Nicotine and the brain

The facts and effects of nicotine on the brain and how it works


Nicotine and the brain sums up the whole purpose of smoking. Smokers smoke in order to stimulate the brain. It's a costly quest for pleasure which lasts a few seconds before another recharge is required all through the day.

Follow the link to read more on nicotine side effects

As you smoke a cigarette or administer any nicotine source, nicotine is absorbed into the bloodstream and heads for your brain. It then crosses the blood-brain barrier and attaches itself to specific receptors in the brain. These will stimulate a feeling of pleasure mixed with relaxation, sharpness, calmness and alertness. All this is achieved in under 10 seconds of puffing a cigarette.

Nicotine in the brain effectively causes addiction in the smoker in this way. It becomes difficult for the brain to function without the stimulant nicotine. When the nicotine is not supplied on a regular basis the brain protests by triggering withdrawal symptoms punishing the offender. Even when trying to quit, many end up relapsing after this severe backlash. For this reason the US Food and Drug Administration has classified nicotine addiction as a disease.

The solution in curbing nicotine addiction lays in understanding nicotine and the brain. Specific stop smoking products such as Chantix are designed to discourage this excitement in the brain in order to help smokers quit smoking.

Understanding how nicotine works in the brain has made it possible for scientists to consider the development of a nicotine vaccine. NicVax is one leading vaccine which is nearing availability on the market. The vaccine attaches itself to the nicotine molecule making it impossible to cross the blood-brain barrier.

The result is that no nicotine reaches the receptors and no stimulation occurs. The hope is that the vaccine will protect the brain from nicotine so much that even new smokers will fail to become addicted.


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