View Full Version : Ritalin, Similar to Cocaine? or very different..


silver.cell
07-30-14, 11:10 PM
This is in no way condoning to do anything illegal or to misuse substances. This is just reference material for every one who is interested to look in to it a bit further regarding WHY people try and say the two are similar.

My personal opinion is that the 2 are very different drugs.
Ritalin is for helping people with ADD and ADHD and the other is an abusive drug that does more harm than good.

The chemical structures might be similar but that does not mean they are the same, and to be honest...

In the striatum, the rate of clearance takes about 90 minutes for methylphenidate, and only 20 minutes for cocaine. If we go by peak concentration duration (i.e. the amount of time the highest concentration typically lasts in the brain before going back down), we see that methylphenidate's peak lasts around 15 to 20 minutes, while cocaine's is a fleeting 2 to 4 minutes. In both cases, the higher dissipation of the drug from high levels in the brain is much more pronounced in cocaine, giving this drug a much more addiction-worthy effect over methylphenidate (even when methylphenidate is abuses and either snorted or injected, it still cannot match the rates of clearance of cocaine).

Here is another very interesting study between the two:
http://adhd-treatment-options.blogspot.co.nz/2009/04/ritalin-and-cocaine-similarities-and.html


Reference:
http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/addiction/ritalin/

Like cocaine, Ritalin is a powerful stimulant that increases alertness and productivity. Ritalin and cocaine also look and act very much alike. They have a similar chemical structure, and both increase dopamine levels in the brain. They do this by blocking a dopamine transporter protein, which normally takes up dopamine from the synapse.
ADHD children are typically taken off of Ritalin when they reach adulthood. Interestingly, these individuals seem to be more prone to cocaine addiction. Why is that? Because Ritalin and cocaine are similar drugs, it's possible that ADHD adults are unknowingly using cocaine as a replacement for Ritalin. In other words, it may be an attempt to self-medicate. Cocaine may help individuals with ADHD focus and feel calm and in control.


Ritalin is not addictive when prescribed by doctors and taken as directed. Why this difference between Ritalin and cocaine? Ritalin is a pill that you swallow, so the drug takes longer to reach the brain. Cocaine is taken in high doses by injection or snorting. It floods the brain quickly with dopamine, which makes it dangerous and addictive.
Unfortunately, Ritalin is quickly becoming a drug of choice for teens. It's relatively cheap and accessible. And because it's a prescription drug, it's perceived to be safe. But if Ritalin is abused (taken in high doses) or taken improperly (by injection or snorting), it can be just as addictive as cocaine.

Misdiagnosis of ADHD is a common problem that complicates the Ritalin controversy. Some say that Ritalin is now over-prescribed, and that it may cause undesirable changes in the brain over time.
Recent animal studies suggest that children who are mistakenly diagnosed with ADHD and treated with Ritalin may be more likely to develop depression as adults. This can be explained by Ritalin's effects on the reward pathway.
We know that Ritalin increases dopamine levels in the brain. But an unnecessary increase in dopamine during childhood may change how the brain develops. The brain may become desensitized to natural rewards like food, romance, and social interactions, leading to depression.
However, failing to diagnose has ADHD has its problems too: Kids with untreated ADHD are four times more likely than normal to abuse drugs.

Mike7321
08-14-14, 03:39 PM
Ritalin works on the same neurotransmitters, but blocks the DA transporter MUCH more effectively than Ritalin, therefore producing more of a "rush", with a much shorter duration and therefore a crash. There's tons of literature on ADHD and stimulant abuse, and there's a very strong correlation between decreased use of illicit stimulants once ADHD is treated. Poeople with ADHD are prone to stimulant abuse due to them often being "thrill seekers" or having lower baseline levels of the mono-amine family, receciving less "natural highs", making them more prone to taking exogenous sources.

Fraser_0762
08-14-14, 04:36 PM
The easiest way to explain it is that Cocaine behaves like Ritalin, as well as behaving like an Amphetamine (Adderall, Dex... etc).

