Safely and Legally Buying Drugs From Online Pharmacies
What you should know about the dangerous hidden ingredients in cocaine
The purified chemical, cocaine hydrochloride, was isolated from the plant more than 100 years ago. In the early 1900s, purified cocaine was the main active ingredient in many tonics and elixirs developed to treat a wide variety of illnesses. Before the development of synthetic local anesthetic, surgeons used cocaine to block pain. However, research has since shown that cocaine is a powerfully addictive substance that can alter brain structure and function if used repeatedly.
Today, cocaine is a Schedule II drug, which means that it has high potential for abuse but can be administered by a doctor for legitimate medical uses, such as local anesthesia for some eye, ear, and throat surgeries. Dealers often dilute (or “cut”) it with non-psychoactive substances such as cornstarch, talcum powder, flour, or baking soda to increase their profits. They may also adulterate cocaine with other drugs like procaine (a chemically related local anesthetic) or amphetamine (another psychoactive stimulant). Some users combine cocaine with heroin.
Cocaine, also known as “coke” or “blow,” is a fast-acting nervous system stimulant. It is the most potent among all naturally occurring stimulants and is extracted from the leaves of the coca bush.1 With further processing, the coca leaves become cocaine and crack that is sold on the street.
However, because it is often cut with a variety of different ingredients, you really don’t know what’s in the cocaine you buy. While some of these fillers do little more than increase a drug dealer’s profits, others are very harmful and even deadly. Some are even intended to mimic cocaine’s natural properties, which increases the risk to even experienced users
What Is in Cocaine?
Cocaine contains a chemical substance called benzoylmethylecgonine. It is found in the leaves of the Erythroxylum coca plant, which grows at high altitudes in the Andes Mountains of Peru, Bolivia, and Colombia, as well as on the island of Java in Indonesia.
People chew coca leaves to produce a sense of elevated energy and well-being and reduce appetite. This practice doesn’t seem to cause cocaine withdrawal or addiction.
When coca leaves are processed into powder and freebase cocaine and crack, the resulting drug is artificially concentrated to produce a more rapid onset of effects. This is also what makes it more addictive.
People abuse two chemical forms of cocaine: the water-soluble hydrochloride salt and the water-insoluble cocaine base (or freebase). Users inject or snort the hydrochloride salt, which is a powder. The base form of cocaine is created by processing the drug with ammonia or sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and water, then heating it to remove the hydrochloride to produce a smokable substance.
When cocaine is processed by the liver, metabolites form. These metabolites, such as ecgonine methyl ester and benzoylecgonine, pose health risks even after someone uses cocaine. Benzoylecgonine, for instance, is a vasoconstrictor. This means that it narrows the blood vessels surrounding the heart and may cause adverse cardiovascular effects
How Cocaine Is Made
During the initial processing, the coca leaves are made into cocaine paste—a white, gray, or dull-brown powder. This intermediate form of cocaine contains 40% to 80% cocaine sulfate. It is sometimes used in this form in South America and some parts of the United States, where it is known by the names pastaor bazooka.5
This cocaine paste is further refined to produce cocaine hydrochloride crystal, the key ingredient in powder cocaine and crack cocaine.
Cocaine hydrochloride crystal is the main psychoactive ingredient in cocaine and it is responsible for producing the cocaine high.
It is sold as a white powder that is usually sniffed or snorted up the nose. Users can also take it orally or smoke or inject it.
Freebase and crack cocaine, which are types of cocaine that have been further refined so that they can be smoked, are prepared using alkalis. These include ammonia and sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) or solvents, such as ether.