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The Health Effects of Cocaine

Cocaine can be snorted, injected and even smoked in some forms of the drug. In all cases cocaine is a strong central nervous system stimulant which affects the brain's processing of dopamine.

Short-Term Effects
When cocaine is used it interferes with the reabsorption of dopamine, a brain chemical associated with pleasure and movement, producing a euphoric effect. Shortly after cocaine is ingested the user may experience the following symptoms:

Constricted blood vessels.

Dilated pupils.

Increased body temperature.

Increased heart rate.

Higher blood pressure.
During the euphoric period after cocaine use, which can last up until 30 minutes, user will experience hyperstimulation, reduced fatigue, and mental alertness. However, some users also experience restlessness, irritability, and anxiety.
During a cocaine binge, when the drug is taken repeatedly, users may experience increasing restlessness, irritability and paranoia. For some users this can lead to a period of paranoid psychosis, with auditory hallucinations and a disconnection with reality.

Long-Term Effects
Repeated cocaine use can cause the following health consequences:

Irregular heart beat.

Heart attack.

Chest pain.

Respiratory failure.


Seizures and headaches.

Abdominal pain and nausea.
Chronic users of cocaine can become malnourished due to the drug's ability to decrease appetite. Each method of taking cocaine can produce specific health effects, including:

Snorting: Chronically runny nose, nosebleeds, loss of smell, hoarseness, and problems swallowing.

Ingesting: Severe bowel gangrene due to a reduction in the flow of blood to the intestines.

Injecting: Severe allergic reactions. Increased risk for contracting HIV, Hepatitis and other blood-borne diseases.
Although cocaine overdose is not common, it can occur and can be fatal. Because cocaine affects the heart and respiratory system, an overdose can cause death, especially when the drug is injected or smoked.
An overdose of cocaine can lead to:

Irregular heart beat or heart failure.

High blood pressure resulting in a brain hemorrhage.

Repeated convulsions.

Respiratory failure.
Cocaine is highly addictive and those who smoke cocaine appear to develop an addiction to the drug more rapidly that those who snort it. However, even those who snort cocaine can find themselves addicted.
Cocaine users report that they are never able to achieve the "high" they felt the first time that they used the drug. A tolerance to the drug is developed so that the euphoric feeling users get is not as intense nor does it last as long.

When cocaine is injected, the euphoric feeling can last from 15 to 30 minutes, but when it is smoked, in may last only five to 10 minutes, causing the user to use more cocaine more often to try to maintain that high.

When cocaine users stop using cocaine, or when they end a cocaine binge, they immediately experience a "crash" which includes depression, fatigue, lack of pleasure, anxiety, irritability, sleepiness and a strong craving for more cocaine.
Some people experience agitation and extreme suspicion when they quit using cocaine, but cocaine withdrawal usually does not have visible physical symptoms like vomiting, chills and tremors that occur with the withdrawal of other drugs. Read More......

How Synthetic Cocaine Is Made

Manufacturing Synthetic Cocaine
Cocaine produces central nervous system arousal or stimulant effects which closely resemble those of the amphetamines, the methylenedioxyamphetamines in particular.

This is due to the inhibition by cocaine of re-uptake of the norepinepherine released by the adrenergic nerve terminals, leading to an enhanced adrenergic stimulation of norepinephrine receptors.

The increased sense of well being and intense, but short lived, euphoric state produced by cocaine requires frequent administration.

Cocaine does not penetrate the intact skin, but is readily absorbed from the mucus membranes, creating the need to snort it. This accounts for the ulceration of the nasal septum after cocaine has been snorted for long periods.

The basic formula for cocaine starts by purchasing or making tropinone, converting the tropinone into 2-carbomethoxytropinone (also known as methyl-tropan-3-one-2-carboxylate), reducing this to ecgonine, and changing that to cocaine.

Sounds easy? It really is not very simple, but with new drug policies, cracking down on all of the drug smuggling at the borders, this synthetic cocaine may be the source of the future.

This synthesis is certainly worth performing with the high prices that cocaine is now commanding. As usual, I will start with the precursors and intermediates leading up to the product.

Succindialdehyde. This can be purchased, too. 23.2 g of succinaldoxime powder in 410 ml of 1 N sulfuric acid and add dropwise with stirring at 0j a solution of 27.6 g of sodium nitrite in 250 ml of water over 3 hours.

After the addition, stir and let the mixture rise to room temp for about 2 hours, taking care not to let outside air into the reaction. Stir in 5 g of Ba carbonate and filter.

Extract the filtrate with ether and dry, evaporate in vacuo to get the succindialdehyde.

This was taken from JOC, 22, 1390 (1957).
To make succinaldoxime, see JOC, 21, 644 (1956).

Complete Synthesis of Succindialdehyde. JACS, 68, 1608 (1946).

