By: Kennedy Shelley
The nicotine is what keeps you coming back, it’s the tar that kills you. That was one person’s take on cigarettes.
Nicotine is a highly addictive drug that seems to be the thing that keeps people smoking.
It is a powerful stimulant, but unlike caffeine will actually make you feel calm.
But when you smoke to get it, you fill your body with thousands of other chemicals that hurt nearly every system in you.
Nicotine is highly addictive. About as addictive as heroin. That’s one of the reasons why we have age restrictions on this drug.
While many confuse smoking with nicotine, they are actually different. Smoking is a way of getting nicotine into the body. It’s so quick to make it happen that smokers really like the quick rush.
But smoking is the most dangerous way of delivering nicotine to the body. Inhaling burning vegetable matter of any type is going to lead to getting carbon monoxide, as well as tars getting into the lungs.
So, we need to separate smoking from nicotine. There are a number of ways to get nicotine into the body, from patches, to gum, to chewing tobacco and more recently vaping nicotine juices.
These are considered “harm reduction strategies.” In other words, we know the dangers of smoking, how do we get people the nicotine in the least harmful way?
According to Dr. Paul Newhouse, the director of Cognitive Medicine at Vanderbilt University, “nicotine is safe when used as directed by your physician. In fact, it is so safe that patches are sold over the counter.”
The question is, why would anyone want nicotine. Well, there are some surprising health uses of this highly addictive drug.
When people quit smoking, they often complain they can’t concentrate. And that makes sense because nicotine helps with focus and memory.
And that’s why it is being studied as a potential treatment for Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) as well as Alzheimer’s Disease.
Because it boosts the brain in normal people, it is hoped it might treat brains that are starting to slip.
The MIND study at Vanderbilt says,
“Nicotine stimulates systems in the brain that are important for thinking and memory. The nicotine patch is currently being used as an evidence-based therapy for smoking cessation, but researchers believe it could be used to treat other conditions, like memory loss, mental illness, and Parkinson’s disease.
MIND Study researchers are specifically studying the potential benefits of nicotine to test whether it can improve or alleviate symptoms of memory loss in people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and possibly delay or prevent its progression to Alzheimer’s disease.”
It also seems to help alleviate and treat some forms of mental illness.
Doctors note that over 90% of those who suffer from schizophrenia smoke. Nearly 10 times the rate of the average population. The question is are these people instinctively self-medicating?
Yes, according to research reported in Nature magazine.
Nicotine seems to help a troubled brain function better.
Baseball players traditionally chewed tobacco back in the day. Many thought they were just trying to keep their mouth moist while on the hot field during the summer, but new research shows that nicotine does boost athletic performance.
An article in Sports Medicine did show that when you look at all the studies, there is very little doubt that some nicotine packs an athletic boost.
The danger is how do you get it into your system? Tobacco use has known dangers, and pure nicotine can be highly toxic when ingested in high doses (yes you can die of a nicotine overdose). And the drug is highly addictive.
But it can’t be said that there is not some use for nicotine. The question is how to minimize the risks and making sure the reward is worth it.