1,3,7-trimethylxanthine gives you wings.
May 13, 2004 5:55 AM   Subscribe

1,3,7-trimethylxanthine (sometimes used as a pesticide to kill frogs) also happens to be one of the world’s most popular drugs.

Users find that it improves attention and concentration, and slightly decreases their heart rate at low doses. It is habit forming however and has been known to cause agitation, anxiety, insomnia, disorientation, nausea, delirium, hallucinations and tinnitus. Some people report involuntary tremors or even convulsions. Overdoses can cause seizures, respiratory failure and cardiopulmonary arrest. Withdrawal from regular use can cause symptoms including headache, nausea, nervousness, reduced alertness and depression.

The metabolic half-life of the drug is usually somewhere between three and seven hours so a typical user will take somewhere between fifteen and thirty-five hours to process 95% of their initial dose. How many milligrams have you taken today?
posted by snarfodox (42 comments total)
I had a mocha with a grand total of four shots of espresso yesterday. The sad part is that I was only a little jumpier than usual for about an hour.
posted by angry modem at 5:59 AM on May 13, 2004

I'm just glad you can still get ephedra through mail order.
posted by ao4047 at 6:01 AM on May 13, 2004

None. I don't drink tea or coffee. The Diet Coke I drink is of the caffeine-free variety. It disturbs me how many people do genuinely seem to be addicted to caffeine.
posted by reklaw at 6:01 AM on May 13, 2004

Definitely have the tinnitus, the agitation, the anxiety and the insomnia... bu thte delirium and the hallucinations? Man, I gotta turn up the volume a bit for those I guess. Barista, I'd like a dozen triple short mocha lattes, to go go, go go...
posted by psmealey at 6:02 AM on May 13, 2004

Caffeine also has a big effect on personality. When I find myself with people who are all on caffeine, I feel completely out of sync unless I take some too, just like with any group of drug users. Sometimes there's a lot of social pressure for people to be caffeinated, particularly in the US, under the guise of maintaining "positive energy" or being able to compete at work.
posted by fuzz at 6:07 AM on May 13, 2004

From everything I've read (and my from my own personal experience), caffeine's physical withdrawal symptoms generally last from 24-48 hours, regardless of the severity of the addiction. After that, you start to feel your natural energy levels come back. Unfortunately, I have never wanted to, um, stay clean for very long, which I suppose means that I have a psychological dependence on the stuff.
posted by psmealey at 6:09 AM on May 13, 2004

Good post. I haven't had any caffeine (no tea, no coffee, no soda, no chocolate) for over a year, and the difference in my mood and even-headedness is amazing. I never experience ups and downs, lack of clarity, crabbiness, buzziness, brain fog, afternoon crashes, jitters, etc., anymore. The things that caffeine does to us - we're so used it them we think they're normal, but of course, they're not. What's normal is to wake up in the morning and feel just right from the minute your feet hit the floor, like you did when you were a kid. Not normal: having to drink a hot caffeinated beverage to get you jump-started for the day. Yep, I had a head-pounder for two days running when I gave it up, but it's so worth it in the end.
posted by iconomy at 6:14 AM on May 13, 2004

I cut out caffeine for a few months last year, more as a method of staying very, very well-hydrated than anything else. It worked reasonably well, but then I realized how much I liked coffee and tea and diet cola, and here I am, sometimes drinking 24oz. of iced coffee (black) in the morning.

I occasionally experience withdrawal -- on the weekends, most often, since I miss my usual morning dose -- but by the following Monday I'm generally "reset," and can quit if I'd like. And in any case, "withdrawal" seldom means more than a headache. I don't find myself moody or shaky or sluggish.

Sometimes, I admit, I like to OD just a bit -- "chain drink" coffee, if that makes any sense. Then again, I'm not a smoker, but three or four times a year I'll smoke five or six cigarettes in a row just for the head-spinning nicotine rush.
posted by uncleozzy at 6:22 AM on May 13, 2004

I find it funny that someone is disturbed by caffiene consumption, and then drinks caffiene free Diet Coke?
posted by Eekacat at 6:26 AM on May 13, 2004

but by the following Monday I'm generally "reset," and can quit if I'd like.

Sounds like the unreserved denial of a serious addict, to me.
posted by ashbury at 6:38 AM on May 13, 2004

I'm as good as a living zombie without caffeine. No-Doz and diet Coke do nothing for me. I could drink an entire can of diet Coke at 11PM, and fall asleep within an hour later.

Hey, at least I buy fair-trade certified beans;-)
posted by invisible ink at 6:39 AM on May 13, 2004

Sounds like the unreserved denial of a serious addict, to me

Yeah, whatever! I can stop if I want! I just don't wanna!

Now where'd I put my coffee mug?
posted by uncleozzy at 6:41 AM on May 13, 2004

Er, caffeine = coffee in the first sentence.
posted by invisible ink at 6:41 AM on May 13, 2004

I thought that was funny, too Eekacat. Here are some dangers/side effects of aspartame. I'm not a doctor or chemist (though I did once synthesize caffeine in O-chem lab), but this sounds worse to me than caffeine.
posted by psmealey at 6:42 AM on May 13, 2004

I figure I down about 300mg in my large coffee each morning. I can't say I really notice much of a buzz from it, but I do feel a bit more focused and ready to work in the morning. But I think much of that is psychological.

