What Are Stimulants?
Stimulants are substances that enhance levels of physiological activities in the brain resulting in alteration in alertness, mood and perception of stimuli. Stimulants have been in use since the dawn of mankind and various archeological evidences point out to the widespread popularity of these substances for recreational activities in various cultures. Stimulant use is often ritualized and as such performs some specific social function, such as gratification or reward, or atonement to the mental status frequency of one’s associated social group, confirming social and personal bonds and reinforcing the ‘happening’ status. Stimulants have been used to experience the travel that involves labyrinthous lanes of mind and to get the feel of mental ecstasy.
A majority of stimulants have their chemical structure similar to that of key brain neurotransmitter, thus enabling them to mimic the potent actions that these neurotransmitters mediate.
What are the Effects of Stimulants?
Depending upon the quantity and quality of stimulants taken in use, their short term effects can include one or more of the under mentioned:
Elation of mood to an extent that the person experiences brisk and bizarre flight of ideas. The cocktail of various thoughts pounds its effect and the personality switches rapidly with little rationality. Helter-skelter wandering of thoughts severely compromise a person’s ability to judge the stances.
Sense of unbridled innate energy leading to little behavioral limitations. A person feels like he is the ‘superpower’ and can turn the wind the way he desires. Abhorrent behavioral manifestations predominate during such cathartic spells.
Heightened confidence, often to the dizzying extent. The exalted confidence level often mars the intrinsic capacity to perform the actions with responsibility resulting in mayhem.
Masking of sleep and appetite. On a strong trip, a person can remain awake for begrudging levels with little remnants of eatables in the intestine. The body is forced into producing enough ATPs (energy packets produced from food by the body) that super charge itself to overblown levels.
Altered perception of sights, sounds and other sensory stimuli leading to altered judgments which are mostly wrong. The ecstatic perspicacity of the mind often leads the person into a experiencing the sensations that are oblivion to the ordinary.
With high doses, loss of insight is usually witnessed where the individual fails to differentiate right and wrong. Under such mental state when the visceral acumen is battered, a person often commits antisocial activities.
Dilatation of pupils, dryness of mouth, increased respiration, increased blood pressure, urinary retention, tremors of the fingers and limbs, constipation
LONG TERM EFFECTS OF STIMULANTS
(1) Difficulty in sleep initiation and maintenance. Fragmented sleep is the most common physical symptom which forces a long term stimulant addict to visit a doctor.
(2) Loss of appetite leading to malnutrition. Role of stimulants in causing suppression of appetite has been proved by various scientific studies and a lot of such agents have been used in appetite suppressing drugs aimed at causing loss of body weight.
(3) Irregular heart beats. Cardiac arrhythmia is one of the most dangerous side effects of prolonged indulgence in stimulants. It can range from largely innocuous atrial tachycardia to life threatening ventricular fibrillation.
(4) Impotence and loss of libido. An intact sexual system demands the maintenance of rhythm between body’s sympathetic and parasympathetic activities. To further elucidate, parasympathetic activity is required for penile and clitoral erection and sympathetic activity is responsible for ejaculation. The libido, perception of sexual pleasure and ability to achieve an orgasm can get severely compromised by the long term use of various stimulants. The irony is that many stimulants which are used for boosting up of libido and enhanced sexual performance are most often responsible for deterioration of sexual health in the long term.
(5) Generalized anxiety state and depression. A long term user frequently gets depleted of the natural equilibrium of essential neurotransmitters and brain hormones; thereby getting trapped in chronic anxiety state and/or depressive illness. This defected mental state further fuels the vicious cycle and the user succumbs to inadvertent usage of stimulants to get a short term relief, thereby getting more harmed.
(6) Psychosis. Due to the neurotoxic propensity of stimulants, a lot of long-term or heavy users experience psychotic episodes experiencing hallucination, delusions, and/or paranoia. Most common form of hallucination includes auditory (a person hears voices which do not exist in reality) and tactile (a person experiences sensations which are non-existent e.g. feeling of insects creeping under the skin, feeling of being touched by someone) variants.
(7) Delusions. These are known as idiosyncratic beliefs that are firmly maintained despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality. One of the following forms can be present in a long term user of stimulants.
- Delusion of control: The affected person feels that another person, group of people, or external force controls one’s general thoughts, feelings, impulses, or behavior.
- Nihilistic delusion: The affected person feels that he/she does not exist in the physical world.
- Delusion of infidelity: The affected person falsely is under the assumption that his/her spouse or lover is immoral by having a secret affair.
- Delusion of mind being read: The affected person feels that his thoughts can be accessed by other people.
- Religious delusion: Any false belief with a very strong and incorrigible religious or spiritual content.
- Somatic delusion: A delusion whose content pertains to bodily functioning, bodily sensations, or physical appearance. The involved person may feel that his intestines are rotting or that he is infestated by parasites all over etc.
