Cocaine dependence is a physical and mental desire to use cocaine. Cocaine is a powerful and addictive drug, classified as a schedule II drug by the US federal government as a high abuse, high dependency risk stimulant. Cocaine increases the availability of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain hence resulting in to feeling of intense pleasure energy and alertness.
It produces its elated effect in two ways one by artificially increasing the release of dopamine back into the brain’s nerve cells. Addiction to cocaine comes about when the body builds a tolerance to the increased levels of dopamine. Gradually larger amounts of cocaine are required by the user to achieve the sensation of being high hence addiction which eventually leads to an overdose. Most users of cocaine may smoke, snort, or take it via injection.
An attempt by the user to suddenly withdraw from the consumption of cocaine has adverse effects which range from moderate to severe: dysphoria, depression, anxiety, psychological and physical weakness,, and compulsive cravings. This makes the treatment of cocaine dependency complex.
In a study consisting of 1,081 U.S. residents who had first used cocaine within the previous 24 months, it was found that the risk of becoming dependent on the drug within two years of first use was 5-6%.
The 2011 Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) report showed that cocaine was involved in 505,224 of the nearly 1.3 million visits to emergency departments for drug misuse or abuse in the U.S and its abuse results in about 5,000-6,000 deaths annually.
Effects of cocaine dependence
Although cocaine is known to be a powerful stimulant making its users feel elated, it eventually leads them right to their death. With time, abuse of this substance leads to negative and sometimes irreversible side effects like increased body temperature, irregular or rapid heart rate, high blood pressure, increased risk of heart attacks, strokes and even sudden death from cardiac arrest. It is also associated with adverse effects like inflammation of the inner tissues of the organ (endocarditis), brain and kidney damage.
Marijuana and cocaine addiction
Research findings and evidence from clinical trials has proven that synthetic marijuana can be used for cocaine dependence, help alleviate addiction and possible eliminate it. The cannabidiol (CBD) and THC present in marijuana are responsible for a number of the positive effects medical marijuana has on a number of conditions addiction inclusive.
According to a new study by the National Institute of Health, cannabis may be an effective treatment in curing people of addiction from hard drugs such as cocaine and amphetamines.
In a study conducted at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, by Dr. Zheng, Xiong Xi, JWH133 a synthetic cannabidiol derived from cannabis was injected to mice that were addicted to cocaine. According to the results of the study, mice that ingested JWH133 needed 50 to 60 percent less cocaine than mice that were not given the compound.
This compound works in a way that it stimulates CB2 receptors located in the brains of both mice and humans. With this kind of research, many scientists are pushed to believe that cannabis can be highly effective at helping a recovering addict resume a normal life. It is also believed that this compound (JWH133) has an antipsychotic effect owing to the CBD cannabinoid present.
It has also been proven that cannabis is not addictive making it superior to many opiates cocaine inclusive. Research studies also show that Americans have resorted to smoking marijuana to kick their habit and they also testify that the marijuana high they experience is far less disruptive to their lifestyle. However, if someone were to use cannabis to treat opiate dependence, it would still be recommended to continue use of cannabis.
Cocaine abuse is common among adolescents of 14 years or younger. According to the 2012 United Nations report, estimates suggest that cocaine is the second most popular illegal substance of abuse in the United States and yet it is still under Scheduled II.
It is however absurd that marijuana which is not addictive at all and also has therapeutic properties is under schedule I. Rescheduling and further research into the way marijuana can help cocaine addicts will help protect the future generation of America.