Why Cocaine Turns People Into Dickheads, a Simple Explanation.


We asked a scientist about the physical process that turns nice, normal people into bellends after they’ve done a bit of gear.

Cocaine’s a funny drug, isn’t it? I can’t think of any other substance – bar maybe alcohol – with the power to turn a relatively nice, normal human being into an absolute fucking nightmare. “Yeah, yeah, haha – have a bitta that,” your friend Grant is screaming, trying to ram the neck of a Polish brandy bottle physically inside your throat. “Haha,” he’s going, completely out of character, four lines deep now. “Probably going to kill him dead, that! Haha. Good fucking banter. Shall we do another bump? Let’s do another bump!! Have I told you about my idea for a board game??”

Of course, not everyone turns into a big sentient clenched jaw after half a gram – lots of us can do cocaine without becoming self-obsessed or arrogant or devoid of all self-awareness. But some of us can’t, which is where the “cocaine dickhead” archetype comes from. The girl who won’t stop banging on about her screenplay; the guy who wouldn’t be able to gauge the vibe of the room (extremely anti-him) if it was written in spray-paint on the wall.

So why, exactly, does this happen? And how come it only affects some people and not others?

“Cocaine tends to make people go into themselves, so they can either become introverted or be very sociable but a bit dominant or self-involved,” says Katy Mcleod, director of Chill Welfare, a social enterprise that runs welfare tents at festivals across the country. “One big issue with coke is how it makes you feel in yourself and how you come across to others when under the influence. The two don’t always match up. You might think you’re being really witty and outgoing, when other people just think you’re a twat.”

To get to the root of the twat chemistry, I spoke to David Belin from the Department of Pharmacology at Cambridge University. “Drugs target three psychological mechanisms in your brain,” he said. With cocaine, you’re effectively buzzing off the chemical dopamine flooding your brain every time you take a bump. “Dopamine is not pleasure itself, but a mechanism in the brain that allows for learning,” David explained.

Imagine how a new guitarist might get a kick out of nailing “Smells Like Teen Spirt” for the first time, but then immediately crave that feeling again so move straight on to “Heart-Shaped Box”. There’s a buzz there. You’re focused. The world’s a bit more thrilling. Cocaine replicates that feeling far more vividly. “It targets your brain so that dopamine is released all the time that you take it, and it feels great,” says David. “You start building a very strong motivation for the drugs.”

From here to the second psychological dust storm cocaine kicks up between your ears. “Cocaine influences your pre-frontal cortex [the part of your brain that regulates behaviours and, essentially, your ability to make sound judgements]. It actually messes up your executive functions, your inhibitory control and your decision making. So now you’ve got this very strong motivation [from the dopamine] and, because of the effects of the drug, you end up with an inability to inhibit your impulses and make good decisions.”

Remember the time you repeatedly offered the girl at that party a fiver for a line and she said yes, but only after making you promise you’d leave her alone forever? That. A study at Maastricht University in the Netherlands found that a single dose of coke – so a bump, or a tiny, little line – can impair your ability to recognise negative emotions in other people, which is why you’re under the impression everyone is eternally interested in what you have to say, when, really, they are not.

“Third: drugs facilitate habits, so at this point your impulses are full of motivation for the drug, and they reach your habit system and you just do it without thinking about it, necessarily,” said David, referring to how moreish cocaine can be. “Also, with cocaine, there’s no real physical withdrawal, but there’s a strong psychological withdrawal. You feel anxious, you feel bad, so that adds to the motivation to continue taking the drug.”

So that would explain why people might tease out the dregs of a bag towards the end of the night, or put the call in to Albanian Rocky at the same time you’d usually be waking up?

“Absolutely,” says David, adding that all these urges are going to be further enhanced or inhibited by the likely addition of alcohol to the mix. The combination effectively creates a new potent drug – cocaethylene – when the two meet in the liver, which drastically increases your chance of a heart attack, even up to 12 hours after you’ve been mixing. Woohoo!

“It will lower your general inhibitory tone so you give in to impulses you wouldn’t normally,” says David. Oh, and also, that thing where you’re a few drinks ahead of everyone else and start muttering about getting some gear to “sober yourself up”? It’s a myth. The cocaine is just providing more dopamine to battle between the other neurotransmitters competing for dominance in your brain. It might momentarily sharpen your focus, but in effect you’re only more stimulated.

