Methylbenzoylecgonine (cocaine hydrochloride) is a psychoactive stimulant drug isolated from the leaves of the South American coca bush (Erythroxylon coca and Erythroxylon novogranatense). Chewing coca leaves, which releases 0.6 to 1.8 percent cocaine, goes back 5,000 years ago and predates the Incan civilization. Chemically, cocaine is in the tropane family and is related to atropine and scopolamine. The use of the coca plant was revealed by archaeological evidence suggesting that the sucking of a quid of coca leaves was practiced by the Incan civilization. The Incas used the coca leaves as currency, and the coca bush was highly revered as a “divine plant.” The coca leaves were also used to relieve hunger and fatigue as well as cure anoxia (altitude sickness). The leaves are nutritious ...

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