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Caffeine (ca-feen) is found in over 60 different plants and acts as a natural pesticide. It is the most commonly used drug in the world and is often found in coffee, tea, fizzy drink and energy drinks. Small amounts are also found in chocolate and confectionery products. Energy drinks are becoming increasingly popular.
Caffeine is a stimulant drug which can make you feel 'perked up' and more energetic. It also increases your heart rate and breathing. People taking it can experience alertness, improved concentration and mood although higher doses can cause headaches, restlessness, sleep problems and cravings.
It comes in pills/white powder or is sold in various products (tea and coffee) and is usually swallowed. Filter coffee and large cans of energy drinks usually contain the most caffeine with coca-cola containing smaller amounts. An average dose for caffeine powder will give around 20 doses from a gram. This dose should not be taken as a recommendation as dose varies depending on quality and product.
If you choose to use caffeine:
There is a risk of dependency with regular use
Drinking a glass of water after each cup of coffee/tea or caffeine product will prevent dehydration
Caffeine is one of the most popular ingredients found in products branded as 'legal highs'
Pure caffeine is a strong drug. Start with small doses and wait at least 1 hour before re-dosing
If you are taking caffeine for a ‘buzz’, try to have a few days off each week to give your body a rest and to reduce the risk of dependency
Caffeine products are legal to buy or sell and there are no legal age restrictions. Some schools will not allow energy drinks.
Despite being psychoactive, caffeine is exempt from The Psychoactive Substances Act.