The final thing I’m interested to hear about is why so many people tend to get turned on when they’re on coke, even if, in the case of some guys, there might structural problems to contend with.

“It may have have to do with general arousal,” he said. “Unlike heroin, which focuses on pleasure by itself, cocaine makes the world shinier. So something that is beautiful – a partner or a potential partner – will become more beautiful, and you will want them more. Perhaps you don’t have a choice.”

The issue of choice, or lack thereof, has been something that David’s alluded to throughout. If you’ve never taken drugs, you might be reading this and thinking, ‘If it’s such a problem, just don’t do any coke.” Which is fair. But is there a point where a so-called recreational user should maybe give their intake some proper consideration?

“Say you did it once at a party with friends and enjoyed it,” says David. “Then, two months later, it’s there again, but instead of being every two months it might gradually become every Saturday, and you think, ‘I’m fine, because it’s only Saturdays.’ Do you really want it, or do you end up in this mood with friends and take it without really wanting it? If it’s the latter, it suggests you are losing control. It’s a reflex. It’s the moment, the mindset. And the triggers – meeting with certain friends, drinking alcohol – for the drug mean you are always finding justifications. I suggest you meet up with these friends on a Saturday and agree that none of you will take cocaine. If you can’t make it through the evening, you may be be on the wrong side of the story.”

It’s No Myth, Cocaine Was Once An Important Ingredient In Coca Cola.


It’s No Myth, Cocaine Was Once an Important Ingredient in Coca Cola.

https://m.curiosity.com/paths/its-no-myth-cocaine-was-once-an-important-ingredient-in-coca-cola-american-heroes-channel/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_term=food&utm_content=link&utm_campaign=20160901fbk00CRSTcocaine#

What cocaine does to your body and brain


Whether it’s snorted, smoked, or injected, cocaine enters the bloodstream and starts affecting the brain in a matter of seconds.

But the high is short-lived, and in most cases lasts anywhere from five to 30 minutes. Regular, heavy use can have extremely negative consequences, from nose bleeds to permanent lung damage and even death.

coke line snort

Watch the slideshow. URL:http://www.businessinsider.in/What-cocaine-does-to-your-body-and-brain/Cocaine-starts-affecting-the-brain-in-seconds-and-the-high-can-last-anywhere-from-5-to-30-minutes-/slideshow/52134214.cms

Why so few people are snorting white powder for fun


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 “COCAINE”, said Robin Williams, a comedian who was rueful about addiction, “is God’s way of saying that you’re making too much money.” No longer. The total amount of pure cocaine consumed by Americans fell by half between 2006 and 2010, and there is nothing to suggest the trend has changed since. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) says the supply of coke is stable. Cocaine-related deaths fell by 34% between 2006 and 2013.Credit for this decline must go to policing and changing fashion. In the 1970s and early 1980s, cocaine users were either well-off or had disposable income to waste. By the mid-1980s most cocaine was being smoked as crack by poorer Americans. Sentencing laws changed and incarceration rates, especially for young black men, began to soar. One 1986 study showed that in Manhattan 78% of those who agreed to be tested after an arrest for a serious crime tested positive for cocaine. In 1985 there were nearly 6m cocaine-users, according to the University of Michigan’s national household survey on drug use.

Beau Kilmer, who has pondered the “cocaine nosedive” for RAND, a think-tank, thinks some of the decline is due to supply-side changes. Cocaine’s slump began shortly after thousands of acres of coca were eradicated in Colombia. Large quantities of cocaine were seized there and in the rest of Central America from 2006 onwards. Around the same time, local criminal organisations became interested in illegal gold mining and were weakened, both by internal fighting and by government crackdowns. Mr Kilmer adds that increased demand outside the United States may also have played a role. Cocaine costs more in Europe than in America.

Yet part of the explanation lies in changing fashion. The University of Michigan’s survey reports that young people are less inclined to try cocaine than was once the case. Cigarette companies used to observe that nobody liked to smoke the same brand as their parents. The same may be true of drugs. Would-be cocaine-users have turned to other substances. Methamphetamine is one, but a striking variety of synthetic drugs are now available. “I went to see a dealer the other day in Manhattan and the guy had an astounding array of things,” says Ric Curtis, an anthropologist at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Although cocaine is still very much on the DEA’s radar, says Russel Baer of the agency, it is not the threat it once was. Heroin, methamphetamine, opioid and synthetic consumption, meanwhile, are all going up.

http://c14.zedo.com/utils/zplayer/wrapper/v3.2/app/scripts/jschannel.min.jshttp://c14.zedo.com/utils/zplayer/wrapper/v3.2/app/scripts/videoAPI.min.js

Drugs Found in Puget Sound Salmon from Tainted Wastewater


Puget Sound salmon are on drugs — Prozac, Advil, Benadryl, Lipitor, even cocaine.

