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How Does Flakka Affect Your Brain?

How does Flakka affect your brain

How Does Flakka Affect Your Brain?

How does Flakka affect your brain?’ is a question that everyone has been wondering since 2015 when the news of this drug first appeared in South Florida.

For the uninitiated, Flakka is a synthetic drug, which means that it has been developed in a laboratory. This drug has gained popularity recently. Flakka is a potent drug that can stimulate the ‘feel-good’ chemicals in the brain. This drug can have severe repercussions on the brain and overall health of an individual.

A  recent National Institute of Health (NIH) study shows that the population is more vulnerable to using this drug. From 2016 to 2017, 0.8% of the total high school seniors in the United States are estimated to use Flakka at least once.

Given that Flakka is a recent drug, it is less popular than other artificial stimulants. Even the lightest dose of Flakka can wreak havoc on the health of an individual and put them in the emergency room of a hospital.

In this blog, we have compiled relevant details on ‘How does Flakka affect your brain?’ and the short and long-term side effects of using this drug.

What is Flakka?

In simple words, Flakka is a synthetic drug that was developed in a laboratory. It is an artificial stimulant that can induce hallucinatory effects. It is also known as alpha-PVP and is a cathinone drug that falls under the category of other substances known as bath salts. It has a chemical structure similar to bath salts.

Bath salts are another category of artificial stimulants for the central nervous system. This type of drug works by mimicking the effects of other potent drugs like cocaine, methamphetamine (also known as meth), and MDMA (also known as ecstasy). Bath salts got their name as they were smuggled and marketed as ‘bath salts’ and labeled as ‘not for human consumption’ to avoid getting caught.

Coming back to the topic of Flakka, this drug can be found in a powder or crystal form that users can snort, smoke, inject, or swallow. High doses of Flakka can result in seizures and result in an individual being unconscious or even dying.

Flakka works by overstimulating the central nervous system. This manipulates the neurotransmitters of the brain. As a result, an individual who takes Flakka may feel intense stimulation, increased energy levels, and a heightened sense of alertness. Additionally, this drug may also make an individual extremely alert, aggressive, agitated, paranoid, and hallucinated.

Given the unpredictable and health complications associated with the use of Flakka, this drug is illegal, and individuals are advised against using this drug. However, before understanding ‘How does Flakka affect your brain,’ it is crucial to comprehend how Flakka is misused and why this drug is so addictive.

What are the origins of Flakka, and what is it used for?

What are the origins of Flakka, and what is it used for?

Flakka is an illegal substance, and it is not used for any medical purpose. Being a synthetic drug, it is misused for recreational purposes. People are tempted to use Flakka due to its stimulating effects. Flakka is notorious for its hallucinatory effects, and individuals who take this drug feel an unnatural surge of energy, alertness, and euphoria.

People who use Flakka have also been reported to show unpredictable and violent behaviors that stem out of their paranoia, hallucinations, and the feeling that they have superhuman strength. For this reason, the production, sale, and use of Flakka are illegal.

In simpler terms, Flakka is a street drug that was first observed in South Florida. It is a ‘designer drug,’ which means that this drug was developed in a laboratory. Made from a synthetic version of cathinone called alpha-PVP, this drug can trigger unpredictable behavior in users.

Cathinones are chemicals that are obtained from the Khat plant. This plant is found in the Middle East and Somalia. People seeking to get a ‘recreational high’ chew the leaves of this plant. As per recent research, Flakka has resulted in 75 deaths from the years 2017 to 2020.

Why is Flakka addictive?

Why is Flakka addictive?

To understand ‘how does Flakka affect your brain,’ it is crucial to know how this drug works and the addictions associated with it. Flakka works by overstimulating the neurotransmitters of the brain. As a result, the brain’s secretion of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin is increased in unnatural proportions. These hormones are the ‘feel-good’ hormones of the human body. Extreme secretion of these hormones results in an individual feeling immense pleasure, euphoria, and invincibility. This makes Flakka being nicknamed as ‘The Zombie Drug’ as it is ten times more potent than cocaine and meth.

As Flakka starts to wear off, the individual starts feeling invincible. Such individuals become a danger to themselves and others around them. Once the effects of Flakka begin to wear off, the individual feels unnatural fatigue and depression. To avoid these feelings, they may be tempted to use Flakka again, which can lead to Flakka addiction.

Like any other drug, the users of Flakka may develop a tolerance to this drug with long-term use. Over a period of time, they may require higher doses of Flakka to feel the same effect that they once got with smaller quantities. This puts an individual in the risk of overdosing on this drug.

This makes Flakka extremely addictive. However, the question, ‘How does Flakka affect your brain?’ remains. In the next section of this blog, we will explore the answer to this question.

How does Flakka affect your brain chemistry?

Flakka affects the brain chemistry by making it delirious and triggering hallucinations and paranoia. Individuals who use Flakka sometimes get so paranoid that they start harming themselves and others around them.

When an individual ingests Flakka, the chemical compounds released from this drug bind themselves to the protein in the brain that transports dopamine. It is no secret that dopamine is a neurotransmitter in the brain that plays a crucial role in the feelings of reward and pleasure.

