Depressants

In medicine, a drug or other agent that slows the activity of vital organs of the body. Depressants acting on the central nervous system include general anesthetics, opiates, alcohol, and hypnotics. Tranquilizing drugs (ataractics) act primarily on the lower levels of the brain, relieving tension without reducing mental sharpness.

Chloral Hydrate

Classification Depressants
CSA Schedule IV
Trade or Other Names Noctec; Somnos; Felsules
Medical Uses Hypnotic
Physical Dependence Moderate
Tolerance Yes
Duration 5-8(hours)
Usual Method Oral
Possible Effects Slurred speech; Disorientation; Drunken behavior without odor of alcohol
Overdose Shallow respiration; Clammy skin; Dilated pupils; Weak and rapid pulse; Coma; Possible death
Withdrawal Anxiety; Insomnia; Tremors; Delirium; Convulsions; Possible death

 

Barbiturates

Classification Depressants
CSA Schedule II, III, IV
Trade or Other Names Amytal; Florinal; Nembutal; Seconal; Tuinal; Phenobarbital; Pentobarbital
Medical Uses Anesthetic; Anti-convulsant; Sedative; Hypnotic; Veterinary euthanasia agent
Physical Dependence Moderate
Tolerance Yes
Duration 5-8(hours)
Usual Method Oral; Injected
Possible Effects Slurred speech; Disorientation; Drunken behavior without odor of alcohol
Overdose Shallow respiration; Clammy skin; Dilated pupils; Weak and rapid pulse; Coma; Possible death
Withdrawal Anxiety; Insomnia; Tremors; Delirium; Convulsions; Possible death

Benzodiazepines

Classification Depressants
CSA Schedule IV
Trade or Other Names Ativan; Dalmane; Diazepam; Librium; Xanax; Serax; Valium; Tranxene; Verstran; Versed; Halcion; Paxpam; Restoril
Medical Uses Anti-anxiety; Sedative; Anti-convulsant; Hypnotic
Physical Dependence Low
Physical Dependence Low
Tolerance Yes
Duration 4-8(hours)
Usual Method Oral; Injected
Possible Effects Slurred speech; Disorientation; Drunken behavior without odor of alcohol
Overdose Shallow respiration; Clammy skin; Dilated pupils; Weak and rapid pulse; Coma; Possible death
Withdrawal Anxiety; Insomnia; Tremors; Delirium; Convulsions; Possible death

Glutethimide

Classification Depressants
CSA Schedule II
Trade or Other Names Doriden
Medical Uses Sedative; Hypnotic
Physical Dependence High
Tolerance Yes
Duration 4-8(hours)
Usual Method Oral
Possible Effects Slurred speech; Disorientation; Drunken behavior without odor of alcohol
Overdose Shallow respiration; Clammy skin; Dilated pupils; Weak and rapid pulse; Coma; Possible death
Withdrawal Anxiety; Insomnia; Tremors; Delirium; Convulsions; Possible death

Narcotics

The narcotic analgesics act primarily on the CNS. The perception of and emotional response to pain is modified when the narcotic analgesics bind with stereospecific receptors in the CNS. Five major groups of opioid receptors are known: mu, kappa, sigma, delta and epsilon. Narcotic analgesic activity occurs at the mu, kappa and sigma receptors. Opioid agonists such as morphine and others exert their activity mainly at the mu receptor. Mixed agonist-antagonists such as butorphanol, nalbuphine and pentazocine act primarily at the kappa receptors (thought to mediate analgesic effects) and sigma receptors (may produce subjective and psychotomimetic effects).

As well as analgesia, opioid agonist activity in the CNS causes suppression of the cough reflex, change in mood such as euphoria or dysphoria, mental clouding and EEG changes. Nausea and vomiting, probably caused by stimulation of the chemoreceptor trigger zone, can also occur. Peripheral vasodilation, reduced peripheral resistance and the inhibition of baroreceptors can result in orthostatic hypotension and fainting. The inhibition of peristalsis can lead to constipation while increased bladder sphincter tone may cause urinary retention.

Large doses may elicit excitation or seizures. Morphine and its congeners cause miosis. In therapeutic doses they increase accommodation and sensitivity to light reflex and decrease intraocular pressure in both normal patients and those with glaucoma.


Stimulants

Any drug that excites any bodily function, but more specifically those that stimulate the brain and central nervous system. Stimulants induce alertness, elevated mood, wakefulness, increased speech and motor activity and decrease appetite. Their therapeutic use is limited, but their mood-elevating effects make some of them potent drugs of abuse.
The major stimulant drugs are amphetamines and related compounds, methylxanthines (methylated purines), cocaine, and nicotine.

