Erowid References Database
“Tobacco, The Enigmatic Narcotic”.
From Narcotic Plants book. 1972;p35-43.
Although it is difficult to position tobacco with respect to other psychoactive plants, the effects of large dosages suggest it to be a powerful narcotic capable of causing delusions and hallucinations. The dilemma of characterizing tobacco is that it may act as a stimulant, a depressant, a tranquilizer, or l hallucinogen. Lewin and several subsequent writers have treated tobacco as a stimulant, but nicotine, the pyridine alkaloid primarily responsible for tobacco's physiological action, has a complex action releted to dosage levels. A typical cigarette provides enough nicotine to act on the central nervous system to cause corticai arousal. In the autonomtic nervous system it mimics acetylcholine, stimulating neurotransmission. Nicotine, however, is not rapidly broken down, and less than two per cent of all smokers are occasional smokers, or more precisely are non-habituated. Thus, nicotine accumulates and acts as a neural block with respect to the transmission of new information. Sensory receptors are stimulated and then blocked. Acute nicotine poisoning causes tremors, convulsions, respiratory paralysis, coma, delusions, and death.
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