E.4c Neurotransmitters & Drugs


Cocaine acts as synapses that use dopamine as a neurotransmitter. It binds to dopamine reuptake transporters, which causes dopamine to build up in the synaptic cleft. As a result, the post-synaptic neuron is continuously excited.


Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)

THC on the other hand, binds to cannabinoid receptors in the pre-synaptic membrane. This inhibits the release of neurotransmitters, which causes excitation of post-synaptic neurons.

Drug Addiction – The Causes

Addiction is defines as “a chronically relapsing disorder that is characterized by three main elements: compulsion to seek and take the drug, loss of control in limiting intake and emergence of negative emotional state when access to the drug is prevented.

There are three areas that needs to be considered in drug addiction.


  • Many drugs affect dopamine secretion, since dopamine is associated with the feeling of pleasure.

Genetic Predisposition

  • Some people are more likely to become addicted to drugs than others. This is a result of their genes, and one example is the gene DRD2.

Social Factors

  • Peer pressure, poverty, social deprivation, traumatic life experiences and mental health problems may all contribute to the usage and addiction to drug.

One response to “E.4c Neurotransmitters & Drugs

  1. Grade 5 A consistent and thorough understanding of the required knowledge and skills, and the ability to apply them in a variety of situations. The student generally shows evidence of analysis, synthesis and evaluation where appropriate and occasionally demonstrates originality and insight.

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