Cocaine- A Brief Timeline

  • Five thousand years ago, the Incas of Peru discovered the pleasantly stimulating effect of chewing on the leaves of the coca plant.
  • In the post-Columbian 1500s, the coca leaf was used to pay the Indians working in the silver mines

They no doubt appreciated how the leaf could speed up the heart and breath and make breathing the thin Andean air easier. Out of their love for the coca leaf, it would be used as an early form of money.

It wasn’t until the mid-nineteenth century that a method for extracting the white powder from the coca leaf was discovered. Later in the century, pure cocaine became commercially available in the United States. (Powder cocaine is tens to hundreds of times more powerful than chewing on the leaf.) It was used in many products including all sorts of nerve tonic, patent medicines, home remedies and even in Coca-Cola and wine (the wine version was endorsed by the pope at the time Leo XIII). Among the drug’s early fans were Sigmund Freud, Thomas Edison, and actress Sarah Bernhardt.

By the turn of the century society was becoming aware of the dangers of the drug and it was removed from Coca-Cola. The government took notice of its effects on the public health and by 1914 the drug was officially banned.

By the late 1970s cocaine was fashionable and trendy. Its popularity would peak by the mid-1980s, the same time crack was coming onto the scene. Today, consumption of cocaine in the U.S. is now about half of what it was during its peak—but don’t celebrate quite yet: Cocaine still takes lives and sends more than 180,000 people to rehab each year.

What Does Cocaine Feel Like?

Cocaine’s high offers a special kind of pleasure: This feeling is referred to as euphoria. It may not be the same for all users as the cocaine experience can be different for each person. It’s said that cocaine stimulates the brain that creates a “rewarding” feeling the way a real accomplishment does. The feeling can be intense enough for users to want to experience the feeling again and again which leads to addiction.

But this only holds true during low levels of consumption. Heavy use can put the user into states of fear, anxiety, paranoia, and worse. Heavy chronic users will experience powerful negative effects to the heart, brain, and emotions with long-term and life threatening consequences.

Is Cocaine is an Aphrodisiac?

Firstly: No.

We know that this drug is a stimulant that makes you feel alert and energetic, which are both good states for sex. What we don’t know for sure is whether cocaine enhances sexual arousal and pleasure by increasing sensitivity. This still seems to be open to debate. But this we do know: Users of cocaine discover quickly that the urge to gratify the cocaine appetite does eventually overwhelm the urge to have sex. Given enough of it, the drug definitely does have a detrimental effect of sexual performance.

Secondly, despite hundreds of years of cultural myths, there seems to be no actual evidence that such a thing as aphrodisiac even exists at all. Yet, the myth remains. An argument could be made that cocaine is as much an aphrodisiac as alcohol which is to say that its quality of lowering inhibitions may have the effect of enabling what was already there. Cocaine’s euphoria gives the user the illusion of feeling better about themselves than they usually do. Because of this the drug has been called the classic “ego drug.”

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Cocaine Pt 1: Why Do People Do Cocaine Anyway?