Citation: BeachesNSneeches. "Dopamine Dysfunction: An Experience with Dextroamphetamine & Nicotine (exp109138)". Erowid.org. Sep 13, 2016. erowid.org/exp/109138
I am not an experienced drug user, I only started experimenting with various different substances a few months ago with the help/guidance of my boyfriend, E, who has more experience in the matter. That being said, I have taken amphetamines multiple times (theyíre my favorite class of drug so far) and- being the cautious person that I am- I keep track of how much it takes to give me a good high, which isnít all that much. Meaning, on any normal day, it doesnít take a whole lot to get me happy. However, my ďnormalĒ didnít seem to apply to me today.
First, let me explain the events of this last week. 4 days ago, E and I started an all-night Dexedrine 15mg (dextroamphetamine) XR run in an attempt to accomplish various tasks around the house that we had been putting off. E and I started our night by swallowing two 15mg capsules each, which tends to give me a pretty good initial high. Over the course of the night, we each took another 45mg (bringing our final dosage up to 75mg each) before stopping sometime around mid-morning the next day. It went as expected, euphoria and a sense of motivation that made even the most menial tasks interesting. We talked for hours while cleaning the house, about communication, our relationship, funny videos, and anything else that came to mind. We just wanted to talk and get stuff done, and overall we had a very good and accomplished high. Eventually we started coming down and feeling the after-effects, but at first it wasnít too bad. In an effort to keep our sleep schedules on track, we decided to try and stay up for the remainder of the day.
Then the comedown hit me pretty hard.
Iíve had problems with chewing my tongue/mouth and clenching my jaw before while coming down from amphetamines, but this time was much worse. No matter what I did, or how much water I drank, I couldnít get myself to stop dry-swallowing what amounted to be little more than air caused by dry mouth more extreme than I'd ever had. The continuous swallowing was a mild annoyance, at first, but quickly became a problem. By 3pm, my throat was almost unbearably scratchy (late note- I am a smoker and smoked quite a few cigarettes that day which irritated my throat, as well as drank some hot tea that burned my throat) and I started losing my voice. By about 5pm my voice was down to a whisper, I had bitten a chunk out of my tongue because I couldnít keep my mouth still, and I was coughing up a storm. 7pm rolled around and I started having problems breathing- it felt like my throat was closing up and I noticed that my lymph nodes hurt and my neck was stiff. Since my ability to breathe was slowly dwindling, I rushed myself to Urgent Care.
After a lot of repetitive questions, an x-ray, and some blinding penlights shone up just about every orifice except the ones I was sitting on, the doctorís decided that I had a case of laryngitis. They gave me 60mg of prednisone and sent me home with instructions to not talk, whisper, or eat hot foods, and absolutely NO SMOKING.
In case youíre wondering, no, I didnít tell them about the drugs for two reasons. 1. It didnít come up and (after conducting research via my phone) 2. I determined that it was unlikely that the Dexedrine had directly caused my condition, it was much more likely caused by the combination of nonstop talking (I get chatty on stimulants), excessive smoking, hot beverages, and overall lack of sleep to combat any ill effects. I ruled out a virus because E hadnít shown any signs and I hadnít come into contact with anyone sick lately, to the best of my knowledge.
Fast forward a couple of lazy days. My throat is healed up, my voice is back, and my tongue is mostly healed. So, because I was in an emotional funk (drained, lethargic, pissy) that I wanted to escape and I felt like I was up to taking drugs again, E and I decided to do another run of stimulants. I should mention that we had also received our vape pens that day and instead of smoking cigs (which were still harsh on my throat) we had been puffing away at those, which becomes more relevant later.
11:15pm- 30mg (2x 15mg caps XR) taken by mouth as a start. This is usually enough for E to get focused and energized, and usually winds me up pretty well.
12:30am- No effects felt yet. In an attempt to keep my throat from getting sore like last time, I took a medicated (Benzocaine 7.5mg) throat lozenge in advance. E didnít feel any effects yet either, even though 30mg had previously affected both of us within 30-45min. Since we had both eaten beforehand, we decided to wait another half hour before we took more to see if it spontaneously started working.
