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Narcotics and how they affect the body.

  1. Feb 9, 2006 #1
    well im not looking for the

    "Drugs are bad mmmmKayyy" speech.

    Im looking for more of a detailed explanation on how drugs(narcotics) do those psychedelic euphoria stimulant. How the effect is done chemically. and what specifically in the chemicals that make the effect.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 9, 2006 #2


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    There are probably more, but I only know of 2 ways narcotics seem to work.
    1). Tamper with the way oxygen flows through your body
    2). Screw up the way neurons fire

    Messing with oxygen would be things like carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and cyanide. Screwing with neurons would be things like ether, gasoline, and chloroform.
  4. Feb 10, 2006 #3
    we really need to get a biochemist on these forums. from what I know from my job, drugs like THC work by binding to a specific receptor in your body (CB1 receptor for THC) which are found in the brain. The drug is able to bind to the receptor in the brain if the drug is able to cross the BBB , (blood brain barrier). Any molecules with molecular weight of >500 dalton 99.9% of the time are probably not going to be able to cross the BBB. not only does the molecule have to be <500 daltons, it also has to be fairly water soluble. The molecule also has to fit very well into a receptor pocket in order for it to have an effect. think of the receptor as a lock and the drug as a key. the drug will only work if the key fits the lock. drugs like heroin and morphine are almost identical, except for the fact that heroin has only 2 more CH3COO groups. that slight change in chemistry effects receptor to which heroin and morphine bind. once the drug crosses the bbb and binds to the receptor, it over stimulates the receptors in your brain giving you the feeling of getting high. Pharmacology/medicinal chemistry is a very interesting field, the complexity of the human body is astounding when you really get into the nitty gritty details. that is all i really know. they really don't teach you this stuff in school as a traditional undergraduate.
  5. Feb 10, 2006 #4
    personally i was really interested in biochemistry. and they got all new equipment and everything for the course in the university when i was in grade 11. But the problem. my teacher essentially was a slacker. everyday it was powerpoint presentations and she simply read completely off the presentation. and what did we have to do? copy the words down and memorise. and when you were interested in further information not included. For example we were doing all the types of cells and how they differ. I asked for specifics like. how long do certain cells last. I knew blood was 110 days(or so). and the answers werent in the textbook. My teacher's answer to my question was. "Check your textbook." I replied "The answers arent in the textbook. she replied "Too bad i guess."

    So i basically dropped biology. Terrible teacher.

    though. Im really interested in if it were possible to design a drug. which gives the hallucinogenic effects of narcotics. but no negative effects. like screwed up brain chemistry or becoming addicted.
  6. Feb 10, 2006 #5
    Technically, narcotics are drugs that induce sleep or stupor. "Narkos" would be greek for "sleep." So Tylenol PM would be a narcotic, all though it's more commonly used to refer to the opiates, like heroin or morphine (from Morpheus, greek god of dreams).

    Unfortunately, 'narcotics' more commonly refers now to just any illicit drug. So crystal meth is called a narcotic, even though it does the opposite of inducing sleep. Or cocaine, or paint thinner.

    There's all sorts of modes of action for various illicit drugs, which is what I think you mean by "narcotics."

    Things like carbon dioxide or gas fumes simply displace oxygen, so your lungs can't get any. Carbon monoxide binds to hemoglobin, so that oxygen can't bind. Cyanide inhibits the electron transport chain, so even if you get oxygen to the cells, you can respire.

    But most illicit drugs are substrates for specific enzymes, often surface receptors.

    The opiates, for instance, inhibit certain receptors in the central nervous system, producing effects like stupor and analgesia.

    Can you tailor make drugs for certain effects? Certainly. It's a multi-billion dollar industry.

    methadone is essentially heroin that's been chemically altered to reduce the euphoric effect, satisfy the addiction, and metabolise more slowly so that you don't get the big, swinging highs and lows that you do with heroin. Which is why methadone is so good in treating heroin addiction.
  7. Feb 10, 2006 #6
    methadone is wat i had in mind. but i was thinking a more universal drug. not just a heroine alt. ive also had this sort of in mind in my addiction thread. Ive been trying to understand if addiction is more a universal thing. regardless to the chemical that intiated, that its still the same all around biochemically. and from what that thread is saying. it seems that much is possible. which explains somewhat why people who drop one drug and move to another dont get withdrawls(at least as far as i know).

    So if i fake insomnia, i can have medicinal marijuana? :bugeye: :surprised :rofl:

    if i ever goto a psychologist or something. i think i might try that joke with them.

    well the effects isnt in question. its the after effects. which they dont seem to figure out how to do very well.

    another bad joke:
    Unabptril, it cures your runny nose. It will clear it very quick. After results diarhea, death, kidney failure, sars, cancer, aids, leprosy, and the bubonic plague.
  8. Feb 10, 2006 #7
  9. Feb 10, 2006 #8
    Side effect?
  10. Feb 10, 2006 #9
    anyway. to continue in my studies. ive found a few narcotics are actually poisons. or rather poisons that have narcotic parts.

    anyhow putting aside bacterial poisons and putting aside poisons like arsenic which screw up the chemical cycles.

    do the narcotic poisons do their damage through doing as narcotics do. which is attack these said receptors? and more specifically. and these poisons are the considered neuropoisons/toxins?
  11. Feb 11, 2006 #10


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    Paint thinner actually is a narcotic. If you inhale it, it will definitely make you sleepy. Pretty much all organic solvents do that. I think paint thinner is or was methylene chloride (may have changed since the Montreal Protocol).
  12. Feb 13, 2006 #11
    Well organic solvents will asphyxiate you and cause you to pass out. I don't really think that's the same thing as inducing sleep though.
  13. Feb 13, 2006 #12


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    If they don't kill you, you're just sleeping :wink:
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