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12/1/13

For the 1000th time, Coca is not cocaine

The Incas saw the drug as a gift from the gods and used it in sacred rituals. The empire's only method of communication was a chain of messengers who would walk hundreds of miles over mountainous terrain; the royal emperors would ply them with cocaine so that they could go for days without food or sleep.
Yeah, that's just what we need, another so-called expert regurgitating the stupid. Listen Andrew Anthony, it's really simple:
  • Coca is a plant. Its leaves were/are used by Andean peoples (not just the Inca, that's a double stereotype) for many different reasons, including your ceremonies but other things too.
  • Cocaine is a drug. It comes from the coca leaf but it's just one of the 20 alkaloids found in the coca leaf and is held in tiny quantities. 

Do you think coffee is the same as caffeine? Do you think poppies are the same as heroin? So why do you think coca is the same as cocaine?

UPDATE: Don't tell me that this interwebs thing isn't worth the time, either. We now have a corrected Guardian report and this at the bottom:
This article was amended on 1 December 2013. The original version wrongly stated that the Incas used cocaine, rather than coca leaves.
Thanks due to Guardian South America reporter Vicky Baker for the rapid improvement in the article.