Psychoactive Drugs and their Effects on the Brain
You made plans with your friend Jason to order some pizza and watch the new Transformers movie. When you arrive at Jason’s apartment you smell a distinctive odor in the hall. When you open his door, a smoky cloud lingers in the living room. Jason has invited his cousin Max over and they seem to have been smoking something. Their eyes are red, they seem extremely relaxed, and there are food and candy wrappers all over the place. Jason says that he totally forgot you were coming over, but you should stay and hang out anyway. What have Jason and Max been smoking?
Choose at least 4 of the following questions to answer:
1. What drug has the individual in this case been using? What led you to believe this?
2. What are the subjective effects of the drug (i.e., what has a person reported feeling after using the drug)?
3. What receptors, transporters, or neurotransmitters could be involved? How does the drug affect these receptors, transporters, or neurotransmitters?
4. Provide at least one relevant website concerning the drug in question.
5. Is this drug addictive? What are the consequences of continued use of this drug?
6. Putting yourself in the role of a professional counselor or biological psychologist, what advice do you have for concerned family or friends of someone using this drug?
Mini Cases in Psychoactive Drugs and Their Effects on the Brain by Darlene Mitrano
Case copyright held by the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Originallypublished September 2, 2011.