Nerve Pathways and the Brain (02:29)
Nerve impulses regarding sensation, movement, and more travel to and from the brain along nerve pathways made up of neurons. The brain's reward pathway can be activated by addictive drugs.
Neuron Structure and Function (03:38)
A neuron is made of dendrites, a soma, an axon, and an axon terminal. Electrical nerve impulses move along neurons and cross synapses between them with help from chemical neurotransmitters.
Acetylcholine and dopamine are two common neurotransmitters that allow transmission of electrical nerve impulses across the synaptic spaces between neurons.
Effects of Drugs on the Brain (02:23)
Many processes regulate the flow of information between neurons in the brain and throughout the nervous system. Drugs disrupt this communication and change feelings, moods, and perceptions.
Effects of Nicotine on the Brain (03:30)
Nicotine from tobacco disrupts normal neurotransmitter function in the brain, causing increased electrical stimulation across neurons and leading to dependence on the drug.
Effects of Cocaine on the Brain (03:30)
Cocaine disrupts normal neurotransmitter function in the brain. Neurons become sensitive to increased electric activity caused by the drug and severe, even fatal, side effects can occur.
Effects of Marijuana on the Brain (04:42)
THC from marijuana disrupts normal brain function and is especially harmful to learning and memory. Understanding effects of drugs on the brain can lead to more informed decisions about drug use.
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