Is Nicotine a Depressant?
Nicotine, which can be found in cigarettes and vapes, is considered a stimulant but is it true that they are also considered a depressant?
According to the CDC, tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease, disability, and death in the United States. Nearly 40 million U.S. adults still smoke cigarettes, and about 4.7 million middle and high school students use at least one tobacco product, including e-cigarettes. Every day, about 1,600 U.S. youth younger than 18 years smoke their first cigarette.
Each year, nearly half a million Americans die prematurely of smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke. Another 16 million live with a serious illness caused by smoking. Each year, the United States spends more than $225 billion on medical care to treat smoking-related disease in adults.
What is Nicotine?
Nicotine is the main “psychoactive” ingredient in most tobacco products. Its job is to quickly tell the brain and the body what and how to feel. Nicotine is the ingredient that makes tobacco products addictive, including e-cigarettes and vapes.
When tobacco is burned, mostly by cigarettes, it produces nicotine and tar, carbon monoxide, and other harmful chemicals. Many tobacco products, such as cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, snuff, and dried tobacco leaves, contain nicotine. E-cigarettes don’t contain tobacco, but the producers do add in nicotine, so the user eventually gets addicted, but it seems less harmful and more attractive with the yummy flavors. This is how it is marketed to younger audiences.
The most common method of ingesting nicotine is smoking cigarettes, followed by pipe smoking and chewing tobacco. When you smoke, the nicotine is absorbed rapidly into the blood and can affect the brain in less than a minute.
Is Nicotine Work As a Depressant?
Nicotine from chewing tobacco or any other product with nicotine can be both a stimulant and a depressant. Using tobacco products that have nicotine in them causes epinephrine and dopamine hormones that affect the central nervous system. The nicotine chemical is responsible for the “jolt” users get when smoking. In addition, Epinephrine causes increased relaxation and pleasure.
Nicotine also stimulates the release of the pain-inhibiting hormone known as beta-endorphin. Seeking this chemical “high” or the corresponding “numbness” is what can lead to addiction. Unfortunately, the “high” from nicotine is short-lived, and users start to crash, which leads to the cycle of addiction for that relived “high” feeling.
Why is Nicotine Both a Stimulant and a Depressant?
Nicotine is different and unique in the way it acts as both a stimulant and a depressant. In most drugs, this is unheard of. Nicotine can be one or both, depending on the person and their reactions to the drug. Nicotine can produce short-term energy like the euphoric effect but can worsen depression and anxiety long-term in many people. This drug is very dangerous because it can you never know what to expect, and most of the time, the effects don’t seem extreme. And because it is normalized and legal, it is hard to quit.
Of course, just like every chronic drug use, there come physical and mental health problems.
Short Term Effects of Nicotine
- Restricted airways
- Increased phlegm production, which leads to the increased presence of
- viruses and bacteria.
- Increased risk of asthma
Long Term Effects of Nicotine
- Loss of neuro-receptors – This can slow reaction time, increase lethargy and decrease memory.
- The significant cancer risk increase
- Increase in heart-related illness
Get Help Today For Nicotine Dependence at Evoke Waltham
Nicotine might seem harmless. It’s legal. Yet, it causes early death in many unfortunate enough to try it. Evoke Waltham knows how difficult it is to stop smoking or quit nicotine products in general. People who find it impossible to quit should know that they aren’t alone.
We believe that nicotine addicts can forge a new life even under circumstances that seem impossible. Evoke Waltham offers lasting addiction treatment in Waltham, Massachusetts. A team of trained professionals crafts a personalized plan for each individual. So let us start you on a new path free of substances.