1:06am- No obvious effects felt yet for either of us. Concentration has improved a little, but nothing close to the euphoria and motivation to do things that normally comes with this stimulant. We both railed another 15mg
1:45am- E was feeling some of the effects, and was able to easily focus on conversations and studying. I was able to stay interested in something when I started researching it, but still neither of us really had the effect we were looking for since we were lacking the characteristic euphoric feelings and drive to get things done. I decided to start taking different dopamine stimulators to see if they would have any impact. I started with 500mg of L-Tyrosine (an amino acid that can help raise dopamine levels in the brain).
2:30am- Still no notable effect, so I took 300mg Buproprion (a dopamine reuptake inhibitor, intended to either treat depression or help someone quit smoking)
2:45am- E tossed me a 25/100mg Carb/Levo (dopamine precursor that is used to treat diseases caused by too little dopamine in the system) as a last-ditch effort. At this point I was getting frustrated with my inability to get high, and E wasnít doing much better.
4am- Dissolved another 15mg into a few mL of soda each and took it like a shot. This brought us both up to 60mg of Dexedrine; twice what should have initially made us feel something.
Over the course of the night, I had been researching the effects of different OTC medications and supplements on stimulants to see if I could find any correlation with what was happening to me and E (although at this point he could feel the drugís effects better than I could, but still not very much). Prednisone and Benzocaine, the two medications I had taken recently, both led nowhere and I was running out of ideas.
Then, I had a breakthrough.
I decided to look up how quitting smoking (cigarettes) affects the dopamine levels in the brain. Basically, what I found was that when you quit smoking suddenly (like I had to after being diagnosed with laryngitis) the brain is robbed of a lot of the dopamine that had been present, this deficiency is caused by a chemical in the brain- monoamine oxidase- which is responsible for the oxidation (destroying) of chemicals such as dopamine, serotonin, and noradrenaline. The funny thing is that it has been discovered that cigarette smoke works as an MAOI- monoamine oxidase inhibitor- (it stops the MAO from destroying monoamines) meaning that when you smoke cigarettes your brain is actually allowed to keep more of the chemicals that make you feel happy. However, when E and I stopped smoking cigarettes and switched to vapes, we didnít realize that we would effectively be allowing MAOs to have free rein over our neurotransmitters, causing the increased destruction of the dopamine in our systems.
*Note- E had smoked several cigarettes that day, before the vape pens arrived, so he still had a few MAOIs in his system whereas I hadnít smoked in several days and had none left.
Getting back to my point. Amphetamines cause that great feeling of euphoria by releasing dopamine into the brain, as well as epinephrine and norepinephrine to keep you alert and keep your neurons firing, which works great when there is already a good amount of dopamine in your brain...like a normal person should have. E and I, however, were not only severely lacking in terms of dopamine, but also had an excess amount of dopamine destroyers floating around. So, I came up with a hypothesis: if I upped my dosage of e-liquid (for the benefits of the nicotine) and then smoked a cigarette, hopefully releasing more dopamine and MAOIs into my system, I would feel the effects of the stimulant better.
5am- I switched my liquid to Eís 12mg/mL (he is a heavier smoker than me) and puffed away, determined to get that beautiful nicotine back in my system
6:30am- After an hour and a half of almost continuous vaping, I decided to go outside and smoke a real cigarette. E joined me but barely took two puffs of his cig. After I finished mine, I went back inside and I instantly felt a change.
At first I got almost dizzy as my brain and vision sort of clouded over; everything became a little fuzzy and I got slightly nauseous. E had railed another 15mg and had set one up for me, but I refused it because I thought I was going to be sick. Instead, I slowly sipped water and attempted to eat something, but that didnít go well. Over the next 30 minutes, I drank a large bottle of water as well as some tea to try and calm my stomach down, and became increasingly chatty. The blurry-headed feeling went away and the nausea followed it soon afterwards. I went and sat down at my computer, suddenly finding myself much more able to focus on what was in front of me. I still lacked the excess motivation and euphoria, but my mood had significantly lightened and I was alert again and able to switch from task to task without much difficulty.
