Coca and cocaine

Coca and cocaine


This article contains information that can generate situations of danger and harm as it deals with hallucinogenic substances. The data present are for informational purposes only, not exhortative and in no case medical.

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According to estimates by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (2008), for 2007 i major producing countries of coca are concentrated in the Andean regions: Colombia (61%), Bolivia (10%) and Peru (29%). Obviously, the involvement of other South American states is not excluded, before the drug is exported to the main consumer markets, North America and Europe.

The cocaine produced in the Andean countries is then smuggled into Europe through Brazil, Ecuador, Venezuela and the Caribbean, but there are also other routes such as West African countries (Guinea, the Cape Verde islands) while the routes of entry in Europe they are mainly through Spain and Portugal even if we begin to observe that other countries are now a direct route for importation such as the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, France, United Kingdom and Germany and also new emerging countries such as those of Europe Oriental.

In 2007, according to data from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) there was a net increase in the cultivation of coca in the Andean countries (181,000 registered in Colombia, Peru and Bolivia), recording an increase of 16 % compared to 2006, however, with an almost stable production (994 metric tons!) compared to 2006 (which is explained by an excessive exploitation of the land and its greater fragmentation in remote and therefore unsuitable locations, to escape controls). The surprising thing is that almost half of the cocaine production and a third of the cultivation come from only 10 Colombian municipalities (out of 195) that seem to be those under the control of the rebels. It has been observed that the same thing happens in Afghanistan where the largest production of double occurs in a few provinces, those with a strong prevalence of the Taliban.

The use of the leaves is very marginal as almost all of the production of the leaves is destined for the production of cocaine and its derivatives.

For what concern consumption cocaine is after the leaves and the resin ofCannabis, the illicit substance used and sold most frequently in the world and in Europe (with variations from country to country).

Consumers are very heterogeneous, ranging from the most privileged members of society to the most marginalized members and therefore also the type of consumption is both occasional and addictive.

It is estimated that about 12 million Europeans have tried it at least once in their life, equal to 3.6% of adults in the 15-64 age group and especially in the 15-34 age group and are especially men to make more use of it.It is estimated that around 4 million Europeans have used it in the last year (on average 1.2%) and 2 million in the last month, or about 0.5 % of the adult population (however, these estimates are likely to be conservative).

The main consumers would be the Spaniards, the British and to a lesser extent the Italians, the Danes and the Irish. It has been observed that in countries where amphetamines are used most there is a lower consumption of this drug and vice versa.

The greatest consumption is of cocaine and secondarily crack and to follow the other derivatives.

It should be noted that the drug problem in general is particularly followed by United Nations that have been addressing the problem globally for years. In 1998 in New York (at the UN General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem, Ungass), goals were (have) been set to achieve a significant and measurable reduction in the supply and demand for illicit drugs in ten years after 1998. In the meeting in March 2008 to take stock of the situation, it was realized, however, that the results obtained at world level were quite disappointing. A Commission has therefore been set up to review world anti-drug policies and the results of which will be presented in Vienna in March 2009 for further decisions.


The coca plant was known since ancient times. It is native to some areas of Peru and is thought to date back to 4,000 BC.

Recent studies have ascertained that the oldest remains of cultivated coca have been found in the coastal desert area and in small caves in the Cordillera despite botanical considerations locating it in the forest.

It is unlikely to think that this plant was widespread throughout Peru because this would mean that since the Preceramo period - the history of Peru has been divided into the following historical periods: Precerámico period; Inicial period; Horizonte Temprano (corresponds to the Chavín-Paracas culture); Intermediate Period Temprano; Middle Horizonte (Wari-Tiahauanaco empire); Intermediate Period Late; Horizonte Tardío (Inca Empire) - Peru was a united and compact nation until the arrival of the Spaniards, which is not true as the country had a very difficult geography that is made up of deserts, very high mountain ranges, impenetrable forests that brought with them the the existence of very isolated nuclei from each other, especially culturally, which only occasionally met when some group decided to expand its area of ​​influence.

Scholars affirm that only during the periods defined Horizonte did the diffusion and exchange of cultures and goods take place. During the intermediate periods there was no possibility of exchange between the different populations so the coca produced in the warm parts of the eastern side of the Andes had no possibility to go anywhere.

The Incas they considered it a sacred plant reserved exclusively for religious ceremonies used as a symbol of royalty and aristocracy and was limited to the upper social classes and was not widespread among the population. It is only with the arrival of the Spaniards that this plant has spread almost everywhere since the Spaniards after the conquest of the Incas empire (begun in 1532 under the command of Francisco Pizarro) forced the natives to work in the gold and silver mines (we are around the years 1573) and in the fields and to give them greater resistance and reduce hunger and thirst they were given the leaves of this plant to eat. In fact, it was during the Spanish domination that the habit of chewing the leaves spread throughout the indigenous population up to the north of Argentina and Colombia, thus losing its sacred character and also used as pay for workers.

Many have written that during that period they wanted to suppress the use of coca for religious reasons, but many chroniclers claimed that it was to prevent the mortality of workers in the Andes. But he never felt like he wanted to suppress his crops.

At the end of the 1400s, its leaves arrived in Europa and begins a very long period of struggle between the proponents of the use of this drug and the prohibitionists. On the one hand there were those who were in favor of its consumption, recognizing its enormous economic value and those who, on the other hand, using moral and public order arguments, argued the need to eradicate this use because it was linked to magical practices and witchcraft.

Juan de Matienzo's phrase is famous (1520-1579), Spanish jurist and official of the king who in an audience said: "... quitar la coca es querer que no haya Peru ..." lively plans to ban its use because according to some clergymen it was an obstacle to Christianization.

This led to the II Council of Lima (1567-69) where it was said "... cosa inútil y perniciosa que leads to la perdición por ser talismán del diablo" ".. useless and bad thing that leads to perdition for being the talisman of the devil".

Despite this, after a series of strictly economic considerations, it was argued that the use and production of coca had to be tolerated for the sake of the normal functioning of the economic system. Thus began a real trade and production e in the second half of 1500 a thousand Spaniards trafficked in coca. During the mandate of Viceroy Cañete (1555-1560) there was talk of limiting production, therefore not granting more licenses for its production, dictated by the fact that a greater product placed on the market would have brought down the price. But with subsequent rulers such as Nieva and García de Castro the cultivation began to expand to meet the demands of the soldiers of fortune who roamed the territory in search of wealth.

The city of Potosi and Cusco were the heart of the trade and had an annual bargaining of 100,000 baskets of coca which yielded around half a million pesos. obviously the Spanish crown, seen the enormous movement of money that was generated, organized itself by imposing taxes and the church itself was predisposed to turn a blind eye as a large slice entered its coffers, so much so that the Jesuit Blas Valera alluded to the fact that a large part of the income of the bishop and canons of Cusco derived from coca.

Now, even if in that period the de facto legislation protected its production, the crown, however, could not ignore the pressures that existed for the control of coca, recommended to the ecclesiastical judges to maintain careful vigilance on the colonial exploitation of public morality. . Therefore, although the economic imperatives required tolerance, it was quite another thing to extend the permissiveness to consumption which generated idolatry and witchcraft. A paradoxical situation was therefore created: the cultivation and consumption of coca was allowed for the workers (those of the mines under the control of the Spaniards where they worked mostly indigenous) but it punished if it produced economic benefits. So while in the forest and in the places where there were mines it was permissible to have stocks of this plant, even important ones, in cities it was considered a crime.

Garcilaso de la Vega

Paolo Mantegazza

In 1607 Garcilaso de la Vega whose name was Gómez Suárez de Figueroa (1539/1616) Peruvian writer nicknamed El Inca as he was one of the first mestizos in the New World to write mainly about issues concerning the Inca people, he dedicates a chapter ofComentarios Reales at Tabaco y a la Coca, arguing that: "There is no reason to forget the plant that the natives call kuka (in Quechua), Peru's main wealth ».

