cocaine usage negatively affects your health

examining cocaine in the lab

Short Note

The long-term effects of cocaine usage make it not worth a try. The leaves of the South American native coca plant are used to make cocaine, a highly addictive stimulant narcotic.

Although it is permissible for medical professionals to use cocaine for legitimate medical procedures, such as local anesthetic during some surgeries, it is prohibited for recreational usage.

Dealers

To boost their earnings, dealers frequently dilute (or “cut”) it with non-psychoactive ingredients like cornstarch, talcum, flour, or baking soda.

Additionally, they could mix cocaine with substances like procaine, a chemically similar local anesthetic, or amphetamine (another psychoactive stimulant).

Some drug users mix heroin and cocaine.

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Dopamine

Dopamine, a natural chemical messenger that regulates motivation and reward, is released at higher rates in brain circuits associated with cocaine use.

Dopamine often recycles back into the cell that first released it, cutting off the signal between nerve cells.

Cocaine, on the other hand, stops dopamine from being recycled, leading to a significant buildup in the area between two nerve cells, which stops normal communication.

The brain’s reward circuit is overflowed with dopamine, which powerfully encourages drug-using habits. 

Drug usage may cause the reward circuit to adapt, making it less responsive to the drug.

Therefore, in an effort to get the same high and to relieve withdrawal symptoms, users take stronger and more frequent dosages.

Cocaine being examined in lab_ long-term consequences of cocaine

Long-term effects of cocaine usage

Some long-term health effects of cocaine depend on the method of use and include the following:

Consuming cocaine by mouth

1. Severe bowel decay from reduced blood flow

Smoking cocaine

2. Cough asthma,

3. Respiratory distress

4. Higher risk of infections like pneumonia

Snorting cocaine

5. Loss of smell, nosebleeds

6. Frequent runny nose

7. Problems with swallowing

Needle injection of cocaine

Higher risk for contracting:

8. HIV,

9. Hepatitis C, and other bloodborne diseases

10. Skin or soft tissue infections

11. Scarring or collapsed veins

Even those who use cocaine without a needle put themselves at danger for HIV because cocaine clouds judgment, which can result in unsafe sexual conduct with infected partners.

According to studies, using cocaine hastens HIV infection. Cocaine affects immune cell performance and encourages HIV viral multiplication, according to study.

Additionally, studies show that those who use cocaine and have HIV may be more prone to acquiring other infections, such as the liver-damaging hepatitis C virus.

 

Reference: NIH

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