How Did The Nicotine Buzz Vanish?
All You Need To Know About Nicotine Buzz
Do you feel a sense of 'pleasure,' 'euphoria,' 'relaxation,' and 'calm' along with feeling more ‘focused and energized’ every time you smoke? That's the nicotine buzz kicking in! If you're a heavy smoker, you might feel your body craving a hit of nicotine at specific times during the day. Since nicotine is both a sedative and a stimulant, a pleasing calmness immerses over those addicted to nicotine as they deem it a cure to the anxiety and cravings they feel in its absence. This is how the nicotine buzz works.
What Is A Nicotine Buzz
Whenever anything unplanned or undesirable happens, you take nicotine either through chewing tobacco, smoking a cigarette, or inhaling nicotine vapor. It takes only a few seconds to reach your brain and attach itself to the acetylcholine receptors. Since these receptors control dopamine levels in your body, they release more to mimic a nicotine buzz.
Subsequently, nicotine also releases another pleasure-causing chemical into the body, known as serotonin. Soon, the serotonin and dopamine levels start going back down, and you start feeling tired. Your body craves feeling good, and this is when the nicotine comes to the rescue. However, since our bodies tend to become immune to the current nicotine consumption levels quickly, you'll need more and more each time to feel the same buzz, which causes nicotine addiction to begin.
However, have you ever wondered why most people now report they no longer get a buzz? The delivery systems for nicotine have indeed evolved over the centuries, from snuff pipes to cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, and the recent innovations such as the modern-e-cigarette or vapes. This has caused the smoking trend to decline and vaping trend to accelerate drastically.
Talk to any seasoned nicotine user, and they will tell you that today it's not about experiencing the buzz most novelty users chase. They are well aware that the racy feeling fades away with time unless you go without nicotine for extended periods, which most addicts don't have the discipline to pull off.
Then what’s all the buzz about? Let’s find out!
An interesting observation by researchers revealed that nicotine produces contradicting symptoms in people. Some may feel lightheadedness, while others feel alert along with a head rush. For some, it's calming or woozy, while for others, it helps them focus and concentrate. Oddly, all of these feelings are right. When consumed in small quantities, nicotine acts as a stimulant, but it can have a sedative effect when the dose increases.
How Long Does The Buzz Last?
The high is prone to fade away in a few seconds unless the user attempts to get a serious buzz. Even in such a case, the symptoms tend to last less than an hour. Notice that we used the word symptoms instead of pleasure here. This is to highlight that overusing nicotine isn't recommended; it can cause your pupils to dilate, make you feel nauseous or disoriented, jittery or shaky, and cause other undesirable symptoms. They do go away eventually but chasing the rush will ultimately lead to the user needing a longer tolerance break to maintain their ability to experience a buzz. This is primarily why nicotine users often choose to give up the chase when they become regular nicotine consumers.
Why Does The Buzz Stop?
Simply put, using nicotine regularly causes the user to develop a tolerance, as is the case with most habit-forming drugs. Yes, nicotine stimulates the receptors to make the brain release neurotransmitters, but these receptors don’t have limitless capacity. When the receptors are full, regardless of how much you up to your nicotine intake, it won’t do much besides making you feel sick. Using nicotine habitually also means that you'll eventually use the ability to feel the buzz simply because your brain doesn't recognize nicotine as a novelty anymore; it's more expected.
Whether you like to call it addiction or dependence, nicotine users eventually stop chasing the buzz and focus or maintaining optimal levels of nicotine in their body by using it when they wake up, lunch breaks, and topping it up throughout the day. Seasoned nicotine users often prefer this option rather than trying to chase the missing, elusive buzz.
Can They Get The Buzz Back?
The only remedy to experience the buzz again is to stop nicotine usage until the receptors are empty. Have you noticed how the first nicotine dose in the morning hits differently, even for veteran nicotine users? This is because their brain is primed out after a few hours gap during the night's sleep, making the receptors able to feel a certain level of buzz.
Experts reveal that smokers who are not dependent on nicotine and smoke occasionally are often able to experience the short-lived feeling they chase. This phenomenon is well-known as ‘social smokers’ for people who just like to enjoy nicotine at social gatherings or parties. Since they never graduate to the frequent use that brings dependence, they often smoke to blend in or experience an occasional buzz.
The problem here is that regardless of the amount of cigarettes you smoke, it can cause long-term adversities leading to cardiovascular damage and other illnesses. Studies revealed that the carbon monoxide found in cigarettes could cause freak cardiac events (and sudden cardiac death) even in occasional smokers. In contrast, being a social vaper has far less risky propositions associated with it since vapors don’t contain carbon monoxide or other combustion products.
Let’s say you vape only on the weekends; it means you’ll still probably be able to feel a pronounced effect or buzz from the nicotine present in the vape.
