Cocaine was extracted from the coca leaves for the first time in 1859. The German chemist Albert Niemann concocted his experiment but it was not until the 80s that cocaine became popular in the medical setting.
- One of the oldest, strongest, and most dangerous stimulants of natural origin is Coca.
- 3,000 years B.C., ancient Incas in the Andes was known to chew on coca leaves to speed up breathing and get hearts racing so as to counter the effects of life in the thin mountain air.
- The native Peruvians were also known to chew on coca leaves ceremonially due to religious reasons.
- When Spanish soldiers entered Peru in 1532, the taboo was broken and Indian laborers were forced to work in Spain’s silver mines while being supplied with coca leaves making it easier to exploit and control them.
Niemann published an article about Coke in 1884 where he promoted cocaine and its benefits calling the substance “magical.”
By this time, Sigmund Freud was already a regular user of cocaine and recommended it to his best friend and his girlfriend for regular use. Although Freud affirmed that cocaine leads to moral and physical decadence, he went on to promote cocaine use to more people. Actually, one of his close friends ended up with paranoid hallucinations of white snakes crawling on his skin.
At the time, Freud insisted that the toxic dose of cocaine for humans is very high so as to appear there’s no lethal dose of cocaine. On the contrary, one of his patients died due to a high dose of cocaine.
Cocaine started out as a drug for the wealthy.
However, by the late 80s, it lost its title as the wealthy’s drug of choice. During that time, it was notorious for being America’s most addictive and dangerous drug linked to crime, poverty, and death.
When the early 90s came in, the Colombian drug cartels were already exporting 800 tons of cocaine annually shipping to the U.S., Europe, as well as Asia. Law enforcement agencies dismantled the large cartels midway through the 90s only to be replaced with smaller groups in Colombia.
Technically, cocaine is derived from the alkaloid inside coca leaves.
There are actually 200 varieties of coca plant but only two of them are used for refining, mostly cultivated in the mountains of South America and Central America. The alkaloid is a highly potent stimulant, which many have used for centuries way before it was popularized as a high-end drug.
Unfortunately, due to the illicit nature of cocaine, it is almost unknown where the actual plant comes from. U.S. scientists often study plants with the assumption that it is cocaine. Since 2008, cocaine has become the 2nd most trafficked illicit drug worldwide.
In the U.S., cocaine is a Schedule II drug which equates that it is very potent for misuse. Off the streets, cocaine is sold as “Crack,” “Flake,” “Snow,” “Toot,” “Coke,” “Charlie,” “Blow,” “Candy” and “Rock.” It’s highly addictive and can cause abnormal breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure that can lead to a heart attack, stroke, seizure or coma.