Amphetamines achieve their effect by increasing the amount and activity of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine (noradrenaline) within the brain. They facilitate the release of norepinephrine by nerve cells and interfere with the cells' reuptake and breakdown of the chemical, thereby increasing its availability within the brain. The most commonly used amphetamines are methamphetamine (Methedrine), amphetamine sulfate (Benzedrine), and dextroamphetamine sulfate (Dexedrine). Amphetamines were first used in the 1930s to treat narcolepsy and subsequently became prescribed for obesity and fatigue.

Their heavy or prolonged use causes irritability, restlessness, hyperactivity, anxiety, excessive speech, and rapid mood swings. Still higher doses or chronic use can cause agitation, tremor, confusion, and, in the most serious cases, a state resembling paranoid schizophrenia. Moreover, letdown effects of deep depression and physical exhaustion may occur after only a single dose of moderate strength wears off. With repeated use, tolerance develops, so that a user needs to take larger doses, but the accompanying dependence is not strong enough to be termed a physical addiction. Amphetamines are widely abused, in some cases by workers or students seeking enhanced physical energy and mental acuity to fulfill demanding tasks.

Certain drugs related to the amphetamines have the same mode of action but are somewhat milder stimulants. Among them are phenmetrazine (Preludin) and methylphenidate (Ritalin). The latter drug is widely used to “slow down” hyperactive children and improve their ability to concentrate.

The methylxanthines are even milder stimulants. Unlike the amphetamines and methylphenidate, which are synthetically manufactured, these compounds occur naturally in various plants and have been used by humans for many centuries. The most important of them are caffeine, theophylline, and theobromine. The strongest is caffeine, which is the active ingredient of coffee, tea, cola beverages, and maté. Theobromine is the active ingredient in cocoa. Caffeine constricts blood vessels of the brain; for this reason it is often a component of headache remedies. Theophylline is used in the treatment of severe asthma because of its capacity for relaxing the bronchioles in the lungs.

Cocaine is one of the strongest and shortest-acting stimulants and has a high potential for abuse owing to its euphoric and habit-forming effects. Nicotine, the active ingredient in cigarettes and other tobacco products, may also be regarded as a stimulant.


Hallucinogins

Hallucinogenic drugs are substances that distort the perception of objective reality. The most well-known hallucinogens include phencyclidine, otherwise known as PCP, angel dust, or loveboat; lysergic acid diethylamide, commonly known as LSD or acid; mescaline and peyote; and psilocybin, or "magic" mushrooms. Under the influence of hallucinogens, the senses of direction, distance, and time become disoriented.

These drugs can produce unpredictable, erratic, and violent behavior in users that sometimes leads to serious injuries and death. The effect of hallucinogens can last for 12 hours.

LSD produces tolerance, so that users who take the drug repeatedly must take higher and higher doses in order to achieve the same state of intoxication. This is extremely dangerous, given the unpredictability of the drug, and can result in increased risk of convulsions, coma, heart and lung failure, and even death.

Mescaline & Peyote | Amphetamine Variants | Phencyclidine & Analogs

LSD

Classification Hallucinogen
CSA Schedule I
Trade or Other Names Acid; Microdot
Medical Uses None
Physical Dependence None
Psychological Dependence Moderate
Tolerance Yes
Duration 8-12(hours)
Usual Method Oral
Possible Effects Illusions and hallucinations; Altered perception of time and distance
Overdose Fatigue; Paranoia; Possible psychosis
Withdrawal Longer; more intense "trip" episodes; Psychosis; Possible death
Withdrawal Unknown

Mescaline & Peyote

Classification Hallucinogen
CSA Schedule I
Trade or Other Names Mescal; Buttons; Cactus
Medical Uses None
Physical Dependence None
Psychological Dependence Moderate
Tolerance Yes
Duration 8-12(hours)
Usual Method Oral
Possible Effects Illusions and hallucinations; Altered perception of time and distance
Overdose Fatigue; Paranoia; Possible psychosis
Withdrawal Longer; more intense "trip" episodes; Psychosis; Possible death
Withdrawal Unknown

Amphetamine Variants

Classification Hallucinogen
CSA Schedule I
Trade or Other Names 2,5-DMA; STP; MDA; MDMA; Ecstacy; DOM; DOB
Medical Uses None
Physical Dependence None
Psychological Dependence Moderate
Tolerance Yes
Duration Variable(hours)
Usual Method Oral; Injected
Possible Effects Illusions and hallucinations; Altered perception of time and distance
Overdose Fatigue; Paranoia; Possible psychosis
Withdrawal Longer; more intense "trip" episodes; Psychosis; Possible death
Withdrawal Unknown

Phencyclidine & Analogs

Classification Hallucinogen
CSA Schedule I, II
Trade or Other Names PCE; PCPy; TCP; PCP; Hog; Loveboat;Angel Dust
Medical Uses None
Physical Dependence None
Psychological Dependence High
Tolerance Yes
Duration Days(hours)
Usual Method Oral; Smoked
Possible Effects Illusions and hallucinations; Altered perception of time and distance
Overdose Fatigue; Paranoia; Possible psychosis
Withdrawal Longer; more intense "trip" episodes; Psychosis; Possible death
Withdrawal Unknown

Anabolic Steriods

Anabolic Steroid abuse has become a national concern. These drugs are used illicitly by weight lifters, body builders, long distant runners, cyclists, and others who claim that the drugs give them a competitive advantage and/or improve their physical appearance. Once viewed as a problem associated only with professional athletes, recent reports estimate that 5 to 12 percent of male high school students and 1 percent of female students have used anabolic steroids by the time they were seniors.

