Cocaine physically alters the brain permanently.
Despite being highly illegal across the world, cocaine, the ‘party drug’ is taken by millions of people across the world on a recreational basis.
Because cocaine is not as highly addictive as other hard drugs such as heroin, and the user doesn’t become physically dependent on it, people think they can pick it up and drop it whenever they like, and that it’s not doing a great deal of harm to their body.
But researchers testing the effects of the drug have found that snorting a single line of cocaine alters the make up of your brain permanently.
In a study done by the University of East Anglia, they found the reward part of the brain was physically changed by just one dose of cocaine, meaning that future stressful events can lead to a relapse even if you previously thought you weren’t ‘addicted’.
Dr Peter McCormick from the School of Pharmacy said:
“Relapse among cocaine addicts is a major problem. We wanted to find out what causes it.
We showed that cocaine disrupts the interaction between receptors and these changes could increase the risk of relapse under stressful conditions. Importantly, we identify a potential mechanism for protection against such relapse. Although our study is in rodents, the same receptors have been shown to impact human stress and drug addiction.”
Cocaine is highly popular drug across the world, and many young people take it under the illusion that they are not really doing any harm to their body or their brain.
But this study has shown that this is not the case, and that taking cocaine even sporadically in your youth can open your brain up to a whole world of addiction problems in your later life.
Addiction, particularly in the U.S is a massive problem at the moment as the country battles with a serious opioid crisis.