WASHINGTON — US researchers have uncovered part of what’s happening, on a cellular level, to make cocaine addicts going cold turkey feel so bloody awful, according to a study published Monday.
The results provide a better understanding of what’s creating that crashing low of withdrawal — and may offer a clue for researchers looking to mitigate the symptoms and keep the user from relapsing.
Studying genetically-engineered mice, the researchers focused on a molecule — called cannabinoid receptor 1, or CB1 — that slows communication between nerve cells.
The molecule is particularly important in what is called the nucleus accumbens region of the brain, which governs emotion and motivation.
It was already well-known that cocaine produces strong effects on that part of the brain. But this is the first study of cocaine’s impact on CR1 production, and what that means for the nucleus accumbens during and after a cocaine high.
When a person is high on cocaine, “it speeds everything up, pushing you to a highly rewarding emotional state,” said lead author, Bradley Winters.
The cocaine caused the mice to produce an excess of CB1, effectively slamming the brakes on the brain’s hyper-activity in the nucleus accumbens.
“It is kind of like going down a steep hill so you have to start riding that brake really hard,” Winters explained in a statement.
The problem is that the brain doesn’t seem to know to let up on the brakes, after the cocaine high wears off.
“You’re still riding that brake just as hard. Now you’re going down a regular, low-grade hill but you’re going two miles per hour because your foot is still jammed on the brake,” he said.
“The state is like, ‘I feel terrible and I don’t want to do anything,” he continued, adding that’s “what brings you back to the drug because you want to feel better and the drug is the only thing you feel motivation for.”
The study was published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
FBI has ‘no intelligence’ Antifa was involved in Sunday’s violence at DC protests: report
Attorney General Bill Barr and President Donald Trump have tried to blame Antifa -- or anti-fascists -- for violence in the protests against police injustice. But the public data has backed up their case, and even their on intel disputes the argument.
"he FBI’s Washington Field Office “has no intelligence indicating Antifa involvement/presence” in the violence that occurred on May 31, according to an internal FBI situation report obtained exclusively by The Nation. That same day, President Donald Trump announced on Twitter that he would designate Antifa a terrorist organization, even though the government has no existing authority to declare a domestic group a terrorist organization," Ken Klippenstein reported for the magazine.
NYC protesters defy curfew — with a profane message for Mayor Bill de Blasio
Protesters in New York City continued to march after 8 p.m. on Tuesday -- in open defiance of a curfew order from Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Jan Ransom, who covers courts and jails for The New York Times, posted video of protesters chanting, "f*ck your curfew."
Wonder what protesters think about @NYCMayor’s 8 pm curfew?
Just listen. pic.twitter.com/8H38XNGfQt
— Jan Ransom (@Jan_Ransom) June 2, 2020
DC police demand people standing in line to vote go home — even though they’re exempt from curfew: report
Although Washington, D.C. is under curfew due to the George Floyd protests, the DC Board of Elections and Mayor Muriel Bowser have made clear that anyone waiting to vote in the district's primary elections are exempt from the curfew.
But according to the reports of at least one voter, some police in the district are still telling people waiting in line to vote to disperse and return to their homes.
THIS MOMENT IN WASHINGTON, DC:• A citywide curfew in effect• It's election day• Voters are exempt from the curfew• This line to vote is stretches all 4 sides of the block• Peaceful protests underway only blocks away@NBCLX @nbcwashington pic.twitter.com/5uru5Yow1E