Caffeine: The Legal Drug

Caffeine: The Legal Drug

Almost everyone enjoys caffeine throughout the day. It may even be the first thought that pops into someone’s head after he or she is feeling a little tired or sluggish. Coffee, energy drinks, tea, soft drinks, and even some foods like chocolate, all contain this addictive drug. Caffeine is something most people I know would struggle to live without. A day or two without caffeine may be easy for some people but utterly impossible for others. When thinking about caffeine, most people think about the energy and focus it can bring. What does caffeine do to your body, and what makes people so addicted to it? 

Caffeine is a psychoactive drug that naturally stimulates the central nervous system. Caffeine is legal unlike the abundance of other psychoactive materials. Caffeine is so popular because it helps stimulate the brain, improve focus, boost energy, and improve alertness. Some people live such busy lives that they need caffeine to get through the day. Personally, caffeine helps me focus on my school work and stay alert in all of my classes. I only drink a small amount of coffee in the morning, and I am good for the day. According to E-imports, the average coffee consumption in the United States is 3.2 cups of coffee per person each day. The average coffee cup size is nine ounces. This equals out to around 28.8 ounces of coffee consumed per person each day in the United States alone. 

Coffee is not the only form of caffeine. Soft drinks and other sodas have a key role in America’s caffeine intake. 48% of Americans, almost half, drink soft drinks every day. The average daily intake for soft drinks is 2.6 glasses of soda each day. Soda not only is high in caffeine, but also high in sugar, which is also causing problems for Americans. Soda is not only addictive because of its power to keep you awake and energized but also because of the high amounts of sugar. 

Caffeine has the power to keep some people alert and focused for up to six hours, but it may have virtually no effect on others. Caffeine makes the levels of adenosine rise making both the brain and body alert and awake. To nerve cells, caffeine looks like adenosine. This allows caffeine to bind to adenosine receptors, which keeps someone alert and focused. Each person’s adenosine receptors are different based on genetics, and caffeine may not bind well to certain adenosine receptors. If the binding does not take place, caffeine may have little to no effect. 

Caffeine can be largely addictive to people who drink it on a daily basis. If someone drinks caffeine every day and then stops abruptly, he or she might face some unwanted side effects. When one consumes caffeine, his or her blood vessels narrow. Without caffeine, the blood cells widen, causing a boost in blood flow. This could potentially cause headaches, fatigue, irritability, or difficulty concentrating.

Although caffeine is one of the more harmless psychoactive drugs, it still has downsides. Drinking too much caffeine can potentially cause head aches, insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, an upset stomach, or a fast heartbeat. Caffeine is a drug, and it can have bad side effects. Charity Cicalo is an avid caffeine drinker. “I only notice the effects of caffeine when I do not drink it,” Charity says. “I get head aches and stomache aches,” She continues. 

People are so drawn to the idea of a sweet pick-me-up, that they may not even realize what they are doing to their bodies. Caffeine in moderation is not bad, but if consumed too much, it can have harmful effects. Drinking too much caffeine can cause the body to become addicted. When the caffeine is no longer consumed, signs of withdrawl may start to arise. Everyone should be aware of what goes into his or her body, and the potential side effects it can have.  


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