It was in 1750 that Joseph de Jussieu introduced coca plants from Bolivia to the herbarium of the Museo de Historia Natural de Paris. They were then studied by Jean-Baptiste Lamark who gave it the name ofErythroxylon coca.

In 1786 the coca plant was registered in the Botanical Encyclopedia of Lamarck in the family ofErythroxilaceae such Erythroxylum.

In 1858 Niemann and Walter isolated cocaine, the alkaloid responsible for the psychoactive properties of this plant. At first it was used in medicine for its anesthetic properties and later also for the detoxification of heroin addicts. Since then, a fervent study of cocaine and its effects began.

In the same year Paolo Mantegazza (Italian doctor and anthropologist, 1831-1910) one of the major scholars of cocaine (photo above) of the nineteenth century aroused Western interest in this plant, due to its memorableOn the hygienic and medicinal virtues of Coca and on nervous foods in general published in 1858.

In 1863 Angelo Mariani (Corsican chemist, 1838-1914) produces a coca wine based on coca leaves (the ethanol in the wine served as a solvent and extracted the cocaine from the leaves) which immediately became famous and was acclaimed by opera singers and musicians as an excellent remedy for sore throats, as a stimulant and tonic. to make its inventor deserve the medal of the Medical Academy of France.

Angelo Mariani

Mariani wine

Each ounce (28.35 g) of Mariani wine it contained 11% alcohol and 6.5 milligrams of cocaine. It was probably for this reason that Pope Leo XIII gave him a gold medal and also acted as a testimonial for his product.

Writers loved him: Emile Zola, Jules Verne, Alexandre Dumas and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Everyone was thrilled. Robert Louis Stevenson appears to have written The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde during a six-day cocaine trip. Crowned heads also made extensive use of it: Queen Victoria, King George of Greece, King Alfonso XIII of Spain, the Shah of Persia and even the American presidents William McKinley and Ulysses Grant. Everyone made use of this wine.

Sigmund Freud

Karl Koller

In 1880 cocaine became part of the Pharmaceutical Handbook of the United States of America and was considered to all intents and purposes a drug.

In 1884 Sigmund Freud (photo above) recommended it for many diseases including depression (and he himself made extensive use of it) and the ophthalmologist Karl Koller (photo above) tried cocaine as an anesthetic in some eye surgeries and proposed its use for ocular anesthesia.

In 1886 a drink based on coca leaf was born, derived from the famous Mariani wine, deprived of the alcoholic component. It is placed on the US market, produced by pharmacist John Pemberton (photo below) born in 1831 in Knoxville, in the state of Georgia and died at the age of 57, inventor, entrepreneur, chemist and pharmaceutical.

John Pemberton

Coca cola brand

This drink was calledCoca Cola obtained with non-alcoholic extract of coca leaves imported from Peru and African cola nuts, dissolved in a sweet caramel syrup patented in 1887 and Frank Robinson designed his brand that has remained unchanged since then.

Asa Candler

Shortly before his death (in 1888) Pemberton he sold his formula to Asa Candler (photo above) who will quickly turn into one of the richest men in the world.

In his Atlanta museum, no mention is made of the fact that the drink is descended from the magical Peruvian plant, although it is still flavored with its leaves from which the cocaine has obviously been removed.

In 1889 Morris, in the Royal Botanical Garden of Kiew (U.K.) identifies the Erythroxylum novogranatense.

In 1901, North American medicine recognized the virtues of coca in the workHistory of Coca (W.G. Mortimer) J.V. Vail, New York.

At the end of the nineteenth century, the attitude towards cocaine changed as it became clear that it was addictive. Its use began to be described as a vice so much that people began to panic. L'American journal of pharmacy in 1903 he declared that the use of cocaine was widespread above all among "bohemians, gamblers, prostitutes of all races, night porters, messengers, thieves, criminals, pimps and casual workers".

The story continues until 1912 when the Opium Convention (which included the states of Germany, the United States of America, China, the French Republic, the United Kingdom of Great Britain of Ireland and the British Overseas Territories, India, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Persia, the Portuguese Republic , Russia, Siam and later Switzerland) which defined the ban on the use of cocaine, morphine and heroin. A year later, Peru also signs the Hague Convention.

Since then, a lot of progress has been made in trying to curb the use and production of cocaine with on the one hand the pressure from the producing states that want its legalization and the remaining nations of the world that vice versa prohibit its use. Today the cocaine trade overcomes every cultural barrier and every distance between continents having the world as its only market and profit as its sole objective.


Obviously the legislation in different countries of the world is different regarding the sale and consumption of this drug. Mostly it is only the producing countries that are in favor (although not explicitly) of consumption as it is highlighted that it is the coca derivatives that are harmful and not the coca leaves themselves.

This video is emblematic in which Evo Morales president of Bolivia gives Hugo Chávez president of Venezuela some coca leaves which he starts consuming as soon as he finishes speaking in an official live speech.

We also wish to report this article The other side of coca (in Spanish) which highlights what they think and what is done in coca-producing countries.


The name coca comes from most likely from the language of the Aymara people (who live mainly in the vicinity of Lake Titicaca - photo on the left - between Peru, Bolivia, northern Chile and northeastern Argentina)koka which means "divine plant".

According to others it derives from the wordkuka, the proper name of the plant in the Quechua language (it was the official language of the Inca Empire, and is currently spoken in various dialects by about 10 million people in western South America).

Speaking of coke ... Asa Candler's son had four elephants on his farm which were named respectively: Coca, Col a, Refrescante and Deliciosa.

Dr. M. G. Davoli

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Online bibliographic sources:

  • (en, it) 2008 Annual report: the state of the drugs problem in Europee
  • (en) 2008 World Drug Report - United Nation Office on Drugs and Crime
  • (en, es) UNGLASS
  • (es) Congreso de la Republica of Peru
  • (en) UNODOC (United Nations Office On Drugs and Crime)
  • (it) Web Co Care (Department of Pathological Addictions, ASL 4, Turin)
  • (es) Materiales para la intervention social y educativa before the consumption of drugs
  • (es) Cocaine monograph editor Francisco Pascual, Meritxell Torres, Amador Calafat
  • (es) Uso y abusos de la coca, basic formacion sobre la coca y la cocaine (part 1)

Historia de la coca y la cocaína

Post de Juan Carlos Ruiz Franco | 14 septiembre, 2020 | Opiniones | Fuente original:

Los primeros tiempos

The hoja de coca is obtained from a shrub native to Sudamérica, from the zonas cálidas and húmedas de los Andes (Colombia, Bolivia and Perú). The historia of the use of the planta de coca is cases as tan largo como la humanidad (1). Existen restos arqueológicos que demuestran su consumption in the noroeste area of ​​Peru, in a fecha tan temprana as el sexto milenio antes de nuestra. Las ruinas encontradas en lo que en otra época fueron casas contain hojas de coca mascadas y piedras with high content in calcium, with las que habrían obtenido the cal necessary to free the alkaloides of the hoja.

The consumption parecía estar limitado to ciertos individuos, how it will be hubiera sido an exclusivo de unos pocos privilege. Esto encaja bien with el conocido hecho de que, antes de la conquest española, during el Imperio Inca, the hoja de coca estaba reservada a los nobles y a los sacerdotes. El emperador podía conceder el derecho a mascar coca a quien él quisiera, en pago por los servicios prestados (2).

