The Effects of Recreational Drugs on the CNS

The Effects of Recreational Drugs on the CNS


  • Cocaine works on the reward pathway and dopamine receptors, meaning it stimulates the reward pathway and feelings of euphoria. 
  • It works by blocking the binding site of the reuptake receptors and therefore stops the reuptake of dopamine back into the presynaptic neuron. The blocking of reuptake means excess dopamine in the synapse, which leads to over-stimulation of the post-synaptic membrane.
  • Over time, the receptors become damaged and fewer due to the increased stimulation, leading to desensitisation and addiction.
  • If cocaine consumption ceases, dopamine levels return to normal, causing depression and cravings.

Nicotine - This works in the reward pathway and pleasure centre.

1. Nicotine enters the bloodstream and travels to the midbrain.

2. Nicotine…


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