History of Cocaine
Cocaine has a history tracing back thousands of years. Its use and abuse has stood the test of time as a substance with few good qualities and many dangerous addictive qualities. Indians in South America have used leaves of the coca plant (Erythroxylon coca), by chewing or smoking the leaves. They did this because it was believed that ingesting the coca leaf in such a way would cause the person doing so to gain "magical" powers that protected them and connected them to a spiritual plane.
Later, in the Nineteenth century, the coca plant was brought to England for research and study.
Before Columbian times, the coca leaf was provided only to royal families of the Inca Indian Tribe. The Incans used the plant for many things including medicine, religion, social settings and nutritional values. They used the effect of ingesting the coca leaf to suppress appetites, increase productivity and increased mental alertness. Workers were given coca leaves during breaks to provide stamina and endurance.
In the late 1800's, a chemist named Albert Niemann discovered the active ingredient in the coca leave which was an alkaloid. He named that alkaloid cocaine.
Soon after that, cocaine was widely available, sometimes in powder form or mixed with other consumables such as cigarettes or forms of alcohol. Cocaine was touted as a cure for morphine addiction. Mixing the two became an early form of "speed balling".
As the history of cocaine
has continued into present time, it is a well known, sold and traded commodity on a global scale. Coca is harvested in many eastern countries such as Japan and Malaysia. Amsterdam is the source of the first cocaine cartel. However, most cocaine is manufactured illegally in laboratories in South America. For poor and starving countries in South America, Cocaine is like a cash crop, bringing in huge amounts of money as a viable export.
Cocaine has tried to break into mainstream American markets as a legal product through a product called Inca Tea. it was distributed in the 1980's and could be bought at grocery stores in the U.S. However Inca Tea has since become illegal in the United States.