Según cuentan varias fuentes, el consumption increased después de que los españoles destruyeran el Imperio Inca en el siglo XVI, puesto que las clases bajas, ya sin las restrictivas leyes tradicionales, comenzaron a utilizar coca. Poco después, los conquistadores la prohibieron por motivos religiosos, to consider it a pagan tradición. Sin embargo, Pronto se dieron cuenta de que podía ser a buena fuente de ingresos, hasta el point de que including los impuestos llegaron to pay with hojas de coca. También observaron que, mascando las hojas, the indios were capaces de realizar trabajos inimaginables without her, between other things extraer el preciado mineral de las minas de oro y plata. En consecuencia, I decide to permit it.

During los dos primeros siglos de dominación española, the coca siguió is a costumbre exclusively propia de Sudamérica. El médico y botánico Nicolás Monardes habló sobre ella en uno de sus libros (Historia medicinal de las cosas que se traen de nuestras Indias Occidentales, 1574) y trajo hojas a Europa a finales del siglo XVI (1580), pero no despertó mucho interés, to lo cual seguramente contributed que pierden sus propiedades with el paso del tiempo. The redacción de un poema dedicated to this planta by the English poet Abraham Cowley (A Legend of Coca, 1662) and la mención en las Institutiones rei medicae (1708) by the doctor, químico y botánico holandés Herman Boerhaave tampoco hicieron mucho por su popularización en el Viejo Mundo. Certainly, the slow and sustained estimation that generates the coca, and the hecho de tener que mascarla during horas junto with alguna alkaline substance para que la hoja libere sus principesos activos, no es muy propia de la mentalidad European.

El boom de la coca

Fue a mediados del siglo XIX when the coca despertó gran interés, coinciding with the viajes de algunos destacados naturalistas europeos por Sudamérica, que les permitió observar as the consumían los nativos y las proezas físicas que les permit realizar. Su estudio fue acompañado por el intent de aislar el principle activo, que logró por primera vez en 1855 el químico alemán Friedrich Gaedcke (1828-1890), quien le dio el nombre de eritroxilina (3), por la familia, el género y el nombre científico de la planta (Erythroxylum coca).

Albert Niemann explicated in su tesis doctoral, published in 1860 (4), los pasos necesarios para aislar el principle activo by means of a process more refinado que el empleado por Gaedcke, describió sus propiedades y le dio el nombre de 'cocaína'. Las hojas necesarias para el trabajo se las propcionó su profesor en la Universidad de Gotinga, Friedrich Wöhler, quien, a su vez, las había achieved gracias al viaje of doctor Carl Scherzer alrededor del mundo. Bastantes años después —en 1898—, Richard Willstätter (1872 –1942) achievement describir su estructura y obtener la molécula by means of síntesis química.

Buena muestra del interés que elicitó en los medios científicos en this época fue la labor del neurólogo y physiólogo Italiano Paolo Mantegazza (1831 - 1910), que viajó a Sudamérica y, tras observar el Uso que los nativos hacían de ella, probó a consumir las hojas during a tiempo. Tan enthusiasmado quedó con sus cualidades que en 1858 escribió un article titulado "On the hygienic and medicinal virtues of coca and on nervous foods in general" ("Sobre las virtudes higiénicas y medicinales de la coca y sobre la nutrición nerviosa en general"), whence describió susbeneos sobre el rendimiento físico y mental. También dedicated a chapter to her in su principal obra sobre drogas, Paintings of human nature. Parties and intoxications ("Descripción de la naturaleza humana. Fiestas y ebriedades"). Él mismo hizo un buen use de esta y otras sustancias, y estaba convencido de que un hombre adult puede utilizarlas en abundancia sin inconvenientes.

The coca parecía a panacea que Europe acababa de redescubrir, y en medio de ese environment favorable and cargado de optimismo positivista, el burgués emprendedor with formación científica de finales de siglo no podía dejar pasar la opucky. Para aprovechar sus bondades y avoid tener que mascar las hojas junto con alguna alkaline substance aparecieron diversas presentaciones comerciales. The más conocida y prestosa was, sin duda, el Vino Mariani, obra del corso Ángelo Mariani (1838 - 1914). Le ayudó en la tarea su prima, el doctor Charles Fauvel (1830 - 1896), a laryngologist who dedicated it to treating the problems of garganta de los cantantes de aquella época by means of the application of dyeing coca ya use it as an anesthetic agent in the operaciones . Mariani —que siempre afirmó ser pharmacéutico, aunque no constara que hubiese cursado la carrera en ninguna universidad—, como buen hombre de negocios, no podía entender que a nadie se le hubiera ocurrido the idea of ​​combining coca with wine. En aquel tiempo eran muy famosos los vinos tonificantes, ya que el alcohol es un buen vehiculante para muchos medicamentos, y de paso el vino lograba disimular el mal sabor de los principos activos de la coca.

El Vino de Coca Mariani

In 1863, Mariani created the immortalization product, the Mariani wine. If you administer it to una actriz que sentía depressimida, quien mejoró tan rápidamente que lo recomendó a todos sus compañeros. Además de por sus excelentes cualidad tónicas y terapéuticas, el éxito de Mariani se debió to the use of a wine of Burdeos de primera calidad y un sabor excelente. Aunque nunca quiso revelar la fórmula, ésta consistía en algo tan simple as sesenta gramos de hojas de coca pulverizadas, sumergidas during diez horas in a liter of wine with a graduación alcohólica of 10% to 15%. Basándonos in the medium content in cocaine de las hojas de coca, on producto no podía containing demasiada cantidad del alcaloide. One liter can hold between 150 and 300 miligramos of cocaína. Sin embargo, sus adeptos decían feel an agradable sensación de bienestar y una estimulación positive, nunca excesiva. The explicación se conoció a principes de los noventa of the siglo XX, aunque se suspechaba desde hace mucho tiempo. Varios grupos de investigadores comprobaron que, en presencia de alcohol, the cocaína se metaboliza en el organism en forma de una sustancia llamada cocaetileno, y de este modo los efectos se perciben como más positivos, más eufóricos y con mayor duración gracias a su acción sobre los neurotransmisores serotonina, norepinephrine y dopamine. The mechanism parece consists in the inhibition of the transportadores of serotonin, noradrenaline and dopamine, with the increase in the nivel de estos neurotransmisores en las sinapsis neuronales (5).

El Vino Mariani se hizo muy famous y su autor se convirtió en una persona célebre. Numerosas personalidades lo tomaron por razones terapéuticas y recomendaron on consumption to the public, between ellos escritores as Zola, Verne, Dumas y Conan Doyle, y actrices as Sarah Bernardt. También part of the European royalty was Mariani's client: Queen Victoria de Inglaterra, el rey Jorge I of Greece and el rey Alfonso XIII de España. Including dos papas, Pío X y León XIII, if declararon bebedores enthusiastas of the famous vino de coca. No es necesario decir que el avispado empresario utilizó los nombres de estos usuarios para hacerse publicidad. También publicaba folletos que enviaba a los médicos y que insertaba en los periódicos. Write a book as a form of giving a conocer to the virtues of the coca, de su vino y de los other productos que fabricaba. Por cierto, el Vino Mariani siguió existiendo hasta 1963, cases cincuenta años después de su muerte.

Como era de esperar, little después del éxito comercial de Mariani surgió toda a legión de competidores que intentaron Seguir sus pasos con otras preparaciones efectuadas con los mismos ingredientes, but ninguno de ellos logró ni una pequeña part de lo que él había logrado. Las marcas estadounidenses que le hacían la competencia containing a little more of cocaína, lo que indujo a Mariani a incluir más cantidad del alcaloide en la variedad norteamericana de su producto. In any case, in sus preparaciones nunca añadió el alkaloide directly, up to hojas de coca de la mejor calidad.

