A single dose of cocaine can lower perceptions of sadness and anger, says a new study.
Researchers from The Netherlands and Germany took 24 students, aged 19 to 27, with light to moderate cocaine use, and gave them either 300mg of oral cocaine, or a placebo. After one to two hours, each participant was then subjected to a series of biochemical tests and facial emotion recognition tests to measure response to a series of basic emotions, such as fear, anger, disgust, sadness, and happiness.
Researchers found that in comparison with placebo, the subjects who took cocaine found it more difficult to recognize negative emotions. They also found that subjects who showed a larger cortisol response after taking cocaine, had a less marked impairment of negative emotions. When they were intoxicated with cocaine, their performance was ten percent worse compared to their performance during placebo, in recognizing both sadness and anger.
Lead researcher Kim Kuypers of the Maastricht University said that this was the first study to look at the short-term effect of cocaine on emotions and showed that a single dose interfered with a person's ability to recognize negative emotions, such as anger and sadness.
Kuypers said this could explain why cocaine-users reported higher levels of sociability when intoxicated, simply because they could not recognize negative emotions. The new study is published in the Journal European Neuropsychopharmacology