Alternatives To Cocaine Use – The Stuff Your Doctor Doesn’t Want You To Know To Help Yourself!

Author(s): 
FS

Hello kiddies – I know I promised an article that would further elaborate on endorphins, however there has been increased awareness, attention, (and need!) for knowledge around cocaine - and what people can do to get off it – or at least to gain some kinda management over chronic, uncontrollable usage.

I thought that this too would be a good way to introduce a concept that is vital to our understanding about addiction. This is called ‘the brain-reward systems’. In fact, all the scientific/medical publications are now moving away from the term ‘addiction’ to ‘brain-reward deficiency syndrome’(!). Perhaps this needs some explaining.

What scientists do know so far about drug use is that certain areas of the brain function to create feelings of reward, satiation, satisfaction and happiness. This happens in an area called the ‘limbic region’. In my last article for iCHIP, ENDORPHINS AND YOU, I mentioned how the lack of endorphins creates a feeling of dissatisfaction leading even to suicide (even in humans who have never experienced drugs). From this came the awareness that people can be classified as ‘endorphin deficient’.

So ... science marches on – and the consensus is that there are actually at least TWO ‘brain-reward systems’ that scientists have been able to identify. They interact with one another; but, in crude terms, one system definitely uses endorphins, and the other uses dopamine.

Endorphins (which are VERY powerful ‘neuro-regulators’) act more on the ‘depressant’ side. That is, they do more to block or mediate signals being sent to the brain (like pain) as well as to stimulate certain receptors that create that feeling of satisfaction we all know and love so well.

The other ‘site’ is more stimulating in action, and functions through a neuro-transmitter called dopamine. (Strange, huh ... dope ... dopamine. Well, to me it’s weird … simple minds!)

Dopamine has ENORMOUS effects on the brain as a whole. And is most definitely linked to the use of /addiction to stimulants. In fact, its chemical structure is closely related to certain amphetamines. Go figure. Our OWN body creating drugs! Hey isn’t that illegal? Actually, to illustrate the absurdity of drug laws – DMT or dimethyltrytamine, is one of the most powerful hallucinogens known – I mean it! This is one heavy trip! Your whole reality becomes one huge hallucination with one puff. Heavy stuff. However, America in all its legislative wisdom made DMT illegal, possession, use or sale. But the joke’s on them. Your spinal cord creates enough DMT naturally to get you busted. (As well as four other very similar chemicals). That means just walking around, being a human being, makes you a criminal. Kinda 1984’ish don’t you think?

Check out ‘The Vaults of Erowid’ on the Web [http://www.erowid.org/]for a good review of natural and other psychoactive agents.

VENFLAFAXINE: Also better known as Effexor. Seems to have some serious side effects, at least in children. Wyeth (the pharmaceutical company that markets it) sent a general letter to doctors warning about ‘suicidal ideation’ among youth. In that same study, NO effects were seen in relieving depression among children. Wyeth makes approximately 2.1 BILLION dollars ANNUALLY from this lovely little money maker. Two percent of the youth also displayed hostility. It’s interesting to note that the ‘control group’ receiving a placebo (sugar pill) had NONE of these side effects. (see: http://www.yourlawyer.com/resource/advanced_search.htm)

However, an experiment done showed a drastic reduction in cravings in ‘patients’ who used cocaine and also had ‘co-morbid major depressive disorder (MDD)’. The reduction in cocaine use was about 75%. The conclusion states that this anti-depressant ‘may be a safe, well-tolerated, rapidly acting and effective treatment for patients with a dual diagnosis of depression and cocaine depression. (Am. J. Drug Alcohol Abuse. 2000 Feb;26(1):25-31)

So, that’s why I’m putting this in here – one study says ‘yippee! Another says ‘beware! So remember kiddies to always be careful and not take your doctors decision as if it’s part of the Ten Commandments! But if it works with no or very minor side-effects for ya then that’s great. We all know the depression that comes with using coke and losing control. Not fun.

DIAPID: Now this is one thing I CAN speak to both from the research done and through personal use. This stuff is great! It’s actually a natural neurotransmitter known as Vasopressin. It comes as a spray, commonly prescribed for ‘diabetes mellitus’. Diapid is actually just one of the brand names.

Vasopressin is an extremely important neuro-protein. I mean I stay up at night wondering why it’s not given away freely at every street-corner. It’s responsible for concentration, memory, attention and ‘higher cognitive functioning’. (Makes ya smarter, dummy!). However, when you do it, even if you’ve never done cocaine before, it’s like a REALLY clear coke high, from your nose on up. With NO side effects. If you ARE going through coke withdrawal (depression, jonesing, etc.), you take a ‘puff’ and whammo! You are absolutely normal. In 10 SECONDS. Truly. Amazing stuff!

I’ve known students in California who used it to cram for tests, and of course for fun. Coke ain’t my drug of choice, but believe me, I know the shit it puts you in when you run out. So, even though I don’t really do coke, I would happily do this one anytime! It’s prescribed by doctors so it’s not as if it’s not available. Plus it’s a NATURAL chemical, restoring the balance of your own brain chemistry. I recommend a book by two enterprising young Stanford University bio-chemists that created quite a storm years ago. This book went into a heck of a lot of detail on this and other ways of having fun with your brain – in natural ways that REALLY did a number in how to make yourself feel, err, umm, different. The research and presentation is well-done with fascinating chapters on just ‘what makes us tick’. (And ways to cheat the ‘Grim Reaper!’ Highly recommended! - ‘Practical Life Extension’ by Dirk Pearson and Sandy Shaw. A true classic. (He says, tongue in cheek.) Check it out. You’ll like it. (The book AND the spray). If you can get a sympathetic doctor (oxymoron, I know!) try it and post your experiences to us – Please!

