Was ist Nikotin und welche Wirkung hat es?

Nicotine is one of the most widely used intoxicants and, after alcohol, the most commonly used legal drug in Europe. Since the substance originally comes from the tobacco plant, all products containing tobacco contain nicotine.

We want to take a close look at the origin of the addictive substance and explain what it does in the body and what effect is achieved by taking it.

What actually is nicotine?

Nicotine is produced in the roots of the tobacco plant and is a powerful neurotoxin. Tobacco plants protect themselves from pests with this toxin and use it to ward off predators. Because of its toxic effects, nicotine is also used in some insecticides. The leaves of the tobacco plant are processed in different ways, one of the most common uses being drying and crushing them to use as an ingredient in cigarettes. The amount of nicotine contained in cigarettes varies by brand, usually one cigarette contains up to 13 mg of nicotine.

How is nicotine addictive?

Nicotine has two different effects on humans, which even contradict each other. On the one hand, the substance can have an invigorating effect, and on the other, it relaxes. The exact effect of the intoxicant depends, among other things, on the amount taken. Nicotine can suppress negative feelings such as anxiety and nervousness, while at the same time increasing the release of the happiness hormone dopamine and giving consumers a pleasant feeling. In the body, when consumed, blood pressure increases and the heart begins to beat faster, which is why many feel more energetic. How long nicotine remains in the body also depends on the intensity of the products and how long they have been taken.

Those who regularly use nicotine-containing products develop a tolerance over a certain period of time. The body begins to form more receptors for absorption in order to process the substance more quickly. However, this also means that the same amount of nicotine is no longer sufficient to achieve the same relaxing effect as before. Consumption is thus continuously increased. If the intake now suddenly stops, the body reacts with withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, nervousness, restlessness and lack of concentration.

What are the disadvantages of using tobacco-containing products?

If nicotine is ingested in high doses, it can have a toxic effect. In addition, the drug is addictive and smoking cessation can only be achieved with great effort. Small amounts of nicotine are not harmful per se, but can increase heart rate and blood pressure. Since nicotine is combined with other toxic ingredients, as in cigarettes, the long-term effects are even more devastating. For example, smoking can affect the respiratory system, cause vasoconstriction, and damage the eyes and teeth.

Disadvantages of nicotine summarized:

  • Has a toxic effect in high quantities
  • May be addictive
  • Increases blood pressure and heart rate

For what medical purposes and stimulants is the substance used?

Nicotine is often found in medical products such as chewing gum or patches for smoking cessation. To reduce the side effects, the amount of nicotine ingested is gradually reduced until the body has become accustomed to withdrawal and can do completely without cigarettes. Some studies have even investigated the substance as a remedy for nervous disorders such as Parkinson's and Tourette's.

Besides cigarettes, nicotine is also found in some other products. For example, in e-cigarettes, chewing tobacco, snuff and snus. Snus is a product from Scandinavia and contains ground tobacco with water, salt and flavorings. Meanwhile, snus is even available as a tobacco-free version, namely All White Snus or Nicotine Pouches. These are placed under the upper lip when consumed, just like conventional snus. The effect sets in after just a few seconds.

Conclusion - Nicotine is a natural substance, but it can quickly become addictive

Nicotine occurs naturally in the tobacco plant and has a toxic effect in high doses. The leaves of the plant are processed in various ways, among the most common of which is crushed tobacco in cigarettes. On the body, the substance has either a relaxing or activating effect.

Consumption can be addictive and withdrawal triggers unpleasant after-effects. Among other things, the intoxicant is also used in medical studies to investigate the various effects on the body.

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published