In a 2 liter 3 necked flask equipped with a stirrer, reflux condenser, and an addition funnel, is mixed 1 liter of ethanol, 67 g of freshly distilled pyrrole, and 141 g of hydroxylamine hydrochloride.

Heat to reflux until dissolved, add 106 g of anhydrous sodium carbonate in small portions as fast as reaction will allow. Reflux for 24 hours and filter the mixture.

Evaporate the filtrate to dryness under vacuo. Take up the residue in the minimum amount of boiling water, decolorize with carbon, filter and allow to recrystallize in refrigerator.

Filter to get product and concentrate to get additional crop. Yield of succinaldoxime powder is a little over 40 g, mp is 171-172j.

5.8 g of the above powder is placed in a beaker of 250 ml capacity and 54 ml of 10% sulfuric acid is added.

Cool to 0j and add in small portions of 7 g of sodium nitrite (if you add the nitrite too fast, nitrogen dioxide fumes will evolve).

After the dioxime is completely dissolved, allow the solution to warm to 20j and effervescence to go to completion. Neutralize the yellow solution to litmus by adding small portions of barium carbonate.

Filter off the barium sulfate that precipitates. The filtrate is 90% pure succindialdehyde and is not purified further for the reaction to create tropinone. Do this procedure 3 more times to get the proper amount for the next step, or multiply the amounts given by four and proceed as described above.

Take the total amount of succinaldehyde (obtained from 4 of the above syntheses combined) and without further treatment or purification (this had better be 15.5 g of succindialdehyde) put into an Erlenmeyer flask of 4-5 liters capacity.

Add 21.6 g of methylamine hydrochloride, 46.7 g of acetonedicarboxylic acid, and enough water to make a total volume of 2 liters. Adjust the pH to 8-10 by slowly adding a saturated solution of disodium phosphate.

The condensate of this reaction (allow to set for about 6 days) is extracted with ether, the ethereal solution is dried over sodium sulphate and distilled, the product coming over at 113j at 25 mm of pressure is collected.

Upon cooling, 14 g of tropinone crystallizes in the pure state. Tropinone can also be obtained by oxidation of tropine with potassium dichromate, but I could not find the specifics for this operation.

2-Carbomethoxytropinone. A mixture of 1.35 g of sodium methoxide (this is sodium in a minimum amount of methanol), 3.5 g of tropinone, 4 ml of dimethylcarbonate and 10 ml of toluene is refluxed for 30 min. Coo] to 0j and add 15 ml of water that contains 2.5 g of ammonium chloride.

Extract the solution after shaking with four 50 ml portions of chloroform, dry, evaporate the chloroform in vacuo. Dissolve the oil residue in 100 ml of ether, wash twice with a mixture of 6 ml of saturated potassium carbonate and three ml of 3 N KOH.

Dry and evaporate in vacuo to recover the unreacted tropinone. Take up the oil in a solution of aqueous ammonium chloride and extract with chloroform, dry, and evaporate in vacuo to get an oil.

The oil is dissolved in hot acetone, cool, and scratch inside of flask with glass rod to precipitate 2- carbomethoxytropinone. Recrystallize 16 g of this product in 30 ml of hot methyl acetate and add 4 ml of cold water and 4 ml of acetone. Put in freezer for 2l/2 to 3 hours.

Filter and wash the precipitate with cold methyl acetate to get pure product.

Methylecgonine. 0.4 mole of tropinone is suspended in 80 ml of ethanol in a Parr hydrogenation flask (or something that can take 100 psi and not react with the reaction, like stainless steel or glass).

10 g of Raney Nickle is added with good agitation (stirring or shaking) followed by 2- 3 ml of 20% NaOH solution.

Seal vessel, introduce 50 psi of hydrogen atmosphere (after flushing vessel with hydrogen) and heat to 40-50j.

After no more uptake of hydrogen (pressure gauge will hold steady after dropping to its lowest point) bleed off pressure and filter the nickle off, rinse out bottle with chloroform and use this rinse to rinse off the nickle while still on the filter paper. Make the filtrate basic with KOH after cooling to 10j.

Extract with chloroform dry, and evaporate the chloroform in vacuo to get an oil. Mix the oil plus any precipitate with an equal volume of dry ether and filter.

Add more dry ether to the filtrate until no more precipitate forms, filter and add to the rest of the precipitate. Recrystallize from isopropanol to get pure methylecgonine. Test for activity.

If active, skip down to the step for cocaine. If not active, proceed as follows. Stir with activated carbon for 30 min, filter, evaporate in vacuo, dissolve the brown liquid in methanol, and neutralize with 10% HCI acid in dry ether.

Evaporate the ether until the two layers disappear, and allow to stand for 2 hours at 0j to precipitate the title product. There are many ways to reduce 2-carbomethoxytropinone to methylecgonine.

