Health effects of coffee

The health effects of coffee have been studied to determine how coffee drinking affects humans. Coffee contains several compounds which are known to affect human body chemistry. The coffee bean itself contains chemicals which are mild psychotropics for humans as a defense mechanism of the Coffee plant. These chemicals are toxic in large doses, or even in their normal amount when consumed by many creatures which may otherwise have threatened the beans in the wild. The primary psychoactive chemical in coffee is caffeine, which acts as a stimulant. Recent research has uncovered additional stimulating effects of coffee which are not related to its caffeine content. Coffee contains a currently unknown chemical agent which stimulates the production of cortisone and adrenaline, two stimulating hormones.[1][not in citation given] A May 2012 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that coffee drinkers "who drank at least two or three cups a day were about 10 percent or 15 percent less likely to die for any reason during the 13 years of the study."[2] The researchers who conducted the study said that this doesn't necessarily provide a cause-and-effect relationship, but will help point other researchers in the right direction.[3] For occasions when one wants to enjoy the flavour of coffee with only low stimulation, decaffeinated coffee (also called decaf) is available. This is coffee from which most of the caffeine has been removed, by the Swiss water process (which involves the soaking of raw beans to remove the caffeine) or the use of a chemical solvent such as trichloroethylene ("tri"), or the more popular methylene chloride, in a similar process. Another solvent used is ethyl acetate; the resultant decaffeinated coffee is marketed as "natural decaf" because ethyl acetate is naturally present in fruit. Extraction with supercritical carbon dioxide has also been employed. Decaffeinated coffee usually loses some flavor compared to normal coffee. There are also coffee altern tives that resemble coffee in taste but contain no caffeine. These are available both in ground form for brewing and in instant form. Caffeine dependency and withdrawal symptoms are well-documented. A psychoactive drug, psychopharmaceutical, or psychotropic is a chemical substance that crosses the bloodЦbrain barrier and acts primarily upon the central nervous system where it affects brain function, resulting in alterations in perception, mood, consciousness, cognition, and behavior.[1] These substances may be used recreationally, to purposefully alter one's consciousness, or as entheogens, for ritual, spiritual, and/or shamanic purposes, as a tool for studying or augmenting the mind. Some psychoactive drugs are also recognized for therapeutic use as anesthetics, analgesics, or for the treatment of psychiatric disorders. Because psychoactive substances bring about subjective changes in consciousness and mood that the user may find pleasant (e.g. euphoria) or advantageous (e.g. increased alertness), many psychoactive substances are abused, that is, used excessively, despite health risks or negative consequences. With sustained use of some substances, psychological and physical dependence ("addiction") may develop, making the cycle of abuse even more difficult to interrupt. Drug rehabilitation aims to break this cycle of dependency, through a combination of psychotherapy, support groups and even other psychoactive substances. However, the reverse is also true in some cases, that is certain experiences on drugs may be so unfriendly and uncomforting that the user may never want to try the substance again. This is especially true of the deliriants (e.g. Jimson weed) and powerful dissociatives (e.g. Salvia divinorum). Most purely psychedelic drugs are considered to be non-addictive (LSD, psilocybin, mescaline etc.); "psychedelic amphetamines" or empathogen-entactogens (such as MDA, MDMA etc.) may produce an additional stimulant and/or euphoriant effect, and thus have an addiction potential.