Thursday, December 1, 2016

Cocaine in the brain - "The Addiction"

Hey Awesomites!

Here I will be talking about a social problem amongst the youngsters - “Addiction to cocaine”. 
First introduced in 1884 as a local anaesthetic and still used somewhere for nasal and lacrimal duct surgery and other painful procedures, how and why is it now more popular for recreational purposes. After cannabis, it is the second most frequently used illegal drug globally. 

“Hey dude, let’s go for the party bro. There is going to be lots of ‘cool’ stuff out there - Alcohol, lots of ‘drugs’, and all our batchmates are going. Lets go man.” And then one more apparently innocent ‘good’ guy turned ‘bad’. In fact lots of such stories and even worse are a source of headlines on the front pages these days. 

What is the main reason behind all this? Why do people like these are so much attracted towards the negative bonds of life that they forget what is the difference between life and death? What is the root-deep cause of this social problem? 

The more one takes it, by any means, the more he will crave for it. Any means, may be snorted, smoked or injected, cocaine enters the blood stream rapidly and then obviously the brain which enables the person to achieve the high. And of course under influence of others around, long-term effects are life-threatening! 

Okay, so let me now tell you the scientific basis of all this. Once the drug enters our brain, a brain molecule is activated that triggers a compulsive drug-seeking behavior through activation of central amygdala. This leads to cocaine addiction.

Cocaine sensitizes the brain’s hypothalamic- hypocretin/ orexin system that releases a neurotransmitter called hypocretin. This molecule is responsible for the transcription of specific genes and the production of  Brain-derived Neurotrophic factor (BDNF). This protein further activates TrkB receptors and results in overactivation of central amygdala. 

That means a rise in hypocretin levels leads to over-activation of central amygdala which makes the person exhibit an anxiety - like state, since it is linked to the negative emotions experienced during drug withdrawal. This triggers the crave for cocaine.

From the above discussion, it is obvious that blocking TrkB receptors in central amygdala would not allow hypocretin molecules to bind and lead to the further chemical changes. For that purpose we administer Cyclotraxin- B, a potent antagonist of TkrB receptors, preferably through parenteral route. This makes a decrease in the craving and thus lessens drug abuse. Also, there are less chances of relapse after a period of withdrawal.

That’s all!

-Jaskunwar Singh


  1. Superb article. Addiction lead you to destruction. your mind will stop working and your life is like a hell.


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