I chose to design a Raney Nickle reduction because it is cheap and not as suspicious as LAH and it is much easier than zinc or sodium amalgams.

Cocaine. 4.15 g of methylecgonine and 5.7 g of benzoic anhydride in 150 ml of dry benzene are gently refluxed for 4 hours taking precaution against H20 in the air (drying tube).

Cool in an ice bath, acidify carefully with hydrochloric acid, dry, and evaporate in a vacuum to get a red oil which is treated with a little portion of isopropanoi to precipitate cocaine.

As you can see, this is quite a chore. The coca leaves give ecgonine, which as you can see, is only a Jump away from cocaine.

If you can get egconine, then dissolve 8l/2 g of it in 100 ml of ethanol and pass (bubble) dry HC1 gas through this solution for 30 min. Let cool to room temp and let stand for another 11/2 hours. Gently reflux for 30 min and evaporate in vacuo.

Basify the residue oil with NaOH and filter to get 8.4 g of methylecgonine, which is converted to cocaine as in the cocaine step above.

Below is given a somewhat easier method of producing tropinone by the general methods of Willstatter, who was instrumental in the first synthetic production of cocaine and several other alkaloids. After reviewing this method, I found it to be simpler than the above in many respects.

Tropinone. 10 g of pyrrolidinediethyl diacetate are heated with 10 g of cymene and 2 g of sodium powder, the reaction taking place at about 160j. During the reaction (which is complete in about 10 min) the temp should not exceed 172j.

The resulting reaction product is dissolved in water, then saturated with potassium carbonate, and the oil, which separates, is boiled with dilute sulfuric acid. 2.9 g of tropinone picrate forms and is filtered.

Here are two more formulas devised by Willstatter that produce tropinone from tropine. Take note of the yield differences.

Tropinone. To a solution of 25 g tropine, dissolved in 10 times its weight of 20% sulfuric acid are added 25 g of a 4% solution of potassium permanganate in 2 or 3 g portions over 45 min while keeping the temp at 10-12j.

The addition of permanganate will cause heat (keep the temp 10-12j) and precipitation of manganese dioxide. The reaction mixture is complete in I hour.

A large excess of NaOH is added and the reaction is steam distilled until I liter of distillate has been collected.

The tropinone is isolated as the dibenzal compound by mixing the distillate with 40 g of benzaldehyde in 500 cc of alcohol and 40 g of 10% sodium hydroxide solution. Let stand several days to get dibenzaltropinone as yellow needles. Yield: 15.5 g, 28%. Recrystallize from ethanol to purify.

Tropinone. A solution of 12 g of chromic acid in the same amount of water (12 g) and 60 g of glacial acetic acid is added dropwise with stirring over a period of 4 hours to a solution of 25 g of tropine in 500 cc of glacial acetic acid that has been warmed to 60-70j and is maintained at this temp during the addition.

Heat the mixture for a short time on a steam bath until all the chromic acid has disappeared, cool and make strongly alkaline with NaOH. Extract with six 500 cc portions of ether and evaporate the ether in vacuo to get an oil that crystallizes readily.

Purify by converting to the picrate or fractionally distill, collecting the fraction at 224-225j at 714 mm vacuo.

The tropinones can be used in the above formula (or in a formula that you have found elsewhere) to be converted to cocaine. Remember to recrystallize the 2-carbomethoxytropinone before converting to methylecgonine. Read More......

How Cocaine Is Made

Manufacturing Cocaine
There are around 250 species of plants in the Erythroxylum (Erythroxylon) genus. At least 17 produce cocaine. Only a few of these 17 species are commonly used for the production of South American cocaine because they produce a larger yield than the others.

Coca can be harvested several (usually 4-6) times a year. Traditionally, chewing the sacred leaf promotes contact with the spirit world. Chewing or smoking coca leaves invigorates the user, allowing the user to absorb the plant's magical powers and protect body and spirit alike.

In its native habitat, the coca plant is resistant to drought and disease. It doesn't need irrigation. The introduction of coca to England was pioneered early in the nineteenth century by the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew. But the plant has yet to find a place in orthodox western horticulture.

Cocaine could only be taken in leaf form until about 1860. The natural source gives a low dose of cocaine with effects similar to drinking strong coffee. People who chew coca leaves do not often have a serious addiction problem because there is so little cocaine in each leaf.

However, in 1858-1860 cocaine was isolated from the plant material by chemist Albert Niemann at the University of Gottingen in Germany. Shortly after this form of purification was discovered, people began to inhale it (snort) and to inject it.

Cocaine Synthesis
Coca leaves are stripped from the plant and crushed, chopped, and/or pounded and mixed with a solution of alcohol, gasoline, kerosene, or some other solvent that will separate the cocaine from the leaves.

The resulting liquid contains unpurified cocaine alkaloids and may additionally contain waxy material from the leaves. This waxy material can be removed by heating and then cooling the mixture, a process that solidifies the unwanted wax.

