Caffeine

Jan 09 2009 Published by under BikeMonkey, Cycling, Doping, Drug Abuse Science

The 2007 WADA list has caffeine in the "2007 Monitoring Program" but it is not a "Prohibited Substance". The 2007 US AntiDopingAgency (USADA) list seems to directly quote the WADA list on stimulants, so ditto. It used to be one of the threshold substances (under 12 micrograms/ml of urine and you were OK) but was delisted as of Jan 1, 2004.

HA! I just noticed this draft from 11/30/07! Dang if I can remember where I was going with it, just a stub and all. Reminded me about something over at Zuska's diggity dogs. Caffeine really is a drug. Gee ya think?

no longer quite the n00b scicurious recently had something about adenosine and caffeine so I'll just point you there for the science.

one of PalMD's podcasts ( I think it was #2 or #4 but I could be wrong) talked about the wonders of coffee and how medicine can't really find much to worry about. Sure, save the addiction part.

Anyway, I'll just snap this up in case it jogs my memory of what I was thinking about. Probably some papers on cycling performance I guess....

4 responses so far

  • r wilmot says:

    Coffee contains a potent psychoactive drug: caffeine. Coffee is the world’s most common psychoactive stimulant. It is the most ubiquitous legal drug in the world. It is the second most traded commodity after oil. And yet over the past 300 years, the Western World has learned how to use this potent drug. Adolescents can be sold coffee at convenience stores and even alcoholics are served coffee at AA meetings.

    This was not always the case. In parts of 17th century Europe coffee drinkers were flogged and coffee dealers beheaded. In 1650 King Charles the second of England closed coffee houses, not only for political reasons (coffee house conversation was too democratic) but also the King thought coffee to be a dangerous substance and wrote so in a pamphlet encouraging his subjects to Just Say No to Coffee. The protest was so great that the prohibition lasted only 11 days. By the turn of
    the Twenty First century. Americans were consuming the equivalent of over 25 gallons of coffee per person per year; coffee shops represented a growth market and coffee breaks were still being negotiated as part of union contracts.

    Someday we'll learn to live with methamphetamine too.

  • r wilmot says:

    But is coffee dangerous? Like all drugs, coffee may be dangerous for some people depending on its use and more specifically, on its dose. As with all drugs and particularly psychoactive drugs, dose is the critical variable:

    In order to ‘pep herself up for a party’ a woman took several caffeine citrate tablets. Shortly afterward she became silly, elated, and euphoric. As hours passed she consumed more and more tablets until she had taken 40 tablets… equivalent of 1800 milligrams of pure caffeine.

    She became confused, disoriented, excited, restless, and violent, shouted and screamed and began to throw things about her room. Despite her deep religious feelings, she became exceedingly profane. Finally she collapsed and was removed to a general hospital. The staff there, ignorant of her caffeine binge diagnosed her condition as a hysterical episode due to psychoneurotic anxiety.

    Five weeks later she again took an entire box of caffeine citrate (relapsed) and was admitted to a general hospital in an irrational state varying from wild, manic screaming, kicking and biting, to a muttering semi stupor. Again the role of caffeine was overlooked… she was transferred to a psychiatric hospital where she was kept tied to a bed (Wilmot, in Euphoria JDI, Vol. 15 #2)

    At doses of caffeine over 400 milligrams, the autonomic centers in the brain increase heart rate, respiration and muscle tone. The lady in the above case study took 1800 milligrams (equivalent to 18 cups of brewed coffee).

    She is one of the few people to overdose on caffeine. Even though caffeine is listed as one of the drugs of abuse under Substance Related Disorders in the psychiatric DSM, there is no public outcry to do something about regulating the consumption of coffee. It has taken three hundred years, but nowadays people can usually regulate their own dose of caffeine. And they drink it rather than process it for smoking or injecting.

  • drugmonkey says:

    As with all drugs and particularly psychoactive drugs, dose is the critical variable:

    Dose is always a critical variable...for some endpoints. It is not at all clear that this is the critical factor for establishing dependence. There are many issues including the personal (genetic differences) and environmental (developmental and current situational) that contribute even before you start to grapple with patterns of use. Not to mention sensitive developmental windows.

    As you observe, caffeine has been around for ages. So has coca-leaf chewing. the active ingredient of coca leaf even made some forays into appetitive consumables at the turn of the past century. So your hypothesis had a chance to be tested.

    And yet we currently have a big problem with concentrated-dose, rapid route-of-administration uses of cocaine but not for caffeine.

    Your analogy has some flaws and therefore your predictions are not well supported.

  • r wilmot says:

    "And yet we currently have a big problem with concentrated-dose, rapid route-of-administration uses of cocaine but not for caffeine."

    And they drink it rather than process it for smoking or injecting... but they could...

    How can people smoke tobacco without becoming addicted?

    Benowitz and Jack Henningfield—who are probably the leading nicotine experts in the world—have made some educated guesses. Chippers, they point out, are people who are capable of smoking up to five cigarettes a day without getting addicted. That suggests that the amount of nicotine in five cigarettes—which works out to somewhere between four and six milligrams of nicotine—is probably somewhere close to the addiction threshold. What Henningfiled and Benowitz suggest, then, is that tobacco companies be required to lower the level of nicotine so that even the heaviest smokers… thirty cigarettes per day—could not get anything more than five milligrams of nicotine within a 24 hour period… (p.251)

    At this level of nicotine, people that still smoke would have controls placed on nicotine levels and not become “addicted”. The dose of nicotine would also be controlled. Controlled dosage is based on science, and controlled dosage is the answer to total abstinence.

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