Dextromethorphan (DXM) is a cough suppressant that can also cause hallucinations, dissociation, and other psychoactive effects at high doses. DXM works by acting on the brain’s glutamate receptors and inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin. This leads to an increase in serotonin levels, which can produce feelings of euphoria, altered perception, and other effects associated with drug abuse.
The exact mechanism of DXM’s action in the brain is not fully understood, but it is thought to primarily affect the NMDA receptor, which is involved in memory and learning. When DXM binds to the NMDA receptor, it blocks the normal function of the receptor and disrupts communication between neurons. This disruption can lead to the hallucinatory and dissociative effects associated with DXM abuse.
Like other drugs of abuse, DXM can cause changes in the brain that lead to addiction. Chronic abuse of DXM can lead to tolerance, dependence, and withdrawal symptoms when the drug is discontinued. Additionally, repeated exposure to high doses of DXM can cause damage to the brain and other organs, leading to long-term health problems.