What are the benefits of nicotine?


Nicotine has a variety of nuanced effects on the brain and body as discussed on the :

  1. Cognitive Function: Nicotine can promote cognitive function and protect against certain forms of cognitive impairment. It enhances focus, mental performance, and can be particularly effective in the short term 1 2.

  2. Reward System: It activates the brain's reward pathways by triggering the release of dopamine from the nucleus accumbens, which increases feelings of wellbeing, alertness, and motivation 3.

    Nicotine's Nuanced Effects

    Andrew shares an anecdote about a Nobel prize-winning neuroscientist who consumes nicotine gum to stave off cognitive impairment. Nicotine can both promote and impair cognitive function, so a nuanced conversation about its benefits and drawbacks is necessary.

    Huberman Lab

    Nicotine’s Effects on the Brain & Body & How to Quit Smoking or Vaping | Huberman Lab Podcast #90
  3. Neurochemical Attention: Nicotine can act like a neurochemical spotlight, enhancing attention for specific tasks due to increased acetylcholine 4.

  4. Muscle Relaxation: Despite its effects on mental alertness and preparedness, nicotine can somewhat relax skeletal muscle, which may seem counterintuitive as nicotine receptors are also involved in muscle activation 5.

  5. Increased Sympathetic Tone: It can elevate heart rate, blood pressure, and prepare the body for mental readiness and physical action by enhancing the effects of the sympathetic nervous system 6 5.

Please note, while these benefits of nicotine have been discussed, also emphasizes the importance of a nuanced understanding of its drawbacks and potential health risks, especially when considering the delivery methods such as smoking or vaping. Additionally, nicotine should be avoided during critical periods of brain development 2.