Citation: BiochemMajor. "Comparison to Cocaine: An Experience with Methylphenidate (Ritalin) (ID 61853)". Erowid.org. Jun 13, 2007. erowid.org/exp/61853
To start, I would like to compare/contrast the effects of cocaine and methylphenidate (Ritalin). Ritalin is without question (in my opinion) more similar to cocaine than any other pharmaceutical agent.
I have definitely ingested more than my fair share of drugs in my lifetime. I won't bother attempting to compile a list. I simply want to share my experiences with Ritalin, and compare the substance to cocaine and perhaps amphetamines.
I did my fair share of Adderall during high school- I had a friend prescribed to 20 mg a day, but refused to take it. His mother would do her best to monitor his use, but he was skilled at hiding the pills between his fingers. These pills were diverted to me. Wow, I must have ADHD, as I am straying very far from the subject I am attempting to report on. I have a long history of substance abuse. Started with weed when I was 15, and quickly blossomed into ingestion of whatever was around. At least I can say I never smoked crack or did PCP.
Back to the point. I have done numerous drugs intravenously. Among these are (surprise) cocaine and methylphenidate. IV cocaine acts immediately, and the effects wear off within 15-25 minutes. IV methylphenidate takes about 30 seconds or so to 'kick in', and the effects last much, MUCH longer. The experience of the latter substance goes through 3 (perhaps 4) phases.
1. At first, an intense opiate-like euphoria presents itself. This lasts for about 5-10 minutes.
2. After this, the stimulant effects become much more prominent. For about an hour and half rather intense stimulation of the mind is very prevalent. I may have the strength/desire to accomplish certain things, but the tasks that come to mind are overwhelmingly intellectual rather than physical.
3. After this 'peak' phase (i.e. the comedown), dry mouth presents itself and tension of the jaw muscles becomes very noticeable. Chewing on a fingertip can greatly alleviate the clenching effect. Although I am still stimulated (heart rate, blood pressure, etc.), the euphoric effects drastically decline. In a way, it is similar to coming down off of cocaine. Similar, but not nearly as serious. Due to the much longer half-life of methylphenidate, the 'immediate withdrawal' experienced from cocaine usage is not present. I can recall using cocaine, and after the night's supply was depleted, my subconscious would literally cross over to my conscious train of thought and more or less cry for more. With methylphenidate, the comedown can be unpleasant- but this crossing over between levels of consciousness, as far as my experience goes, is virtually absent. My body does not beg for more, but it doesn't exactly reject the thought. I believe the longer half-life is the driving force behind the absence of overwhelming psychological craving.
4. Definitely can cause/contribute to insomnia. Depression will more than likely present itself, likely due to the depletion of dopamine. Jaw clenching will remain- an antihistamine such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl)/dimenhydrinate (Dramamine) can help to alleviate the insomnia and jaw tension.
Having injected both drugs (cocaine and methylphenidate), I can say that methylphenidate produces a much more pleasurable and lasting experience. My experiences with it have resulted in very memorable social interactions. The high from IV cocaine, as intense as it is (probably the most intense 'buzz' I have ever experienced), is extremely short-lived and is basically equivalent to kissing death on the face. No other substance has caused me to wake up wondering where the hell I am, with a syringe still in my arm and an accompanying trail of blood.
IV use of 40 mg methylphenidate was a rather pleasant experience, and I would be likely to repeat it if given the opportunity. This is my approximate timetable.
Injection of carefully prepared solution after sterilization of entry site
Wondering why no effects have presented themselves
Slow onset of euphoria begins...
Feeling of warmth and comfort encompasses the entire body
Contradictory tranquility (stimulant producing depressant effects)
Depressant effects begin to subside, find myself talking much more than usual
Stimulant mode- as previously noted, it is much more pronounced in the mind than the body
Basically speeding. Not running around the house, cleaning, or doing laundry, but very much alert and focused. The feeling is very pleasant, but not at all similar to the initial effects.
Effects begin to subside. Substantial thirst and tightening of jaw muscles becomes noticeable.
Although some of the stimulant effects are still present, the feelings of well-being are beginning to disappear.
Still stimulated, but feelings of being 'high' have all but vanished.
Stimulation remains, but depression begins to set in. Not a very pleasant combination.
Stimulation subsides, mind basically 'flatlines'- not much desire for conscious thought.
That basically sums up the experience. I realize that it is not a very in-depth summary. Compared to the physical and emotional anguish experienced as other substances wear off, I would consider the after effects of this drug to be relatively minor.
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