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Article Summary

Meth Treatment and Lobeline

Meth is a very powerful addictive stimulant which dramatically affects the brain and the rest of the central nervous system. Meth which is made with relatively low-quality, low-cost materials, is some kind of bitter-tasting, odorless, white crystalline powder which dissolves in alcohol or water easily. Either ephedrine or pseudoephedrine is used as the active ingredient. Not surprisingly both of these active ingredients are found in over-the-counter cold medicines. Most Meth "cookers" use all the day to day products including lithium batteries, drain cleaner, and engine-starter fluid to make or "cook" a powder which can be snorted, smoked, injected, or added to any beverage.

Anyone can be addicted to Meth within a week as it has a high potential for abuse and it leads to psychological or physical dependence. Because it can be quickly turned into an addictive drug it is rarely used for medical purposes. Usual psychological effects of the Meth include: alertness or wakefulness, euphoria, feelings of renewed energy and increased strength, feelings of invulnerability, intensified sexual desire and feelings of increased competence and confidence.

Lobeline has Potential for Meth Treatment

Lobeline which is a drug that has a long history of use in quitting smoking programs is considered as a potential treatment for Meth abuse. Researchers from the University of Kentucky conducted studies on rats and found that Lobeline decreased self-administration of Meth. Researchers concluded that Lobeline acted by decreasing the perception of Meth-induced pleasure.

Lobeline Tests

The researchers performed a series of tests with male rats which were trained to self-administer Meth by touching a lever. In a small grouping of rats that routinely self-administered Meth, the researchers replaced Meth with Lobeline to find out whether Lobeline would work as a substitute for Meth. When Meth was replaced with Lobeline, the number of cases the rats touched the lever reduced daily over the course of the test, suggesting that Lobeline did not work as substitute for Meth.

In a separate experiment, the researchers examined whether Lobeline might lead rats to resume drug seeking activities after a time period of abstinence or if it changes Meth-induced condition of drug seeking activities.

The Results

The researchers discovered that Lobeline did not reinstate drug seeking activities nor did it change Meth induced condition. These findings suggest that Lobeline tends to change the mechanisms mediating Meth reward, however not the mechanisms mediating the condition of drug seeking activities. In a different experiment, the influences of Lobeline on Dopamine levels in the brains of a large of group rats were studied. It was learnt that Lobeline had no influence on Dopamine levels. Dopamine is the brain chemical which controls the feelings of thrill or pleasure. This finding suggests that Lobeline does not cause the same feelings of reinforcement as Meth and that Lobeline did not work as an alternative reinforcer. This result would suggest that Lobeline, unlike some other pharmacological substances used to treat addiction, does pose a risk for abuse on its own.

The Addictive Nature of Meth

Any drug that can be effective to solve meth addiction is really important as the negative effects of Meth are greater than the "benefits" for short term as well as over time. Meth is an extremely addictive drug which causes physical harm throughout the body. Apart from physical damage some people try meth to get temporary relief from long-term health conditions like depression and AIDS related fatigue. They ignore their prescribed treatments and get addicted to meth within in weeks.

After the initial effects of the drug fades out individuals usually experience agitation which can lead to extremely violent behavior. As the drug leaves body systems, users may experience frustration, irritability, aggressiveness, anxiety, fatigue, depression, paranoia which may sometimes get extreme, leading to thoughts of suicide homicide, delusions or hallucinations for instance feelings of insects crawling under the skin and strong cravings for the drug.

Damaging effects of Meth include emotional, physical, and mental destruction. This includes insomnia, memory problems, decreased appetite, blood pressure, increased heart rate, high body temperature, convulsions or Tremors, difficulties in breathing, kidney, lung and liver damage, permanent damage to blood vessels in the brain that can lead to strokes, augmented risk of having or transmitting hepatitis B and C, HIV or AIDS, and many other severe diseases for those who share needles to inject meth.

Many studies are still going on to find out the treatment for Meth addiction but until now Lobeline has shown some positive results.

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