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A drug is any substance (other than that provides nutritional support) that, when inhaled, , , , absorbed via a on the skin, or dissolved under the tongue causes a physiological change in the body.

In , a pharmaceutical drug, also called a medication or medicine, is a chemical substance used to , , prevent, or diagnose a or to promote . Traditionally drugs were obtained through extraction from , but more recently also by organic synthesis. Pharmaceutical drugs may be used for a limited duration, or on a regular basis for chronic disorders.

Pharmaceutical drugs are often classified into —groups of related drugs that have similar chemical structures, the same mechanism of action (binding to the same biological target), a related mode of action, and that are used to treat the same disease.

(2017). 924156234X, World Health Organization. . 924156234X
The Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical Classification System (ATC), the most widely used drug classification system, assigns drugs a unique , which is an alphanumeric code that assigns it to specific drug classes within the ATC system. Another major classification system is the Biopharmaceutics Classification System. This classifies drugs according to their solubility and permeability or absorption properties.

Psychoactive drugs are chemical substances that affect the function of the central nervous system, altering , mood or . They include , a (and a stimulant in small quantities), and the and . These three are the most widely consumed psychoactive drugs worldwide and are also considered recreational drugs since they are used for pleasure rather than medicinal purposes. Other recreational drugs include , and and some of these are also used in spiritual or religious settings. Some drugs can cause and all drugs can have . "MHRA Side Effects of Medicines." MHRA Side Effects of Medicines, Excessive use of stimulants can promote stimulant psychosis. Many recreational drugs are illicit and international treaties such as the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs exist for the purpose of their prohibition.

In English, the noun "drug" is thought to originate from Old French "drogue", possibly deriving later into "droge-vate" from Middle Dutch meaning "dry barrels", referring to medicinal plants preserved in them. The transitive verb "to drug" (meaning intentionally administer a substance to someone, often without their knowledge) arose later and invokes the psychoactive rather than medicinal properties of a substance.


A medication or medicine is a drug taken to cure or ameliorate any symptoms of an or medical condition. The use may also be as preventive medicine that has future benefits but does not treat any existing or pre-existing diseases or symptoms.Dispensing of medication is often regulated by into three categories— over-the-counter medications, which are available in and supermarkets without special restrictions; behind-the-counter medicines, which are dispensed by a without needing a doctor's prescription, and prescription only medicines, which must be prescribed by a licensed medical professional, usually a .

In the United Kingdom, behind-the-counter medicines are called pharmacy medicines which can only be sold in registered pharmacies, by or under the supervision of a pharmacist. These medications are designated by the letter P on the label. The range of medicines available without a prescription varies from country to country. Medications are typically produced by pharmaceutical companies and are often to give the developer exclusive rights to produce them. Those that are not patented (or with expired patents) are called since they can be produced by other companies without restrictions or licenses from the patent holder. "Generic Drugs", Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Pharmaceutical drugs are usually categorised into . A group of drugs will share a similar chemical structure, or have the same mechanism of action, the same related mode of action or target the same illness or related illnesses.

(2017). 924156234X, World Health Organization. . 924156234X
The Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical Classification System (ATC), the most widely used drug classification system, assigns drugs a unique , which is an alphanumeric code that assigns it to specific drug classes within the ATC system. Another major classification system is the Biopharmaceutics Classification System. This groups drugs according to their solubility and permeability or absorption properties.

Spiritual and religious use
Some religions, particularly are based completely on the use of certain drugs, known as , which are mostly ,—, , or . Some drugs used as entheogens include which can act as a , a , a and an . The roots of the kava plant are used to produce a drink which is consumed throughout the cultures of the .