Coca-Cola was born, an imitación of the Vino de Coca Mariani

Uno de los imitadores del Vino Mariani fue John Pemberton (1831 - 1888), an honorable caballero del sur de los Estados Unidos que había luchado con el ejército confederado, que en su juventud había estudiado química pharmacéutica en la universidad y que en 1869 se había Established in Atlanta to direct a store of medicinal products processed for él mismo. Después de haber inventado jarabes expectorantes, purificadores de la sangre y artículos de cosmética, habiendo leído sobre las virtudes de la hoja de coca and inspirado por el éxito que en Europa consiguió el Vino Mariani (que también se comercializaba en Estados enidos), 1884 on French Wine Coca, an imitación of the original producto de Mariani, pero más powerful, ya que container —además de las preceptivas hojas de coca y del vino como vehiculante— nuez de cola como fuente de cafeína y damiana, a planta with propiedades tonificantes y afrodisíacas. De acuerdo con la mentalidad norteamericana, su publicidad tenía un carácter más popular y sensacionalista que los vinos medicinales europeos, y los folletos incidían en que servía para tratar los problems nerviosos, los digestivos, el agotamiento físico y mental, la jaqueca y la neuralgia. También se presentaba as vigorizante general y afrodisíaco, además de una ayuda para los adictos al opio, morphine or el alcohol (6).

El negocio moderately marked bien at the beginning, but in 1886 an acontecimiento iba to decide the destiny of his product. The city of Atlanta supports the prohibition of alcohol for an experimental period of dos años. He was allí muy fuerte el movimiento defensor de la abstinencia, cuyo principal representante fue el reverend Sam Jones, an integrist especie de predicador. In order to avoid problems, Pemberton created experimentos para obtener a similar product without wine, maintaining the hoja de coca and la nuez de cola. La nueva bebida se sold por primera vez en la Farmacia de Jacob, as preparado medicinal, el ocho de mayo de 1886. No se dispensaba en botellas, until using fuentes de refrescos (fuentes de soda, soda fountains en inglés), with el típico grifo que expulsa el líquido a preseón. En el interior se colocaba el sirope concentrado, que después se mezclaba con dióxido de carbono y agua para formar la bebida que se vertía en el vase y que consumía el usuario. De esta forma, to combine the invention of Pemberton (eliminating the wine) with agua y dióxido de carbono (agua con gas), se obtuvo la Coca-Cola, que at the beginning if you sold a cinco centavos el vaso, y cuyo nombre, caligrafía y logotipo fueron idea de Frank Robinson, socio de Pemberton. La denominación fue bastante afortunada por hacer alusión al contenido (coca y nuez de cola), por ser fácil de recordar debido a su brevedad y por resultar llamativa gracias a su aliteración (repetición del sonido ‘k’).

También fue Robinson el encargado de colocar el primer anuncio con el lema ‘Beba Coca-Cola’ en la marquesina de la farmacia. La Coca-Cola se publicitó al principio como preparado medicinal para tratar la dispepsia y los dolores de cabeza, pero pronto se presentó también como bebida refrescante. Esta tendencia se fue acentuando a medida que Asa Griggs Candler (1851 – 1929) —un ambicioso empresario que no reparaba en los métodos empleados con tal de conseguir sus objetivos— se fue haciendo con el control total de la empresa, lo cual conllevaba también ser el propietario de la fórmula original. Después de muchos embrollos legales, de los que Candler salió triunfante gracias a su falta de escrúpulos, a que Pemberton falleció el 16 de agosto de 1888, a que a su hijo Charley Pemberton le interesaban más las mujeres y las fiestas que los negocios, y a que disponía de dinero de sobra para pagar abogados —mientras que sus rivales, los primeros socios de Pemberton, no lo tenían—, el empresario se convirtió en dueño absoluto de la compañía. Tras varios años de expansión instalando fuentes de soda en bastantes ciudades, en marzo de 1894 la Coca-Cola fue embotellada por primera vez.

Los inicios del siglo XX vieron cómo la bebida triunfaba a nivel internacional y se transformaba en símbolo del emprendedor estadounidense. Sin embargo, antes de conseguir todo eso, Candler tuvo que resolver dos problemas. El primero consistía en convertir un producto comercializado como remedio medicinal en bebida refrescante de consumo habitual. Esto no implicó mayores problemas gracias al cambio en el modo de hacer publicidad y en los eslóganes utilizados desde entonces (lo que actualmente llamaríamos ‘marketing’), tareas en las que era todo un experto. El segundo problema era más difícil. A medida que se aproximaba el cambio de siglo, en la sociedad norteamericana habían ido proliferando los movimientos que promovían la abstinencia del alcohol y de las demás drogas, a las cuales se culpaba de la creciente delincuencia. A la Coca-Cola le creaba mala fama que su fórmula incluyera coca. De hecho, muchos clientes, al pedirla en algún establecimiento, utilizaban el nombre de dope (‘droga’) además, corría el rumor de que fomentaba la adicción a la cocaína. Candler defendió durante varios años la presencia de coca en su bebida, si bien todos los indicios apuntan a que en la década de los noventa rebajó sustancialmente la cantidad original de Pemberton. Sin embargo, a finales de siglo ya estaba convencido de que debía eliminar definitivamente todo rastro de la sustancia, pero con ello se exponía a que la bebida perdiera parte de sus propiedades estimulantes (y por tanto parte de las ventas) y a tener problemas legales por no cumplir con la denominación (la ‘coca’ de ‘Coca-Cola’). Convencido de la necesidad del cambio, en 1901 —mediante algún procedimiento que ignoramos— intentó suprimir la cocaína presente en la bebida sin embargo, no lo consiguió, ya que un análisis de 1902 mostró que todavía contenía trazas. Por ello, en 1903 firmó un contrato con un laboratorio químico de Nueva Jersey para que eliminara toda la cocaína de las hojas de coca que utilizaba. A partir de entonces, la Coca-Cola conservó su denominación, pero la materia prima ya no incluía su alcaloide característico. Para redondear su plan, Candler hizo todo lo que pudo para borrar los testimonios que recordaran que su bebida había llevado cocaína alguna vez. Todavía debió aguantar varios juicios relacionados con el contenido en hojas de coca descocainizadas y en cafeína, pero los superó sin mayores dificultades. Y como suele decirse, el resto es historia. La compañía Coca-Cola se convirtió en una multinacional de gran relevancia y en símbolo de la cultura estadounidense. Allí donde llega la influencia de los Estados Unidos está presente la Coca-Cola tanto que durante mucho tiempo se la ha asociado a los intereses internacionales de este país, con todo lo que esto conlleva.

La cocaína y su uso terapéutico

Volviendo a la cocaína, su uso fue bastante reducido hasta 1883, año en que un médico militar, Theodor Aschenbrandt, compró un suministro a la compañía farmacéutica Merck para utilizarlo en los soldados durante unas maniobras e informó sobre sus efectos beneficiosos a la hora de soportar la fatiga física, en un artículo que publicó poco después (7). El joven doctor Sigmund Freud, que se encontraba en una etapa difícil de su vida —sufría melancolía y fatiga crónica— leyó el artículo, obtuvo más información sobre las hojas de coca y se decidió a probar la cocaína. Todo un nuevo mundo se abrió ante los ojos de quien años más tarde sería el fundador del psicoanálisis. Se sintió como nunca se había sentido, recomendó tomar la droga a su novia y a sus amigos, la utilizó en su práctica médica y escribió varios artículos (“Über Coca”, “Beitrag zur Kenntniss der Cocawirkung”, “Nachträge Über Coca”, “Über die Allgemeinwirkung des Cocains”) que tuvieron amplia difusión y fueron en gran parte los responsables de la popularización de la sustancia. También llegó a sugerir su uso como anestésico, pero su colega Karl Koller se le adelantó y a él se atribuye esta aplicación en las operaciones oculares.