But woe be to he who should try to take my joe from me . . .
posted by aladfar at 6:46 AM on May 13, 2004

However, if you must ingest caffeine, there are many arguments in favor of drinking tea. The antioxidants and other benefits from tea seem to far outweigh any deleterious effect of the caffeine it contains.

Too many posts on this thread for me. I'm cutting myself off.
posted by psmealey at 6:46 AM on May 13, 2004

I am an addict.

I have a huge diet coke when rolling out of bed. I sip at diet coke and water until after workout and then I start the coffee that goes until 10 or 11 that night. Sometimes I supplement with Red Bull or some other variety of energy drink. I know I need to cut back and hopefully this summer while out of school I can readjust.

I come from a long line of coffee addicts. Growing up in the church, my parents and their friends never got together for drinks or beers. But there was always a pot of coffee brewing.
posted by spartacusroosevelt at 6:51 AM on May 13, 2004

I'm I the only person who instantly thought of DHMO?
posted by twine42 at 6:54 AM on May 13, 2004

Brad DeLong and friends answer the question: How much caffeine did you ingest today? The answers may astound you. They may also have you asking, wtf is caffeine's LD50? Which makes snarfodox's erowid link quite useful.
posted by jbrjake at 7:08 AM on May 13, 2004

Regular Mini Doses of Caffeine More Energizing Than Morning Mug -- just for the addicts out there looking to maximize. It's actually a pretty good argument for tea drinking all day as opposed to the morning coffee. (I'm talking to my fellow addicts here)
posted by malphigian at 7:08 AM on May 13, 2004

on a side note:
spartacusroosevelt, I too, was drinking tons of diet coke, sipping on it all day long. Then I started having sensitivity in my lower back teeth, along the bottoms of it. I talked to my dental hygenist and she asked me if I brush too hard. And I said, no I don't think so. And she thought for a while and asked, do you drink a lot of soda? She proceeded to tell me that the phosphoric acid in the coke (and all brown sodas, apparently), was eating away the tooth enamel. (!)
I went cold turkey on the soda for a while -- I replaced it with coffee, but was having some of the problems described above (jittery, afternoon brain fog, couldn't sleep at night). So, I started back on soda -- this time, diet mountain dew. It only has citric acid -- that can't be as bad, right? (haven't (yet) had the return of tooth sensitivity)
posted by j at 7:31 AM on May 13, 2004

One night I took advantage of a free-refills policy at a local restaurant and drank 8 iced-cappucinos. Anyway, I laid down to sleep and could hear and feel my heart beating very rapidly. I got very nervous and worried that I might die from, of all things, too much coffee. I never drank more than 1 cup from then on and the restaurant reversed that policy as well.
posted by crazy finger at 7:41 AM on May 13, 2004

Hey J, don't forget the carbonic acid that is carbonated water...
posted by LoopSouth at 7:43 AM on May 13, 2004

Cuppa joe in the morning, cuppa tea in the afternoon, and that's all I can handle. Otherwise I become too skittish to do anything productive.
posted by Succa at 7:46 AM on May 13, 2004

I've cut my caffeine consumption down when I was diagnosed with high blood pressure (actually, they moved the numbers down and I went from borderline to over the line). But every now and then I have some Kona that a friend got me, and boy howdy! is that stuff interesting to say the least.
posted by tommasz at 7:47 AM on May 13, 2004

I got addicted to caffeine because my office is chilly and I don't smoke. Hence I took regular coffee breaks to get a warm beverage to keep at my desk. Then I found I was sick every Sunday. Seems I was addicted during the week, and since I drank no coffee (or soda - never developed a taste for it) at home, I was going through withdrawal. I finally worked out that it was easier to replace the weekday coffee with herbal teas (I've become a real fan of Yogi Tea) than to remember to drink coffee on weekends.

The funny thing is, before I became addicted, coffee had very little effect on me. It never made me hyper, only made it slightly harder to fall asleep. Now that I'm "clean", a mug of coffee has me bouncing off the walls! I'm not sure whether it's a long term metabolic change resulting from the addiciton, or whether it's just that my coffee years took me over the edge into my 30's.
posted by Karmakaze at 8:01 AM on May 13, 2004

I don't drink tea or coffee and never have. I managed to get through a couple degrees and many all-nighters without resorting to caffeine to stay awake. However, on those occassions when I do consume significant amounts of caffeine I've never noticed any real change in energy level.

I don't specifically avoid caffeine, but I'm also not a big chocolate eater and my preferred sodas (root beer and orange) tend not to be caffeinated).

We get free sodas at work and I'll admit that I am unable to resist. Unfortunately they never buy diet orange or diet root beer so I tend to drink Diet Dr Pepper.

