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Drug Use and Your Metabolism

It’s possible you do not think of your metabolism much; and especially not as related to drug or alcohol abuse. You might even wonder what it exactly means. The dictionary defines it as the sum total of chemical processes that occur in living organisms that results in growth, energy production, elimination of waste, etc. This means everything you put into your body affects the metabolism. This includes the beneficial substances and well as the toxic ones like drugs. In fact, some drugs can profoundly affect the workings of the metabolism and some have an indirect affect on it.

For example, oxycodone and other opiates may not have any direct effect on your metabolism. Instead the substances depress the central nervous system. However, side effects like tiredness, constipation, and loss of appetite can potentially decrease your thyroid and metabolic rate. Also, it’s impossible to predict how your body will react. Some users of oxycodone experience a euphoric rush and some get nauseous and sleepy. A loss of appetite is one of most common side effects, though, and if you do not eat enough, your metabolism might slow down.

Alcohol impacts the metabolism by prolonging and diverting the metabolic process. When you eat, the food breaks down into proteins, fats and carbohydrates. To make them more soluble, tougher enzymes go to work converting that into even smaller molecules. When they enter the blood, the pancreas secrete insulin which helps the cells absorb the nutrients. However, drinking large quantities of alcohol can prevent foods from converting into a form that can cross over from the digestive tract into the bloodstream. Furthermore, alcohol enters the blood directly from the digestive tract. Some goes into the brain and produces intoxication. Because the alcohol is toxic, the liver prioritizes it before continuing with its normal functions which include releasing glucose when the blood sugar is low and absorbing glucose for storage when the blood sugar is high. An unhealthy weight loss can result.

Marijuana smokers have always wondered if their metabolism increases because of “the munchies.”According to studies, though, smoking pot (specifically, THC, the active ingredient in cannabis) does not increase your metabolism. It does increase your cravings for sweet and fatty foods. So, absent a healthy diet without caloric restrictions and exercise, if you are a heavy marijuana smoker, you will probably gain weight.

There have been many studies done to see if anything can block the addictiveness of cocaine. These have focused on dopamine transporters which are proteins that send the pleasure signal to the cocaine user. Recent studies suggest that cocaine may have significant effect on brain metabolism but more work needs to be done on that.

Your addiction to drugs impacts every part of your life. Probably the part affected most intimately is your physical body. The entire way it functions is hampered by use of drugs or alcohol. For well-being of the body as well as the mind, take the first step to recover from substance abuse by calling Recovery First, today, for compassionate, competent effective treatment of your addiction. Your body will thank you for it.

About The Contributor
The editorial staff of Recovery First is comprised of addiction content experts from American Addiction Centers. Our editors and medical reviewers have over a decade of cumulative experience in medical content editing and have reviewed thousands... Read More