The next step is to isolate the cocaine alkaloids from the liquid. This is done with acid and basic mixtures. The alkaloids that are removed in this process are then treated with kerosene.

The kerosene is removed and gas crystals of crude cocaine are left at the bottom of the tank. Typically, the crystals are dissolved in methyl alcohol. They are then recrystallized and dissolved in sulfuric acid, which results in cocaine that is about 60% pure.

It should be noted that cocaine at this point is basically freebase cocaine, very similar to crack. In fact, when a person freebases cocaine, or makes crack, they are reversing what is done in the next process.

What is done next is converting freebase cocaine to a salt called cocaine hydrochloride (regular cocaine). The reasons for converting it to a salt are:

1) If the cocaine was left in this form for long it would lose its potency.
2) To make it water soluble (it does not dissolve well in water unless converted to cocaine hydrochloride). The drug (in hydrochloride form) can be used for injecting or snorting into the bloodstream.

Blood is about 50 percent water, any drug which is injected into the human body must be dissolvable in water. If it is not, it will float around in the body in a non dissolved clump. Such clumps are likely to cause strokes or cardiac arrest (heart attack).

Because of factors like these cocaine is further treated with oxidizing agents to produce a water-soluble form of the drug. This is usually done by further washing, oxidation and separation procedures that involve potassium permanganate, benzole, and sodium carbonate. The result is an odorless, white crystalline powder. It has a bitter, numbing taste.

Freebase and crack cocaine are derived from cocaine hydrochloride that has been chemically treated with ammonia and ether (freebase) or baking soda (crack) to free the potent base material from the salt.

Freebase was originally produced by a dangerous four or five step process in which the hydrochloride salt was heated with water and a volatile liquid such as ether.

Base cocaine in the form of crack is safer to produce than freebase made with ether. Crack and freebase cocaine are not soluble in water, so they can't be injected or sniffed.

Instead, crack and freebase cocaine are usually smoked from pipes, burnt on a piece of tin foil, or mixed with tobacco or marijuana and smoked like a cigarette or joint. Read More......

Information About Coca Leaves

Coca is a densely-leafed plant native to the eastern slopes of the Andes. Erythroxylum coca has been widely cultivated in Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador. It is also been widely cultivated in Columbia, the source of a large percentage of the world's cocaine.

Of the over 200 varieties of coca plant, only three were commonly used for the production of South American cocaine. Colombian coca was used in Colombia. Amazonian coca was used in the Amazon River basin. Huanuco coca was used in Bolivia and Peru.

Typically, coca thrives in warm, moist valleys between 1500 and 6000 meters above sea level. The plant grows to a height of up to eight feet. The leaves are rich in vitamins, protein, calcium, iron and fiber.

The cocaine content of the leaves ranges from 0.1% to 0.9%; like the user, it tends to get higher with altitude. Plants grown at higher altitudes take longer to mature but are more potent than those grown at lower heights.

Some species of the plant can live up to 20 years. Most are ready to produce viable coca leaves within 2 years of sprouting, however some longer living varieties take more time. As the plant ages, the quantity of leaves the plant generates declines.

The leaves must be dried or converted to cocaine soon after harvest, or they will be attacked by mold that will render them worthless as a source of cocaine.

The coca plant's cocaine alkaloid is also a pesticide. Thus evolutionary selection pressure has favored its natural synthesis. Cocaine powerfully inhibits the neuronal reuptake of dopamine; but it is an even more potent inhibitor of the insect-specific neurotransmitter octopamine. Insects that feed on coca overdose on their own octopamine.

Chewing coca counters the symptoms of 'mountain sickness' and oxygen-deprivation. The daily dose of the average coquero is around 200mg, that is a little less than 1/4 gram.

Chewing coca leaves with a dash of powdered lime is a nutritious and energizing way to induce healthy mood without causing an unsustainable high. Unfortunately, it is not very good for one's teeth.

Strictly speaking, the leaves aren't actually chewed. Typically, the dried coca leaf is moistened with saliva. The wad is placed between the gum and cheek and it is gently sucked.

The invigorating juices are swallowed. Lime-rich materials such as burnt seashells or a cereal are used to promote the separation of the leaf's active alkaloid.

Shamans from some traditional Indian tribes still smoke coca leaves for magical purposes. Inhaling the sacred vapors induces a trance-like state.

Coca enables a shaman to cross 'the bridge of smoke', enter the world of spirits, and activate his magical powers. Alas the leaves don't travel well; and this ancient usage is uncommon in the urban industrial West.

Because the US government has (or paid others to) sprayed coca fields in South America with various chemicals to kill coca plants, it is said various new strains have emerged.

