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Cocaine, a powdered narcotic derived from the leaves of the cocoa plant, has been a curious participant in the history of several contemporary cultures. Its ubiquity is an outgrowth of its unique and highly effective properties. While cocaine is commonly known as a highly popular recreational drug, its underlying chemical properties, chemical mechanisms, and chemical effects on the human body, offer an understanding of why the drug remains a resilient participant in today’s culture. We explore these chemical characteristics further.

Extraction of cocaine from the coca plans requires several solvents and a chemical process known as an acid/base extraction, which can fairly easily extract the alkaloids from the plant. The result is a weakly alkaline compound that is able to bind with other acidic compounds which then in turn form different salts. In more specific terms, it is a crystalline tropane alkaloid.
Pure cocaine is prepared by neutralizing the compounding salts with alkaline solutions that can help with the precipitation of non-polar basic cocaine, then is further refined liquid-liquid extractions. In this form, it looks like a pearl white powder product. Usually is in the form of cocaine hydrochloride. Cocaine that has been altered is called a “cut” product, which has been added with other stimulants such as methamphetamine. The other non-pure versions of cocaine tend to be off-white or pink in color.
Hydrochloride salts of cocaine are the most common encountered type of cocaine, while sulfate, and nitrate are actually less common though are still seen in traces of cocaine.
As a matter of classification, the molecular formula for cocaine is C17H21NO4. Its’ systematic name is Methyl (1R,2R,3S...

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...ometime because of its popularity among the wealthy and middle class. It has been mainly popular among the club scenes during the 1970’s and 1980’s, though also highly popular among the college students as a party drug. Though through the research that I have done about the drug, I have weighed out the pros and cons of taking this drug as well as understanding the chemistry behind cocaine, and how there are different ways of making the drug. Though that is the likelihood of me getting close and deep into cocaine by understanding the chemistry of this pearly white addicting powder. I almost tried it, but thanks to chemistry, I will never try it.
Fun Fact. In the U.S. the cleanest bills were collected from Salt Lake City, home of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, better known as the Mormons ( 17 August 2009.)… So no cocaine use there.

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