Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Coca Sek

Here’s an interesting BBC piece on the Nasa, an indigenous group in Colombia that grows a small amount of coca legally. They are now making a cola (it’s called Coca Sek) and have plans for coca wine (and other products) as well. The article claims that Coca-Cola still uses coca leaves for flavor, but they are “decocainized.” I don’t know if that is true or not.

The DEA says these things are OK as long as they don’t “make people high.” A reporter who “consumed some four cups of coca tea and half a dozen coca biscuits felt no high at all.” But they didn’t try the Coca Sek or wine. I wonder how the DEA tests these products—will a bunch of DEA agents sit around drinking Coca Sek, asking each other if they’re high yet?

After Evo Morales’ election, it seems like we’re seeing more reports on the non-drug trade uses of coca by mostly very poor Andean people. With enough press, it might even begin shifting public opinion.

8 comments:

Brunicus 12:05 PM  

Coca-Cola once used the fluid extract of coca leaves, but it became completely cocaine-free in 1929. However, it does use "spent" coca leaves (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coca-Cola#Coca-Cola_formula) for flavor.

Greg Weeks 3:33 PM  

Interesting, though totally unconfimed. Further google search shows theories that Coca Cola buys those "spent" coca leaves from Peru. No source I would call very reliable, though.

Anonymous,  12:40 AM  

How about the research company in the UK who invented that THC under-the-tongue spray to treat cancer patients, MS, etc. It's called "Sativex" and was actually approved by the Canadian FDA. To my knowledge, it should be hittin' the shelves there soon...if not already.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2005-06-23-pot-spray_x.htm

You may be correct about it changing popular opinion in other nations, but I would be surprised to see the US embrace coca farming in any shape or form.

Anonymous,  1:55 PM  

From what I can tell Coca-Cola does use decainized coca leaves. They stated so in a government investigation back in the early 1900's. I wish I had a link to this info but I don't. However I do have a link to another article about this same topic and they claim that coca-cola gets it's coca extract from the Stepan Company of NJ. Here is the link:

http://www.colombiajournal.org/colombia223.htm

by Rev.Raikes 1:41 AM  

I fear that jordanvandyne is correct. But our gov't in the US doesn't want to eradicate cocaine production. It wants to continue combating it because it produces so much revenue.

One report on Coca-Sek that I read, however, stated that Coke uses 200 metric tons of coca leaves per year. I have a hard time believing the leaves (used for "flavor") are all spent.

Who's checking? Coke is a global giant (the bottlers even own Chicago's utilities, for one), the secret recipe is highly guarded, and this attempt by the Nasa Indians to go commercial is in response to the Columbian Coke bottlers'alleged assassination of Union leaders.

A lot seems rather iffy about the integrity of the Coca-Cola company on the whole.

But, I would buy Coca-Sek in a shot. We need to lose our stigma on naturally grown medicinal herbs and stop the "War on Some Drugs", as Robert Anton Wilson Calls it.

Anonymous,  12:43 AM  

There have been two prominent studies done on the coca plant, one in a research lab in Harvard and the other by the International Health Organization. Both have found that there is NO negative health benefits to consuming the leaves as-is. In fact they are highly nutritious. Just 3.5 ounces of the leaf contain over 1400 mg of calcium - an 8-oz. glass of milk has under 400 mg. The biggest problem the U.S. has is image. They have spent so much money and effort combating the War on Drugs. Ironically, the companies who make legal, non-toxic products with the plant pay $1 more a pound to farmers than people looking to export cocaine. If supported with government regulation, this could actually help cut off supply to the drug cartels while helping out South American farmers and the South American economy in general.

Anonymous,  9:19 PM  

I'm late to the party, but I've spent a lot of time in Colombia. I had the opportunity to try the tea, the "pop," and the biscuits. They were all tasty and had no bizarre effects whatsoever, other than to makes one's tongue a bit tingly. All-in-all a great product. Too bad people are so ill-informed about the beneficial aspects of the coca plant.

Anonymous,  3:59 PM  

Coca products will become acceptable once some Multinational Co. starts marketing. The same old cycle will continue. They will squeeze the farmers and rake in millions.

-FR

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