Anabolic steroids are artificial versions of a hormone that's in all of us -- testosterone. Some people take anabolic steroid pills or injections to try to build muscle faster. But these steroids also have other effects. They can cause changes in the brain and body that increase risks for illness and they may affect moods.
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These games extend upon and reinforce the lessons in the Mind Over Matter series. Students can test their knowledge with the nine games on this site.
Cocaine is made from the leaf of the coca plant. It often comes in the form of a white powder that some people inhale through their nose. Another form of cocaine, known as crack, can be smoked. Cocaine changes the way the brain works by changing the way nerve cells communicate.
Hallucinogens powerfully affect the brain, distorting the way our five senses work and changing our impressions of time and space. When people use these drugs a lot they may have a hard time concentrating, communicating, or telling the difference between reality and illusion.
Maybe you haven't heard of inhalants, but you probably come across them pretty often. Hair spray, gasoline, spray paint -- they are all inhalants, and so are lots of other everyday products. Many inhalants have a strong smell. That's why they're called inhalants: Some people inhale the vapors on purpose. Why would anyone do this? Because the chemicals in these vapors can change the way the brain works, and those changes can make people feel very happy for a short time. But inhalants can also do harm.
You may have heard it called pot, weed, grass, ganja or skunk, but marijuana by any other name is still a drug that affects the brain. Did you know marijuana can cause some people to lose focus on events around them? It makes others more aware of their physical sensations, and it has still more effects on other people. All these different changes are caused by chemicals that affect the brain. More than 400 chemicals are in the average marijuana plant. When smoked, heat produces even more of them!
Methamphetamine is a powerful drug. It acts by changing how the brain works. It also speeds up many functions in the body. Methamphetamine has a chemical structure that is similar to another drug called amphetamine that I explore in my magazine on stimulants. Methamphetamine can cause lots of harmful things, including inability to sleep, paranoia, aggressiveness, and hallucinations.