Las aparentemente infinitas aplicaciones terapéuticas de la cocaína causaron una gran euforia en el ámbito de la medicina y la farmacología, lo mismo que había sucedido unos años antes con la hoja de coca. Las compañías farmacéuticas Merck y Parke, Davis & Company comenzaron a producirla. El optimismo reinaba por doquier, pero pronto surgieron problemas derivados del abuso, que se hicieron públicos y sirvieron para que los sectores más conservadores exigieran su control. Por ejemplo, se supo Freud quiso curar con cocaína la adicción a la morfina que su amigo, el profesor Ernst von Fleischl-Marxov, utilizaba para soportar el dolor neuropático que sufría desde hace años. Al principio proporcionó fuerzas al paciente y le permitió reducir la dosis de morfina, pero pronto creció su tolerancia a la droga y tuvo que aumentar considerablemente la cantidad consumida, con lo que acabó sufriendo una psicosis cocaínica y su salud quedó definitivamente arruinada. Es evidente que fue el abuso —en una persona predispuesta por la patología que ya padecía—, y no la sustancia en sí, lo que causó estos problemas, pero a los prohibicionistas nunca les han interesado estos pequeños —aunque importantes— detalles. Varias autoridades médicas, entre ellas el doctor Erlenmeyer, afirmaron que la cocaína era una droga perjudicial y que causaba adicción. De todas formas, se siguió vendiendo libremente en las farmacias, y el buen uso o el abuso se dejó al libre arbitrio de cada uno. El mismo Freud, después de haberla utilizado durante varios años, abandonó su consumo sin ninguna molestia.

Y llegó la prohibición…

Los prohibicionistas fueron sumando fuerzas, y en diciembre de 1914 Estados Unidos aprobó la Harrison Act, ley que regulaba el consumo de varias drogas, entre ellas la cocaína. Gran parte del mundo civilizado quiso seguir el ejemplo, y aunque la Conferencia de La Haya de 1912 no dejó nada decidido porque fue suscrita por pocos países, en 1913 y 1914 se convocaron nuevos encuentros para que la firmaran más. La aplicación de las primeras leyes prohibicionistas podía haber sido bastante irregular a nivel internacional, pero Inglaterra sugirió incorporar los acuerdos de La Haya dentro del Tratado de Versalles —el que puso fin a la Primera Guerra Mundial en 1919—, con lo que a hurtadillas se consiguió que prácticamente todos los países suscribieran el acuerdo firmado por unos pocos en 1912 (8). Los subsiguientes tratados internacionales sobre drogas han ido incrementando el control, hasta el extremo de que la Convención Única sobre Estupefacientes de 1961 decretó también la prohibición del uso de la hoja de coca, excepto para fines médicos y científicos.


(1) Nos hemos basado en Karch, Steven B., A Brief History of Cocaine, Taylor & Francis, 2006, y en Mortimer, Willam G., History of coca, the divine plant of the Incas, H. Vail & Company, 1901.

(2) Dillehay, Tom D. et alia, “Early Holocene coca chewing in northern Peru”, Antiquity, Volume 84, Number 326, Page: 939–953.

(3) Gaedcke, F., “Über das Erythroxylin, dargestellt aus den Blättern des in Südamerika cultivirten Strauches Erythroxylon Coca Lam”, Archiv der Pharmazie 132 (2): 141–150.

(4) Niemann, A., “Über eine neue organische Base in den Cocablättern”, Archiv der Pharmazie 153 (2): 129–256.

(5) Hearn, W. L. et alia, “Cocaethylene: a unique cocaine metabolite displays high affinity for the dopamine transporter”, J Neurochem. 1991 Feb 56 (2):698-701. Landry, M. J., “An overview of cocaethylene, an alcohol-derived, psychoactive, cocaine metabolite”, J Psychoactive Drugs, 1992 Jul-Sep, 24:3, 273-6.

(6) Pendergrast, Mark, For God, Country & Coca-Cola, Basic Books, 2000. Versión española: Dios, Patria y Coca-Cola, Vergara Bolsillo, Grupo Zeta.

(7) Aschenbrandt T., “Die physiologische Wirkung und die Bedeutung des Cocains”, Deutsche medizinische Wochenschrift, December 18839:730-732.

(8) Escohotado, Antonio, Historia general de las drogas, Espasa-Calpe.


Categoria: Allucinogeni

La Cocaina è il nome della pianta dalle cui foglie si ottiene la Cocacina cloridrato (HCL, il sale cloridrato della cocaina), venduta illegalmente in diversi gradi di purezza e che può anche apparire sulle strade come “crack” o come “base libera”.

Questa sostanza ha molti nomi di strada, I più comuni dei quali sono “coca” o “neve”. Altri nomi possono essere “Flake”, “Nose Candy”, “White Lady”, “Bolivian Rock”, “Toot”, “Blow”, “Mother of Pearl” etc.

Principio attivo

Il principio attivo è sempre la cocaina base, che si libera nell’uso. Esistono vari modi per liberarla.

Polvere: cocaina cloridrato, che viene generalmente assunta per ‘sniffing’ e che libera cocaina base una volta nell’organismo.

Crack: appare inizialmente in California nell’81 per poi gradualmente diffondersi in Europa nella seconda metà degli anni 80. Si produce partendo dalla cocaina-cloridrato e arrivando a cristalli puri di cocaina base, che vengono separati e spezzettati. In questo modo un grammo di cocaina da strada può essere convertito in sei porzioni di crack.

Cocaina base libera: è un altro modo per produrre cocaina base partendo dalla cocaina-HCl. L’unica differenza dal crack è il modo in cui viene manufatta.

Modi d’uso

Sniffing: L’assunzione nasale è il metodo più diffuso fra i consumatori di coca. Per via nasale la sostanza raggiunge il suo “high” fra i 15 ed i 60 minuti.

Iniezione endovenosa: Solitamente avviene in forma combinata con eroina (speedball). Per via endovenosa l’assuntore raggiunge l’high molto più velocemente.

Smoking e Inalazione: Crack e cocaina base vengono fumate con “pipe” o “joint” o inalate da fogli di carta d’alluminio precedentemente riscaldati. Attraverso questa via di somministrazione si raggiunge l’high molto rapidamente.

La dose letale è di circa 1-1,2 grammi.

Effetti ed effetti collaterali

Tradizionalmente gli effetti psichici della cocaina sul sistema nervoso centrale sono stati riassunti in quattro stadi di diversa gravità in dipendenza dalla dose e dalla frequenza d’uso. Essi sono:

  • Euforia, caratterizzato da labilità affettiva, accresciuta performance cognitiva e motoria, ipervigilanza, anoressia ed insonnia
  • Disforia, caratterizzato da tristezza, malinconia, apatia, difficoltà di attenzione e di concentrazione, anoressia e insonnia
  • Paranoia, caratterizzato da sospettosità, paranoia, allucinazioni e insonnia
  • Psicosi, caratterizzato da anedonia, allucinazioni, comportamento stereotipato, ideazione paranoide, insonnia, perdita di controllo degli impulsi, disorientamento.

A livello periferico, l’aumentata liberazione di amine biogene come dopamina, adrenalina, noradrenalina scatena nell’organismo una reazione di allarme, con attivazione del sistema cardiovascolare e risultante tachicardia ed ipertensione. Sono presenti inoltre tremori, contrazioni muscolari, flushing cutaneo e midriasi, accompagnati da un ritardato svuotamento vescicale ed intestinale.