Those drugs and dozens of others are showing up in the tissues of juvenile chinook, researchers have found, thanks to tainted wastewater discharge.

The estuary waters near the outfalls of sewage-treatment plants, and effluent sampled at the plants, were cocktails of 81 drugs and personal-care products, with levels detected among the highest in the nation.

The medicine chest of common drugs also included Flonase, Aleve and Tylenol. Paxil, Valium and Zoloft. Tagamet, OxyContin and Darvon. Nicotine and caffeine. Fungicides, antiseptics and anticoagulants. And Cipro and other antibiotics galore.

Why are the levels so high? It could be because people here use more of the drugs detected, or it could be related to wastewater-treatment plants’ processes, said Jim Meador, an environmental toxicologist at NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle and lead author on a paper published this week in the journal Environmental Pollution.

“The concentrations in effluent were higher than we expected,” Meador said. “We analyzed samples for 150 compounds and we had 61 percent of them detected in effluent. So we know these are going into the estuaries.”

The samples were gathered over two days in September 2014 from Sinclair Inlet off Bremerton and near the mouth of Blair Waterway in Tacoma’s Commencement Bay.

The chemicals turned up in both the water and the tissues of migratory juvenile chinook salmon and resident staghorn sculpin. If anything, the study probably underreports the amount of drugs in the water closer to outfall pipes, or in deeper water, researchers found.

Even fish tested in the intended control waters in the Nisqually estuary, which receives no direct municipal treatment-plant discharge, tested positive for an alphabet soup of chemicals in supposedly pristine waters.

“That was supposed to be our clean reference area,” Meador said. He also was surprised that levels in many cases were higher than in many of the 50 largest wastewater-treatment plants around the nation. Those plants were sampled in another study by the EPA.

The findings are of concern because most of the chemicals detected are not monitored or regulated in wastewater, and there is little or no established science on the environmental toxicity for the vast majority of the compounds detected.

Meador said he doubted there would be effects from the chemicals on human health, because people don’t eat sculpin or juvenile chinook, and levels are probably too low in the water to be active in humans. But one of the reasons the wastewater pollutants studied as a class are called “chemicals of emerging concern” is because so little is known about them.

Terrifying new research reveals cocaine makes the brain eat itself


High doses of the drug could cause cells in the brain to digest themselves, according to scientists

COCAINE could cause the brain to eat itself according to terrifying new research.

A study on mice discovered that the class A drug can trigger out of control “autophagy”, a scary process which makes cells literally start to digest themselves.

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Research on mice showed several deaths brought on by the terrifying condition Getty

Properly regulated, the process is a vital “clean up” service ridding the body of unwanted rubbish dissolved by enzymes in cell “pockets”.

But the horrifying research has shown the process killed the mice when they were given high doses of coke.

Brain
The condition was also present in the mice whose mothers had been on the drug Getty

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Dr Prasun Guha, from John Hopkins University in the USA, who led the study said: “A cell is like a household that is constantly generating trash.

“Autophagy is the housekeeper that takes out the trash – it’s usually a good thing.

“But cocaine makes the housekeeper throw away really important things, like mitochondria, which produce energy for the cell.”

cok
An antidote known as CGP3466B has been found but is still awaiting trials getty

The scientists also found evidence of autophagy in the brain cells of mice whose mothers had been given the drug while pregnant.

An experimental drug, called CGP3466B, was found to be able to protect the mouse nerve cells from a coke induced death due to the terrifying process.

The drug is already known to be fit for humans as it has been through clinical trials to treat Parkinson’s and motor neurone disease.

But far more research is needed to find out if the drug can counteract the harmful effects of cocaine abuse in people, according to the scientists.

Co-author of the report, Dr Maged Harraz, added: “Since cocaine works exclusively to modulate autophagy versus other cell death programs, there’s a better chance that we can develop new targeted therapeutics to suppress its toxicity.”

