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Is there scientific evidence of the effect of different alcohols on the brain?

 
 
Reply Mon 20 Sep, 2010 09:23 pm
Does vodka interact with the brain differently than gin? Tequila? Other clear spirits?
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Type: Question • Score: 6 • Views: 7,121 • Replies: 24
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hingehead
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Sep, 2010 10:31 pm
@ibstubro,
My undertanding is that the alcohol in all is just ethanol. And in affects your brain the same in the same quantities, regardless of the other flavourings and compounds that make each spirit unique.

Gin had the reputation of making people morose but I think that's a cultural meme from when it contained additional psychotropic substances like wormwood - which was removed to escape the bans that pushed absinthe off the shelves for a century.

So the alcohol in any given spirit is the same, but I can't make guarantees about additional compounds added.
aidan
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Sep, 2010 02:11 am
@ibstubro,
A friend of mine who has quite a lot of experience with alcohol has told me that he will no longer drink vodka because it gives him a different sort of drunk than ale, lager, wine, bitter, cider, etc.

I think he does drink other spirits, but will not drink vodka because he says it makes him mean. He says this doesn't happen when he drinks other sorts of alcohol. So I guess he believes it has a different effect on the brain.

I don't drink spirits at all, so I can't comment anecdotally.
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Sep, 2010 08:57 am
@ibstubro,
some of the tail end heavier distillates (Called fusel alcohols) have been believed to cause some of these effects and to impart really nasty headaches and nausea. I dont believe that theres any published evidence though.
I sure as hell wouldnt drink iospropyl or butyl alcohols or furfural.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Sep, 2010 09:21 am
What i recall from university biology and chemistry is that alcohol is alcohol is alcohol . . . but the differences in perceived effect derive from the source of the alcohol, and the other constituents of the beverage which are not alcohol. Unless you're drinking grain spirits of alcohol, in which case you're pickling your brain at high speed, and all other considerations dwindle into insignificance.
Ceili
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Sep, 2010 10:29 am
Mythbusters took this on and found each person reacted differently to spirits and beer. In Canada, or at least in this neck of the woods, Rye turns people violent idiots. That could be because it's still the drink of choice in some circles. I tried absinthe once. I'd say it's a different thing altogether, but it's made from wormwood, so it may have some different properties.
I worked in Pubs for years and I can tell you this... Some can drink more than others and appear not as drunk but you never knew if people drank on an empty stomach or if they'd had a few before they went to the bar. Tequila can killya but most people shoot straight shots and drinking shots is a sure way to get drunk faster.
ibstubro
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Sep, 2010 11:06 am
@hingehead,
I would tend to think that the 60 or so percent of liquid in the bottle with the alcohol could have some significant side effects of it's own. Perhaps even slight allergic reactions to some of the flavorings or compounds?
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ibstubro
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Sep, 2010 11:08 am
@aidan,
I asked the question because I swear that vodka effects a different part of my brain from other hard liquors. The very top left lob, specifically, 'feels' odd after drinking vodka.
ibstubro
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Sep, 2010 11:12 am
@Ceili,
Quote:
Mythbusters took this on and found each person reacted differently to spirits and beer.


Differently to different spirits, or just differently between spirits and beer?

Absinthe, being made with wormwood, is an hallucinogen that was favored by many prominent writers and artists of the 19th century.
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Sep, 2010 11:25 am
The effect of the alcohol (= ethanol) is the same.
The difference, however, is made by all the other stuff in the alcoholic drink.

Absinthe isn't more or less dangerous than any other alcoholic drink - the reason why it got such an evil reputation only had to do with the way how it was produced in late 19th(early 20th century (mainly the bad quality of the alcohol, and here especially in the home-productions in Val de Travers). (That's at least what all recent studies found and why the manufacture and sale since the early 90's.)
0 Replies
 
Ceili
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Sep, 2010 11:42 am
@ibstubro,
Yes, they had a few people drink beer then hard alcohol on two different days. Their reaction times, fine motor skills and hangover were measured, if that's possible. One guy was loaded on beer and yet seemed much more in control of himself on spirits. They didn't do wine.
Now that being said, while the show was interesting, I wouldn't take it as absolute truth. I'm sure there is much more indepth studies done, but it was interesting to watch nonetheless.

My favourite classical musicians were all on Absinthe. I tried it just because. Thought maybe I'd get inspired to be creative... ha ha ha. The stuff they sell in Canada is much less strong than the stuff they drank and like Walter said, far less polluted.
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  2  
Reply Tue 21 Sep, 2010 11:46 am
@ibstubro,
Vodka is one of those imbedded with the fusel alcohols, which are heavy and dont volatalize as quickly. Vodka will contain more of the isopropyl end which, in my mind, wastes longer in the GI tract than ethnol or lower distillate alkys.

furfural isnt an alcohol really so its just some grease and **** loeft over .
I do know that tequila is loaded with the fusel oil ends and is ready to make you nuts. Ive never seen a sane tequila drinker get quietly loaded. Its four fistfights to the fifth
hamburgboy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Sep, 2010 12:14 pm
@ibstubro,
give this a try and resort back to us .
it's called RATZEPUTZ and contains 58 % alcohol ( 116 proof ) .

it'll sure shock your senses . Shocked Drunk

 http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/de/thumb/4/41/Ratzeputz.jpg/100px-Ratzeputz.jpg
Ceili
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Sep, 2010 12:16 pm
@hamburgboy,
That stuff is like swallowing a live round. Instant drunk.
I was given a shot of this once. I lived to regret it...
hamburgboy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Sep, 2010 04:43 pm
@Ceili,
you lived to tell of the horrors of ratzeputz !
0 Replies
 
hingehead
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Sep, 2010 04:47 pm
We buy polish pure spirit to make limoncello. You have to ask for it, they keep it under the counter. It's about 80% alcohol. I wouldn't even clean my bike with it straight.
0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Sep, 2010 04:51 pm
@Setanta,
Do you know why some say you shouldn't mix beer with wine or the hard stuff with wine?
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Sep, 2010 04:53 pm
@hamburgboy,
Is that produced in Germany?
ibstubro
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Sep, 2010 08:56 pm
@farmerman,
I have lately become a tequila drinker.
I find it mellower than vodka. Perhaps I'm an insane tequila drinker?
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Sep, 2010 09:07 pm
@ibstubro,
I'm addicted to vodka.
 

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