Once Flakka is successful in blocking the neurotransmitters of the brain, hormones like dopamine are blocked. This causes an unnatural surge in other hormones like serotonin and norepinephrine. As a result, this chemical imbalance in the brain impairs the ability of an individual to make judgments, and they end up behaving erratically and violently. In the next section of this blog, we will discuss ‘How does Flakka affect your brain function.’

How does Flakka affect your brain function?

By now, we are optimistic that it is well understood that Flakka is a synthetic drug that stimulates the central nervous system and causes an individual to hallucinate. These hallucinatory effects can also be seen in other drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine (also known as meth).

Use of Flakka can impair your brain permanently and make an individual aggressive, paranoid, and delusional. As the brain’s significant neurotransmitters are blocked and manipulated, this can result in organ failure in the rest of the body since the brain controls the entire body’s function. Overdosing on Flakka can also result in seizures, coma, and even death.

If you are still wondering, ‘How does Flakka affect your brain function?’ Let us put it more simply. Flakka can impair brain function to such an extent that an individual may find it hard to fall and stay asleep for the rest of their lives. It may also trigger episodes of depressive disorder and anxiety.

It is equally vital to understand ‘How does Flakka affect your brain and other organs’. In the next section, we will simplify the answer to this question.

How does Flakka affect your brain and other organs in the long term?

Flakka is notorious for triggering many long-term effects in your brain and body. This drug can instigate muscle damage, failure of the vital organs like the kidneys and the liver, and even heart attacks. Flakka can even permanently impair the brain’s decision-making and judgment ability.

Individuals who use Flakka for the long term may suffer extreme paranoia, mental illnesses like depression and anxiety, and suicidal tendencies. Apart from this, Flakka can also damage the arteries by blocking the blood vessels, which can lead to severe cardiovascular problems in the long run.

Flakka overloads an individual’s senses by reacting with the brain’s hormones on a chemical level, and this can even cause hyperthermia. Hyperthermia is when the body’s core reaches an unnaturally high temperature.

What are the immediate and short-term effects of Flakka?

The immediate effects of Flakka include delusions, paranoia, and unnatural energy and excitement. For example, an individual taking Flakka may be paranoid to such an extent that they may feel that a large group of people are chasing them. As a result, they might become aggressive to everyone around them.

In the year 2015, several reports mentioned individuals who were running naked in the streets and showing aggressive behavior by attacking those around them or impaling themselves into fences. These individuals were under the influence of Flakka. These individuals showcase unnatural strength, and it is pretty hard to control such individuals without the use of sedatives.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How does Flakka affect your brain?

Flakka affects your brain both in the short and the long term. This drug works by altering the chemical structure of the brain in such a way that it impacts an individual’s behavior, memory, and cognitive abilities. Usage of this drug can change an individual’s consciousness, memory, and attention span. People who use Flakka often have impaired judgment and memory.

2. What is alpha PVP, and how does it work?

Alpha PVP is a synthetic substance. It inhibits the neurotransmitters of the brain. Drugs with alpha PVP alter the chemical structure of the brain by manipulating the levels of norepinephrine and dopamine, which gives a heightened sense of pleasure and euphoria. As a result, when individuals experience drugs with alpha PVP, they want to come back to that drug to imitate the same feeling.

3. How does Flakka work?

The drug Flakka is a synthetic substance that works by manipulating and overstimulating the neurotransmitters of the brain. Flakka also compromises the brain’s hormones linked with mood, alertness, and judgment. People who use Flakka find it difficult to quit this substance because of the euphoric feeling and a sense of heightened pleasure that Flakka gives. Some people even feel hallucinatory effects when they use Flakka.

4. What are the immediate effects of Flakka?

People who use Flakka show aggressive behavior, increased heart rate, unnatural increase in strength, panic attacks, and hyperthermia, where the core body temperature of an individual increases, as a part of the immediate effects of Flakka.

5. Why is Flakka addictive?

Once an individual has experienced a ‘high’ from Flakka, they may undergo unpleasant symptoms when this drug leaves the body. These symptoms may lead to fatigue and depression, among various other severe withdrawal symptoms. To avoid these unpleasant feelings, users often return to this drug just to ease their discomfort, which results in Flakka addiction.


As we have reached the end of this blog, we sincerely hope that the question ‘How does Flakka affect your brain?’ has been explored. This blog intended to create awareness about this zombie drug.

It is no secret that nothing that is consumed to get a recreational high can ever be good for human beings. The same is the case with Flakka and other synthetic drugs. Once addicted, the withdrawal symptoms of Flakka are nasty, and an individual may find it hard to overcome their addiction.

Once ingested, an individual needs to detoxify themselves from even the slightest traces of this drug to save themselves from the catastrophic effects of this drug. This detoxification can be done in a hospital or an outpatient setting.

It is best if an individual finds the underlying cause with the help of a therapist to understand why they are tempted to use substances in the first place. In the interest of humanity, it is best if each of us finds healthy coping mechanisms for recreation and combat life’s daily stress.

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