This is because the Methyl in Cocaine works by blocking the dopamine reuptake pathways (in the same way that Ritalin does) preventing dopamine from escaping the synapses while at the same time, occupying the dopaminergic neurons, forcing more dopamine out of the presynaptic neurons and into the synapses in the same way that an Amphetamine such Adderall or Dexedrine would.

So to sum it up. Ritalin works by "blocking". Adderall/Dex works by "occupying". Cocaine will do both simultaneously creating a far more intense rush.

Mike7321
08-15-14, 02:12 AM
The easiest way to explain it is that Cocaine behaves like Ritalin, as well as behaving like an Amphetamine (Adderall, Dex... etc).

This is because the Methyl in Cocaine works by blocking the dopamine reuptake pathways (in the same way that Ritalin does) preventing dopamine from escaping the synapses while at the same time, occupying the dopaminergic neurons, forcing more dopamine out of the presynaptic neurons and into the synapses in the same way that an Amphetamine such Adderall or Dexedrine would.

So to sum it up. Ritalin works by "blocking". Adderall/Dex works by "occupying". Cocaine will do both simultaneously creating a far more intense rush.
Doesn't dexedrine do both as well? I thought that dexedrine works by preventing reuptake while also being a direct agonist?

DarkGhost909
08-15-14, 08:11 AM
Ritalin inhibits Dopamine Reuptake from the reward system's synapses, causing high amounts of Dopamine binding to their receptors, and therefore getting reuptaken only after a very long time.

The problem with ADHD is that Dopamine is being reuptaken into the releasing cell abnormally fast (much faster than non-ADHD people), which causes low amounts of Dopamine at any given time (leading to ADHD symptoms).

Ritalin slows down significantly the reuptake process to allow normal amounts of Dopamine to bind to their receptors, and this allows ADHD patients to pay attention, be highly motivated (people with ADHD have very low motivation in general) and control their behaviour.

It might surprise you, but research shows Ritalin is more powerful than Cocaine. In one study, rats were given Ritalin and Cocaine at different times and in the exact same doses. The results were that while Cocaine blocked 50% of the Dopamine reuptake receptors in rats, Ritalin blocked 70% of them in the same rats (more reuptake receptors blocked = more Dopamine binding to receptors in the synapse).

So yeah, Ritalin is more powerful than Cocaine. The reason Cocaine gives a strong rush when Ritalin doesn't, is only because Ritalin tablets release and act slowly (within 4 hours), while Cocaine acts rapidly (within 10 minutes), which creates a dramatic difference in the effects.

So even though Ritalin is stronger than Cocaine, it's still much safer than Cocaine because it increaeses your Dopamine slowly over a few hours and not rapidly, because it's consumed orally as a pill.

But of course - when Ritalin is abused it's as bad as Cocaine. Sadly, many people end up being addicts because they decided to abuse their medication instead of taking it as prescribed.

But of course, if you don't abuse Ritalin, and take it just as you were told, you're most likely to be perfectly fine (Ritalin might be dangerous for a minority of ADHD patients suffering from heart problems, as an example).

Fraser_0762
08-15-14, 12:40 PM
Cocaine reacts quicker than Ritalin, not because of it's make up, but because of it's mode of entry. Ritalin taken through the nasal passages wouldn't be as effective at the same dose as pure methamphetamine, but it would certainly be far stronger and shorter lived compared to taking Ritalin orally. This is because it bypasses the blood brain barrier that acts like a filter when stimulants are consumed orally.

Methamphetamine even comes in a tablet form now under the brand name Desoxyn and it is certainly stronger than Ritalin at the same dosage level.

AED1955
08-28-14, 11:00 AM
I remember reading an article that at one time Ritalin tablets were easily crushed into a fine powder and snorted and the high this produced was very similar to cocaine. To help curb this practice the various pharmaceutical companies changed the way the pills are manufactured by altering the fillers and binding ingredients so the crushed pills would not dissolve as effectively in the nasal cavity thus making the drug much harder to abuse in this manner.