Meccanismo d’azione e farmacocinetica

L’azione gratificante della cocaina si esplica attraverso l’attivazione dei neuroni dopaminergici del sistema mesolimbico. La cocaina potenzia la trasmissione dopaminergica aumentando la concentrazione di dopamina.
L’incremento della dopamina avviene a causa del blocco dei trasportatori che normalmente la ricatturano (reuptake) dallo spazio sinaptico. La somministrazione ripetuta comporta una compromissione della funzionalità dopaminergica, con riduzione della concentrazione sinaptica della dopamina e dalla ipersensibilità dei recettori post-sinaptici osservabili nel trattamento cronico.

La cocaina esercita anche una azione inibente la ricaptazione di altri neurotrasmettitori come la noradrenalina e la serotonina.

L’azione come anestetico locale dipende invece dal blocco della conduzione dell’impulso nervoso a livello dei canali voltaggio-sensibili del Na+, cui si lega con una moderata affinità.


Livelli plasmatici di questa sostanza sono rintracciabili per 4-6 ore dopo l’ultima assunzione per via nasale. Negli individui che abitualmente fanno uso di cocaina, l’emivita è di circa 48 minuti dopo una dose endovenosa. La cocaina passa facilmente la barriera ematoencefalica e non è più dosabile nel tessuto encefalico dopo 6-8 ore dall’ultima dose.

Viene rapidamente e completamente metabolizzata dalle colinesterasi epatiche e plasmatiche che la idrolizzano in metaboliti inattivi: sono esteri metilici dell’ecgonina.

Piccole quantità di coca, meno del 10%, vengono escrete immodificate nell’urina. Può essere ritrovata nelle urine per 8 ore dopo una dose nasale di 1.5 mg/Kg, sino ad un limite massimo di 12 ore. La benzoilecgonina è invece dosabile sino a 144 ore dopo l’assunzione.


Si sviluppa rapidamente. La tolleranza si riflette nella riduzione degli effetti piacevoli, che diventano meno intensi e solo parzialmente vengono superati con l’aumento dei dosaggi e la riduzione degli intervalli tra le dosi. Contemporaneamente si sviluppa sensibilizzazione per gli effetti ansiogeno e disorbitante.


Il desiderio di riprovare il piacere iniziale e di sfuggire all’ansia conduce all’uso compulsivo della sostanza, arrivando a vere e proprie abbuffate (“binges”) durante le quali il soggetto non si alimenta, non dorme, diviene sempre meno euforico, più disforico, agitato ed aggressivo.
Queste binges durano in genere 2-3 giorni e si interrompono per un crollo psicofisico del soggetto che piomba in uno stato di torpore-apatia o per l’insorgenza di uno stato psicotico vero e proprio.

Complicazioni e pericoli speciali

Vasocostrizione e spasmi possono condurre all’insorgenza di infarti.

Anche l’arteriosclerosi è accentuata dalla cocaina ed il suo uso è stato associato alla formazione di trombi.

Le crisi ipertensive, causate dall’assunzione di cocaina, possono portare ad emorragie cerebrali.

L’assunzione per via nasale può condurre, per gli effetti vasocostrittori della sostanza, alla necrosi e alla perforazione del setto.

A livello polmonare si possono osservare ipertensione e edema. E’ stata descritta anche una sindrome, detta “polmone da crack”.

L’uso cronico di cocaina, diminuendo le scorte di dopamina, può causare anche iperprolattinemia con ginecomastia (sviluppo di mammelle nei maschi), galattorrea e amenorrea. La libido è diminuita con riduzione della performance sessuale, impotenza nell’uomo ed anorgasmia nella donna.

Infine, la cocaina è anche un agente epilettogeno. La capacità di provocare convulsioni generalizzate aumenta a seguito di ripetute somministrazioni.

American pharmacist John Stith Pemberton founded Coca-Cola in 1886 with a beverage concoction of cocaine and sugary syrup.

Coca-Cola—at first sold only at racially segregated soda fountains—became popular among the white middle-classes.

In 1899, Coca-Cola began selling its drink in bottles. The lower classes and minorities now had access to the cocaine-infused tonic.

The company removed cocaine from its products in 1903—a move likely motivated more by racial bias and tightening regulations than by health concerns.

Cocaína: Abuso y adicción – Reporte de investigación ¿Cuáles son los efectos a corto plazo del uso de la cocaína?

Los efectos de la cocaína se presentan casi inmediatamente después de una sola dosis y desaparecen en cuestión de minutos o dentro de una hora. Los que consumen cocaína en cantidades pequeñas generalmente se sienten eufóricos, energéticos, conversadores y mentalmente alertas, particularmente con relación a las sensaciones visuales, auditivas y del tacto. La cocaína también puede disminuir temporalmente el apetito y la necesidad de dormir. Algunos consumidores sienten que la droga les ayuda a realizar más rápido algunas tareas simples, tanto físicas como intelectuales, mientras que a otros les produce el efecto contrario.

La forma en que se administra la cocaína determina el tiempo que dura el efecto inmediato de euforia. Mientras más rápida es la absorción, más intenso es el “high” o euforia que resulta pero al mismo tiempo, cuanto más rápida es la absorción, menor es la duración del efecto de la droga. El “high” que se produce al inhalar la droga se demora en llegar pero puede durar de 15 a 30 minutos. En contraste, los efectos que se obtienen fumando la cocaína pueden durar de 5 a 10 minutos.

Los efectos fisiológicos a corto plazo que resultan del consumo de cocaína incluyen contracción de los vasos sanguíneos, dilatación de las pupilas y aumentos en la temperatura corporal, la frecuencia cardiaca y la presión arterial. Si se usan cantidades mayores se puede intensificar el “high” del usuario, pero también puede llevar a un comportamiento más extravagante, errático y violento. Algunas personas que consumen cocaína han reportado desasosiego, irritabilidad y ansiedad. También pueden tener temblores, vértigos, espasmos musculares o paranoia. Además, puede haber graves complicaciones médicas asociadas con el abuso de la cocaína. Entre las complicaciones más frecuentes se encuentran algunos efectos cardiovasculares como alteraciones en el ritmo cardiaco y ataques al corazón algunos efectos neurológicos incluyendo ataques cerebrovasculares, convulsiones, dolores de cabeza y hasta coma y complicaciones gastrointestinales, como dolor abdominal y náusea. En raras ocasiones, puede ocurrir la muerte súbita la primera vez que se prueba la cocaína o de forma inesperada al consumirla subsiguientemente. Las muertes ocasionadas por la cocaína suelen ser el resultado de un paro cardiaco o de convulsiones seguidas por un paro respiratorio.

Las investigaciones también han demostrado que existe una interacción potencialmente peligrosa entre la cocaína y el alcohol.


Primele frunze de coca ajung din America de Sud în Europa prin anii 1750. În iarna anului 1859/1860 farmacistul german Albert Niemann (1834-1861) izolează în laboratorul din Göttingen componenții activi din frunzele de coca. El numește alcaloidul obținut „kokain”. Această descoperire a lui Niemann este controversată, unii înclină să creadă că primul care deja în 1855 a izolat alcaloidul ar fi fost chimistul german Friedrich Gädcke și că tot el a numit substanța „Erythroxylin”. O a treia variantă este neurologul Paolo Mantegazza din Pavia care ar fi descoperit alcaloidul în 1858.

Cocaina pură a fost izolată în München în anul 1923 de deținătorul premiului Nobel Richard Willstätter, D. Wolfes și H. Mäder. Din anul 1879 cocaina este folosită la tratamentul pacienților dependenți de morfină. În același an Vassili von Anrep din Würzburg descoperă efectul analgezic al cocainei, acest efect analgezic și cel psihic este amintit în opera lui Sigmund Freud „Despre Coca”. In anul 1906 băutura răcoritoare Coca-Cola conținea 250 mg cocaină/litru, acest lucru nu este amintit în istoricul concernului. Pericolul de cauzare a dependenței față de alcaloid a fost recunoscută numai treptat.

