When people hear the term “drug”, they
often think of some poisonous, forbidden substance. But believe it or not, if you’ve ever taken
a sip of some coffee or taken a pill to ease a fever, you’ve actually used drugs before! Let’s take a look at one legal drug and
another illegal drug in the US. [Caffeine]
You’ve probably heard of caffeine already, but if you haven’t, it’s a key ingredient
in a number of your favorite foods and drinks. Soda, energy drinks, tea, coffee, chocolate
― you name it! In fact, according to a study done by the
Villanova University, caffeine is ingested by a shocking 90% of Americans on a day to
day basis. But where does this popular powder even come
from? Well firstly, caffeine is a bitter, natural
stimulant that can be derived from a number of plants, or artificially. In the Stone Age, the leaves of caffeine-containing
plants were chewed to boost mood and energy levels by people of the time. Both originating in Africa, kola trees and
coffea plants are just a few of the 60 species with this property today. And though no one knows exactly when coffee
came to be, legend says it was discovered by an Ethiopian farmer named Kaldi and his
goats. The truth is, caffeine is not nearly as addictive
or as strong as alcohol or many other legal drugs. And it benefits your nervous and endocrine
systems, along with your brain. A controlled dosage can result in improved
focus and energy levels, as well as reducing the risks of Parkinson’s disease, diabetes,
and many more. However, caffeine overdose can lead to problems
with your digestive and reproductive systems, including pregnancy issues and nausea, and
boosted acidity levels may cause heartburn and heart attacks as well. And if you think that’s as powerful as drugs
can get, just you wait and see. [LSD]
It goes by many names, but Lysergic Acid Diethylamide is often regarded as the strongest hallucinogen
out there. This acid is typically ingested on tabs of
blotter paper, but it can be sold in its liquid or pill forms too. But don’t let the cartoonish graphics deceive
you; just a few tabs can leave you both mentally and emotionally damaged and severely shift
the brain’s perception of the world. LSD affects the circulatory system by increasing
your heart rate and blood pressure, but most of its effects are characterized in the brain. For instance, sudden urges, paranoia, and
self harming instincts can kick in, and severe flashbacks to a trip can occur even years
after a person is dosed. Compared to caffeine, LSD’s historical discovery
is fairly recent. In 1938, it was accidentally brought to life
by a Swiss man named Albert Hofmann. However, its psychedelic properties were not
realized until five years later, when the chemist exposed himself to it unintentionally. Today, LSD is synthesized from naturally occurring
ergot, a fungus growing on rye and other cereals. Besides being versatile and distinct to one
another, both illegal and legal drugs can be incredibly useful. Caffeine is commonly used as a treatment for
migraines, and LSD has therapeutic properties that reduce anxiety. Researchers are constantly trying to find
new ways to use drugs like these medicinally. Who knows what we’ll discover next?

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