History and uses of the Coca leaf 
Other uses of coca, including the production of cocaine
The Drug Trade
Drug Wars
Andean History

Other uses of coca, including the production of cocaine

    This link to the cocaine Web Page centers its attention on the origins, production, and uses of cocaine. The chemical cocaine is derived from the coca plant. Its origins sprang from South America and have found their way into practically every nation in the world. The coca leaf has long been used as a stimulant by indigenous peoples of the Andean region. Coca was chewed in its nature leaf like state. The chewing of coca leaves had been reserved for the noble class and was usually associated with religious activities. The coca leaf soon began to be chewed by more then just the noble class. Indians began to chew the leaves to eradicate hunger, improve muscle stamina, and to counter motion sickness and oxygen depravation.(Cocaine, Its Forms, Methods of Use, and Pharmacology; web page) Cocaine was first extracted from the coca plant in the early 1860's. It was used a medical tool in clotting of blood and muscle relaxer. Later in the 19th century it was promoted as a cure for respiratory ailments such as asthma and whooping cough. Unfortunately with the cure came the problem. In the late 19th century upwards of 200 deaths were attributed to the intoxication of cocaine. In 1906 the United States population consumed as much cocaine as the U.S. population consumed in 1976.(Cocaine, Its Forms, Methods of Use, and Pharmacology; web page) By 1914 cocaine was beginning to be extracted from medicinal elixirs, Coca-Cola, and the population. Crime was beginning to be attributed to cocaine usage and in late 1914 cocaine became illegal in the United States. Later research discovered cocaine as addictive and having the potential for abuse by users. The history of cocaine is extremely interesting, but even more interesting is the origins and chemical make-up of cocaine. 
   source: The only identified coca plants that have attributed to the production of cocaine are the Erythroxylum coca and the Erthroxylum navogranatense plants.(Cocaine, The Plant; web page) Erythroxylum coca, widely known as Huanco, grows along the eastern slopes of Bolivia and Peru. It grows in altitudes from 500-1500 meters. It repels a hay like odor and only grows in extremely humid and wet conditions. The Erythroxylum coca represents 95% of the cocaine production.(Cocaine, The Plant; web page) The soil composition and weather conditions determine the strength of the cocaine. Erthroxylum navogranense is mostly grown in the Colombian and Central America countries. In Columbia it grows in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta Mountains where there is extreme heat and drought. It differentiates with the Erythroxylum coca in its color, texture, and odor, wintergreen. Its cocaine content is drastically lower then the Erythoxylum coca plant. Although the plants may have differences in their appearance, the cocaine alkaloid in the two coca plants set them apart from others.
    The drug, cocaine, comes in 5 forms
1) Coca Leaves: The cocaine content in the coca leaf is only 0.1-0.8%. The plants in the higher altitudes tend to have a higher cocaine content then those at lower altitudes. There are different styles in using the leaves to extract the stimulant. The leaves can be rolled into cigarettes or cigars and smoked or the leaves can be infused with a liquid to form a tea.(Cocaine, Its Forms, Methods of Use, and Pharmacology; web page)
2) Coca Paste: The paste is the middle step between the leaf and the powder cocaine. It cannot be injected or snorted, therefore the only use of the coca paste is to burn the substance and inhale. Coca paste is much more popular in South American countries then in the United States.
3) Powder Cocaine: Powder cocaine is derived from dissolving coca paste with hydrochloric acid. Powder cocaine is the most widely used form of cocaine, and it is cocaine at its purest form. Usually cocaine is not necessarily pure. Normally the cocaine is mixed with different additives such as sugars, local anesthetics, or other drugs.(Cocaine, Its Forms, Methods of Use, and Pharmacology; web page) The form of powder cocaine can be snorted, injected, or ingested. Because of its high decompose at high temperatures, the powder base cocaine cannot be smoked, unlike crack cocaine. Powder cocaine loses its potency when the drug is heated above 198 degrees C/388 degrees F. The cocaine alkaloid decomposes at these temperatures and in return does not produce the physiological or psychotropic effects.(Cocaine, Its Forms, Methods of Use, and Pharmacology; web page)
4) Cocaine Base: Cocaine base is a product of powder cocaine. It is created when the cocaine alkaloid is freed from the salt substrate and thus similarly resembles cocaine paste. At this form the cocaine is much more volatile at low temperatures. Where as the powder cocaine would lose potency at 198 C, the cocaine base loses its mind altering affects at 98 C. Cocaine base is not easily absorbed throughout the body and thus does not carry the potency level of powder cocaine.
5) Crack Cocaine: Crack is the solid form of powder cocaine. The purpose of crack cocaine is to allow the user to smoke the cocaine instead of injection or insufflation. A crack cocaine rock can be anywhere between 75-90% pure cocaine.source:
    The administration of cocaine to the body and its potency depends on the rate the drug can be absorbed in the bloodstream and from there transported to the brain.(Cocaine, Its Forms, Methods of Use, and Pharmacology; web page) Absorption into the body depends on the amount of blood flowing to the site of entry into the body and the surface area upon the drug is absorbed. When comparing administration of the drug in different ways, intravenously injection distributes 100% of the drug throughout the body, whereas inhalation or insufflation use decreases the amount of the drug being used efficiently to 30-40%.(Cocaine, Its Forms, Methods of Use, and Pharmacology; webpage) On average ingestion or insufflation of cocaine usual will give the user altered senses of feelings for an hour. Other forms of administration, injection and inhalation, usually alter the users feelings for nearly 30 minutes. 
source: to the strict regulations of the coca leaf entering the United States, generic forms of cocaine are being created. The making of a synthetic cocaine consists of the purchasing of tropinone, conversion of the tropinone into 2-carbomethxytropinone, reducing this to ecgonine, and then changing this substance into cocaine.(The Complete Guide to Manufacturing Cocaine; web page) The process and ingredients are much more complex and the entire recipe can be viewed at This product has been produced mainly for the extreme costs and restrictions that have been put on cocaine and the supplies needed for the production of cocaine.  The recipe for pure cocaine is diagrammed at  The making of pure cocaine is much more difficult in terms of accumulating the needed ingredients, but the formula is much easier then the formula of synthetic cocaine . 
    The use of the coca leaf in its natural state is pure and held in high reverence in its native land. Unfortunately the uses of the cocaine had been altered into a powerful mind altering substance that the coca leaf was never meant to be. The production of cocaine has only lead to crime and the continued impoverishment of the Indians in the Andean region of South America. The production of the coca leaf has become a chief source of income in the region and thus would be difficult to eradicate from the land. 


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