Nicotine works on nicotinic receptors of the brain. Nicotine is an agonist for the nicotinic receptor. Nicotine helps increase adrenaline as well as norepinephrine. It also helps in the release of beta-endorphins that result in reduced anxiety. The duration of drugs for quitting smoking depends upon the time for switch off (or death) of nicotinic receptors.

Advertisement

Nicotine is a stimulant found in the tobacco plant. It stimulated the central nervous system. It is an important constituent found in cigarette which is responsible for addiction. The withdrawal symptoms of nicotine are tough to manage and nicotine cravings prevent the people from quitting smoking. Unlike the general belief that nicotine is a bad and addictive substance, there may be various benefits of nicotine. Research is done to identify its positive effect on various diseases such as Parkinson's disease, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Alzheimer's disease.1 Nicotine gum is also used as an aid in quitting smoking. Nicotine gum has been approved by various health regulatory bodies for managing to smoke. Nicotine dependence includes both physical and psychological dependence. At most nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, nicotine acts as against.

How Long Does It Take For Nicotine Receptors To Die?

Nicotine withdrawal symptoms are experienced by the person once he stops smoking. Nicotine is normally present in the body for 72 hours. Withdrawal symptoms increases with reduction in nicotine concentration and the peak of withdrawal syndrome occur 2-3 days after the cessation. In most case, it has seen that the symptoms disappear after 3 monhs.4 The final symptoms that leave the body are irritability and low energy.

Advertisement

Various drugs are prescribed that helps you quit smoking. These drugs are prescribed based on the switching off the nicotinic receptors. The switching off period for nicotinic receptors is 12 weeks thus drugs such as Varenicline are prescribed for 12 weeks.5 People have also prescribed nicotine gums but these gums also have their share of side effects. Further, these gums des do not allow the nicotinic receptors to die off thus they too have a dependency. Bupropion is another drug, working through a different mechanism of action, and helps cessation of smoking.

Nicotine Receptors

It is hard to quit smoking. The culprit to blame is nicotine receptors present that activate the reward system on attaching with nicotine. As soon as the nicotine enters the body, its concentration rapidly increases in the brain. It attached to the receptors leading to the release of dopamine. Dopamine is responsible for pleasurable effect.2

Advertisement

Nicotine also increases the level of adrenaline in the body by activating adrenal glands. It increases the concentration of norepinephrine that increases wakefulness and arousal. It also increases beta-endorphin which helps reduce anxiety.

It is also believed that quitting smoking or nicotine addiction is harder as compared to quitting heroin, the reason being its rapid reward system. Nicotine reaches the brain within 5-10 seconds thereby providing an immediate reward, but heroin reaches the brain at a much slower rate. However concrete results in this regard are not available.

Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors provide the site of attachment to acetylcholine as well as nicotine. The receptor is finding muscles as well as the central and peripheral nervous system. Activation of receptors is though dual mechanism. There is depolarization of plasma membrane due to the rapid movement of ions while the calcium enters directly or indirectly.

Function Of Nicotinic Receptors

Nicotinic receptors are for rapid neural transmission. Nicotinic receptors also assist in rapid neuromuscular transmission. Nicotinic receptors are found in the somatic nervous system, sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system and central nervous system.3 Nicotine receptor consists of five subunits. Nicotinic receptors are classified based on the primary site of expression. One is the muscle-type nicotinic receptor while the other is a neuronal type nicotinic receptor. The agonist of these receptors includes nicotine, chlorine, and epibatidine.

Conclusion

Nicotine remains present in the blood for 72 hours. This keeps the receptor live however the withdrawal symptoms start appearing with a gradual reduction in nicotine level. It takes almost 12 weeks for the nicotinic receptor to down-regulate.

References:  

Also Read:

Sheetal DeCaria MD

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

,

Last Modified On: August 21, 2019

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

Advertisement

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

We'll help you live each day to the healthiest