tropane alkaloid and stimulant drug

Cocaine (also cocain) is a strong stimulant drug that is made from coca leaves. It is illegal in most countries. Cocaine is usually a white powder. Because it is a stimulant, cocaine gives people energy. It also makes people feel very happy when it is taken. When used this way, cocaine is very addictive. However, cocaine can also be used as a local anesthetic if it is applied topically (onto the skin or gums) and this was how it was first used.[1] The name comes from: "coca" - the plant it comes from - and "-ine" - anesthetic.

Origin and effects


Where cocaine comes from

Leaves of the Coca plant

The Inca of Peru were consumers. [2] Cocaine is taken from the leaves of the coca plant of South America. [3] Coca plants are mostly grown in South America, in countries like Brazil or Argentina. When Spanish conquistadors (explorers) discovered coca plants, they sent them back to Europe. People started using cocaine as a medicine, as well as in drinks and food. This was because they did not know how damaging and addictive the drug could be when used.

In America, cocaine was used during surgery, or to treat toothaches. It was also put into drinks. When Coca-Cola was first made in 1885, it got the first part of its name from the "handful of coca leaves" added to the drink for energy. (The caffeine in the drink came from the kola nut, so the name "Coca-Cola" was chosen.) Cocaine was taken out of Coca-Cola completely by the 1920s because of pressure from groups in the United States.

Effects of cocaine


When cocaine is applied topically (onto the skin or gums), it causes numbness.

When cocaine is chewed or eaten, inhaled into the nose ("snorted"), or injected into the veins, it causes people to feel euphoric (very happy), alert, very confident, and full of energy. This feeling is called being "high." Some people who take cocaine also have unpleasant feelings. They may feel worried, anxious, or even paranoid. They may also have physical symptoms, like shaking, a high heart rate, and high body temperature.

Cocaine cannot be smoked in its normal form. It must react with another chemical to form crack cocaine, which can be smoked. This is because burning normal cocaine destroys it, so the user does not get the effect they want.

Cocaine as an illegal drug

Cocaine hydrochloride powder
Crack cocaine

In most countries, it is illegal to make, sell, or use cocaine (unless it is being used for approved medical reasons).

As an illegal drug, cocaine can be used in its powder form, or it can be made into crack cocaine. Usually, crack is made by adding baking soda and water to cocaine and then heating the mixture. Crack is usually less expensive than the normal form of cocaine. Crack is usually smoked. It gives users a high that is very strong, but does not last as long as the high from regular cocaine. Both forms of cocaine are addictive, although crack cocaine is thought to be more addictive as it is usually smoked.

Dangers of using cocaine


If people use cocaine, they may take too much and get sick or even die. This is called an "overdose". When people take cocaine, they get intoxicated as well. When a person is intoxicated, they may do dangerous things, such as having unsafe sex with a person they do not know, or getting into a violent fight with a person.

If a person uses cocaine for a long time, they can start to get strange feelings, like there are bugs crawling under their skin, or they can get paranoia (a feeling that there are people that want to hurt them).

Cocaine is a very addictive drug. It can lead to psychological and/or physical dependence. When a person is addicted to a drug, they might do bad or criminal acts in order to get money for more drugs, such as crimes (for example theft, robbery, fraud, or prostitution). If the person tries to stop using cocaine, they will go through cocaine withdrawal.

Another danger from using cocaine is the risk of infection when using unsafe ways of taking cocaine (like using dirty needles when injecting cocaine). A person can get infectious diseases like HIV or Hepatitis C when they use cocaine in these ways.


Cocaine was originally used as a topical anesthetic. This is where the prefix ("-ine") comes from.

Cocaine is also used as an ADHD medication in various countries around the world legally.[4][5]

Notes and references

  1. Macmillan Dictionary for Students Macmillan, Pan Ltd. (1981), page 192. Retrieved 2010-7-21.
  2. P F Brain, G A Coward A review of the history, actions, and legitimate uses of cocaine J Subst Abuse. 1989;1(4):431-51.
  3. Michaela Patafio reviewed by Arefa Cassoobhoy, MD, MPH Cocaine use and its effects WebMD
  4. Oswaks, Molly (2011-12-14). "My Struggle With ADD: Using Cocaine to Fight the Symptoms". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2023-11-07.
  5. "Cocaine and ADHD: Everything you should know". 2022-05-27. Retrieved 2023-11-07.