Some from different cultures use entheogens, defined as "generating the divine within" to achieve religious ecstasy. Amazonian shamans use (yagé) a hallucinogenic brew for this purpose. have a long and continuous tradition of religious use of a plant. Its use is to facilitate visionary states of consciousness during spiritual healing sessions.Valdés, Díaz & Paul 1983, p. 287.

is regarded by the as a sacred plant and used as an entheogen. Its root is traditionally used to induce vivid (and according to the Xhosa, prophetic) during the initiation process of , classifying it a naturally occurring similar to the more well-known dream herb .

a small spineless has been a major source of psychedelic and has probably been used by Native Americans for at least five thousand years. Most mescaline is now obtained from a few species of columnar cacti in particular from San Pedro and not from the vulnerable peyote.

The entheogenic use of cannabis has also been widely practised for centuries. use marijuana (ganja) as a in their religious ceremonies.

Psychedelic mushrooms (psilocybin mushrooms), commonly called magic mushrooms or shrooms have also long been used as entheogens.

Smart drugs and designer drugs
, also commonly referred to as "smart drugs", are drugs that are claimed to improve human . Nootropics are used to improve memory, concentration, thought, mood, learning, and many other things. Some nootropics are now beginning to be used to treat certain diseases such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, Parkinson's disease, and Alzheimer's disease. They are also commonly used to regain brain function lost during .

Other drugs known as are produced. An early example of what today would be labelled a 'designer drug' was LSD, which was synthesised from . Other examples include analogs of performance-enhancing drugs such as designer taken to improve physical capabilities and these are sometimes used (legally or not) for this purpose, often by professional athletes. Other designer drugs mimic the effects of psychoactive drugs. Since the late 1990s there has been the identification of many of these synthesised drugs. In Japan and the United Kingdom this has spurred the addition of many designer drugs into a newer class of controlled substances known as a temporary class drug.

Synthetic cannabinoids have been produced for a longer period of time and are used in the designer drug synthetic cannabis.

Recreational drug use
Recreational drug use is the use of a drug (legal, controlled, or illegal) with the primary intention of altering the state of consciousness through alteration of the central nervous system in order to create positive emotions and feelings. The hallucinogen is a psychoactive drug commonly used as a recreational drug.

prohibit the use of different recreational drugs; and medicinal drugs that have the potential for recreational use are often heavily regulated. However, there are many recreational drugs that are legal in many jurisdictions and widely culturally accepted. Cannabis is the most commonly consumed controlled recreational drug in the world (as of 2012). Its use in many countries is illegal but is legally used in several countries usually with the proviso that it can only be used for personal use. It can be used in the leaf form of (grass), or in the resin form of . Marijuana is a more mild form of cannabis than hashish.

There may be an age restriction on the consumption and purchase of legal recreational drugs. Some recreational drugs that are legal and accepted in many places include alcohol, , , and products, and in some areas of the world the legal use of drugs such as is common.

There are a number of commonly called legal highs that are used recreationally. The most widely used of these is alcohol.

Administration of drugs
All drugs, can be via a number of routes, and many can be administered by more than one.

Control of drugs
There are numerous governmental offices in many countries that deal with the control and oversee of drug manufacture and use, and the implementation of various drug laws. The Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs is an international brought about in 1961 to prohibit the use of narcotics save for those used in and treatment. In 1971 a second treaty the Convention on Psychotropic Substances had to be introduced to deal with newer recreational psychoactive and psychedelic drugs.

The legal status of Salvia divinorum varies in many countries and even in states within the United States. Where it is legislated against the degree of prohibition also varies.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States is a federal agency responsible for protecting and promoting through the and supervision of , , dietary supplements, prescription and over-the-counter medications, , biopharmaceuticals, blood transfusions, , electromagnetic radiation emitting devices, , and veterinary drugs.

See also
  • Controlled Substances Act
  • Inverse benefit law
  • List of drugs
  • List of pharmaceutical companies
  • List of psychoactive plants
  • List of Schedule I drugs (US)
  • Specialty drugs (United States)
  • United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

Further reading

External links
  • DrugBank, a database of 4800 drugs and 2500 protein drug targets

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