What Is The Difference Between Formula Mass And Molecular Mass 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Nicotine

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10 Things You Didn’t Know About Nicotine

Nicotine, the chemical most commonly found in plants of the Solanaceae family, is an alkaloid and is found in the leaves of these plants, although biosynthesis of this chemical occurs in the roots of the plants. Nicotine is one of the main components of addictive plants such as tobacco (0.6%-3.0%) and is the cause of human addiction due to their psychoactive nature.

Following are 10 interesting facts about nicotine.

1. Etymology

The name nicotine comes from the scientific name of the tobacco plant Nicotiana tabacum. The scientific name of the tobacco plant is named after the French ambassador to Portugal, Jean Nicot de Villemain. Villeman is credited with sending tobacco seeds and plant seedlings to Paris in 1560 to be used for medicinal purposes.

2. Extraction

Nicotine was first extracted from the tobacco plant by German physician Dr. Wilhelm Heinrich Posselt and chemist Karl Ludwig Reimann in 1828. After its discovery, Posselt and Reimann called it poison. In fact, nicotine is an anti-herbivore chemical that causes addiction when consumed in small amounts (1 mg or less) and death in large amounts (30 mg to 60 mg).

3. Chemistry

Nicotine is an alkaloid with the chemical formula C10H14N2. Its IUPAC name is 3[2,5-1-methylpyrrolidin-2-yl]pyridine. Its molecular weight is 162.12 g/mol. Nicotine is a hygroscopic liquid that mixes with water as a nitrogen base. It has a density of 1.01g/cm3, a melting point of -79oC and a boiling point of 247oC. The half-life of the nicotine molecule is 2 hours and its metabolism takes place in the liver. Nicotine is also optically active and has two enantiomeric forms.

4. Nicotine as an insecticide

As already stated, nicotine is a herbivorous drug that is lethal to life forms in large quantities. Therefore, nicotine-filled tobacco has been used as an insecticide since before World War II. However, after World War II, its use declined drastically due to the availability of cheap synthetic insecticides that are more readily available than tobacco and less harmful to mammals. But in recent times, the hype surrounding organic farming has rekindled farmers’ interest in using tobacco as a pesticide as an alternative to chemical pesticides.

5. Nicotine addiction

There are certain nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in our central nervous system. Nicotine binds to several of these and increases the amount of several neurotransmitters. Among these neurotransmitters is dopamine, which is significantly increased during nicotine use and is responsible for the feelings of euphoria and relaxation caused by the use of tobacco (nicotine) products.

6. Nicotine’s psychoactive effects

Nicotine is a psychoactive substance because it alters mood. It causes both euphoria and relaxation. Nicotine is metabolized in the body in the liver. First, after metabolism, nicotine is released from the liver to glucose and from the adrenal medulla to epinephrine. This sudden release of glucose and epinephrine causes euphoria after consuming nicotine. After the initial euphoria, nicotine leads to relaxation, increases alertness and sharpness by working with various neurotransmitters in the body. Nicotine also has pain-relieving properties.

7. Side effects of nicotine use

Nicotine seems to be a great spicing, calming, and mood enhancing agent, but there are more negatives than positives to using nicotine. Among them, the most common side effects of nicotine consumption are hypertension and increased risk of heart attack. The sad thing is that every cigarette a man smokes shortens his life by 14 years. Furthermore, because nicotine has been found to interfere with the effects of estrogen in the hippocampus, nicotine users are prone to amnesia and other related illnesses in the long term.

8. Toxicity

Nicotine is considered more toxic than most common drugs such as heroin and cocaine. Nicotine does more damage to the human body because it is easily absorbed into the bloodstream and reaches the brain through the lungs within 7 seconds of being administered either orally or as nicotine patches.

9. Use of nicotine in medicine

Although nicotine is not the doctor’s best friend, it is not his worst enemy either. Nicotine, known for its pain-relieving properties, is being studied as a potential pain reliever minus its harmful effects. Nicotine has also been found to reduce preeclampsia, allergic asthma; among other things by acting as an anti-inflammatory agent.

10. Nicotine in literature

Nicotine has been personified in popular literature as Nick O’Teen, a humanoid evil character in the Superman comics created as part of an anti-nicotine effort to educate children about the harmful effects of any form of nicotine consumption.

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