If you think back to your glorious college days, you may remember a time when Four Lokos flowed freely at every pregame and frat party on campus.
In my opinion, those things were the perfect boozy beverage for all of us poor college kids.
Because let's be real: Those sugary concessions were cheap as hell and tasted a whole lot better than cheap beer.
Plus, you only needed one can of those bad boys to achieve a next-level blackout.
Unfortunately, the popularity of Four Lokos plummeted even faster than most our GPAs when the OG Four Loko formula was banned for making you way too turnt.
But have you ever wondered why this particular drink made you so fucked up?
Well, thanks to science, we may have an answer.
A study published in the science journal PLOS ONE revealed mixing booze with highly caffeinated energy drinks can have long-term effects on the brain that are similar to doing cocaine.
In fact, teens who regularly down this deadly combo can experience its brain-altering effects even into adulthood.
So yeah, if you've been hooked on Red Bull vodkas since senior year of high school, you could have seriously messed with your mind.
For the study, a team of researchers from Purdue University used adolescent mice to study the effects of mixing alcohol with caffeine.
When given a mixture of the two substances, the mice experienced a greater increase in locomotor activity than when the mice consumed caffeine exclusively.
Dr. Richard van Rijn, one of the lead authors in the study, stated,
It seems the two substances together push them over a limit that causes changes in their behavior and changes the neurochemistry in their brains. We are clearly seeing effects of the combined drinks that we would not see if drinking one or the other.
The researchers concluded the effects produced by mixing caffeine and alcohol were similar to that of cocaine, and they also found this combination enhanced the behavioral effects of cocaine when taken afterward.
Basically, if they ingested the caffeine and alcohol and then did a line of coke after, the cocaine high was more intense.
In fact, the mice that consumed the caffeine-alcohol mixture even displayed an increased level of the protein FosB, which is an indicator of long-term changes in brain chemistry typically associated with drug use.
Van Rijn revealed drinking Red Bull vodkas is similar to doing a line of coke because of the lasting effects it has on the brain.
According to Van Rijn,
Mice that had been exposed to alcohol and caffeine were somewhat numb to the rewarding effects of cocaine as adults. Mice that were exposed to highly caffeinated alcoholic drinks later found cocaine wasn't as pleasurable. They may then use more cocaine to get the same effect.
So, if someone offers you a Red Bull vodka this weekend, remember what your learned from your DARE officer back in elementary school, and just say "no."