So let’s get into what
we’re talking about when
we’re talking about
dependence and addiction.
So another class that we’re going to
talk about are the psychostimulants,
and like the name implies, we’ll break
that term down: psycho, stimulant.
Psycho refers to sort of
or your mind and
So what’s it doing is actually
activating your brain.
So some examples would
be caffeine, which you’d
find in coffee or pop and
You have nicotine, which
comes from cigarettes.
Cocaine, from your local neighborhood
cocaine dealer, and amphetamines.
Okay. So a whole bunch
of different things,
all fall under the class of stimulants
because of their stimulant properties.
Now, what these do are
increasing the release of those
we had mentioned before.
So these are chemical
messengers in your brain,
and when you take these stimulants
or actually increasing amounts of it
and these are the
And what that ends up doing
is it ends up causing
an exaggerated reaction
that you would have versus
when you were not taking
any of these stimulants.
So when you do take a stimulant,
it can have the effects
of speeding up
bodily functions, increasing your
energy, increasing your heart rate.
It does a lot of
Another really, really key thing that
it does that a lot of people end up
using this drug for is that it
increases alertness and arousal.
So when you wake up after a full
night of studying for your MCAT
and you roll out of bed,
you kind of roll over and hit on
on your coffee machine because you
need that java, that caffeine to
stimulate and get yourself going.
Now, another thing to be
cognizant of about is
the fact that when you
take these stimulants,
artificially and temporarily
the neural activity in your brain and the
levels of neurotransmitter in your brain,
this is at some point going to come
back down and we have something called
And what that means is for every high,
you’ll have a resultant opposite low.
So if you take coffee -- caffeine
and if you have your coffee,
you feel great for that hour or so and
you’re getting into work and you’re doing
your thing and you’re saying, “I had that
morning coffee and I’m ready to go.”
But then what happens around 10:00,
10:30 when you’re at the office?
You’re really, really tired,
which is why you have that kind
of 10:30 coffee break, right?
these highs and lows are related
to the highs that you see
and the rebound depression
that’s resulting after that.
start to go away.
Psychedelics or hallucinogens,
this is the category
that includes things
like LSD and marijuana.
So they might seem almost two
different complete different agents,
but they still fall under that
psychedelic drug category,
and we’ll look at sort
of a bit of each.
And LSD was a drug that was
really, really popular,
also known as acid, in, you
know, the ‘50s and ‘60s.
And what you would do
there is you would take a
small little piece of paper
or a stamp that had been
dipped in LSD and you
put it on your tongue,
it dissolves, and very quickly, you
have this out-of-body experience
or we say alters and distorts your perceptions
in the absence of any sensory input.
So in English, that
means you take this LSD
and you’re standing there and you think
you’re seeing these beautiful lights
and you look at your hand and
everything looks magical.
And that’s really not because
there’s a magical flying unicorns
and you’re seeing
these crazy colors.
That’s just your mind, I don’t want to say
playing tricks, but your mind is sensing
things that actually aren’t being
presented to you from the outside world.
So marijuana is a
very common drug
and the active ingredient in marijuana
is called THC or tetrahydrocannabinol.
This is a compound that
the cannabinoid receptors in the brain
and these are found all over your body.
And they have a very dramatic
effect, a very relaxing effect.
If taken in enough
quantities, it can have
a psychedelic effect and they have a
lot of actual medicinal uses, as well,
which is why marijuana is a unique drug
and that it falls on that fringe of being
something that can potentially be used
for therapeutic or medicinal uses,
but it’s obviously also
used for recreational uses.
So this is ongoing debate.
In a lot of countries,
it is legalized.
In other countries, it’s still
considered an illegal substance
and those country
users that debate of,
“But wait a second, I’m
using it for pain or nausea
and I’m not using it to get high
and have fun with my friends.”
But, you can see that there
are applications for both.