how do drug highs differ from drug to drug?

doin a presentation for school and basically need to know this

how do 'highs' differ from drug to drug?

i know marijuana highs are basically a feeling of being calm but party drugs used in raves and so on have a totaly different effect right? anyone care to explain?

5 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Drugs of abuse acts differently on the brain, different parts of the brain (to some extent), and most importunely on different neurotransmitters.

    So here are some examples of drugs abuse

    Cocaine- a central nervous system stimulant that blocks re-uptake of of certain neurotransmitters, most notably serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. These neurotransmitters are all stimulating and cocaine causes them to bind more often to receptors, greatly increasing their levels. Dopamine it typically increased to about 200 units, the human brain can only naturally produce 100 units for a very short period. Dopamine is the "pleasure molecule" and "master molecule of addiction" with significant reinforcing effects. All drugs of abuse increase dopamine however stimulants do it to a much larger extent.

    Amphetamine/methamphetamine- amphetamines are the most powerful stimulants there are, with dextromethamphetamine being the most powerful. Amphetamines can produce 1,200 units of dopamine (six time more than cocaine). Amphetamines, like cocaine, block the re-uptake of serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine they also inhibit MAO, the substance that breaks down the neurotransmitters, and amphetamine causes the cell to "dump" the neurotransmitters out, greatly increasing the levels. As a result people can become more talkative, more energetic, less depressed, less inhibited, more willing to take risks, and in some cases, paranoid, psychotic, manic, or they may have delusions of grandeur. Cocaine also has the same effects.

    Opioids (heroin, morphine, oxycodone)- these drugs bind to opioid receptors in the brain, the same receptors as endorphins. This modulates pain, causes sedation, euphoria, and anxiolysis. Unlike cocaine or amphetamines opioids cause physical dependency. Alone physical dependency is not addiction and it is routine and not a problem in people using opioids for legitimate pain.

    Sedative/hypnotic/tranquilizers/downers- this primarily consists of three types of drugs, barbiturates and benzodiazepines which have replaced most barbiturate use, and alcohol. Although these three types of drugs are separate they have almost identical actions. They act on the GABAa receptor, GABA is the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter that reduces neuronal firing, thus leading to less brain activity and less anxiety and/or hypnosis (sleep). These drugs cause feeling of sedation, less anxiety, loss of inhibitions, amnesia, and tranquility. In some cases paradoxical reactions can occur (and are most common and well known with alcohol), these include anger, rage, violence, self-harm, suicidal and/or homicidal thoughts amount others. Alcohol also acts on several other neurotransmitters and produces addiction effects. These drugs cause extreme physical dependency, more so than any others. As a result people can become dependent, like with opioids it is not a problem if the drugs are for legitimate medical use. Withdrawal symptoms from heavy abuse are worse than heroin and potentially lethal. Other drugs with similar actions include chloral hydrate, Miltown, Soma, Quaaludes, Doriden, and Ambien.

    MDMA (ecstasy)- technically an amphetamine but with significantly different effects. It primarily acts by increasing serotonin (and to a small extent many other things) by inhibiting re-uptake and increasing serotonin directly. It causes people to have energy, have feelings of love, empathy, and compassion towards others, a general euphoria, increased awareness and increased senses, and loss of anxiety and inhibitions. Contrary to what one person wrote, MDMA will not cause neurotoxic effects or make a person will depression a lot worse. Some research indicates that there can be a small reduction (about 4%) in serotonin levels after chronic abuse. But most evidence indicates it is even safer than THC (marijuana), alcohol, tobacco, and prescription drug abuse.

    There are many other drugs but these are some of the most common.

    Source(s): I am a medical student (M.D., C.M.) at a university in Montréal, QC, Canada for psychiatry and internal medicine. I have a Hons. BSc in pharmacology and I have interned with two psychiatrists, one neurologist, and at a chemical dependency rehabilitation centre. I have also worked as a pharmacy assistant.
  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    Because they are uneducated and ignorant to the facts. As you say, it's a totally different hit from chemicals. Alcohol is VERY similar to some chemical drugs, yet you don't hear much about booze being a gateway. The whole concept of a gateway to me is madness anyways. Just because you like one thing doesn't mean that by default you are going to like a bunch of others. It's like saying that eating a cheese sandwhich at home every so often is a gateway to going out and having a McDonalds every half hour. Total ignorance. Basically some people just want to stop other people from doing what they want - they're always going to be there and we should carry on ignoring them, and making fun of them behind their backs like we always have done! Peace!

  • Cocaine and crack cocaine give you a feeling of energy. I once met a man who was a coke addict. He hands were moving very quickly and he couldn't stop moving.

    Meth gives you a feeling of paranoia.

    Heroin gives you a relaxed feeling.

    Magic mushrooms will cause some people to see colors, though reports of hallucinations are rare. LSD is much more likely to cause hallucinations. They will either calm you down or stress you out. There are good trips and bad trips, as many users of these drugs have reported.

    Ecstasy gives you a ton of energy.

    PCP can make you very angry. You will stop feeling pain. Someone on PCP is very dangerous because of this. An angry person who can punch his hand into a wall and not feel his fingers break. It is said that a man on PCP tore off his own testicles in front of police officers, though this may just be a rumor.

  • 6 years ago

    Coke/ crack is kind of like amphetamines. They give you a speedy energized high where you feel like you are smarter and better than avert thing else.

    Amphetamines make you stay up for days on end and you are empathetic, interested and excited about nothing.(extacy or MDMA is an amphetamine)

    Opiates make you relaxed, warm and itchy. It is the best thing on the planet.

    Benzodiapines which are usually date rape drugs or anti anxiety make you spaced out And doped out of your mind. A very forgetful high if you take to much.

    Hallucinogens (LSD, DMT, 25i, psilocybin, ect;) are just like dreaming while you're awake. Patterns, you will see things melt random lights and sounds and things like that.

    Source(s): Experience
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  • 1 decade ago

    From what I have read (..and "done" in my wasted youth.I don't condone or criticize anyone for doing drugs as I feel that is their choice. I feel a person should be FULLY aware of what they're doing and WHY they are doing it.) there are several factors; drug make-up, drug quality,dosage,physical condition and brain chemistry of the "participant"(i.e. if someone suffers from clinical depression where their serotonin levels are low, taking XTC would literally kill them, as it releases ALL of person's serotonin at one time). An outstanding site to check is

    They cover everything from drug history,chemical make-up,dosage,laws,etc.

    Worth investigating.

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