The Coca plant is common in South America and in fact there are four types of it and they are all native to that part of the world where they have been cultivated centuries before Columbus discovered America. The plant is a major crop for countries there namely Bolivia and Peru. It is also an important part of many of the cultures that have been developed in the Andes. The plant has gained a notoriety because of the alkaloids which be derived from it. One of these substances is cocaine which is an illegal drug, and is a very powerful stimulant.
The identification of coca with cocaine however can sometimes be misleading. Those who are uninformed tend to think that cocaine is just harvested or derived from the plant directly. The truth is that in order to obtain cocaine, the coca plant needs to undergo a complex process that is needed in order to extract the substance from it. Another thing is that the alkaloid content of the coca leaf is actually negligible.
The plant is a bush that grows to a maximum height of 3 m. while its branches are thin and straight. Coca is widely cultivated in elevated slopes of the Andes mountain. Even in ancient times coca has been widely traded within the different cultures and people of South America. The leaves are usually chewed and that leaves numbness inside the mouth. Natives normally use lime with the leaves which helps in hastening the release of the active ingredients. They have a strong taste and they produce a pleasant sensation inside the mouth that is similar to numbness there.
The use of coca can go be traced back to the ancient civilizations of South America, since researchers have discovered traces of coca on mummies that are thousands of years old. That can only indicate that the substance have been used in some form since ancient times.
Is it Legal to Grow Coca Plants in the US?– There are some who are wondering if it is actually legal to grow the coca plant in the United States. They are wondering about this since coca leaves and plants contain very little cocaine and must pass through a complex chemical process first before it becomes the controlled substance, then its growing might be legal if the purpose can be justified.
If you are one of those wondering about this, the answer is simply that it is illegal to grow it and to possess the plant. The law makes no distinction between cocaine and the coca plant. So if you are caught in possession of a coca plant you might face liabilities similar to as if you were caught in possession of cocaine. It is useless to argue that the coca plant must undergo a complex chemical process before it can be turned into the illegal drug. Right now cocaine and coca are Schedule II which means that one can not sell or possess it without license from DEA. Those are just some of the things that you need to know about the coca plant.