7:30am- Swallowed 15mg capsule after ill feelings completely went away, putting us both at 75mg.
*I would like to note that Iím pretty sure the reason I felt so sick after the cigarette was because I had taken the 3 extra dopamine stimulators earlier. After smoking the cigarette, the stimulants in my body had finally started responding, and I think that having three extra types of stimulants was too much to handle. I plan on experimenting with each of these individually in the future, but not all at once again.
8:30am- I was feeling much more energetic and talkative, as well as able to bounce from topic to topic like I usually do on stimulants, but E still seemed to only be minorly affected. After about an hour of listening to my prodding, he decided to go outside and smoke a cigarette. He came in a couple of minutes later with noticeably brighter eyes and significantly more energy. He described the same clouded feeling I had felt, and mentioned that he had more energy to focus but was now focusing on more than one thing at once. He, having not taken any extra stimulants, didnít feel sick like I had, but did agree that it felt like the stimulants we had taken were kicking in.
11am- The increased energy and mood lasted for a while, but by 10am the feelings started to wear off. So, we both railed another 15mg at 11am to try to keep our energy up so we could go run errands. Mood and focus once again increased.
2pm- Planning on taking another 15mg in about an hour to take us into the evening before we start slowly winding down. Took a calcium/magnesium 1000/500mg supplement to help with the comedown and the mouth chewing at the suggestion of online forums. E drank chamomile tea (no caffeine) which he said relaxed him and allowed him to think clearer.
3pm- Swallowed 15mg capsule, E railed one, this was the last dose of the day leaving us at 105mg each. The rest of the day (medication wise) consisted of taking various herbal supplements in an attempt to slowly calm our bodies so we could eventually go to sleep. Overall I feel tired but not as burnt out as I usually do. E and I agreed that this round of stimulants was rather disappointing due to the circumstances- they worked better as an energy pill than anything else. However, we know that to be because of the lack of MAOIs in our system instead of the ineffectiveness of Dexedrine itself. We never got to the euphoric level, but we were both able to sit down and work on projects for a couple hours, not necessarily out of motivation, just focus. I am experiencing some mouth movement/biting, but not nearly as severe as last time, and this time I can stop it when I concentrate. I donít know if itís the Calc/Mag or the fact that I never really experienced soaring emotions this time around, but thereís been little to no anxiety so far.
3:45pm- Neither my mood nor energy level have enhanced, I think this is where I stay. E on the other hand seems to have a bit more energy now. I vaped a little bit more and experienced a brief flash of cheeriness, but it was short lived. Noticed when the last Dexedrine kicked in because my mouth stopped moving, but it didnít last long. Definitely going to wait for my body to adjust to the decreased nicotine before I do this again, and hopefully next time will have a better result.
4:40pm- E and I both took 1.4mL each of Rhodiola Rosea extract, which works as an adaptogen (substance that helps normalise bodily functions) and boosts serotonin levels as well as providing a little boost of energy; weíve discovered that this brings us out of the final ďfunkĒ.
In conclusion, I think that tonight has been an up close and personal study for us into our own neurological systems- experiencing first hand how and why things either work or donít work. In regards to the effectiveness of amphetamines in this situation, unfortunately there just didnít seem to be enough in the drug to overpower the amount of MAOs in our systems. I donít know if taking any more would have helped or hindered, but considering we usually never breach 100mg it seemed like a good place to stop. In the end, the absence of the MAOIs (and subsequent dopamine) that our bodies had become accustomed to, combined with the increase of MAOs, severely negated the pleasurable effects of Dexedrine. While this was certainly not the experience we had signed up for, it was still an interesting experience that ended up teaching us a lot.
Safe trips, my friends.
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