Cocaine Medical Usage

Cocaine is derived from the coca plant that has been used by inhabitants of villages throughout Peru and Bolivia for many years. They would chew on coca leaves as it was found to be the standard remedy for symptoms of hunger and cold and for two folk illnesses: el soka, a condition of weakness, fatigue, and general malaise; and el fiero, a chronic wasting illness.

Albert Neimann first isolated and synthesized cocaine powder in 1860 in a pure form from the leaves of coca plants. Soon thereafter, it was used to try and cure almost all the illnesses and maladies known to man. In the form of leaf powder or tea, coca is taken for toothache, ulcers, rheumatism, asthma, and even malaria. Coca tea is often served to tourists arriving in hotels and inns in the high Andes as a remedy for the nausea, dizziness, and headache of soroche (altitude sickness). Unlike other stimulants, coca is also a local anesthetic. The juice of the leaf can be applied to soothe eye irritations or gargled for hoarseness and sore throat. Coca leaves are also used as a topical anesthetic for mouth sores. Coca contains minerals, vitamin C, and some B vitamins, and it is sometimes said to be an important source of these nutrients in the Andean diet.

When it was first introduced to Europe, its medicinal effects on depression, alcohol and morphine addiction, fatigue and as a local anesthetic were discovered. Nonetheless, the result of those who experimented with it for medical purposes soon became dependent on the drug. There was a sense of euphoria and energy that came from taking it as we’ve learned from early experimenters like Sigmund Freud, who would take the drug and record his results.

Cocaine Medical Usage in the United States

In 1886, an elixir containing cocaine from the coca leaf and caffeine from an African kola nut was first marketed in Atlanta. It was sold as a brain tonic recommended for similar medical reasons as it was in Europe (i.e. headaches, morphine addiction, menstrual cramps, etc.). This elixir, commonly known as Coca-Cola, quickly became one of the most popular elixirs in the country. But because the adverse affects of cocaine on the brain, the Coca-Cola Company agreed to stop using coca leaves in their product in 1903.

Up until 1914, cocaine was sold over-the-counter in the United States. It was widely used in tonics, tooth ache cures, patent medicines, and chocolate cocaine tablets. When combined with alcohol, it yielded a potently reinforcing compound, now known to be cocaethylene. Thus cocaine was a popular ingredient in wines, notably Vin Mariani. Coca wine received endorsement from prime-ministers, royalty and even the pope. A singer or actor who drank Mariani’s wine could hardly know how much of the improvement he or she noticed was caused by local anesthesia or constriction of blood vessels in the throat and how much by euphoria and a feeling of mastery. As for stomach and intestinal problems, the gastrointestinal system is probably the most common site of psychosomatic symptoms. The use of coca or cocaine in periods of recovery from long-lasting debilitating diseases represents a similar combination of central and peripheral effects.

Cocaine Usage Today

Today cocaine is used in medicine mainly as a topical anesthetic in eye, ear, nose, and throat surgery and fiber tube optical examinations of the upper respiratory and digestive tracts. It is no longer injected as its primary use in the ways of anesthesia. Beginning in the late 1880s surgical procedures using local anesthetics (numbing a specific area to pain) were starting to be used instead of general anesthesia (rendering a person unconscious). These discoveries were conducted by William Halstead, one of the four founders of The John Hopkins Medical School. He is often referred to as the Father of American Surgery. Halstead would experiment on himself by injecting cocaine to see if surgery could be performed using cocaine as the anesthetic. Consequently after much experimentation, Halstead became addicted, thus inevitably putting his career on the line. He eventually stopped shooting cocaine but began taking morphine instead. It is believed he continued taking morphine for the rest of his life.

Cocaine in America is still available for use in the nose for surgery, stopping nosebleeds, and as a local anesthetic for cuts in children. The American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Inc. considers cocaine to be a valuable anesthetic and vasoconstriction agent when used as part of the treatment of a patient by a physician. No other single drug combines the anesthetic and vasoconstriction properties of cocaine. However, as people have learned about the harmful and addictive reactions to the drug and with the introduction of the Harrison Narcotic Act, cocaine has become a drug that must be regulated by governmental laws and regulations.

If you or someone you know is suffering from the effects of cocaine, cocaine rehab treatment is available. To learn more about cocaine rehab, please call our toll free number. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to answer any questions you might have about cocaine treatment.

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