ANTABUSE: Now this is an interesting one. There’s two things going on here: (1) There is a very common occurrence in methadone clinics (they say approximately 40% of the ‘patients’, but I KNOW it’s much higher than that!). People who don’t ordinarily use or even like coke – end up using crack/coke for no other reason other than, oh, methadone fucks up your ability to feel much of anything. (Even pleasure, it’s a ‘symptom’ called anhedonia) Which of course, eventually frustrates the person and they start looking for something else. (2) Scientists know that coke acts on a ‘brain reward system’ that uses dopamine (another very important neurotransmitter), so they did all kinds of experiments, giving coke users dopamine, dopamine agonists (or stuff that helps dopamine bind in the brain), and anti-depressants that increased dopamine levels ... and guess what? Nothing worked.

But, for some weird reason that researchers still don’t understand ... Antabuse did. They performed an experiment in an urban methadone setting, with 67 patients showing a high use of coke. Afterwards with the Antabuse, there was a ‘significant reduction of use’. It seemed to take away not only the ‘jonesing’ but also changed the HIGH or the experience when people would use. It took the ‘high’ away. Interesting eh?

Too bad Antabuse is all-of-a-sudden no longer available in Can-of-duh. Oh well. Co-inkidink? I think NOT! See ‘Addiction.’ (Name of journal in which the experiment was published), 2000 Feb; 95 (2):219-28. Also, another one: ‘Addiction.’ 2000 Sept; 95 (9) : 1335-49. This also looked at the same but analysed a larger corps of patients, some with alcohol problems, and the use of cognitive-behavioral treatment (CBT), etc., with 96 of 122 patients. (Some received CBT without Antabuse which had little effect). This also looked at a longer study time – one year over-all – and shorter periods in between. Basically it was an analysis of the initial experiment, done ‘bigger’. Didn’t do shit for the alcohol use for the alcohol/cocaine patients, but worked well for cocaine reduction.

You can also see the short form, or the ‘abstract’ in Pubmed.com. – just type in Antabuse and cocaine in the ‘search box’, and you’ll see a bunch of experiments. Look for the periodical that says ‘Addiction 2000, (for both of them) etc. in the ‘search box’ and you’ll get it!

N- ACETYL-CYSTEINE: - Rats in a cage. Now this is interesting. I’m gonna call it NAC for short. NAC is readily available at any health food store ! That means YOU can get this!

NAC has the ability to ‘up’ the levels of another important brain chemical – glutamate – in the brain. Glutamate plays a very heavy role in cocaine addiction/use, and does all kinds of other important stuff. Like help in cystic fibrosis, heart disease, HIV, bronchitis etc. (Definitely seems like it can’t hurt!) I’ve been doing more research on this, the results were so good (presented in a convention in Puerto Rico, but the experiment was done in South Carolina…..it’s attracted quite a bit of attention!) that they’re moving on to human trials.

Hopefully very soon.

That being said – an experiment was done where rats were ‘conditioned’– or ‘made addicted’ to cocaine with a ‘cueing’ (or ‘jonesing) effect. They gave them NAC and amazing results were found to occur. First of all the nature of the ‘experiment’ was to create ‘triggers’ for these poor rats. (Kinda like us, eh?) They had very small needles sticking into their brains and when they pushed a lever – Bingo! They got their fix. Sound familiar? (I swear, sometimes I feel we’re ALL rats in a cage!) Then they gave these poor rats saline (salt water), and the rats kept pushing the lever for about two - three weeks before they stopped. Then they gave them NAC. And then they put the cocaine/lever back.

Well, they found that not only did NAC cause a drastic reduction in the amount and use of cocaine, but that it also helped the rats in resisting the triggering cues to get cocaine, or push the lever.

I know, I know – you’re saying ‘but oh great researcher! What’s a rat have to do with me? Lots actually. One main reason they use rats (besides the cost and convenience) is that the rat brain is actually very similar in structure and function to the human brain. Which I guess doesn’t say a lot about humans, or really puts down rats, or both. I don’t know. So – if it works on rats (where MOST studies start from) – then there is a good likelihood that it may just have the same effect on us/you/me. And of course, your poor pet rat that you’ve been doing bad things too when you’re all alone. (Don’t worry, I won’t tell.)

To be fair though, I have also read very confusing stuff that says glutamate DOESN’T have anything to do with cocaine. Then again, I’ve read tons more that says it does. And it makes sense to me. Put in what’s missing. So go figure. Once again, please, please, post your experience!! BBC News – Mon., Dec 9, 2002 – ‘Drug could help cocaine addicts’ –Report on actual study and interview from the convention. Nature Neuroscience 2003 Jul;6(7):743-9 – Supporting info on glutamate/importance in brain and cocaine depletion of.

CONCLUSION: There’s a lot more available - ibogaine, ibogaini analogs, tyrosine (which actually is supposed to increase the ‘meta-molecule for Beta-endo and others, but plays a role in cocaine use), sexual differences, buprenorphine versus methadone, (study which says upping your dose to approximately 70 milligrams in one study is supposed to do it, but I feel that way is total bullshit), drug vaccines (!), desimprimine (not good, actually), serotonin – sheesh, there’s a lot. Soon I will get to it. But I’d really like to focus on the next article dealing with genetics, the ‘addiction molecule’ released, and more on endorphins. So – hope to get there soon.

Till then and after, friends, please remember to play it safe, and share whatever info you got!

Hope this has helped.

Peace to all.

FS. is a man, who has been privileged to walk as a human, on this beautiful Earth, beneath the Moon and the Heavens, and who has a enduring love / penchant for the transcendent.