Cocaine

 

  

Cocaine and amphetamines are psychic stimulants that alter behavior by prolonging the actions of neurotransmitter.

Cocaine is a natural botanical alkaloid. It is obtained from the coca plant and its mechanism of action is to prolong the effect of dopamine, the “good-feeling” compound.

Cocaine is obtained from the leaves of Erythoxylon cocca, and Erythroxylon novogranatense.  These trees are native to the north central Andes while the coca plants are indigenous to Peru, Bolivia and Columbia.

The Andean Indians chewed the leaves of the Coca plant because it stimulated them, allowinmg them to work long hours in the field.  When Pizzaro conquered Peru back in 1533, coca was already an integral part of Incan custom and was considered a sacred plant by the Incan people.

The Spanish conquerors who occupied their lands attempted to prohibit coca, until they realized that laborers worked harder when allowed to chew the herb. As another example of  the beneficial effects of whole plants, the chewing of whole coca leaves failed to produce the debilitating effects of addiction that purified cocaine produces.

Coca leaves increase endurance, promote a sense of well being and suppress hunger and fatigue. Native people chewed the coca leaves to withstand the demands of workingn in the harsh climate of the high Andes.

Coca leafs were brought back to Europe by the Spanish but failed to gain a substantial following until cocaine was isolated and extracted from the leaves. Coca-Cola was originally formulated as a headache remedy that originally included caffeine-rich extracts of cola nuts and coca extracts.

 

Cocaine is both physically and psychologically addictive.

Cocaine use dates back to Dr. Sigmund Freu who used the drug and advocated its use for relief from depression and fatigue. He also recommended cocaine as a treatment for alcoholism and morphine addiction. Cocaine is a very addictive drug.

Cocaine is a three-ringed alkaloid usually found as a water-soluble salt that is capable of diffusing across the mucous membranes of the nose.  Cocaine is a stimulant and euphoric, which targets the cerebral cortex.

In the cortex, cocaine inhibits the uptake of the neurotransmitter dopamine back into presynaptic nerve terminals thereby allowing it to continue stimulating nerves. The result of this is a feeling of wellness.

 

Cocaine produces a perceived increase in mental awareness and intellectual ability accompanied by the strong sensation of well-being. Cocaine masks the feeling of fatigue and results in a progressive deterioration of muscle coordination due to its effect on the brainstem, where the neurons responsible for coordination are located.

 

Cocaine is often snorted causing users to experience nasal stuffiness and tender, bleeding nasal membranes.  Cocaine is completely metabolized by the liver in one hour but its metabolites can be detected in the urine for up to 2 days.

Crack and freebase cocaine are purified extracts that can be  injected or smoked. This makes them more dangerous and more addictive. Boiling cocaine salt in water and baking soda creates crack. Freebase is another method of cocaine purification, which involves dissolving cocaine in ether and extracting its residue.

 

The purification of cocaine increases the addictive potential of this cocaine possibly since the process removes the balancing compounds found in the whole coca plant.

 

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