(8) Antisocial and asocial activities. Often the user tends to cocoon himself in a space from where he can be insulated to the world and makes no detectable contributions tot he society. Sometimes, in the rage of altered mental state, an affected person can turn suicidal or homicidal and inflict serious harms to others. A lot of instances of stealing, robberies, carjacking and other serious crimes have been known to be committed by long term users of stimulants.
PROCESSING OF STIMULANTS BY THE BODY:
The brain contains millions of nerve cells that are joined together by gap junctions. Stimulants exert their actions on these junctions and acutely affect production of neurotransmitters; the substances required for optimum brain activity. After delivering a message, the neurotransmitter breaks down in smaller compounds called as MAO (monoamine oxidizer), which return to the original nerve cell that sent the message. Stimulants break this cycle and cause an extended triggering of the brain receptors, leading to an over flooding of the sensations. This causes the body to experience prolonged periods of unnatural excitement which is detrimental in the long run. Many of the stimulants also destroy the brain cells thus permanently hampering the cognitive functions of the body as nerve cells can not regenerate.
HOW ARE THE STIMULANT CROPS GROWN?
- Cannabis seeds need only water, heat and air to germinate. Seeds, without light, properly watered, will germinate in 2 to 10 days, in temperatures from 70 – 90 degrees F.
- In loose fertile soil, plant seeds from ¼ to ½- inch deep. Some people set up small 3 x 3 square foot sites, planting three rows with a seed every few inches. Growers with 4 or 5 small patches are virtually guaranteed a harvest.
- One of the vital things to look for is an adequate water supply. The rainfall you need is from ¼ to 1 inch per week. If growing indoors, one must ensure this level of hydration. If growing in poor soil, sow each plant in a hole that is 3 feet deep and 3 feet in diameter and refill with your best compost mixture. If grown perfectly, the marijuana is known to cultivate abundantly.
- The best all around sprouting method is probably to make a sprouting box, which should be a mixture of humus, soil, and fine sand with a bit of organic fertilizer and water mixed in about one week before planting. When ready to transplant, you must be sure and leave a ball of soil around the roots of each plant.
- If you are growing or transplanting indoors, you should use a green safe light (purchased at nurseries) during the transplanting operation. If you are transplanting outdoors, you should time it about one to two hours before sunset to avoid damage to the plant. Always wear cotton gloves when handling the young plants.
- Poppies can grow pretty much anywhere, even indoors. However, they do prefer to get a lot of sun in their lives, so outdoors is always best.
- There are two main outdoor planting times for poppies — early spring and late fall.
- The optimum germination temperature is around 60f (15c), although poppy seeds will still germinate if the temperature is tolerably higher or lower. The soil must be kept moist all the times.
- Once your poppies begin to sprout, use a spray bottle and give the seedlings a good few sprays to moisten the plant and wet the soil. Night-time watering should not be done in view of high possibility of fungus growth. Ideally, you should try to give each plant as much space as possible.
- Roots should have at least a foot, preferably more, of soil depth. Plants should also be spaced a minimum of a foot apart for best results, and to prevent their root systems from intertwining.
MESCALINE BEARING CACTI: (E.G. PEYOTE)
- Sow the seeds an inch apart on the surface of sterilized, moist, sifted cactus mix. Cover the tray or pot with an airtight plastic bag.
- Place in bright but indirect light for 12 hours a day at less than 30 degrees centigrade. Don’t let the temperature get too high, and check to make sure the soil surface is moist. A fungicide may be needed if the soil is overwatered.
- Cactus seeds will generally germinate in 1-3 weeks. When the seedlings are about 2 cm tall (60-90 days for fast-growing species) transplant them to individual pots. Handle them very cautiously and use moist soil with pH 4.5-6.5 in the new pot.
- A good soil mix is 1/3 normal flower soil, 1/3 peat and 1/3 coarse sand or gravel. The easiest way of propagation is taking cuttings. Place the cutting in vertical position to dry for 2 weeks to a month depending on the size of the cutting. The compost where they are placed after this should be very slightly moist.
PROCESSING AND EXTRACTION OF STIMULANTS
For extraction from the plants and various other sources, there are complex chemical processes. The steps should be followed accurately to ensure the best quality and optimum quantity. For the legal stimulants e.g. coffee, nicotine etc. the extraction is done by big machines in licensed factories; however for the illegal stimulants the extraction and processing has to be managed differently. Nearly all the stimulants have different modes of extraction and processing, and adequate information can be resourced from various websites. The process of production of cocaine is mentioned as an example;
Production of cocaine is a three-step process; from raw coca leaves to coca paste, from coca paste to cocaine base, and then finally from cocaine base to finished cocaine in its pure, usable form.
A study showed that production of one kilo of cocaine base required the use of three liters of concentrated sulfuric acid, 10 kilos of lime, 60 to 80 liters of kerosene, 200 grams of potassium permanganate, and one liter of concentrated ammonia. The amount of chemicals involved in the manufacturing of one kg of cocaine is huge; and a lot of waste scum is produced that pollutes the environment. It is believed that more than two metric tons of chemical waste is generated for each hectare of coca processed to produce cocaine.