I think it's a good idea. Not just from a practical point of view, but also cultural. The treaty that banned coca chewing was signed over 50 years ago. And while I have not read it, I'm almost sure it did not include chewing tobacco. This was a trully colonial imperalialist measure (and I never use those terms). I say that because it obviously is a treaty that is Euro-centric in it's scope. The vast majority of the items banned are those of ''indigenous'' cultures but very few western growths were banned.
While I don't support lifting a ban on all the substances, it's been proven that chewing coca does not lead to any nefarious behavior or health issues anymore than tobacco does.
It is almost certain the United States will lead to an objection of the measure proposed by Bolivia, which would halt any immediate lifting of coca chewing as illegal, as then the appropriate authorities would have to review both requests. If no one did object by January 31st, the measure put forth by Bolivia would become legal.
I hope Brazil and Argentina back Bolivia on this. Coca leaves is part of High Andes culture whether people like it or not, just as much as tobacco is part of western culture. And as long as no proof is given the chewing natural coca is dangerous to society, I support lifting it's restrictions. If the USA wants to be known as a culturally intolerant government, then they will go ahead trying to stop it.
If other societies abuse the plant, it's not the fault of Bolivian or Andean culture. Of course, any mass trafficking of coca leaves that are obviously intended for refining should remain completely illegal and Bolivia and others should agree to fight that with redoubled efforts.
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aloges From Germany, joined Jan 2006, 8523 posts, RR: 46 Reply 3, posted (2 years 11 months 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 1497 times:
IIRC, the leaves are usually chewed together with some ash, which chemically alters the alkaloids and makes them less addictive - not that a couple of leaves would be enough to addict anyone in the first place.
I quite liked the tea when I was in Bolivia, it had the vitalising effect of coffee without any of the stomach trouble that coffee sometimes causes. It should be legalised - la hoja de coca no es droga!
Walk together, talk together all ye peoples of the earth. Then, and only then, shall ye have peace.
Avianca From Venezuela, joined Jan 2005, 5884 posts, RR: 39 Reply 4, posted (2 years 11 months 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 1445 times:
Quoting aloges (Reply 3): I quite liked the tea when I was in Bolivia, it had the vitalising effect of coffee without any of the stomach trouble that coffee sometimes causes. It should be legalised - la hoja de coca no es droga!
well a mate de coca isnt bad specially at high altitute citys like La Paz, when I am on businss there I have always some, otherwise I would not survive the nights of partying and drinking and closing business!
But I am also surprised that coca leaves are actually illegal in Bolivia....
DocLightning From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 18059 posts, RR: 57 Reply 5, posted (2 years 11 months 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 1418 times:
Quoting aloges (Reply 3): IIRC, the leaves are usually chewed together with some ash, which chemically alters the alkaloids and makes them less addictive - not that a couple of leaves would be enough to addict anyone in the first place.
Addiction is a combination of many factors. Some people can snort coke many times and never become addicts. For some, one time is all it takes. just like alcohol.
One factor that affects addiction is onset of action. Most addictive substances and activities provide immediate reward. There are very few horribly addictive substances that are taken by mouth. Most of those that are are more physical dependencies (opiates and caffeine come to mind) than true "addictions." Most of the drugs with the highest addiction potential are smoked, snorted, or injected and have an onset of action in seconds to minutes. Alcohol is the exception that proves the rule... due to the small size of the ethanol molecule and the fact that it dissolves equally well in the watery fluids of the body as it does in the oily cell membranes it must cross to get there, it is absorbed very rapidly across the mucosa of the mouth, esophagus, and stomach and has an onset of action that can be as fast as five minutes on an empty stomach.
Cocaine, when taken by mouth, has an onset of action of 10-30 minutes, depending on stomach contents. Because orally-administered drugs must pass through the liver before they enter the systemic circulation, the oral bioavailability of cocaine is much lower than the nasal or inhaled bioavailability. Because of these factors, when taken by mouth, cocaine has an effect similar to caffine. It promotes wakefulness and alertness and heightens concentration, but does not produce euphoria or alterations of the sensorium. I should know; we have a box of Peruvian mate de coca in our house. It remains about 97% full... I rarely have occasion to drink it, but it's a pleasant drink when I do. Clearly, we're not addicted.
Cocaine is also a topical anesthetic. It was the original stimulant ingredient in Coca-Cola (hence the name). Coca-Cola was originally marketed as a stomach tonic. Both the cocaine and the sugar are soothing to an upset stomach and help to relieve nausea. When cocaine was banned, it was replaced with caffeine, which is still a stimulant, but which has no anesthetic effects on the stomach. That said, I still recommend small amounts flat, room-temperature Coke (the kind with real sugar; fructose has no anti-nausea effect, sucrose does) for kids with upset tummies.
But in Peru and Bolivia, grandmothers give their sick grandchildren mate de coca... and it really helps them feel better.
DocLightning From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 18059 posts, RR: 57 Reply 7, posted (2 years 11 months 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 1331 times:
Quoting JJJ (Reply 6):
I read somewhere it used to be a standard anesthetic for eye surgery back in the late XIX and early XX century.
Indeed. Cocaine is a sodium channel blocker, on top of being a dopamine reuptake inhibitor. The dopamine reuptake inhibition is responsible for its systemic stimulant effects. But sodium channels run the length of each neuron and are vital to the transmission of nerve impulses. If sodium channels are blocked, no nerve impulses pass. You can block sodium channels in nerves and then proceed to do surgical procedures on someone without so much as a peep out of them.
So the pharmaceutical companies got in on it and started studying which components of the cocaine molecule had the sodium channel blocking ability. The result was a bunch of other drugs ending in "-caine" that are devoid of stimulant properties.
Novocaine, lidocaine, bupivocaine all come to mind. So when I need to suture a wound, I flood the area with lidocaine, which blocks the sodium channels in all the neurons in the region and then proceed to suture away without a hint of discomfort from the patient. The actual lidocaine injections sting, but once they take hold, no feeling passes through those neurons.
JJJ From Spain, joined May 2006, 1689 posts, RR: 2 Reply 8, posted (2 years 11 months 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 1307 times:
Now I remember where I read it. Someone was talking about the last Sherlock Holmes film in the scene where Watson shouts at him "That's used for eye surgery!" an obscure reference to the literary Holmes that regularly used cocaine.