Some claim a strain called Boliviana Negra was developed (through selective breeding or genetic lab modification?) to be resistant to the herbicide Roundup (glyphosate). Spraying Boliviana Negra with glyphosate helps it grow faster by eliminating the weeds surrounding it.

In 1996, a patented glyphosate-resistant soybean was marketed by Monsanto, suggesting that it would be possible to genetic modify coca in the same manner. It is not known if Boliviana Negra is a real super-strain of coca that was developed in this manner.


I read in Licit and Illicit Drugs that the people living in the Andes who chewed coca leaves to deal with the thin air had no trouble stopping use once they moved to a more airy clime.

People interested in checking further into this might be interested in a couple of articles about coca leaf chewing:

By Andrew Bell


Cocaine Pharmacokinetics in Humans.
The Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 3 (1981) 353-366.

Therefore, on the basis of this new information that has come as a result of technological development we can conclude with a practical observation.

The size of the quid of coca leaves that can be comfortably accommodated by a person is such that it is unlikely that coca chewing, as practiced for centuries in places like Macchu Piccu, presents the dangers that may result from the modern forms of recreational use.

Particularly interesting about this article is that the report came out of the Division of Research of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

By A. Barnett, R. Hawks, and R. Resnick


The Therapeutic Value of Coca in Contemporary Medicine.
The Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 3 (1981) 367-376.

I have lived among coca-using Indians of the Andes and the Amazon basin in Columbia and Peru and have not seen any signs of physical deterioration attributable to the leaf. I have never seen an instance of coca toxicity. Nor have I observed physiological or psychological dependence on coca.

Even life-long chewers seem able to get the effect they want from the same dose over time; there is no development of tolerance and certainly no withdrawal syndrome upon sudden discontinuance of use.

By A. Weil Read More......

Cocaine Use

From Chewing Coca Leaves To Crack
Chewing Coca Leaves. Coca consumption was originally the prerogative of the Inca elite. Today, most of the natives indulge as well. Coca is also consumed as the highly esteemed coca de mate.

Drinking coca tea tends to soothe the stomach, so it's good for digestive problems. Coca de mate is less likely to induce jitteriness than coffee. It is a rather more effective mood brightener too.

Cocaine Sulfate - pasta, basuco, basa, pitillo, paste. This is the low grade stuff that reaches the urban slums of South America. The sulfate is the intermediate stage between the coca leaf and the finished cocaine hydrochloride crystal.

Coca leaves are stripped from the plant. They are put in plastic pit with a solution of water and sulfuric acid. A bare footed man will climb in the pit, step on the mess and move it around with his hands.

Cocaine Hydrochloride - an odorless, white crystalline powder. It has a bitter, numbing taste. This is the type of cocaine available in most cities.

Making cocaine hydrochloride is quite complicated. The pasta is first washed in kerosene. It is then chilled. The kerosene is removed. Gas crystals of crude cocaine are left at the bottom of the tank.

Typically, the crystals are dissolved in methyl alcohol. They are then re-crystallized and dissolved once more in sulfuric acid. Further washing, oxidation and separation procedures involve potassium permanganate, benzole, and sodium carbonate.

Freebase And Crack Cocaine. Freebase and crack cocaine are derived from cocaine hydrochloride which has been chemically treated to free the potent base material from the salt.

Freebase was originally produced by a dangerous four or five step process in which the hydrochloride salt was heated with water and a volatile liquid such as ether.

Base cocaine in the form of crack is safer to produce but it is no less addictive. Crack and freebase are indissoluble in water, so they can't be injected or sniffed easily.

Instead, base is usually smoked from pipes, burnt on a piece of tin foil, or mixed with tobacco and marijuana in a smokable joint.

The euphoric rush comes within a few seconds (even faster than from injecting cocaine hydrochloride). Initially, the user may experience a profound sense of power, mastery, cleverness and uninhibited desire. But the exhilaration usually starts to fade within a few minutes.

Cocaine Use
Physical constraints ensure that even the most ardent coquero can get only a modest amount of cocaine into his bloodstream. Coca induced heart-attacks and strokes are thus extremely rare among traditional users.

In recent decades, however, there have been changes in cocaine's route of administration, patterns of use, the technology of cocaine production, and typical dosages.

Crack is actually a less pure sort of freebase cocaine. Unlike old fashioned freebase, however, its production doesn't involve any flammable solvents.

Crack is usually made by mixing two parts of cocaine hydrochloride with one part baking soda in some water. The solution is then heated gently until white precipitates form. Crack is then cut or broken into small rocks weighing a few tenths of a gram.

The traditional method of taking cocaine in the west involved snorting the hydrochloride salt. But absorption through the nasalmucousa is relatively modest.

This is because their surface-area is small and cocaine is vasoconstrictive. Freebase, on the other hand, is smoked and inhaled directly into the lungs. Therefore much higher doses are possible. Inhalation is followed by an intense euphoric rush.