Cocaina este un inhibitor al recaptării dopaminei, noradrenalinei, serotoninei. El împiedică transmiterea impulsului nervos la nivelul sinapselor neuronale, prin ridicarea pragului de sensibilitate a receptorilor, o creștere a simpaticotoniei. Creează o stare de euforie și de dependență față de cocaină.

Efect Toleranța Absorbția Timp de înjumătățire Doza letală LD50
Inhibitor al
impulsului nervos
Tahifilaxie oral 33 %
nazal 19 % (11–26 %)
mestecat 25 %
intravenos 100 %
fumat sau pastă 6-32 %
cam 1 oră la câine oral 96 mg/kg
șoarece oral 13 mg/kg

Frunzele de coca, după ce sunt puse la uscat mai multe zile pe suprafețe pardosite, sunt amestecate cu kerosen și carbonat de calciu, sodiu sau potasiu, după care, timp de o noapte, sunt călcate cu picioarele.

Cocaina, care este un eter, se transformă în carbonat de cocaină, care se dizolvă în kerosen. Soluția este filtrată și se elimină reziduurile, după care se amestecă cu acid sulfuric. Se obține sulfatul de cocaină sau pasta de bază care se precipită și se depune pe fundul vasului. Odată prelucrată, această pastă este pusă la uscat înainte de a fi purificată, pentru eliminarea kerosenului și a altor impurități reziduale. Pentru aceasta se adaugă din nou acid sulfuric și permanganat de potasiu. După filtrare, produsul se amestecă cu amoniac, înainte de a fi iarăși filtrat și uscat. Din pasta purificată obținută, cocaina este izolată prin adăugare de acetonă sau eter etilic, pentru distilarea sulfatului de cocaină. În etapa finală, se adaugă acid clorhidric și alcool care duc la formarea unui precipitat de clorhidrat de cocaină. Aceasta se cristalizează în timp, luând forma finală în care se comercializează.

Cocaina se găsește sub diverse forme:

  • Basuca - cocaina pastă (baza), cu o puritate de 35 %, răspândită în America de Sud, poate fi fumată ca atare sau în amestec cu tutun sau marijuana.
  • Cocaina hidroclorică – cocaina de stradă, cu o concentrație de aproximativ 25 - 35 %, este amestecată cu adulteranți și diluanți, uneori puritatea putând atinge 100 %. Această substanță poate fi injectată sau prizată și este solubilă în apă.
  • Cocaina bază liberă (Crack) – este obținută prin extracție cu solvenți și are o puritate de 100 %. Este insolubilă în apă și de aceea trebuie fumată(dar dupa fierbere se transforma in stare solubila si se poate priza ).
  • Frunzele de coca pot fi amestecate sau fierte sub formă de ceai.

Coca e cocaina

Erythroxylon coca and E. novogranatense

A. Coca , Erythroxylon coca and E. novogranatense of the Coca family, Erythroxylaceae , (a family of 1 genus and ca. 250 species of shrubs and medium-sized trees) is a domesticated tropical shrub, native to the Amazon and the eastern slope of the Andes in Bolivia and Peru. Related wild species are still found growing there.

1. E. coca is from southern Peru , Bolivia , and the Amazonian rainforest.

2. E. novogranatense is from Colombia and the north coastal deserts of Peru .

3. Like coffee, tea, and cacao, it is an understory species of the moist tropical forests.

B. Coca is grown for its leaves, shiny, evergreen leaves, which are picked 3 or 4 times per year,

and then dried. The alkaloids are found in the leaves.

C. Coca is not only integrated into Andean culture, but is also an integral part of the region’s ecosystem.

1. It has few predators and pests (in part because of its cocaine content in the leaves).

2. It will grow on poor soils and steep slopes, where many other plants will not grow.

3. It protects against soil erosion.

4. It lives for 40 years or more.

5. It tolerates many harvests.

D. Coca fields may be found in jungle clearings along with yuca (cassava root), pineapple, and chilies.

E. Shrubs are ca. 3’ tall, and continuously harvested.

A. Archaeological evidence of coca chewing includes small ceramic containers used to hold lime, from the Valdivia culture of southwestern Ecuador . These containers have been dated back to 2100 BCE (4000 years ago).

1. A ceramic figurine dated between 1600 and 1500 BCE from this same culture clearly depicts the bulging cheek of a coca chewer. It is the earliest surviving example of a long tradition of ceramic figurines representing coqueros (coca chewers).

2. In light of evidence, it is likely that coca chewing, and possibly coca cultivation, was established in Ecuador by 2500 BCE (4500 yrs. Ago), making coca one of the earliest plants domesticated in the New World .

3. Timothy Plowman, student of one of the most gifted ethnobotanists of the 20 th century, Richard Evans Schultes , estimates that E. coca was brought under cultivation 7000 yrs ago in the eastern Andes Amazonian coca, cultivated in the western Amazon, was domesticated much more recently.

4. To the Incas, coca plant was important both socially and economically.

to. According to myth, a god created coca to alleviate hunger and thirst among the people.

b. Inca civilization considered the coca plant as sacred and chewing coca was mostly restricted to the ruling classes. Soldiers, workers, runners were permitted to chew coca leaves for endurance.

c. By the 15 th century, the use of coca was widespread among the Incas however, casual chewing was considered a sacrilege.

d. Economically, coca leaves were used as a form of payment and could be used in exchange for potatoes, grains, furs, fruits, and other essential goods.

A. Andean peasants and miners have traditionally consumed coca by sucking on a wad (quid) of leaves, keeping them in their cheek for hours at a time.

1. Often the coca is combined with chalk or ash (some kind of calcium carbonate or alkali material such as lime or crushed sea shells). They would wear vessels of dried gourds around their necks, containing powdered lime used in chewing.

2. The alkalinity helps dissolve the alkaloids into the saliva, stimulating the absorption of cocaine.

3. Chewing coca reduces hunger pangs and workers say it gives them the strength and endurance to work many hours, doing hard, physical labor, at high altitudes (ca. 15,000’), and often in extreme cold. (This was evident enough that after the Spanish Conquest, when native populations were enslaved and forced to work in the mines under incredibly harsh conditions and little food, the Spanish overseers recognized that the productivity and endurance of the enslaved Indians increased dramatically when they were given their traditional coca leaves to chew. King Phillip II of Spain then declared coca leaves necessary to the well-being of the Indians (and of the Spanish economic enterprise), and set aside land in the Andes for coca cultivation.

4. Native Indians also made a tea with coca leaves, and applied a coca plaster to wounds as a poultice.

5. Andean peasants used the leaves to make prediction and to diagnose illnesses - leaf shapes, sizes, and manner of falling to the ground are believed to represent different spirits and symbolize different parts of the body.

6. In Colombia , coca functions much like coffee or chewing gum in our society: It is used primarily for 2 situations. One, in the mornings, if any coca remained from the night before, men would consume it before going off to work (fishing, felling trees, mining) and, two, as a social ritual in afternoons and evenings, when work is done and people of the village come together to prepare coca and talk.

1. Indians used food and coca together (use of coca leaves doesn’t preclude the taking in of food). They may follow a good meal with a chew to improve digestion. (As a matter of fact, the physician-botanist-author, Andrew Weil, has recommended that the coca leaf should be studied for possible use as a remedy for stomach and intestinal problems and as a treatment for acute motion sickness).

2. Analysis of coca leaves shows them to contain significant amounts of calcium and iron (more than any other food crop in the Andes ), as well as B-vitamins.

3. The low incidence of osteoporosis among Andean Indians is due, in part, to coca use, since the Andean diet is otherwise low in calcium.

A. We know that alkaloids are naturally-occurring organic molecules containing nitrogen and is widely distributed in plants.

