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What would a nicotine patch do to a non-smoker? (quora.com)
30 points by amelius on Sept 18, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 27 comments

Gwern has a lot of pointers to research on nicotine, and its effect as a stimulant.


That needs a whole lot of [citation needed].

It got the basic idea right, a nicotine patch will give the benefits of nicotine. And there are some, it's pretty much like caffeine, very harmless on its own.

But of course you can get addicted to it. Theres not necessarily a physical addiction, but if your ape brain connects a nicotine patch with some perceived or real benefit, that is all you need for a habit right there. You can get the same from chocolate.

So sure, withdrawal will not kill you, but it can still be habit forming. And you just need to look around to know there are plenty of people with difficulty to get rid of those.

My personal experience, I did nicotine patches before anything else.

I had previously used adderral, and was seeking an alternative that wouldn't require a prescription. I used nicotine patches for 3 years, before switching to vaporizing for 2 years now, almost entirely because of the socialization it has allowed that patches did not.

I'm sure there's more adverse effects from vaping than patches, and I'm sure long term stimulant use of any sort (caffeine included) can cause problems of many sorts. I personally don't think adderall or other prescription drugs (or unmedicated as I had been most of my life) would have been better, but of course they could have been.

So just wanted to share my experience.

How much nicotine do you vape now vs how much did you use with the patches? I'm told the absorption rate of nicotine through the lungs is higher than through the skin, but I'm curious to find out from someone who has used both which method is more effective.

Nothing beats the patch for consistent delivery. With vaping I have it more in bursts.

It's possible that's true about absorption. I wonder if maybe more nicotine is wasted vaporizing because you breathe most of it out or something, or maybe I'm not breathing deeply enough, but with the method of vaping that makes me most comfortable I "use" >3x the mg of nicotine I had before, 4ml of 6mg/ml strength juice a day compared to one 7mg patch.

I would say the patch is more consistent throughout the day, and the vape is easier to adjust throughout the day. Both are effective.

Oh, absorption rate duh, yeah with the patch the onset is like an hour almost, vape hits you much faster.

Did you get an equally stimulating effect from nicotine patches as you got from aderall?

For me, a 7mg nicotine patch had very much the same effect as half of a 20mg (I think it was 20mg pills I had been prescribed, but it's been a few years so I'm not positive) adderall pill.

The effects became very different in larger dosages, but in the smallest doses, I'm not sure I could explain or notice any difference.

Did you use adderall nootropically or did (do) you have strong ADD indicators?

It's a good question, I'm not sure I could give a confident answer, as the boundary is blurry to me.

I did have, for most of my life since childhood, what I would feel confident calling strong ADD indicators. The two psychiatrists I've spoken with agree with me, and while I didn't get this deep into the conversation with them, my personal feeling is that like many things it's a spectrum[1], that all humans are at least somewhere on that spectrum.

I did struggle to maintain a job and a home prior to being medicated, and since have been gradually moving towards a life that's normal and happy for me.


[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12518758

Could you describe the large-dose effects of each, if you have a moment?

For me with nicotine, when I have too much I get irritable or quick to anger.

With too much adderall, I'm still in a very content place, no anger, and amazingly "productive", but afterwards very dissappointed with my previous enthusiasm for what now seems in retrospect obviously not such a smart direction to be productive in.

This is a golden comment. To all the folks that cry fowl to others using "smart pills", one must really take the good with the bad when it comes with Adderall.

I recently did some research on Adderall, methylphenidate, modafinil, and selegiline as I'm diagnosed add-inattentive, ran out of insurance and thus medical care and scripts. I was looking for nonprescription alternatives. This is a fascinating alternative. Also, from what I learned, Adderall is a horrible substance. It's way stronger than even cocaine. I'll never touch it again, especially considering the alternatives available.

Hook them on the patch. [/s]

[edit: add informative metainfo.]

Nope, not physical addiction like with tobacco. There are many addictive things in tobacco products, but nicotine is not one of those.

Where are you getting that nicotine is not addictive? Everything I've ever read and can find searching says it is quite addictive, even by itself. It also definitely counts as "physically" addictive by the medical definition, i.e. it causes harmful side effects if you stop using it.

I'm not saying you're wrong for sure as I'm not an expert, but can you provide some evidence to back it up since this contradicts everything I've ever seen?

Current thinking is that nicotine isn't "addictive" unless coadministered with monoamine oxidase inhibitors, which happen to be present in tobacco

> Current thinking is that nicotine isn't "addictive" unless coadministered with monoamine oxidase inhibitors, which happen to be present in tobacco

This is a most-helpful comment. Thanks!

I commented earlier today [1], in another submission, that nicotine is rather similar to Niacin (Vitamin B3). Niacinamide has helps my girlfriend reduce her tobacco usage...

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12526802

The first anti-depressants were MAOI's. Some of them caused a serious side effects (high blood pressure) when the patient consumed fine aged cheese at the same time. When the SSRI patents came into effect patients were switched to the new drugs, but not because the SSRI's worked especially well.

This is tremendously surprising. Does this mean that e-cigs that are just nicotine with some flavor and a binding liquid of some sort aren't addictive?

Anecdotally, it's similar to caffeine. Nicotine on its own has proven a mild stimulant with minimal addictive effect. I like it, I want it, but mostly it is not something I think about.

But caffeine causes strong unpleasant withdrawal symptoms if you quit cold-turkey...

in my experience, it's still habit forming, though it really helped me to get off of cigarettes. I don't vape anymore (switched to snus) because it was ridiculously inconvenient. Too much gear to purchase and maintain and the products available in my city are either low quality or overpriced.

Really? Some people report being addicted to nicotine patches. I don't believe anybody.

Non/Never-smoker here. I started taking Nicotine lozenges when I first heard about this a while back to self-medicate ADD/Depression (too poor to afford insurance, will have it in 60 days and this will stop). It works incredibly quickly, and incredibly well. I take it as needed, I've gone over a week without using it and it's not remotely an issue. Zero rebound depression. Definitely helps focus.

Fascinating! Are there any studies that use the patch specifically for depression or even chronic fatigue like symptoms?

All the anecdotes I've seen of being addicted to nicotine gum or patches have been of former smokers who were using them to try to quit. That's not necessarily nicotine being addictive so much as their pre-existing tobacco addiction latching onto a replacement.

It's on the internet. It must be fact.

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