10 Things You Didn’t Know About Nicotine

Nicotine, a chemical most commonly found in the plants of the Solanaceae family, is an alkaloid and is found accumulated in the leaves of these plants, though the biosynthesis of this chemical occurs in the roots of the plants. Nicotine is one of the major components of addictive plants like tobacco (0.6%-3.0%) and is the reason behind their addiction in humans due to its psychoactive nature.

The follow are 10 interesting facts about nicotine. Vape Shop

1. Etymology

The name nicotine comes from the scientific name of the tobacco plant Nicotiana tabacum. The scientific name of the tobacco plant is itself named the French ambassador to Portugal Jean Nicot de Villemain. Villeman is credited for sending tobacco seeds and plant saplings to Paris in 1560 for its use in 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 labelled it as a poison. In fact nicotine is an antiherbivore chemical, which causes addiction when consumed in small amounts (1mg or less) and death if taken in high amounts (30mg-60mg).

3. Chemistry

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

4. Nicotine as an insecticide

As already said nicotine is an antiherbivore drug which if taken in large amounts is fatal to life forms. That is why nicotine laden tobacco has been used as an insecticide even before the World War II. But after the WWII its usage drastically lowered due to the availability of cheap synthetic insecticides which are more readily available than tobacco and less harmful to mammals. But in the recent times the hype surrounding organic farming has again increased the interest of the farmers in the use of tobacco as a pesticide as an alternate to chemical pesticides.

5. Nicotine addiction

Our central nervous system has certain nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. Nicotine binds to several of these and increases the amount of several neurotransmitters. Among these neurotransmitters dopamine is one such neurotransmitter which is significantly increased during nicotine use and is responsible for the sense of euphoria and relaxation caused by the use of tobacco (nicotine) products.

6. Psychoactive effects of nicotine

Nicotine is a psychoactive substance as it is mood altering. It causes both euphoria and relaxation. In the body nicotine is metabolised in the liver. First after its metabolism nicotine results in the release of glucose from the liver and epinephrine from the adrenal medulla. This sudden release of glucose and epinephrine causes euphoria after the intake of nicotine. After the initial euphoria nicotine leads to relaxation, increased alertness and sharpness by working on different neurotransmitters of the body. Nicotine also has pain relieving properties.