The Difference Between Legal and Illegal Drugs

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Words: 1079 |

Pages: 2|

6 min read

Published: Nov 7, 2018

Words: 1079|Pages: 2|6 min read

Published: Nov 7, 2018

Commonly when we talk about drugs, these are the only two types that come into our mind.

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  1. Legal drugs.
  2. Illegal drugs.

Here we will briefly explain both types. Effects of both on consumers and their examples.

A legal drug is the intoxicating drug which is completely legal or not commonly prohibited by the drug laws. For instance, medicines are legal drugs. They are acceptable as they abide by the drug laws and thus doctors have the liberty to prescribe them. The medical stores as well have the liberty to sell them and people can buy them without any doubt. But in different nations laws are different so the same drug could be legal in one state and illegal in another.

These drugs stimulate the body functions, due to which the activity of the body and the brain speeds up. Generally, they are used to boost up the person and fill him/her with the high spirits. The person feels energized and active after having these stimulants

Stimulants Could Be Of Various Types:

  • Caffeine: It is a mild stimulant and is widely used in beverages such as tea, coffee, soft drinks and other carbonated drinks. It is also a part of some chocolates and no doubt, it fills you with energy instantly.
  • Nicotine: It is most common in tobacco products. In various countries, there is an age barrier on buying the cigarettes. The only country in which tobacco is completely prohibited is Bhutan.

These drugs take control of the mood swings in a person. The people who take the hallucinogens hallucinate. They observe the things that are actually not there and they hear what is never said. They lose their ability to think and are occupied by the strange thoughts. Salvia is a legal drug which is a hallucinogen, and has effect up to several minutes.

These Are Manufactured World Widely:

  • The Hawaiian baby wood rose, also known as the elephant creeper.
  • The Peruvian Torch cactus contains the chemical “mescaline”. Many states use it for religious purposes.
  • Blue Egyptian Water Lily has the capacity to induce stimulation in the various mental functions. There is enhanced visual perception and mild closed-eye visuals.

The drugs that take the person down and make him feel low are termed as depressant drugs. These drugs are used in medical conditions where the patient is too aggressive or too anxious. Taking the depressants in such a case slows down the person’s activity and people feel relaxed. They feel drowsy and sleepy. They do not feel stressed and their head feels light. Inhalants are common depressants which have powerful psychoactive effects. The effects last for a short period of time. They are sniffed or huffed.

Illegal drugs are drugs which have limitations on their ownership or use by a government, and are illegal in certain situations (meaning a person is not allowed to have them). Not everyone who tries a drug once will develop an addiction, although they are playing with fire if they use any of these harmful illegal drugs. An individual’s genetic makeup, social surroundings, family structure and even personal income play a role in his or her chances of developing a drug addiction.

Although marijuana is the most benign drug, it certainly can cause changes in the brain to the point of addiction. Marijuana isn’t seen as being physically or chemically addictive, but many health experts agree that it can be psychologically addictive. Roughly 10 percent of people who use marijuana will become dependent on it, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Marijuana addiction can lead to mild withdrawal symptoms, such as irritability, sleep difficulties, restlessness, physical discomfort and decreased appetite. Long-term use of marijuana has been found to decrease the volume of grey matter in the brain, while a longitudinal study in New Zealand found that teens who started and continued using the drug regularly lost an average of 8 IQ points by mid-adulthood.

Crack, also known as crack rocks, is the purest form of cocaine available and is smoked through a glass pipe. It causes the user’s brain to release large amounts of dopamine, which results in intense feelings of pleasure and a burst of energy for about 10 minutes. Some users become addicted to crack the first time they try it. Crack cocaine and powder cocaine have similar chemical compositions and effects, but crack causes a stronger, faster high, albeit one that lasts for a shorter amount of time. Crack abuse became a national crisis in the 1980s and early ‘90s, although crack users make up just a small percentage of overall cocaine users today. U.S. federal law is harsher for crack than it is for cocaine, particularly for those who are found distributing the substance.

Cocaine, like many other drugs, affects the amount of dopamine in a person’s brain and causes intense cravings for more of the substance. Snorting cocaine powder causes a rapid, intense high and builds up a tolerance quickly. Coming down from a cocaine high can cause depression, edginess and irregular sleeping and eating patterns. Cocaine use also carries the risk of heart attack, stroke, seizure and respiratory failure. Long-term use can lead to psychosis and hallucinations. Every month, somewhere between 1 million and 2 million Americans typically use cocaine. Annual cocaine deaths in the U.S. have hovered around 5,000 since 2011, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

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Heroin users instantly get a “rush,” and after a time, cannot experience any good feelings without using it. Addicts get intense cravings while going through withdrawal. Heroin is a semi-synthetic substance that is extracted from the opium plant, making it a member of the opioid class of drugs. Heroin is generally taken via needle injection, although pure forms of the drug can be smoked or snorted. Many heroin users got their start by being prescribed a legal opioid painkiller and then craving a similar, likely stronger effect once the prescription ran out. Opioids such as heroin are responsible for nearly 20 percent of all admissions for drug and alcohol treatment in the world.

Works Cited

  1. Johnson, D. (2018). Drugs: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press.
  2. Nelson, L. S., & Perrone, J. (2018). The Opioid Epidemic. New England Journal of Medicine, 378(5), 491-493.
  3. Volkow, N. D., Koob, G. F., & McLellan, A. T. (2016). Neurobiologic Advances from the Brain Disease Model of Addiction. New England Journal of Medicine, 374(4), 363-371.
  4. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2019). Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the United States: Results from the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Rockville, MD: Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
  5. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2021). Drug Facts: Cocaine. Retrieved from
  6. Center for Substance Abuse Research. (2021). Heroin. Retrieved from
  7. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2021). Drug Facts: Marijuana. Retrieved from
  8. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2021). Drug Facts: Hallucinogens. Retrieved from
  9. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2021). Drug Facts: Nicotine and Tobacco. Retrieved from
  10. World Health Organization. (2018). Management of Substance Abuse: Information sheet on opioid overdose. Retrieved from
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The Difference between Legal and Illegal Drugs. (2018, October 26). GradesFixer. Retrieved March 4, 2024, from
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