Chronic cocaine use causes a decrease in the production of enkephalin, one of the brain's natural opioids. This in turn causes a compensatory increase in the number of mu-receptors. The number of unoccupied mu-receptors may be associated with the craving and abstinence syndrome.

After chronic exposure to cocaine, the number of post-synaptic dopamine receptors in the CNS is reduced. The amount of dopamine transporter protein is increased.

Tolerance to cocaine's effects does exist over prolonged use; but the extent of this physiological adaptation is relatively modest. The cocaine user still gets high; but in the absence of cocaine, his pre-synaptic neurons sequester dopamine in the synaptic cleft with greater efficiency.

This may induce depression, sometimes severe. Read More......

What Is Crack Cocaine?

Crack is a form of freebase cocaine that is best suited to smoking. Smoking street cocaine (cocaine hydrochloride) is possible but a lot of the cocaine gets destroyed when heated.

Cocaine hydrochloride requires a high temperature to ignite, freebase cocaine requires a much lower temperature to ignite.

Converting cocaine to freebase is fairly easy and the resulting product is ideal for smoking. Very little of the cocaine is destroyed in the heating process when smoking freebase cocaine.

The reason people smoke freebase cocaine is because it provides a feeling that is similar to the effect one gets from injecting cocaine. But smoking freebase cocaine does not require needles.

See how to make crack and freebase cocaine for further information on freebase cocaine. Read More......

History of Cocaine, Recreational Use

Before the 1860's cocaine was only available in leaf form. The cocaine content of coca leaf is under 1%. After cocaine was isolated from coca leaf, it was available legally in concentrations that were nearly 100% pure.

The active ingredient from the coca leaf was first isolated by Albert Niemann. In 1860 he gave the compound the name cocaine.

Cocaine was first used recreationally in the 1860s. People were using cocaine as a recreational drug almost as soon as it was synthesized. A few years after its synthesis, cocaine appeared in cigarettes, ointments, nasal sprays, and preparations sold as tonics.

These legal tonics had coke mixed with other substances, including morphine, codeine, and opium. They were sold in a liquid form, and cured "whatever ailed you". The powder itself was used recreationally almost as soon as it was isolated.

The most popular of cocaine laced products was Mariani Wine (Vin Mariani). It was a wine and cocaine mixture that was launched in 1863. Nearly all popular personalities of the day used and endorsed it. These Vin Maria lovers included: Queen Victoria, The Pope, Thomas Edison, and others.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "Sign Of Four" was written about 30 years after the synthesis of cocaine. In the book Sherlock Holmes (an intravenous cocaine and morphine user) gives reasons for his cocaine and morphine use "...I abhor the dull routine of existence. I crave for mental exaltation..."

The negative effects of cocaine addiction were soon noticed and between 1887 and 1914 forty six states had passed laws aimed at controlling it.

The press began to associate cocaine powder use with societies outcast in the 1890s. Criminals, prostitutes, pimps, gamblers, and racial minorities were usually the target.

Then in 1914 the U.S. federal government classified cocaine as a narcotic (which it is not) and outlawed it. After passing the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914, the only way a person could get cocaine was with a prescription, or illegally.

In the 1920s cocaine use declined, and that decline was to become more so in the 1930s, when amphetamine (speed) became popular among drug users.

Amphetamine was appealing to the cocaine user because the high it produced was much like cocaine's. It did not deliver quite the same peak, but its effects lasted longer.

More significantly, it was cheap, readily available and legal. With the appearance of legally obtainable amphetamine (readily available by the late 1930s), cocaine use declined considerably. Its use remained low until all amphetamines, including meth became illegal in the 1960s.

This made amphetamine more difficult to obtain, so dealers and users switched back to the neglected cocaine, and the first flurries of the current blizzard arrived. Cocaine is not a drug that burst onto the scene sometime in the 1960s. It was used as a recreational drug, a century before. Read More......

History of Cocaine, Medical Use

Toothache Cures and Patent Medicines
Cocaine was first synthesized in pure form by Albert Niemann. In 1860, he extracted pure cocaine powder from the leaves of Erythroxylum coca (more commonly known as the coca plant). Soon after it was isolated, cocaine was used to try to cure almost all the illnesses and maladies that were known to man.

It wasn't long after the isolation of pure cocaine until people became aware of the addictive potential of the drug. Today, use in medicine had been tempered by experience. Medical use has been largely restricted to producing local anesthesia. Even in this area, the dangers of cocaine led to the early development of safer drugs.

One of its first non medical uses was military. In 1883 Theodor Aschenbrandt administered cocaine to members of the Bavarian army. It was found that the drug enhanced their endurance on manoeuvre. His positive findings were published in a German medical journal, which brought the effects of this wonder drug to a wider medical audience, including Sigmund Freud (see below).

