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NIDA

The Rise and Fall of the Cocaine High

Transcript

In this study, researchers demonstrated the rapid passage of cocaine through the brain, and showed that the intensity of the volunteers' cocaine “high” parallels the trajectory of cocaine levels in the brain.

Two minutes after the cocaine injection, the volunteers report being “high” as the drug begins to flood the brain.

The volunteers’ rating of their “high” and the amount of drug in the brain are at similar levels relative to what their respective peak levels will be.

Four minutes after the cocaine injection, the volunteers’ rating of their “high” peaks simultaneously with the amount of drug in the brain.

The drug is most concentrated in the striatum, the region of the brain that produces feelings of reward.

The volunteers’ perceived “high,” the amount of drug in the brain, and the drug concentration in the striatum remain near peak levels 10 minutes after the cocaine injection.

At 20 minutes post-injection, the volunteers’ “high” and the overall amount of cocaine in the brain have subsided to roughly half of their peak levels.

The drug remains most concentrated in the striatum.

The volunteers’ “high” has almost entirely subsided 30 minutes after the injection.

A moderate amount of the drug remains in the striatum, with little remaining in other parts of the brain.

Forty minutes after the cocaine injection, the volunteers no longer feel “high,” and the drug is undetectable in most parts of the brain.

Altogether, the study demonstrates that the cocaine “high” parallels the trajectory of cocaine levels in the brain.

The striatum, as the reward center, and dopamine, its primary neurotransmitter, appear to be particularly instrumental in producing the “high.”

This page was last updated October 2014

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    El alza y la baja de la euforia causada por la cocaína