Robinson Cocaine Hydrochlorate

Chemistry and Extraction of Cocaine

"Cocaine is one of the group of alkaloids, substances occurring naturally in plants. Alkaloids are basic (alkaline) compounds synthesized by living organisms from amino acids; they have a closed carbon ring that contains nitrogen and are pharmacologically active in animals and man....
The alkaloids of Erythroxylum coca belong to six closely related groups:

  1. cocaine and some variants, including cinnamylcocaine and truxillines;
  2. methylecgonine and methylecgonidine;
  3. benzoylecgonine;
  4. tropeines, e.g. tropacocaine;
  5. dihydroxytropane;
  6. hygrines, including hygrine, beta-hygrine, cuscohygrine, and hygroline.

... Cocaine, like several other coca alkaloids, is a tropane, chemically related to the psychoactive tropane alkaloids produced by plants of the Solanaceae family, wihch includes belladonna or deadly nightshade; henbane; jimsonweed, or thorn apple (Datura stramonium); and mandrake. Although these drugs- atropine, hyoscyamine, and scopolamine (hyoscine) - resemble cocaine structurally, their pharmaceutical mode of action and observed effects are quite different...
There are several methods for obtaining refined cocaine hydrochloride on a large scale, some of them commercial secrets, but they are all variations of two patterns: extraction directly from the leaf, or semisynthetic production from ecgonine (more precisely, methylecgonine), another cocaine alkaloid. Crude cocaine or coca paste, called masa in Peru, is a mixture of alkaloids that is about two-thirds cocaine. It is produced by dissolving dried leaves in sulfuric acid and precipitating the alkaloids with sodium carbonate. A dull white or brownish powder with a sweet smell, it is sometimes smoked in pipes with marihuana [sic]. In the direct extraction process, coca paste is converted to "rock" cocaine by solution in hydrochloric acid and further treatment to remove the other alkaloids. This is the form of cocaine hydrochloride usually sold in the illicit traffic. Production of the pharmaceutical-quality, or crystalline, cocaine, popularly known as "flake", requires repeated further purification. One technique employs petroleum ether, methanol and hydrochloric acid; another employs a mixture of acetone and benzene."

-pp. 73- 75, Cocaine: A Drug and Its Social Evolution by Lester Grinspoon & James B. Bakalar (1985)

Robinson Cocaine Hydrochlorate
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