Does This Mean All Nicotine Products Get You Buzzed?
When people miss the feeling of a nic buzz, they often try switching to another product. However, there are many factors to consider. Let’s learn a few things so that everyone can make an informed switching decision.
First, the nicotine buzz typically comes from the drug’s addictive potential and the speed with which it reaches our brain. Did you know that smoking a cigarette makes nicotine travel all the way from our lungs to our brain in just under 25 seconds? This alarming time means it’s even quicker than injections!
Modern vaping devices are catching up, if not already there. They are advanced and incredible at providing nicotine rapidly and in large, cigarette-like amounts with numerous innovative options. Users can now choose a sub-ohm tank that delivers a large volume of freebase (lower-strength standard) of nicotine or one that is a low-powered, tinier device that uses strong nicotine salts. The fact that contemporary vaping allows smokers to have many more choices makes it an effective and attractive alternative to smoking.
Some people get the same effect from inhaling a pipe or cigar too, but experts don't recommend that as those forms of tobacco are meant to be puffed, not inhaled; they're extremely harsh to the lungs and throat. Tobacco in cigarettes is treated and cured until it gets milder when inhaled, but it's more prone to making the user an addict. This is because when the lungs deliver the nicotine faster than our throat and mouth tissues can absorb, the receptors react quickly to provide the user their desired reward.
Just like pipes and cigars, oral forms of nicotine also offer a steady and elongated ramp-up, but they often don’t create an immediate jolt that can be referred to as a nic buzz. Since chewable nicotine gets embedded in the gums and cheeks, it continues to deliver absorbed nicotine in decline levels for up to an hour.
So, Chasing The Buzz Means You May Get Addicted To Nicotine?
Absolutely! The more you try to up your nicotine intake to chase that buzz, the more you’re likely to become addicted or dependent on it. Factually speaking, using nicotine more often to satisfy the sensation cravings can be the beginning of dependence but can vaping be called addiction?
Psychologists generally explain addiction as compulsive behavior repeatedly, despite the knowledge that it harms the user. While smoking can undoubtedly be included in this definition, experts deem vaping might not yet be eligible. Since vaping doesn't cause any harm that we are particularly aware of, it's a stretch to describe it as addiction.
In fact, we feel using the term addiction to define a user who depends on vaping for nicotine intake is fairly disrespectful for people battling real addictions to alcohol and opioids. To date, we have not come across vapers who may have destroyed their families and their own lives to end up in prison due to them being ‘addicted’ to vape. It's more like vape only satisfies the cravings of longtime nicotine users, much like caffeine lovers relish their first cup of coffee in the morning.
Since vaping is a relatively newer phenomenon and has been available worldwide for only a handful of years (almost a decade only), researchers don't fully understand its long-term effects. However, there is enough data collated to get a realistic idea about its potential health risks – to fully understand that it almost certainly doesn't pose any health risks as great as those of combustible cigarettes.
Also, the world might be more aware of the health risks to bystanders, much more than how vaping affects vapers themselves. Multiple times, scientists have evaluated whether the toxic constituents in secondhand vapors make the practice harmful for accidental or bystander vapers. Based on the standards for workplace exposure to inhaled chemicals, no evidence has been found so far to prove that passive or secondhand vaping can be a serious threat to the health of non-vapor bystanders. Let's dig in deeper to understand better what secondhand vapor is and whether it's harmful.
Secondhand Vapor: A Brief Overview
Secondhand vapor is technical an aerosol that gets exhaled into the atmosphere by the vapor. Similar to secondhand cigarette smoke, the vapor lingers into the air long enough for anyone present in the room to inhale some of the exhaled aerosols. Fundamentally, the bystanders can’t inhale passive or secondhand smoke because the vapor produced isn’t smoke in the first place.
The particles from vaping are not solid like smoke particles; they're liquid, which means they don't seem to affect the air quality in any way. A study conducted in 2017 analyzed the air quality in over 200 low-income family homes. The results concluded that lighting candles, smoking marijuana or tobacco, and cooking all affect particle counts in smaller homes. In contrast, vaping has no measurable effect on the indoor air quality of these homes.
More studies conducted in the vicinity of vape shops have also shown that the toxicant levels in the air are below occupational exposure limits. NIOSH studied a vape shop where more than fifteen customers vaped during the daytime. Results revealed that even though the space wasn’t too large or open, the formaldehyde and flavoring chemicals found in the air were still less than the allowable exposure limits. Interestingly, nicotine was practically absent from any of these samples.
To further determine whether secondhand vapor is dangerous, experts from Public Health England also carried out a multitude of studies surrounding passive exposure to update previous findings. They concluded that -once again- no potential risks were found regarding the health of passive vaping in bystanders.
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