Many people – mostly teens and young adults – have gotten into vaping or using e-cigarettes. Because they’re marketed as safer alternatives to smoking cigarettes, these small USB-like devices are being scooped up by the millions. Unfortunately, now people are hooked on vaping. But does vaping give you a buzz? What makes it so addictive?
Yes, vaping gets you buzzed, a feeling that’s also called a “nic buzz.” “What is a nic buzz?” you ask? Well, vape pens and e-cigarettes use cartridges that contain liquids made from different chemicals, including flavoring, and yes, nicotine. Vape pens contain nicotine, which is what produces the high or “buzzed” feeling that people may experience while vaping, especially new users. Vaping is also both addictive and damaging to the lungs because e-cigarette cartridges contain nicotine.
What’s more, people who vape inhale more nicotine than people who smoke cigarettes. However, this doesn’t make either of them safe. People can buy extra-strength cartridges or use a high voltage on the vape pen to get a harder “hit” or intensify the effects of what they’re smoking. When this happens, the person risks becoming addicted to nicotine and speeding up the physical repercussions.
Research also suggests that vaping or vape pens are gateway drugs because they prime the brain’s reward system, increasing your likelihood of using other drugs. In fact, the National Institute on Drug Abuse warns against vaping because nicotine addiction makes other drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine more pleasurable.1
A nic or vape buzz may cause lightheadedness in first-time users, a side effect that rarely occurs as use continues because the brain and body eventually begin to tolerate nicotine.
Common side effects of a nicotine buzz include:
Nicotine works by stimulating your central nervous system to release certain hormones and neurotransmitters. When you vape or inhale nicotine, it enters the bloodstream and quickly reaches the brain. A nicotine buzz is caused by the release of a chemical called epinephrine (adrenaline), which increases your heart rate, increases your blood pressure, expands the air passages, dilates your pupils, alters your metabolism, and affects blood sugar levels.
Usually, your body releases adrenaline when your brain goes into fight-or-flight mode. If you’ve ever experienced this feeling, then you may recall breathing faster, and your heart was beating harder. This is what adrenaline does to you. Nicotine stimulates not only the release of adrenaline but also the release of dopamine. This is another chemical that nerve cells use to communicate signals associated with pain, pleasure, and reward.
Most addictive drugs, if not all, affect dopamine levels to produce euphoria and activate the reward system, which reinforces drug-taking behavior. Nicotine also activates the release of dopamine to produce a relaxing and pleasurable buzz.
Once inhaled, nicotine can kick in within 10 seconds. A vape or nicotine buzz can last anywhere between 10 to 30 minutes, depending on the person’s tolerance. The longer someone uses nicotine or vapes, the more tolerant they are to its side effects, and the shorter-lasting the buzz becomes.
Although a vaping buzz may kick in pretty quickly, it can also fade just as quickly in long-time users. As with other drugs, people can develop a tolerance to nicotine the longer they use it. This means that they’d have to increase how much of it they smoke to experience the same buzz.
Also, because the high that vaping causes is short-lived, it encourages users to vape more in a short period. So, not only does vaping give you a buzz, but long-term use also increases your risk of developing nicotine addiction as well as potentially life-threatening respiratory and lung problems.
As a Palm Springs, CA drug rehab, we have firsthand experience in treating all kinds of addictions. It’s also our specialists’ jobs to stay up-to-date with the latest drug news and trends, so we remain prepared to help anyone affected by drug or alcohol abuse.
While the buzz from Juul pens may seem pleasurable at first, vaping can lead to some serious consequences in the long run. What’s more, nicotine is also considered a gateway drug to other substances like cocaine and meth because of its stimulating side effects.
If you or someone you care about is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, don’t wait to get help. Call Banyan Treatment Centers Palm Springs today at 888-280-4763 for more information about our California drug treatment programs.
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