Caffeine - Research Paper Example

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Caffeine is a psychoactive drug that serves as a stimulant that increases energy and alertness of an individual.This paper tries to find out the main reasons why people like to drink coffee…
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Download file to see previous pages Later this turned into the creation of a form of tea by steeping these items in boiling water. The Chinese emperor Shennong, according to Chinese legend, reigned in around 3000 BCE and found out that when leaves fell into boiling water a “fragrant and restorative drink resulted”(Yu, 35) leading historians to believe that this also aided in the discovery of tea/caffeine use for regular usage. In 900 BCE, “The Greek historian Homer mentions a bitter drink that is capable of warding off sleep. This was probably strong brewed tea.” (Unknown, 14) Coffee was discovered later on in the 9th century by a goat herder who observed his goats eating berries from a tree that made them more alert and awake. (Yu, 54) At this time, coffee beans were already being used and ground into fat in North America. This substance became a staple for religious practices due to the fact that coffee helped them stay awake longer. As mankind became more and more advanced and developed, society began to see the use of caffeine in more daily use. A German scientist named Friedlieb Runge first synthesized caffeine in the lab. Since then, scientists and pharmacologists have learned how to create and extract the chemical and properties of caffeine from the coca bean and put it into commercial and medicinal use. In today’s society, caffeine is most commonly seen in the use of coffee, energy drinks, candy, etc. Unknown to society is that caffeine is one of the most abused substances across the world and has properties in it’s mechanism of action that can create possible problems for both short term and long term use due to the pharmacokinetics of caffeine and it’s mechanism of action.
Caffeine is a stimulant which when it interacts with certain receptors in the body. Specifically, caffeine impacts systems such as the central nervous system and other physiological systems in the body. The typical route of administration is oral and is usually found in consumer food products, but has also been isolated in pill form as well. The chemical nature of caffeine is that it is lipid soluble. Because of this property, caffeine is able to bypass the blood brain barrier and have a direct effect upon the neural synapses in the brain. Primarily, caffeine is an antagonist on the adenosine receptors in the brain. This means that caffeine physically binds to the receptors in the brain causing a release of adenosine into the synapses. This can cause the secretion of norepinephrine and dopamine to occur. Norepinephrine is a stimulating neurotransmitter that is most commonly associated with the “fight or flight” aspect of the sympathetic nervous system. Dopamine is a pleasure and rewarding chemical that is regulated by many different reward pathways, but the most common one consists of the dopamine being secreted in the ventral tegmental area and it proceeding on a pathway to the prefrontal cortex through the nucleus accumbens. The rewarding effect is one of the ways in which an individual becomes addicted to the drug. Physiologically, a person can experience the associated “crash” once the drug is no longer in the system since caffeine has a half-life of approximately four hours. In order to achieve the same effect, the user must continue to use more and more of whatever caffeine source they are ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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