Sugar: Eight times more addictive than cocaine – learn how to break the habit now


“The $1 trillion industrial food system is the biggest drug dealer around, responsible for contributing to tens of millions of deaths every year and siphoning trillions of dollars from our global economy through the loss of human and natural capital,” asserted Dr. Mark Hyman in the article “Sweet poison: How sugar, not cocaine, is one of the most addictive and dangerous substances.”

Hyman has plenty of experience in the field, with 20 years as a practicing physician. He’s also chairman of the Institute for Functional Medicine, as well as founder and director of the Ultra Wellness Center in Massachusetts.

Hyman isn’t simply on a campaign against sugar; he’s on a mission to rein in our current health crisis of obesity, autoimmune disease, high blood pressure, inflammation, hormonal imbalance, depression, anxiety and sleep disorders. A monumental task, since he considers the sweet stuff to be as powerfully addictive as alcohol, cocaine or even heroin.

A health disaster

Secreted within a majority of processed and packaged food, sugar is a hidden health destroyer. Americans alone consume a staggering 152 pounds each year. According to Hyman, it’s eight times more addictive than cocaine. As a nation, we are sugar addicts — true junkies in the clutches of an industrial food system.

And it doesn’t matter the type — white, brown or high-fructose corn syrup — it all contributes to cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Research indicates that when an overabundance of sugar is consumed, the liver converts it to fat, which can lead to plaque in the arteries and tumor growth. As it turns out, certain tumors have insulin receptors that feed on glucose.

Since the 1970s, food manufacturers began stripping products of fat because it was believed to be unhealthy. But the food turned tasteless, so sugar was the go-to replacement. Now, the substance is in everything from Starbucks coffee drinks to salad dressings and bread.

Hyman believes that we “need a big solution that reaches deep into what is offered in our supermarkets, restaurants, schools and workplaces[.] We need a solution that addresses the policy roots in agriculture, food marketing, dietary recommendations and the way doctors are trained to diagnose and treat patients.”

But the first step is to take responsibility for our own health. And one way to do that is to detox from sugar.

How to break the habit

Getting off sugar isn’t just about avoiding desserts and sweets, although that’s an excellent start. We need to dig deep, read labels and give up processed foods as a whole. Dr. Hyman has developed a 10-day detox diet that is a solution for blood sugar disorders. During an episode of The Dr. Oz Show, Hyman recommends eliminating the following foods from the diet:

Wheat and grains, as both are inflammatory and trigger hunger and craving.

Stop drinking “liquid death,” otherwise known as sugary drinks and soda, which drive up insulin and create belly fat. Dr. Hyman personally knows of one patient who dropped 75 pounds simply by removing soda from their diet.

Ditch convenience foods, since they are designed to be addictive with high flavor and sugar.

Finally, avoid dairy — it’s another pro-inflammatory edible that promotes weight gain.

If you are curious about what you can eat to detox from sugar, improve health and shed excess weight, have a look at this handy shopping guide developed by Dr. Hyman.

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/049734_sugar_addiction_food_additives.html#ixzz3aTTvA0SI

More Evidence Cocaine Use Increases Stroke Risk.


A systematic review conducted by investigators at the National Center of Epidemiology, Carlos III Health Institute, in Madrid, Spain, showed that overall, after adjusting for potential confounders, 5 adjusted odds ratios (aORs) among selected studies showed an increased risk ranging from 2.0 to 19.7 for stroke or atherosclerosis among cocaine users, the authors, led by Luis Sordo, MD, report.

“This is the first systematic review to evaluate and synthesize the scientific evidence from epidemiological studies on the association between cocaine use and risk of stroke,” they write.

The study was published in the September issue of Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

Biologically Plausible

The authors note that the biological plausibility of cocaine as a cause of stroke is supported by preclinical evidence, and they point out that cocaine increases blood pressure, heart rate, and vasoconstriction, which, in turn reduce cerebral blood and oxygen and increase vascular resistance in the central nervous system.

“These effects may persist for hours due to the activity of different cocaine metabolites and, separately or in combination, might lead to ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke,” the investigators note.

“In addition, cocaine promotes thrombotic strokes causing hypercoagulable states and can produce arrhythmias that could lead to cardioembolic strokes,” they state.

The authors also note that although cocaine is generally considered to be a cause of stroke, no systematic review of the scientific evidence has ever been published.

