cocaine


cocaine
/koh kayn", koh"kayn/, n. Pharm.
a bitter, crystalline alkaloid, C17H21NO4, obtained from coca leaves, used as a local anesthetic and also widely used as an illicit drug for its stimulant and euphorigenic properties.
[1870-75; COCA + -INE1]

* * *

Heterocyclic compound (C17H21NO4), an alkaloid obtained from coca leaves.

It has legal uses in medicine and dentistry as a local anesthetic but far more is used illegally, usually as the hydrochloride. When sniffed in small amounts, cocaine produces feelings of well-being and euphoria, decreased appetite, relief from fatigue, and increased mental alertness. Larger amounts or prolonged use can damage the heart and nasal structures and cause seizures. In altered, more potent, cheaper forms (freebase, crack), cocaine is injected or smoked and is extremely addictive (see drug addiction) and detrimental to health. Prolonged or compulsive use of any form of purified cocaine can cause severe personality disturbances, inability to sleep, appetite loss, and paranoid psychosis.

* * *

drug
      white, crystalline alkaloid that is obtained from the leaves of the coca plant (Erythroxylum coca), a bush commonly found growing wild in Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador and cultivated in many other countries. The chemical formula of cocaine is C17H21NO4. Cocaine acts as an anesthetic because it interrupts the conduction of impulses in nerves, especially those in the mucous membranes of the eye, nose, and throat. More importantly, cocaine when ingested in small amounts produces feelings of well-being and euphoria, along with a decreased appetite, relief from fatigue, and increased mental alertness. When taken in larger amounts and upon prolonged and repeated use, cocaine can produce depression, anxiety, irritability, sleep problems, chronic fatigue, mental confusion, paranoia, and convulsions that can cause death.

      For centuries the Indians of Peru and Bolivia have chewed coca leaves mixed with pellets of limestone or plant ashes for pleasure or in order to withstand strenuous working conditions, hunger, and thirst. In other cultures the active alkaloid is chemically extracted from coca leaves and is converted into the hydrochloric salt of cocaine, cocaine hydrochloride. This fine white powder is sniffed through a hollow tube and is readily absorbed into the bloodstream through the nasal mucous membranes. Cocaine is an irritant, however, and acts to constrict blood vessels, causing a chronic runny nose or, in severe cases, ulcerations in the nasal cavity. The euphoric effects of sniffing cocaine are relatively transitory and wear off after about 30 minutes. Cocaine is habit-forming and may also be physically addicting. Cocaine is also injected in solution or smoked in a chemically treated form known as freebase; either of these methods produces a markedly more compulsive use of the drug. In the 1980s a new preparation of cocaine appeared, called crack; the smoking of crack produces an even more intense and even more short-lived euphoria that is extremely addicting. This form of cocaine consumption is also the one most detrimental to health. Another smokable and highly addictive form is cocaine paste, which is an intermediate stage in the processing of coca leaves into cocaine.

      The prolonged or compulsive use of cocaine in any of its purified forms can cause severe personality disturbances, inability to sleep, and loss of appetite. A toxic psychosis can develop involving paranoid delusions and disturbing tactile hallucinations in which the user feels insects crawling under his skin. Cocaine abuse, which had been a marginal drug problem throughout much of the 20th century, grew alarmingly in the late 20th century in several countries, and cocaine has become responsible for a markedly increased proportion of drug-induced deaths.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Cocaine — Cocaïne Cocaïne Général Nom IUPAC (1R,2R,3S,5S) 3 (benzoyloxy) 8 methyl 8 azabicyclo[3.2.1]octane 2 carboxylate de méthyle N …   Wikipédia en Français

  • COCAÏNE — L’Erythroxylon coca (famille des Linacées), cultivée à Java, et surtout en Amérique du Sud d’où la plante est originaire, produit la cocaïne au niveau des feuilles par transformation de l’ornithine. Les racines paraissent totalement dépourvues… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Cocaine — «Cocaine» Sencillo de J.J. Cale del álbum Troubadour Formato Vinilo Grabación 1977 Género(s) Rock Duración 2:48 …   Wikipedia Español

  • cocaine — 1874, from Modern Latin cocaine (1856), coined by Albert Niemann of Gottingen University from coca (from Quechua cuca) + chemical suffix INE (Cf. ine) (2). A medical coinage, the drug was used 1870s as a local anaesthetic for eye surgery, etc. It …   Etymology dictionary

  • Cocaine — Co ca*ine, n. (Chem.) A powerful narcotic alkaloid, {C17H21NO4}, obtained from the leaves of coca. It is a bitter, white, crystalline substance, and is remarkable for producing local insensibility to pain. It is classified as addictive and is not …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • cocaine — [n] illegal drug blow*, coke*, controlled substance, crack*, crystal*, freebase*, happy dust*, ice*, joy powder*, mojo*, narcotic, nose candy*, poison*, snort*, snow*, speedball*, stardust*, stuff*, sugar*, white horse*, white lady*, wings*;… …   New thesaurus

  • cocaine — ► NOUN ▪ an addictive drug derived from coca or prepared synthetically, used as an illegal stimulant and sometimes medicinally as a local anaesthetic. ORIGIN from COCA(Cf. ↑coca) …   English terms dictionary

  • cocaine — [kō kān′, kō′kān΄] n. [ COCA + INE3] a crystalline alkaloid, C17H21NO4, obtained from dried coca leaves: it was once much used in medicine and dentistry to lessen pain, but it is habit forming when used as a stimulant …   English World dictionary

  • Cocaine — For other uses, see Cocaine (disambiguation). Cocaine …   Wikipedia

  • Cocaïne — Cet article concerne l alcaloïde. Pour la chanson, voir Cocaine (chanson). Cocaïne …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Cocaine — The most potent stimulant of natural origin, a bitter addictive anesthetic (pain blocker) which is extracted from the leaves of the coca scrub (Erythroxylon coca) indigenous to the Andean highlands of South America. From the name of the plant… …   Medical dictionary


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.