Last updated: May 28, 2018

What Does Coca Mean?

Coca (erythroxylum coca) is the name of the plant from which the drug cocaine is harvested. Cocaine is a psychoactive stimulant drug. In limited instances, cocaine may be used as an anesthesia. It is more commonly known as a drug of abuse.

While each coca leaf contains a small amount of this chemical compound, when extracted and concentrated, the effect of cocaine can be quite powerful. Cocaine is also highly addictive. Thus, substance is categorized as a Schedule II drug under the U.S. Controlled Substances Act (CSA).


WorkplaceTesting Explains Coca

Coca bushes are native to South America. The leaves of the coca plant contain natural compounds called alkaloids. These alkaloids produce a number of pharmaceutical effects when ingested. The compounds in coca may act as a stimulant, reduce sensations of pain or fatigue, or suppress feelings of hunger and thirst.

Coca plants have been cultivated for many centuries. Records indicate that chewing coca leaves was part of the religion and culture native civilizations in South America, including the Andean and the Inca peoples. Many people in South America still cultivate and use coca. The leaves are chewed to relieve hunger, as an anesthesia, and for their stimulating effect. Dried coca leaves are also brewed to make tea.


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