5 Most Addictive Substances on Earth

Find out the world’s most addictive drugs and their effects on your brain.


What are the most addictive substances or drugs on earth? It may seem like a simple question, but the answer varies from person to person. According to  researchers, a drug’s potential to be addictive can be checked in terms of the harm it can cause, its street value, the extent to which the drug activates the brain’s dopamine system, how pleasurable people report it to be, the degree of it causing withdrawal symptoms and how easily a person gets hooked to the drug.

Here are the Top 5 most addictive drugs.

1. Heroin

Most addictive substances (Source: Discovery News)

Heroin has been rated as the most addictive drug and second most harmful drug in terms of damage to the users and to society. It is an opiate that increases the brain’s dopamine level by up to 200% in experimental animals.

2. Cocaine

Most addictive substances (Source: Village Voice)

Crack cocaine has been ranked as the third most damaging drug and powdered cocaine as the fifth most damaging. Cocaine directly interferes with how the brain uses dopamine to communicate from one neuron to another.

3. Nicotine

Most addictive substances (Source: Giphy)

Nicotine is rated as the third most addictive substance. It is the main ingredient of tobacco and is rapidly absorbed by the lungs and delivered to the brain once smoked.

4. Barbiturates (‘downers’)

Most addictive substances (Source: Pinterest)

Barbiturates are also known as gorillas, blue bullets, nembies, barbs and pink ladies. These are drugs whose initial purpose was to treat anxiety and to induce sleep. They interfere with the chemical signalling in the brain, which can cause various brain regions to shut down.

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5. Alcohol

Most addictive substances (Source: Cheezburger)

Alcohol has been ranked as the most damaging drug by other experts. It has various effects on the brain. In laboratory experiments on animals, it increased dopamine levels in the brain by 40-360%.

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5 Most Addictive Substances on Earth

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