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Matthew Roig

on 10 November 2014

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Transcript of DRUGS

In the Biological world there are thousands of different types of drugs, but to start off at the basics, there are two types -
Legal, and Illegal...
Illegal drugs
Illegal drugs are categorised in to 3 classes - A, B and C (with A being the worst, and C being the "least bad"). These drugs are used by most people for their effects, and there is a constant ongoing debate on the laws that surround these drugs, particularly marijuana. I will Leave this section to Pranav, who is doing a presentation on cannabis soon.
Legal drugs
Legal drugs, for the most part, are used by people not for their "high" effects, but in order to cure disease/illness. There are a few exceptions to this, e.g - tobacco and alcohol. Often people are scared or unwilling to take prescribed drugs, as there are a fair few conspiracy theories surrounding them. Some people are also strong believers in "natural healing" whereby they believe the body will cure itself in due time, rather than needing to fill their body with substances to which the contents are unknown to the patient.
Depressants are substances which slow down the normal function of the central nervous system, This is usually done by enhancing the effect of a type of neurotransmitter called GABA. This is an inhibitory neurotransmitter which means that its job is to calm down operations within the CNS
Depressants include -

barbiturates (sedative-hypnotics, commonly prescribed for anxiety and insomnia)

benzodiazepines (other than Flunitrazepam) are commonly prescribed as tranquilizers. These drugs are among the most widely prescribed medications in the US. Commercial names include Valium and Xanax.

Almost all hallucinogens contain nitrogen and are classified as alkaloids (a class of nitrogenous organic compounds of plant origin which have pronounced physiological actions on humans).

Many hallucinogens have chemical structures similar to those of natural neurotransmitters (e.g., acetylcholine-, serotonin-, or catecholamine-like). While the exact mechanisms by which hallucinogens exert their effects remain unclear, research suggests that these drugs work, at least partially, by temporarily interfering with neurotransmitter action or by binding to their receptor sites

examples include LSD, shrooms, and PCP, originally used as an anesthetic in the 1950's, but discontinued due to adverse side effects)
Types of drugs
By Matthew Roig

Drugs can be put in to 4 main types, which all have separate "sub-groups" -
When part of your body is injured, special nerve endings send pain messages back to your brain. Painkilling drugs interfere with these messages, either at the site of the injury, in the spinal cord or in the brain itself. Many painkillers are based on one of two naturally occurring drugs: aspirin and opiates. Aspirin uses a chemical found in willow bark, used by the Ancient Greeks to relieve pain. Opiates all work in a similar way to opium, which is extracted from poppies.

Painkillers (or "analgesics") as biologists will call them, are, unsurprisingly, used to temporarily block pain, they are often prescribed and are easily available, with paracetamol and ibuprofen being sold at all pharmacists and supermarkets. There is a debate over whether these painkillers actually have any chemical effect on the body, or if they are simply delivering a 'placebo effect'. (Derren Brown did an interesting social experiment on placebo drugs).

Stimulants are drugs that excite or speed up the central nervous system (CNS). They are generally used for their ability to increase alertness and endurance, to keep people awake for a long period.

coffee is a legal stimulant
cocaine is illegal

stimulants can be used by athletes, but some are illegal for sports and are then referred to as performance enhancing drugs.
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