Concerns over a growing illicit market and prevalence of abuse combined with the possibility of harmful long-term effects of steroid use, led Congress to place anabolic steroids into Schedule III of the Controlled Substance Act (CSA).

The CSA defines anabolic steroids as any drug or hormonal substance chemically and pharmacologically related to testosterone (other than estrogens, progestins, and corticosteroids), that promotes muscle growth. Most illicit anabolic steroids are sold at gyms, competitions and through mail order operations.

For the most part, these substances are smuggled into the United States. Those commonly encountered on the illicit market include: boldenone (Equipose), ethylestrenol (Maxibolin), fluoxymesterone (Halotestin), methandriol, methandrostenolone (Dianabol), Depo-Testosterone Android - 25 (mehyltestosterone), nandrolone (Durabolin, Deca-Durabolin), oxandrolone (Anavar), oxymetholone (Anadrol), stanozolol (Winstrol), testosterone and trenbolone (Finajet). In addition, a number of bogus or counterfeit products are sold as anabolic steroids.

A limited number of anabolic steroids have been approved for medical and veterinary use. The primary legitimate use of these drugs in humans is for the replacement of inadequate levels of testosterone resulting from a reduction or absence of functioning testes. In veterinary practice, anabolic steroids are used to promote feed efficiency and to improve weight gain, vigor, and hair coat. They are also used in veterinary practice to treat anemia and counteract tissue breakdown during illness and trauma.

When used in combination with exercise training and high protein diet, anabolic steroids can promote increased size and strength of muscles, improve endurance and decrease recovery time between workouts. They are taken orally or by intramuscular injection. Users concerned about drug tolerance often take steroids on a schedule called a cycle. A cycle is a period of between six and 14 weeks of steroid use followed by a period of abstinence or reduction in use.

Additionally, users tend to "stack" the drugs, using multiple drugs concurrently. Although the benefits of these practices are unsubstantiated, most users feel that cycling and stacking enhance the efficiency of the drugs and limit their side effects.

Another mode of steroid use is "pyramiding." Users slowly escalate steroid use (increasing the number of drugs used at one time and/or the dose and frequency of one or more steroids) reaching a peak amount at mid-cycle and gradually tapering the dose toward the end of the cycle. The escalation of steroid use can vary with different types of training. Body builders and weight lifters tend to escalate their dose to a much higher level than do long distance runners or swimmers.


Cannabis

Plant genus belonging to the family Cannabaceae of the nettle order (Urticales). The genus comprises one species, hemp (q.v.; C. sativa), a stout, aromatic, erect annual herb that originated in Central Asia and is now cultivated widely in the North Temperate Zone. A tall, canelike variety is raised for the production of hemp fibre, while the female plant of a short, branchier variety is prized as the more abundant source of marijuana.

Marijuana

Classification Cannabis
CSA Schedule I
Trade or Other Names Pot; Acapulco Gold; Grass; Reefer; Sinsemilla; Thai sticks
Medical Uses None
Physical Dependence Unknown
Psychological Dependence Moderate
Tolerance Yes
Duration 2-4(hours)
Usual Method Smoked; Oral
Possible Effects Euphoria; Relaxed inhibitions; Increased appetite; Disorientation
Overdose Fatigue; Paranoia; Possible psychosis
Withdrawal Occasional reports of insomnia; Hyperactivity; Decreased appetite

 

Tetrahydrocanabinol

Classification Cannabis
CSA Schedule I, II
Trade or Other Names THC; Marinol
Medical Uses Anti-nauseant
Physical Dependence Unknown
Tolerance Yes
Duration 2-4(hours)
Usual Method Smoked; Oral
Possible Effects Euphoria; Relaxed inhibitions; Increased appetite; Disorientation
Overdose Fatigue; Paranoia; Possible psychosis
Withdrawal Occasional reports of insomnia; Hyperactivity; Decreased appetite

Hashish & Hashish Oil

Classification Cannabis
CSA Schedule I
Trade or Other Names Hash; Hash oil
Medical Uses Anti-nauseant
Physical Dependence Unknown
Tolerance Yes
Duration 2-4(hours)
Usual Method Smoked; Oral
Possible Effects Euphoria; Relaxed inhibitions; Increased appetite; Disorientation
Overdose Fatigue; Paranoia; Possible psychosis
Withdrawal Occasional reports of insomnia; Hyperactivity; Decreased appetite