As the name suggests, this group of research chemicals comprises compounds with the power to stimulate the human psyche. Such properties are exhibited by a substantial number of artificially made substances, such as synthetic cannabinoids.
Since their emergence at the beginning of the 20th century, they have been introduced in therapeutic use in many countries as an effective prescription medicine for ADHD, obesity, and narcolepsy. These central nervous system stimulants modify the way it functions due to their psychoactive nature.
Stimulants are opposite to depressants, which include such prescription medications as Benzodiazepines. The latter are also classified as sedative substances or ‘minor tranquilizers’. They slow down the processes in the human brain, while stimulants speed them up. The third type of substances with psychoactive properties is hallucinogens.
The substances have been shown to cause arousal, heightened alertness, and better motor activity in research subjects. Patients often report euphoria and acute wakefulness, enhanced ideation and concentration, along with suppressed appetite and boosted self-esteem.
Short term physical effects include the following:
- blood pressure, blood sugar, breathing and heart rate increase;
- breathing passages open up;
- blood flow decreases;
The effects are linked to the workings of neurotransmitters. Under the influence of stimulants, concentrations of dopamine and norepinephrine rise. This is achieved through boosted release (the way methamphetamine works) or hindered reuptake (the way methylphenidate works).
Some stimulants alter the levels of serotonin in the human brain, and they are usually classified as entactogens (or empathogens).
Psychostimulant drugs are a type of research chemicals useful for lab studies. They cause human physical and mental functions to improve, albeit temporarily. Psychomotor activity, which may be illustrated by playing football or brushing one’s teeth, receives a powerful boost. Such effects may be observed over a different period, depending on the subject and the dosage.
Psychostimulants can be created in lab environments using different precursors, and they may be purchased online for scientific purposes. Like steroids and hormones, they may also occur naturally. Probably, the most common stimulant of this kind is caffeine.
Such different substances as nicotine, Ecstasy, methamphetamine, cocaine, and methylphenidate are all examples of stimulating compounds, and they fall into either of the following classes:
- sympathomimetics (both direct and indirect);
Direct sympathomimetics activate adrenoceptors in the subject’s sympathetic nervous system in a direct way. They also stimulate α, β, and D-receptors in different bodily tissues, such as eyes, hearts, and vascular smooth muscle. On the other hand, indirect agonists, such as cocaine and amphetamine, enhance the activity of endogenous catecholamines.
In medical treatment and research, psychostimulant chemicals are often used against attention deficit and narcolepsy (random periods of deep sleep). Amphetamines help patients with narcolepsy, weight and attention issues. Cocaine is an effective anesthetic in cases of blood vessel constriction (vasoconstriction) and mucous membrane anesthesia. However, it is important to consider the high abuse potential of any stimulant compounds. Consequences of overdose may range from moderately unpleasant to lethal.