Cocaine

Article

November 30, 2021

Cocaine (coca) is the main alkaloid from the leaves of the coca plant (Erythroxylon coca), which grows in Colombia, Peru and Bolivia, although it is also found in other plants. The name cocaine is derived from the name of the coca plant with the addition of the alkaloid suffix -in. The natives of South America have long known the effect of this plant, whose leaves are chewed and thus alleviate the feeling of hunger and increase endurance. Cocaine was first isolated from coca leaves in 1860. Cocaine is a colorless crystal, soluble in alcohol and ether. The coca leaves are first soaked in pots, then a lime base is added and then pounded with wooden mallets to make 2 kg of raw cocaine from 295 kg of leaves. Cocaine is a stimulant of the nervous system, blocks appetite and acts as a local anesthetic, because it paralyzes nerve endings, and leads to changes in behavior and raising energy similar to the effect of amphetamines. Namely, it is an inhibitor of dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake, which mediates functionality such as the exogenous catecholamine ligand. Because of the way it affects the mesolimbic pathway, cocaine is addictive. The effect of cocaine gives the user a feeling of self-confidence. Cocaine is a drug that creates tolerance like all other "drugs", especially it creates a strong psychological dependence. Cocaine is usually taken by snorting or by intravenous injection. Once exclusively a rich drug, cocaine is increasingly available today and there are more people who reach for it. It is most often taken by snorting, injections and smoking (crack). External signs are sleep problems, runny nose, sexual dysfunction, redness of the skin, dilated pupils. In almost all parts of the world, the possession and distribution of cocaine and the cultivation of the coca plant is strictly prohibited for non-medical purposes. Although its use in public is illegal and severely punishable in almost all countries of the world, its use is still widespread.

History

Coca leaves

For thousands of years, the South American indigenous population chewed the leaves of coca (Erythroxylon coca), a plant that contains nutrients as well as numerous alkaloids, including cocaine. The leaves were chewed, and are chewed, almost universally in some indigenous tribes. Remains of coca leaves were found near some mummies found in Peru, and pottery from that period was found.

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