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Can Coffee Cure Cocaine Addiction?

Author: Justin Mckibben

Cocaine addiction is a very real, very serious illness. It is a drug that was made more famous once upon a time through the disco days and films about drug kingpins with scars on their face (can’t quite remember the name), and its dangers only multiplied with its increased popularity as a party drug years later.

Using cocaine creates potentially fatal health risks in anyone, especially those struggling with a serious chemical dependency. But recently a study was published in the Journal of Caffeine Research that is stating a pretty far-fetched claim, which is that coffee could help reduce the symptoms of cocaine addiction, and could be particularly helpful for women suffering from cocaine addiction.

Details of Cocaine Addiction

There are different ways you can use cocaine, all of them have the potential to become addictive habits. You can smoke it, snort it (through the nose), or shoot it (intravenous use). And for each different method of getting high off of cocaine there are somewhat different signs of cocaine addiction.

For the most part the signs of cocaine addiction will be the same though, including:

  • Rapid heartbeat
  • High blood pressure
  • Persistent runny nose (cocaine drip)
  • Weight loss
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Vomiting
  • Irritability and restlessness
  • Teeth grinding
  • Cold sweats
  • Tremors and muscle jerks
  • Nasal and sinus problems
  • Bronchitis and chest pain
  • Feeling that bugs are crawling under the skin

In more serious cases cocaine addiction can lead to what is called cocaine psychosis, which is commonly compared to being similar to paranoid schizophrenia. It can also lead to other issues such as:

  • Seizures
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Coma
  • Death

New Research on Coffee

Researchers for this newest project noted that caffeine can serve as a neuroprotective block against some of the changes most commonly associated with drug use that occur in the brain.

Cocaine triggers the release of what can be simplified as the “happy hormone” in the brain known as dopamine, but caffeine stimulates adenosine receptors in the brain that regulate dopamine levels.

Specifics for Women

They also learned that while cocaine use shifts the menstrual cycle and creates high levels of oestrogen in women, which is believed to actually spark susceptibility to cocaine abuse and addiction, caffeine also acts as a block on these changes.

Research findings showed after taking vaginal smears from rats before and after they were given cocaine and caffeine, they were able to determine that while cocaine induced random changes in the animals’ menstrual cycle, these changes did not take place if the rats were given caffeine 30 minutes after cocaine use. So even after using cocaine, the coffee was able to deflect some of the symptoms.

As the acting lead author of this groundbreaking study Patricia A. Broderick, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Caffeine Research described these new results as,

“cutting-edge work that has never been shown before. It is critical knowledge relevant to women’s reproductive health.”

Showing avid support for the continued research into finding ways that coffee can be used to alleviate the symptoms commonly created by cocaine addiction. This kind of conclusion suggests that in the future coffee could be used not only to combat the side effects of active using, but also to block out the release of dopamine for potential users.

Opposing Opinions

Despite the excitement some are feeling at this discovery, some opposing opinions, including scientists have already argued that coffee is actually too similar to cocaine in that regular use can produce a strong dependency. For some time people have debated the similarities between coffee and other stimulant-type substances.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reported last year that emergency room visits attributed to energy drinks more than doubled:

  • from 10,068 in 2007
  • up to 20,783 in 2011

Caffeine use being considered dangerous became even more relevant in October 2013 when UK native John Jackson actually died from a caffeine overdose! John Jackson had reportedly eating over 300 Hero Instant Energy Mints, which contains about 3 times the amount of caffeine considered to be safe.

Some beverages throughout history have gone the extra mile, and cut out the middle-man caffeine and go straight for the cocaine. Coca leaf tea has been consumed in many South American countries for thousands of years, but also includes a small amount of cocaine that is enough to act as a stimulant similar to caffeine.

Others persist that despite the nature of the beverage as harmless coffee can present a problem for addicts. Some coffee pioneers have taken it a step further and started brewing fermented coffee drinks. So while opinions may differ, this study has some thinking maybe coffee isn’t so bad after all. How soon until we have a lifesaving espresso?

While any innovations in the treatment of drug and alcohol abuse are always welcome, until there is more evidence to these claims the best methods of addressing serious and potentially fatal addiction is a well-rounded and personalized treatment program. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135

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