Recreational Drugs: Find Out The Allure And Dangers

Find out why some are addicted to drugs and the dangers

By Sophia R
Recreational Drugs: Find Out The Allure And Dangers

Characteristics Of A Recreational Drug

A recreational drug is a potent psychoactive substance that has the capacity to alter people’s perception of reality. It is this characteristic that makes it so attractive and also, that gives its extremely dangerous risks. Also, other characteristics of recreational drugs include:

1. Alteration of the external world

As we have already said, recreational drugs can alter the perception of everything that is happening around us, of the world, of reality (external world).

2. Alteration of the internal world

Recreational drugs also alter what is happening and what we are thinking inside of us ( internal world). Pleasure, thoughts, perception, and motivation can be affected immensely as a result of the action between the drug and our neurons.

3. Fast reaction

A common characteristic within recreation drugs is the short time it takes for the effects of the drug to kick in after actually ingesting it. This is one of the other reasons why they are so attractive: they basically mean instant pleasure. No matter where or when you are. For example, nicotine takes as little as seconds to get to your brain.

Legal Recreational Drugs

1. Alcohol

Alcohol is the legal drug par excellence. Popularly they are associated with psychoactive components, so their ability to generate brain modifications is widely discussed today. However, the risks of its consumption seem to be somewhat more confusing. In fact, a recent survey carried out in the United States showed that alcohol has a high tolerance and a low perception of risk for society.

Today there is a wide range of drinks containing ethanol. Its consumption affects multiple brain regions, modifying its functioning. With just small amounts, dopamine is activated, which provides motor activation, euphoria, and pleasure. Subsequently, the functioning of serotonin is disturbed, generating social disinhibition and antidepressant effects. Also, acetylcholine is stimulated, producing nootropic, vasodilator and aphrodisiac effects. And then, a brain-inhibiting substance, GABA, is increased. This causes motor incoordination and sedation. Finally, alcohol also acts on glutamate and opioids, causing analgesia, anesthesia and even a coma or death if consumed excessively.

Alcohol has a clear addictive component, causing both physical and psychological dependence. In fact, alcoholism is one of the main health problems worldwide.

Excessive alcohol consumption has negative consequences for the body such as: neuronal damage, heart damage, neuronal hypertension, pancreatitis, liver diseases, malnutrition, insomnia, dementia, depression, esophageal cancer and brain disorders. 

2. Nicotine

The other big legal drug is nicotine, which is mainly consumed through tobacco. The use rate of this substance is extremely high. In fact, a recent national health survey indicates that 30% of the Spanish population in 2016 is a smoker.

Tobacco acts at the brain level by altering the functioning of dopamine. This fact does not cause psychological or mental alterations, but it causes a clear addiction. That is why many studies show that nicotine is one of the most addictive drugs that exist today.

Tobacco abuse causes multiple physical alterations. It has been associated with multiple diseases such as lung, heart, uterus, mouth and nose cancer, lung diseases, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, osteoporosis or heart disease among many others.

3. Opioids

Opioids are exogenous agents that bind to opioid receptors in people's central nervous system. These substances are linked to brain structures related to pain. For this reason, multiple drugs with these characteristics have been designed.

Medications such as Vicodin, oxycontin, Percocet or morphine are some of the most commonly used opioids today. However, its purely medicinal use is in question today. The addictive potential of opioids is very high, which is why their medical use can lead to abuse.

In fact, in the United States, the consumption of opioids increases daily, and the number of people killed by an overdose of these substances is currently a serious health problem.

Thus, opioids are necessary drugs in some cases of extreme pain. However, you should be very cautious with your consumption, since the consequences of these substances can be devastating,if not lethal.

4. Caffeine

Caffeine is an alkaloid of the xanthine group. It is consumed by drinking coffee and acts as a psychoactive, stimulating and mildly dissociative drug. In fact, many people use these drinks as brain stimulants, to increase their activity in the morning or to improve their ability to perform.

The controlled consumption of this substance does not usually produce negative effects on health. However, it is not true to say that caffeine does not cause any damage.

This drug can be addictive, especially in those people who consume it continuously and compulsively. Likewise, consumption in very large quantities can cause symptoms such as insomnia, nervousness, excitement, increased diuresis, and gastrointestinal problems.

On the other hand, caffeine can cause cardiac arrhythmia, psychomotor agitation and damage to health can be especially dangerous in children and young people.

Illegal Recreational Drugs

1. Cannabinoids

They are those substances that have been made from the hemp or cannabis plant. In this article we will see both the effects of the same plant and its derivatives.

Although cannabis is progressively changing its legal status, today its sale is still penalized, especially if it has a recreational purpose, in the majority of the States of the US.

It is one of the most popular, pointing out the statistics that at least 10% of the population of developed countries has had some experience consuming this substance.

Its long-term consumption has been associated with apathetic symptomatology and loss of interest, relating it to a progressive lower performance at social, academic and labor levels. It also affects the cognitive area, especially concentration and memory.

Cannabis smoke has also been associated with respiratory problems, in addition to sexual problems, affecting the menstrual cycle in women and problems in sperm quality in men.

