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Most of us (adults) have seen the effects of drug and alcohol which makes us wondering how we get high. Is there some magic going inside our brain which drives us to feel good suddenly and  force us to do crazy thing? Well answer is yes, but not magic- its science.

I will talk about two types of high,

(a) Consumable High (Especially alcohol)

(b) Inhalable High (Especially weed)

Consumable High:

For e.g. Alcohol. Now alcohol is digested inside our stomach so it takes time to kick in. When Alcohol is ingested a chemical process begins. The carbon hydrogen bonds start to break due to the enzyme produced by the liver. After a drink is swallowed, the alcohol is rapidly absorbed into the blood (20% through the stomach and 80% through the small intestine), with effects felt within 5 to 10 minutes after drinking. It usually peaks in the blood after 30-90 minutes and is carried through all the organs of the body.

Now this alcohol inside our blood performs two tasks:

1:- In the process of alcohol degradation it consumes oxygen atoms and H2O compound from the blood causing lack of oxygen in the blood which in turn causes unconsciousness.

2:- Through the blood, alcohol reaches in the brain and nervous system. It gets mixed up in the neurochemical inside the synaptic gap and hinders in the processing of information through the nerve cell. This result in information distortion which causes objects blurriness, processing power of brain becomes either slow or fast etc.

 

 

 

However, it works differently on full stomachs, young women and aspirin takers.

It’s a fight between Our Enzymes and Alcohol.

Our body sees alcohol as a poison, or at least as something it doesn’t actually want inside it. To fight back, and sober us up, humans produce an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase.

That enzyme gets its shot at our alcohol when it attempts to pass through the stomach lining, and when it reaches our liver, primarily. On contact, it snatches a hydrogen atom off the ethanol molecules in our drink, rendering it into non-intoxicating acetaldehyde.

Humans can then use aldehyde dehydrogenase as a kind of clean-up crew, breaking down the acetaldehyde that’s sometimes considered a cause of hangovers, along with dehydration.

Inhalable High:

For e.g. Marijuana or Cannabis. Now herbal Cannabis usually called Marijuana has a slight different effect on the body.
It is smoked directly and its chemicals are infused in the blood at the verge of alveoli of lungs (where air is transferred into blood & vice versa). Each little bud and leaf of the marijuana plant is composed of hundreds of chemicals, but scientists have mainly given just two main compounds:  TetraHydroCannabinol (THC) and Cannabidol (CBD). 

1:-Cannabidol is a non-psychoactive compound, but it does contribute to making the smoker feel calm and relaxed. In fact, cannabidol has so many rock-star qualities that can be used in making into a medicinal drug. The patients of Glaucoma are seriously treated with cannabidol to rest their eye muscles. Cannibidol contains analgesic (aka pain-relieving), anti-inflammatory, and antipsychotic properties that has potential to treat cancer patients.

2:-TetraHydroCannabinol, a member of the cannabinoid chemical family, is specifically responsible for the psychological and physical side effects that as a result of lighting up.  It can cause feelings of relaxed inhibitions, fragmentary thoughts, abstract thoughts, lack of concentration or may be high concentration on a particular thing, impaired memory, memory retrieval, memory loss, sudden panic attacks, paranoia etc.

What actually happens?

THC gets moving quickly. Within seconds, the drug hits the brain and goes to town on the brain’s cells, called neurons.

The gap between brain cells is called a synapse, and the brain uses chemicals called neurotransmitters to pass messages across these gaps (think of these chemicals as an operator on a phone call).

This is where our friend THC comes in. The active chemical in marijuana mimics a natural neurotransmitter called Anadamide (Anadamide is often referred to as the “bliss molecule” because of its role in boosting memory and learning, dulling pain, and stimulating the appetite . Anadamide normally buddies up with dopamine, and together these neurotransmitters turn on and turn off different chemical pathways as needed.

When THC prevents anadamide from doing its job, the delicate balance between anadamide and dopamine is thrown off. The result: We’re suddenly euphoric, off- balance, ravenous, seemingly impervious to pain, and unable to retain information.

Credited to: Akash Bhatt

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