In the USA, cocaine was sold over-the-counter until 1916. It was widely used in tonics, toothache cures, patent medicines, and chocolate cocaine tablets. Prospective buyers were advised (in the words of pharmaceutical firm Parke-Davis) that cocaine "could make the coward brave, the silent eloquent, and render the sufferer insensitive to pain".

When combined with alcohol, it yielded a further potently reinforcing compound, now known to be cocaethylene. Thus cocaine was a popular ingredient in wines, notably Vin Mariani. Coca wine received endorsement from prime-ministers, royalty and even the Pope.

One medical use that was found early in the history of cocaine, and which the drug is still used for today (rarely), is that of a good surface anesthetic. Beginning in the late 1880s surgical procedures using local anesthetics (numbing a specific area to pain) were starting to be used instead of general anesthesia (rendering a person unconscious).

This was due to experiments that were conducted by William Halstead, using cocaine. William Halstead was one of the four founders of The Johns Hopkins Medical School. He is often referred to as the Father of American Surgery.

Unfortunately William experimented on himself by injecting cocaine, to see if surgery could be performed using cocaine as a local anesthetic. After experimenting for a time, he became addicted.

The addiction grew so bad it put his career on the line. He stopped shooting cocaine and began taking morphine instead. A habit that probably lasted the rest of his life.

Cocaine Toothache Drops Ad, 1885

Coca-Cola was invented in 1885 and first sold to consumers in 1886. At that time, it was sold as a patent medicine. It was promoted as a temperance drink offering the virtues of coca without the vices of alcohol. The new beverage was invigorating and popular.

Until the early 1900's, one of the ingredients was cocaine. Today, coca-cola still uses coca leaves for flavoring. The company imports several tons of coca leaves from South America each year. However, the leaves are used only for flavoring, since the cocaine has been removed.

A coca leaf typically contains between 0.1 and 0.9 percent cocaine. If chewed in such form, it rarely presents the user with any social or medical problems. When the leaves are soaked and mashed, however, cocaine is extracted as a coca-paste. The paste is 60 to 80 per cent pure. It is usually exported in the form of the salt, cocaine hydrochloride.

This is the powdered cocaine most common, until recently, in the West. Drug testing for cocaine aims to detect the presence of its major metabolite, the inactive benzoylecgonine. Benzoylecgonine can be detected for up to five days in casual users. In chronic users, urinary detection is possible for as long as three weeks.

Sigmund Freud the father of psychoanalysis, in the early 1880s began to experiment with cocaine. At a time when he was undergoing a low period in his life, he reported that cocaine lifted his spirit, and took his mind off his professional and financial difficulties. He sent cocaine to his fiancee, telling her it would make her strong and give her cheeks a red color.

Freud was to play a significant role in the development of the Western cocaine industry. I take very small doses of it regularly and against depression and against indigestion, and with the most brilliant success, he observed. Drug giants Merck and Parke Davies both paid Freud to endorse their rival brands. He wrote several enthusiastic papers on cocaine, notably Uber coca (1884).

Taken from "On Cocaine" by Sigmund Freud
A few minutes after taking cocaine, one experiences a certain exhilaration and feeling of lightness. One feels a certain furriness on the lips and palate, followed by a feeling of warmth in the same areas; if one now drinks cold water, it feels warm on the lips and cold in the throat. One other occasions the predominant feeling is a rather pleasant coolness in the mouth and throat.

During this first trial I experienced a short period of toxic effects, which did not recur in subsequent experiments. Breathing became slower and deeper and I felt tired and sleepy; I yawned frequently and felt somewhat dull. After a few minutes the actual cocaine euphoria began, introduced by repeated cooling eructation. Immediately after taking the cocaine I noticed a slight slackening of the pulse and later a moderate increase.

I have observed the same physical signs of the effect of cocaine in others, mostly people my own age. The most constant symptom proved to be the repeated cooling eructation. This is often accompanied by a rumbling which must originate from high up in the intestine; two of the people I observed, who said they were able to recognize movements in their stomachs, declared emphatically that they had repeatedly detected such movements.

Often, at the outset of the cocaine effect, the subjects alleged that they experienced an intense feeling of heat in the head. I noticed this in myself as well in the course of some later experiments, but on other occasions it was absent. In only two cases did coca give rise to dizziness. On the whole the toxic effects of coca are of short duration, and much less intense than those produced by effective doses of quinine or salicylate of soda; they seem to become even weaker after repeated use of cocaine. Read More......

The History Of Cocaine

Old History of Cocaine

In traditional Indian cultures, Mama Coca was considered a benevolent deity. She was regarded as a sacred goddess who could bless humans with her power.

Before the coca harvest, the harvester would sleep with a woman to ensure Mama Coca would be in a favorable mood. Typically, a decoction of coca and saliva was rubbed onto the male organ to prolong erotic ecstasy.

