Cocaine from coca leaves

Cocaine is a benzoid acid ester that that was originally used as a local anesthetic, but is no longer used because of its potent addictive qualities. Coca-Cola, the world's best-selling soft drink, once contained cocaine, and it is still flavored with a non-narcotic extract from the coca, the plant from which cocaine is derived.

Cocaine is a powerfully addictive stimulant drug. For thousands of years, people in South America have chewed and ingested coca leaves (Erythroxylon coca), the source of cocaine, for their stimulant effects.

When given in high doses systemically, cocaine has mood elevating effects that have led to its wide scale abuse. Cocaine is highly water and fat soluble and, therefore, it is readily absorbed and distributed throughout the body. Route of administration seems to be more important in determining cocaine's absorption rather than dose. It is believed that cocaine produces such a powerful and rapid dependency because it directly stimulates the pleasure centers of the brain responsible for the reinforcing properties of food, water and sex.

High doses of cocaine can be associated with toxic reactions including hyperthermia, rhabdomyolysis, shock and acute liver injury which can be severe and even fatal.

The purified chemical, cocaine hydrochloride, was isolated from the plant more than 100 years ago. In the early 1900s, purified cocaine was the main active ingredient in many tonics and elixirs developed to treat a wide variety of illnesses and was even an ingredient in the early formulations of Coca-Cola.
Cocaine from coca leaves

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