The authors conducted a systematic review of all published epidemiologic evidence on the link between cocaine use and stroke. Of 996 articles that were reviewed, 9 were selected. These 9 consisted of 7 case-control studies and 2 cross-sectional studies.

Eight of the studies were from the United States, and 1 was from Australia. All of the studies were conducted in young adults, with ages ranging from 15 to 49 years.

The sample size of the case-control studies ranged from 291 to 1368 patients, and the 2 cross-sectional studies encompassed 822,332 patients.

Overall, after adjusting for potential confounders, 5 aORs among the 9 selected studies showed an increased risk for strokes or atherosclerosis among cocaine users. The odds ratios ranged from 2.0 to 19.7.

More specifically, an association between cocaine use and hemorrhagic stroke was found in 1 case-control study, with an aOR of 6.1 (95% confidence interval [CI], 3.3 – 11.8) and in 1 cross- sectional study (aOR = 2.33; 95% CI, 1.74 – 3.11).

The same cross-sectional study also found a positive link between cocaine use and ischemic stroke (aOR = 2.03; 95% CI, 1.48 – 2.79).

Another case-control study found cocaine use to be associated with stroke, but it did not distinguish between ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke. In that study, the aOR was 13.9 (95% CI, 2.8 – 69.4).

In the Australian case-control study, which was a forensic study comparing the presence of cerebrovascular atherosclerosis between deaths due to cocaine toxicity, opioid toxicity, and hanging, deaths associated with cocaine-positive toxicology showed a 14.3-fold increased risk (95% CI, 5.6 – 37) for atherosclerosis compared with opioid-related deaths, and a 4.6-fold increased risk (95% CI, 2.5 – 8.5) for atherosclerosis compared with deaths from hanging.

One case-control study found a statistically significant association between cocaine use and hemorrhagic stroke, but it did not provide an aOR.

Three case-control studies and 1 cross-sectional study failed to find any relationship between cocaine use and strokes.

Inadequate control for confounding was “not uncommon,” the authors state.

Need for More Research

“Controlling possible confounders is a methodological challenge in studying the association between cocaine use and strokes, given their potentially large number and difficulty of measurement,” the authors note.

They add that the review might be limited by publication bias, insofar as studies with negative results are less likely to be published.

The authors conclude that more research into the causal relationship between cocaine and stroke is warranted.

They also note that “confirmation and identification of the specific characteristics of this stroke risk factor will require a large, well-designed cohort study in the young-to-middle age population.”

Cocaine Increases Stroke Risk.


Cocaine greatly increases ischemic stroke risk in young adults within 24 hours of use, a new study has found. Results showed that stroke risk associated with acute cocaine use was much higher than that seen with other established risk factors, including diabetes, high blood pressure, and smoking.

The study was presented here at the American Stroke Association (ASA) International Stroke Conference (ISC) 2014 by Yu-Ching Cheng, PhD, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore.

“Cocaine is not only addictive, it can also lead to disability or death from stroke,” Dr. Cheng said at a press conference here. “With few exceptions, we believe every young stroke patient should be screened for drug abuse at the time of hospital admission.”

Moderator of the ASA press conference on the study, Larry Goldstein, MD, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, said, “The take-home message for young people is ‘Don’t do cocaine.’ You could end up not being able to talk or use one side of your body from doing this.”

Noting that between a quarter and a third of the young people in this study said they had used cocaine at some time, Dr. Goldstein said: “That is scary.” He added that crack cocaine is more dangerous than snorting cocaine because it is injected so it reaches higher concentrations in the blood.

Acute Use

For the study, Dr. Cheng and her colleagues compared 1101 patients aged 15 to 49 years in the Baltimore–Washington, DC, area who had strokes in 1991–2008 with 1154 controls of similar ages in the general population.

Results showed that having a history of cocaine use was not associated with ischemic stroke, but acute use of cocaine in the last 24 hours was strongly associated with increased risk for stroke; use of cocaine was linked to a 7-fold increase in stroke risk within the next 24 hours, after adjusting for age, sex, and ethnicity. The effect remained after adjusting for smoking.

