Cocaine has been used in Europe since the mid 19th century when Italian doctor Paolo Mantegazza recommended that patients could use the effects of cocaine to treat a furred tongue in the morning, flatulence and for whitening the teeth. Coca leaves were also used in the original recipe for Coca-Cola for the first 20 years.
Today, cocaine is a class A drug, which means it is illegal to use it, possess it or supply it. However, the euphoric effects of cocaine mean that it is one of the most widely used recreational drugs in the UK. To explain the change in attitude to the effects of cocaine over the last two centuries it is important to look at the mental and physical effects of cocaine in the short and long term, the dangers of the drug and to ask if taking cocaine is worth the risks.
This article on the effects of cocaine is written by Kathryn Senior, a freelance journalist who writes health, medical, biological, and pharmaceutical articles for national and international journals, newsletters and web sites.
The immediate effects of cocaine
The effects of cocaine are almost immediate and will last for between fifteen and thirty minutes, depending on how the drug is taken. The main effect of cocaine is a feeling of stimulation, with emotional symptoms including:
- Heightened confidence
- Sexual arousal
- A more social / talkative mood
This feeling of invincibility can lead to cocaine users taking dangerous risks or getting involved in situations that they would normally avoid, such as crime or unprotected sex.
The physical effects of cocaine include:
- Increased heart rate
- Increased blood pressure
- Dilated pupils
- Increased body temperature
The immediate effects of cocaine wear off completely very quickly, creating a drop in mood and energy levels. This often triggers people to want more of the drug to recreate the ‘good feeling’ they have just experienced.