Traditionally, the leaves have been chewed for social, mystical, medicinal and religious purposes. Coca has even been used to provide a measure of time and distance. Native travelers sometimes described a journey in terms of the number of mouthfuls of coca typically chewed in making the trip.

South American Indians have used cocaine as it occurs in the leaves of Erythroxylum coca (also called Erythroxylon coca) for at least 5000 years. In its native habitat, the coca plant is resistant to drought and disease. It needs no irrigation. Coca can be harvested several times a year. Traditionally, chewing the sacred leaf promotes contact with the spirit world.

Chewing or smoking coca leaves invigorates the user, allowing him to absorb the plant's magical powers and protect body and spirit alike.

The introduction of coca to England was pioneered early in nineteenth century by the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew; but the plant has yet to find a place in orthodox Western horticulture.

In pre-Columbian times, the coca leaf was reserved for Inca royalty. The natives subsequently used it for mystical, religious, social, nutritional and medicinal purposes.

They exploited its stimulant properties to ward off fatigue and hunger, enhance endurance, and to promote a benign sense of well-being.

It was initially banned by the Spanish. But the invaders discovered that without the Inca "gift of the gods", the natives could barely work the fields, or mine gold. So it came to be cultivated by the Catholic Church.

Coca leaves were distributed three or four times a day to the workers during brief rest-breaks. Returning Spanish conquistadors introduced it to Europe. Coca was touted as "an elixir of life".

In 1814, an editorial in Gentleman's Magazine urged researchers to begin experimentation so that coca could be used as "a substitute for food, so that people could live a month, now and then, without eating..."

New History of Cocaine
The active ingredient (an alkaloid) from the coca plant (erythroxylum) was first isolated by a chemist named Albert Niemann. In 1860 he gave the compound the name cocaine.

The drug induces a sense of exhilaration in the user primarily by blocking the reuptake of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the midbrain.

Soon after it was first synthesized, cocaine was available almost everywhere. Sometimes available in powder form, it was also mixed with various other products like wine and cigarettes. Doctors dispensed cocaine as an antidote to morphine addiction. Unfortunately, some patients made a habit of combining them.

Freud described cocaine as a magical drug. He wrote a song of praise in its honor and practiced extensive self-experimentation. To Sherlock Holmes, cocaine was "so transcendentally stimulating and clarifying to the mind that its secondary action is a matter of small moment".

Cocaine is now an integral part of the world economy. Its street price reflects the competitive pressures of today's global marketplace.

Coca has been grown commercially in Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Indonesia, Nigeria, Malaysia and Japan. The first cocaine cartel was formed, not in Columbia, but in Amsterdam.

Founded in 1910, the Cocaine Manufacturers Syndicate included pharmaceutical giants Merck, Sandoz and Hoffman-LaRoche. At present, however, most production occurs in clandestine laboratories in South America.

Since the 1980's, cocaine has become a significant export-earner for many poor South American countries. In the year 2000, South America exported some 1000 tons of refined cocaine.

In the 1980s, millions of drug-naive Americans were introduced to 'decocainised' coca tea imported from South America. In Peru, the legitimate cultivation of coca, and the production of all cocaine licensed for pharmaceutical export, was controlled by the government's own National Enterprise Of Coca.

In a bid to expand and diversify its product range, the National Enterprise Of Coca promoted the benefits of coca in the form of a wholesome traditional beverage.

This state-sponsored export-drive was successful: overseas demand proved brisk. From 1983, 'Inca Health Tea' sold especially well in the North American market.

Lemongrass and other flavors were added to cater to American palates. Soon mate de coca could be bought in tea-shops and grocery stores in US cities.

Mate de coca is an agreeable and invigorating mood-brightener. It is also benign, patients at the San Francisco National Addiction Research Foundation, for instance, were encouraged in the 1980s to drink as much mate de coca as they desired to help wean themselves off cocaine.

When consumed in generous quantities, the tea is good at easing drug-cravings; but this is because the average tea-bag contains 5 milligrams of cocaine.

Inca tea is now illegal in the USA.

The CIA And Cocaine
The cocaine trade continues to spawn eyebrow-raising alliances. Declassified documents now available at the CIA web site disclose that in the 1980s CIA operatives teamed up with cocaine dealers in the fight against Communism.

In 1979, the people of the small Central American country of Nicaragua overthrew the US-backed Samoza dictatorship. To the horror of US policy-makers, the Nicaraguans then elected a left-wing government.

Investigative journalist Richard Webb, in his book Dark Alliance first revealed how profits from cocaine sold in Los Angeles and Miami were used by the CIA to fund, and buy guns for the anti communist contra rebels.

Suitcases stuffed with coke-tainted US dollars were dispatched to Nicaragua to foment insurrection and civil war.

According to Internic records in 1998 the domain cocaine.com was registered in the name of the CIA. Read More......