1. Caffeine (coffee, tea, cacao), nicotine (tobacco), morphine (poppies), mescaline (peyote), theobromine (chocolate), piperine (black pepper), strychnine, quinine, codeine, atropine, to name a number of alkaloids.

B. Coca plant contains many alkaloids, ca. 14, the major one being cocaine.

1. Concentrations of cocaine vary by region and by plant variety.

2. Coca considered as higher quality by traditional users, has lower concentrations of cocaine. The smaller amount of cocaine (alkaloid) is associated with a “sweet” or less bitter taste, and was traditionally preferred for chewing.

3. In the drug trade, the greater the alkaloid content allows for more cocaine to be extracted for a given yield of leaves, and is thus more profitable for the grower.

A. Contemporary social history of Erythroxylon coca began in the 1850s when Albert Niemann first isolated cocaine from coca leaves.

B. Niemann quickly realized cocaine’s anesthetic properties (he tasted it with his tongue).

1. As a local anesthetic, cocaine temporarily blocks the transmissions of nerve impulses at the site of application.

2. Many of our synthetic local anesthetics, such as Novocain (chemically known as procaine) and Xylocaine ( lidocaine ) are structurally similar to cocaine, and have been modeled from cocaine.

3. Cocaine also constricts blood vessels, a nd therefore reduces blood flow when applied locally. This has made cocaine the anesthetic of choice for ear, nose, and throat surgery, and was formerly used for eye surgery as well.

4. Cocaine drains the sinuses, and was an important ingredient in over-the-counter medications to treat asthma, hay fever, and sinusitis.

5. Cocaine was used to reduce cravings of opium addicts and alcoholics.

C. However, cocaine was primarily known for its stimulating properties.

1. It is a powerful stimulant to the central nervous system (CNS) , and produces a short-lived euphoric high which is accompanied by a burst of energy and alertness, likened to an intense adrenaline rush.

2. Duration of this high varies with method of administration - snorting (up to a few hours), injection (15-30 minutes), smoking (up to 1 hour).

3. Physiologically, cocaine increases heart rate, respiration, blood pressure, body temperature, and dilates the pupils.

4. these effects are related to neurotransmitters therefore, they continue to act, stimulating the nervous system and producing hyperactive effects associated with cocaine use. [ neurotransmitters - chemicals that transmit neural messages from 1 neuron (nerve cell) to another. E.g. acetylcholine, serotonin, norepinephrine , dopamine.

5. The stimulating and euphoric effects of cocaine gained it wide popularity in the U.S. and Europe .

to. Jules Verne, Thomas Edison, Robert Louis Stevenson, Sigmund Freud (cardiac ailments and nervous exhaustion, morphine addicts) were enthusiastic users and supporters of cocaine. In literature of the 19 th century, the legendary detective, Sherlock Holmes in Arthur Conan Doyle’s books was a cocaine user.

b. Vin Mariani (1863), a Bordeaux wine mixed with cocaine became a very popular beverage in the late 19 th century it received enthusiastic testimonies from people like Pope Leo XIII and King Alphonse XIII of Spain, and Auguste Rodin .

c. Inspired by the success of Vin Mariani , the American ,John Stythe Pemberton, in 1885 concocted French Wine Coca - Ideal Nerve and Tonic Stimulant. The name never really caught on and, 1 year later, Pemberton called his “brain tonic and intellectual beverage”, Coca-Cola. In addition to cocaine, it contained caffeine from the African kola nuts, caramel coloring, and sugar to sweeten the naturally bitter taste of the alkaloid. (A federal law in 1904 required cocaine to be removed from Coca-Cola, but the leaf extract is still used for its natural flavors. The cocaine-containing extract is sold to a pharmaceutical company that purifies it into cocaine hydrochloride for use as an anesthetic).

A. The form in which coca is taken influences the cocaine concentration and thus its effects.

1. Alkaloids from coca leaves grown in Bolivia and Peru are extracted with kerosene and other organic solvents (or put into large vats of diluted sulfuric acid to extract the alkaloids) to produce a cocaine sulfate paste.

2. The paste is shipped to Colombia

3. There, the paste is refined, clandestinely, into white cocaine hydrochloride powder. In this form, cocaine has a purity of up to 75%, and can reach the brain within minutes after snorting (less active when ingested low water solubility). Colombia produces ca. 80% of the world’s cocaine.

4. Cocaine powder is shipped to Mexico or Bahamas , and from there to the U.S.

5. Cocaine hydrochloride is cut with various adulterants (additives to reduce concentration of cocaine, such as lactose - milk sugar. The street drug averages ca. 12% cocaine hydrochloride - at this concentration it can be snorted and the alkaloid absorbed thru the mucous membrane of the nose.

6. Free-basing and crack were modifications made in the 1980s, designed to produce quicker and stringer highs.

to. Free-basing - purifies the powder, accomplished, in part, by boiling it in an ether solution to produce pure cocaine, the free base. (Ether is highly flammable and explosive). Free-base is then smoked in a water pipe to produce an intense high which can reach the brain in 15 seconds.

b. Crack - a form of free-base prepared by heating a cocaine hydrochloride solution with baking soda. The resulting compound forms solid chunks which can be broken into tiny “rocks”, each costing a fraction of cocaine powder. Crack is also smoked and produces a high in seconds.

7. In contrast, in the traditional chewing of coca leaves the effect of cocaine is far less potent.

to. Coca leaves are ca. 1% cocaine, and contain several other alkaloids and compounds that modify cocaine’s effects.

b. The drug is released slowly over many hours, and does not reach the brain for approx. 15 minutes. Mild effect.

c. Coqueros consume ca. 30 grams (little more than 1 oz.) of coca leaves per day. [30 grams = 150 milligrams of cocaine, delivered over the course of a day]

8. Coca and cocaine may act like 2 different pharmacological agents.

to. Low doses of cocaine, entering the brain slowly, may activate only the norepinephrine system, producing alertness and dissipating fatigue.

b. Higher doses, taken in ways that cause rapid rises in concentration of the drug in the blood and the brain may, in addition, activate the dopamine system, producing the intense, short-lived euphoria that cocaine users seek.

A. A hectare of coca in 1987 yielded $6400 to a peasant in Champara , Bolivia (coffee - $1500 bananas - $600 corn - $300)

B. In the interior markets of Bolivia and Peru , one can purchase 100 kg of coca leaves for approx. $66. This can be processed with simple techniques into 2 kg of crude paste or 1.5 kg of pure cocaine. One kg of this can be purchased, illegally, for $1500-$2500 in Bolivia , Peru , or Colombia . When transported to NYC, that 1 kg would wholesale for $25,000-$35,000. If that kilogram is broken up into small “lots”, its retail value soars to $100,000, more than 1,500 times the value of unprocessed leaves.

C. Eradication is difficult because:

2. larger profits to “manufacturers” and processors.

3. cultural integration of the plant and coca leaf chewing in South American-Andean society. Traditional and legal uses.

4. on a macroeconomic scale, coca brings $400-$600 million per year into Bolivia .

On October, 1992, on the occasion of the Columbus quincentenary , thousands of angry Indians marched on Cuzco (Incan capital in Peru ) to call for n end to "five hundred years of European domination and oppression." High on their list of demands was cessation of attempts by the U.S. and the United Nations to do away with coca. A pamphlet circulating through Cuzco during the march, entitled "The Sacred Coca Leaf Lives: 500 Years of Indigenous and Popular Resistance" began with these words:

Coca is an Andean product, whose domestication and use date back 4 thousand to 6 thousand years.

Cocaine is a European invention of 130 years ago

Both products stimulate the cultural values of their respective societies:

Coca enhances community, sociability, and the communal spirit.

Cocaine is the maximum expression of so-called "Western" individualism it isolates the individual, not only from other people but from all reality.

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