Table. Risk Factors Associated With Stroke in Young Adults

Factor Stroke Patients (%) Controls (%) P Value
History of diabetes 16.9 4.6 <.001
History of hypertension 41.7 18.1 <.001
Current smokers 45.1 29.4 <.001
Cocaine use ever 28.1 25.7 .95
Cocaine use in past month 3.7 2.7 .67
Cocaine use in past 24 h 2.4 0.4 .001

 

The strength of the association between acute cocaine use stroke was similar in whites (age-adjusted odds ratio [OR], 6.1) and African Americans (age-adjusted OR, 6.7). But the risk for stroke after using cocaine appeared to be higher in women (OR, 12.8) than in men (OR, 2.5) after adjustment for the effect of age, ethnicity, and current smoking status, although this was not statistically significant.

Dr. Goldstein noted that cocaine causes arrhythmias and myocardial infarction, which can lead to stroke. It also has a direct vasoconstrictor effect on the cerebral vasculature, and these effects are potentiated by alcohol.

Saccharin And Sugar Found More Addictive Than Cocaine.


Sugar and artificial sweeteners are so accessible, affordable and socially sanctioned, that few consider their habitual consumption to be a problem on the scale of say, addiction to cocaine.  But if recent research is correct their addictive potential could be even worse.

Sugar and Saccharin More Addictive Than Intravenous Cocaine?

Almost 40 years ago, William Duffy published a book called Sugar Blues which argued that refined sugar is an addictive drug and profoundly damaging to health.  While over 1.6 million copies have been printed since its release in 1975, a common criticism of the book has been that it lacked sufficient scientific support.

Today, William Duffy’s work is finding increasing support in the first-hand, peer-reviewed and published scientific literature itself. Not only is sugar drug-like in effect, but it may be more addictive than cocaine.  Worse, many sugar-free synthetic sweeteners carry with them addictive properties and toxicities that are equal to, or may outweigh those of sugar.

Back in 2007, a revealing study titled, “Intense sweetness surpasses cocaine reward,”  found that when rats were given the option of choosing between water sweetened with saccharin and intravenous cocaine, the large majority of animals (94%) preferred the sweet taste of saccharin.[i] This preference for sweetness was not attributable to its unnatural ability to induce sweetness without calories, because the same preference was found with sucrose; nor was the preference for saccharin overcome by increasing doses of cocaine.

Research: Sugar and Saccharine Found As Addictive As Cocaine

A common argument against the relevance of animal studies like this to human behavior is that rats differ too profoundly from humans. However, even insects like forager bees have been found to respond in a similar way to humans when given cocaine, experiencing an overestimation of the value of the floral resources they collected, with cessation of chronic cocaine treatment causing a withdrawal-like response.[ii]

Researchers believe that intense sweetness activates ancient neuroendocrine pathways within the human body, making obsessive consumption and/or craving inevitable. The authors of the cocaine/saccharin study summarized this connection as follows:

Our findings clearly demonstrate that intense sweetness can surpass cocaine reward, even in drug-sensitized and -addicted individuals. We speculate that the addictive potential of intense sweetness results from an inborn hypersensitivity to sweet tastants. In most mammals, including rats and humans, sweet receptors evolved in ancestral environments poor in sugars and are thus not adapted to high concentrations of sweet tastants. The supranormal stimulation of these receptors by sugar-rich diets, such as those now widely available in modern societies, would generate a supranormal reward signal in the brain, with the potential to override self-control mechanisms and thus to lead to addiction.

In a previous article, “Is Fructose As Addictive As Alcohol?”, we looked at the addictive properties of isolated fructose in greater depth, including over 70 adverse health effects associated with fructose consumption. It appears that not only does fructose activate a dopamine- and opioid-mediated hedonic pathway within the body, but like excessive alcohol consumption, exacts a significant toll on health in exchange for the pleasure it generates.

The drug-like properties of common beverages and foods, have been the subject of a good deal of research over the past few decades. Wheat and related grains, for instance, are a major foodsource of opioid peptides. These pharmacologically active compounds, also found in milk,coffee and even lettuce, may even explain why ancient hunters and gatherers took the agrarian leap over 10,000 years ago.  Likely, the transition from the Paleolithic to Neolithic was motivated by a combination of environmental pressures and the inherently addictive properties made accessible and abundant due to the agrarian/animal husbandry mode of civilization. For more on this, read our essay “The Dark Side of Wheat.”

As far as synthetic sweeteners, an accumulating body of toxicological research indicates they have a wide range of unintended, adverse health effects beyond the aforementioned problem of addiction.