However, of all the effects of frequent cannabis use, whether it is in the form of marijuana or hashish, it is to be behind psychosis and delusional pictures, although it should be noted that not everyone has the same predisposition to suffer from these symptoms related to schizophrenia.

In any case, marijuana is considered a soft drug, since it is considered that it does not cause dependence on a physical or chemical level, but a psychological one, knowing that it causes alterations in the central nervous system.

Marijuana consists of the dried flowers, leaves, seeds and stalks of cannabis, which contains tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, which is the active substance of the drug that causes its known effects. The brain has receptors for THC naturally, so it has effects on a psychological level.

On the other hand, hashish consists of the resin of the marijuana plant, consisting of a brown paste that can be sold illegally in a very adulterated way.

2. Cocaine and Crack

This drug comes from the coca plant, obtained from its leaves. Its mechanism of action on the organism implies the alteration of cerebral dopamine levels, specifically in the mesolimbic pathway of reward, causing a feeling of euphoria, as well as security and strength.

The risks of cocaine use are multiple, including respiratory problems and nosebleeds because it is consumed by inhalation.
It also produces sleep disturbances, restlessness, irritability and episodes of both physical and verbal aggression. It affects the levels of the circulatory system, producing vascular accidents and cerebral infarctions.

Among the psychiatric complications are anxiety crises, delusions, confusion, hallucinations, memory disorders and lack of concentration.

Within the cocaine is crack, a drug which is equally illegal but cheaper, consisting of a mixture of cocaine with sodium bicarbonate, that is, the typical fruit salt to calm heartburn. This drug is extremely dangerous and addictive.


MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine), also called ecstasy, is a substance that fortunately few people have had the opportunity to consume, being sold in the form of tablets, pills or powders. It is estimated that in most countries less than 1% of the population has come to have testimonial contact with this substance.

At first, it causes a state of euphoria, altering the levels of serotonin at the cerebral level; However, after a few hours, it gives way to negative feelings and lack of energy, such as exhaustion, sadness, aggressiveness and anxiety, symptoms that can last for several days.

On an organic level, ecstasy causes changes in heart rate and an increase in body temperature, tremors, seizures and contraction of the jaw. Renal and hepatic insufficiencies are not uncommon in users.

4. Magic mushrooms

Although the long-term risks of mushroom consumption with hallucinogenic properties are not yet known, they are known to cause anxiety and panic attacks, as well as emotional instability.

Yes, it has been seen that the mood before eating these mushrooms influences the symptoms they will generate. In case of being in a bad mood, a "bad trip" can occur, while otherwise, the experience can be quite pleasant.

Mushrooms make people see bright colors, have quite complex hallucinations and even mystical experiences.

Among the most consumed mushrooms are Amanita muscaria and psilocybes, being consumed dehydrated.

What Are The Top Drugs Making People Addicted

1. Heroin

Heroin is an opioid causing the increase of dopamine by up to 200% in laboratory animals. In addition, raising the dose five times more than a high dose leads to death. In the same way, it has been classified as a dangerous drug for society; well, only in 2009, profits of 68 billion dollars were obtained in the world.

2. Cocaine

In laboratory experiments, cocaine caused an increase in dopamine three times greater than normal. Among the most commonly used types of cocaine are crack cocaine and cocaine powder; which are in third and fifth place, respectively, among the most harmful drugs.

About 21% of those who try it will become dependent on it. It is also considered that, in the world, between 14 and 20 million people consume it nowadays.

3. Nicotine

Tobacco contains nicotine as the main ingredient. This asset is rapidly absorbed by the lungs and sent to the brain. It is rated as the third most addictive substance.

WHO announces the existence of around one billion smokers in the world; It is also estimated that there will be more than 8 million deaths annually by 2030.

In laboratory experiments, the rats pressed a button to receive nicotine directly into the bloodstream. This drug raises dopamine between 25% and 40%.

4. Barbiturates

These drugs are also known as blue bullets, gorillas, nembies, barbs, and pink ladies. Initially, they were used to treat anxiety and induce sleep.

These substances interfere with the chemical signals of the brain responsible for closing several regions of this organ. In low doses, it causes euphoria; however, if consumed in large quantities, it might affect breathing.

Although these days are no longer available without a prescription, it is still a high-consumption and highly addictive drug.

5. Alcohol

WHO data indicate that every year, there are 3.3 million deaths worldwide due to alcohol. In addition, it can be the path to more than 200 diseases and disorders.

Alcohol is a legal and commercialized drug; for that reason, access to it is much easier, but it is one of the most legal and commercialized drugs in the world; however, it is still dangerous.

Alcohol has many effects on the brain. With it, dopamine levels increase between 40% and 360%.

WHO has also described the harmful consumption of alcohol as responsible for social and economic losses.

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We couldn’t be more explicit and complete about drugs than we were in this article. That is why, after having read all of the negative effects and health risks drugs can produce, we are sure that you’ll not try or continue using drugs. Take care of your health, be aware of the risks you take by consuming drugs, and make the best decision for yourself! It is great that you are informed.