Of course, I should just drink no soda, but I'm weak.
posted by obfusciatrist at 8:17 AM on May 13, 2004

I talked to my dental hygenist and she asked me if I brush too hard.

Yikes. Thanks for posting that. I got the same question last month, but didn't know that about the soda.
posted by callmejay at 8:34 AM on May 13, 2004

What's normal is to wake up in the morning and feel just right from the minute your feet hit the floor, like you did when you were a kid.

That's a "normal" I've never felt. I spent every weekday morning of my childhood dragging myself out of bed at 6:30, bleary eyed and a head full of glue, in time to eat breakfast before starting school. Ugh. And this with a strictly-regimented bedtime, too, so it's not like I just wasn't sleeping enough.

I ditched my coffee addiction once, after I decided that 3-4 cups a day probably wasn't healthy. I was expecting headaches, mood swings, and agony, but it really was nothing much; I felt a bit tired for a day or two, and that was it. Really anticlimactic, actually. After a few months I got bored with my abstention and went back to one cup a day, in the morning, and have stuck to that ever since.
posted by Mars Saxman at 9:07 AM on May 13, 2004

psmealey: Aspartame is about as dangerous as flouridated water, and no conspiracy theory website is going to convince me otherwise. Besides, the stuff's in way more things than just Diet Coke.

They're not trying to steal your precious bodily fluids.
posted by reklaw at 9:11 AM on May 13, 2004

Cafeinne and nicotine are my two remaining addictions at this point. I started with both around age 14, and while I managed to kick cigarrettes for over a year at one point, and have gone almost 7 months without alcohol, the idea of not having my cup of java in the morning is unthinkable. Although I'm down from the 4 to 6 cups a day I used to consume when I worked in a bookstore.

BUt I've learned the hard way not to have caffeine after 6pm otherwise, I'm lying in bed with my heart playing "Wipeout" and my brain doing the bristol stomp.
posted by jonmc at 9:41 AM on May 13, 2004

psmealey: Aspartame is about as dangerous as flouridated water, and no conspiracy theory website is going to convince me otherwise.
It still, however, tastes awful. Bring on the sucralose, dammit.
posted by darukaru at 9:53 AM on May 13, 2004

At my last job, every time I walked past the coffee machine and the zombies next to it, I couldn't help but think that it looked like an opium den.
posted by oissubke at 10:30 AM on May 13, 2004

Where is it? Where is it? They stole it from us, our precioussss. Curse them! WE hates them! it's ours it is, and we wants it! We wants it, we needs it. Must have the preciousssss. They stole it from us----- Oh. There's my coffee cup.

*cough* Like Gollum, I can quit anytime I want.
posted by keswick at 11:00 AM on May 13, 2004

(twine42, I had that thought too. And they're often combined!)
posted by hattifattener at 11:21 AM on May 13, 2004

Caffeine tends to make me sleepy. I get about ten minutes' worth of boost out of a cup of coffee, and then I just want to go lie down for a couple of hours. Ephedra is the same way.

The amount in soft drinks, I can handle all right, although recently I've been trying to avoid it. If I habituate myself to it, though, by drinking it every day, I get killer headaches if I try to stop. Fortunately, two or three ibuprofen will fix that, and then a day later I'm fine.
posted by kindall at 11:37 AM on May 13, 2004

Go figure, it's taken me years to realize that the connection between my frequent bouts of insomnia seem to be linked with my Diet Coke and Coffee consumption. I find now that if I drink a soda after two in the afternoon, I have trouble getting to sleep.

reclaw: if you want an aspartame conspiracy theory site try aspertamekills.com where they compare Robert Shapiro to Hitler for his role in getting aspartame approved.
posted by Jugwine at 12:39 PM on May 13, 2004

What's normal is to wake up in the morning and feel just right from the minute your feet hit the floor, like you did when you were a kid.

I'm going to have to echo Mars Saxman here. This is normal for morning people, but it's quite abnormal for the rather large % of the population who are more nocturnal in nature. Body chemistry is so insanely complicated there's just no "normal."
posted by TungstenChef at 5:42 PM on May 13, 2004

It is by Caffeine alone I set my mind in motion.
It is by the Beans of Java that Thought acquires speed.
The hands acquire shaking.
The shaking is a warning.
It is by Caffeine alone I set my mind in motion.
posted by SPrintF at 6:58 PM on May 13, 2004

"Sleep interferes with my caffeine consumption."

That quote from a former roommate aside, my most frequent source of caffeine is chocolate, and as a result I am a total pansy when it comes to stimulants. Get me drunk on rum and Cokes, and 3 hours later I'll still be wired from the Coke after the booze has cleared my system.
posted by NortonDC at 8:27 PM on May 13, 2004

keswick: Another example of ring addiction.
posted by abcde at 1:34 AM on May 14, 2004

I tried giving up caffeine. I honestly did. I went three months without a single dose of it.

Result? I was a complete goddamn zombie every day for those three months.

Addicted? I dunno, probably. But, well, I know what I need to do to stay functional.
posted by webmutant at 12:53 PM on May 17, 2004

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