I thought that you might find it interesting how contemporary these comments are on the differences between Coca Leaf and Cocaine, considering that they are from the introduction to Dr. W. Golden Mortimer’s 1901 book “History of Coca”. You can read “History of Coca”in its entirety in my eBook “The Coca Leaf Papers”, which also contains complete text, bibliographic links, and illustrations from several other early books on the remarkable medical uses of Coca Leaf, all written well before the deviously-named “War On Drugs”.
(Please note – when Dr. Mortimer says “Coca” he is referring to “Coca Leaf”.)
“As to the value of Coca, there cannot be the slightest doubt; as to its utter harmlessness there can be no question. Even cocaine, against which there has been a cry of perniciousness, is an ally to the physician of inestimable worth, greatly superior – to compare it to a drug of recognized potency, not because of any allied qualities – to morphine.”
“The evils from cocaine have arisen from its pernicious use, in unguarded doses, where used hypodermatically or locally for anaesthesia, when an excessive dose has often been administered, without estimating the amount of the alkaloid that would be absorbed, and which might result in systemic symptoms. Medicinally employed, cocaine in appropriate dosage is a stimulant that is not only harmless, but usually phenomenally beneficial when indicated.”
“There has been a looseness of interpretation regarding the term stimulant, which has engendered a dread unfounded in fact. There is a vague belief that any substance capable of producing stimulation, first elevates the system and then depresses it by a corresponding fall. The physiological law that stimulants excite to action, and that all functional activity is due to stimulation is forgotten or not generally appreciated. The name stimulant has commonly suggested alcoholics, while alcoholics suggest intoxication and a possible degradation.”
“It recalls a thought of De Quincey when told that an individual was drunk with opium, that certain terms are given too great latitude – just as intoxication has been extended to all forms of nervous excitement, instead of restricted to a specific sort of excitement. As expressed by him: “Some people have maintained, in my hearing, that they have been drunk upon green tea; and a medical student in London, for whose knowledge in his profession I have reason to feel great respect, assured me, the other day, that a patient in recovering from an illness, had got drunk on beefsteak.”
“It will be shown by ample testimony that Coca is not only a substance innocent as is tea or coffee – which are commonly accepted popular necessities – but that Coca is vastly superior to these substances, and more worthy of general use because of its depurative action on the blood, as well as through its property of provoking a chemico-physiological change in the tissues whereby the nerves and muscles are rendered more capable for their work.”
“Strong as may appear this assertion, I believe that the facts here presented will amply indicate that sufficient has not been said upon the benefits to accrue from the liberal use of Coca, Indeed, our knowledge of it is yet in its infancy, and if this present writing will but excite others to continue these investigations and experiments. Coca will achieve the position it should maintain as an aid and support to humanity worthy the greatest popularity and the highest possible respect.”