Difference Between Cocaine and Caffeine (With Table)

In today’s competitive and hyperactive world, the consumption of caffeine has become very common as a stimulant. Most of us regularly consume coffee or tea to feel more energetic and active which is the result of an increase in the level of dopamine. At the same time, cocaine is also responsible for increasing our dopamine levels and give us a euphoric feeling. Though both are addictive, cocaine and caffeine can be differentiated on many factors. 

Cocaine vs Caffeine

The difference between cocaine and caffeine is that cocaine is an illegal and mind-altering drug that causes a feeling of euphoria. On the other hand, caffeine which is present in coffee, tea, and chocolate despite being a stimulant doesn’t have such an intense effect on our minds. Cocaine can lead to severe complications in our mind and body whereas consumption of caffeine is not extremely dangerous. 

Cocaine is extracted from the coca leaves (Erythroxylon coca bush) that is mainly found in South American countries. It is illegally sold as the white-colored powdered drug most extensively in the streets of the US. Cocaine is very addictive and it is mainly referred to as a recreational drug because it creates a feeling of euphoria. 

Caffeine is a very common stimulant and it is the most widely used ingredient in beverages like tea and coffee. It is consumed to get over the feeling of tiredness and stay awake for a longer duration. Caffeine is present in tea, coffee, and chocolates and it is very quickly absorbed into our bloodstream. 

Comparison Table Between Cocaine and Caffeine

Parameters of ComparisonCocaineCaffeine
ProductionCocaine production, cultivation, and distribution are illegal if it is for non-medicinal purpose. Caffeine production is not illegal and more than 80% of the world’s population consumes caffeine every day. 
SourceCocaine is extracted from the Erythroxylon coca bush and it is mainly found in countries like Peru, Bolivia, and Colombia.  The main sources of caffeine are tea, coffee, and chocolate (cacao plant). It is also found in guarana plants. 
HistoryIn 1859, a German scientist called Albert Niemann first extracted cocaine from the coca leaves. In 1819, a German chemist called Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge isolated pure caffeine for the first time.  
FatalityCocaine is highly fatal as it is a mind-altering drug that can lead to several complications in our body and mind. Caffeine is not fatal as cocaine but its excessive consumption may sometimes cause restlessness and irregular sleep cycle. 
Chemical composition Cocaine is a tropane alkaloid whose chemical formula is C17H21NO4.  Caffeine is a xanthine alkaloid whose chemical formula is C8H10N4O2. 

What is Cocaine?

 Cocaine is a very addictive stimulant that is sold illegally as a recreational drug. It is a white-powdered substance that is either dissolved in water and injected or snorted. During the mid-1980s, the term “crack cocaine” became very famous in the streets of the US and many people got addicted to this drug. 

The main source of cocaine is coca leaves and they are mostly found in South American countries. The use of coca-leaf infusions is very common among the native tribes of South America as they use it to fight altitude sickness. 

Though cocaine is a substance of high abuse, medical professionals can administer it for specific purposes. For example, doctors can prescribe cocaine for local mucosal anesthesia, throat surgeries, etc. But with time safer alternatives of cocaine for medicinal purposes have entered the drug market. 

Due to the presence of hydrochloride in cocaine, it is easily soluble in water. One of the common methods of cocaine abuse is injecting it and apart from that it can be snorted, smoked, or rubbed onto the mucous membrane. Some of the immediate effects of cocaine abuse are dilated pupils, constricted blood vessels, and increased heart rate. People who are suffering from cocaine addiction may need to stay in rehabilitation centers. 

What is Caffeine?

 Caffeine is the most common and natural stimulant found in the entire world. Most of us consume a caffeinated product at least once a day to combat sleepiness and tiredness. It was the Chinese who first discovered the presence of caffeine in tea in around 3000BC but the extraction of pure caffeine took place after a long time. 

Caffeine takes a very quick action in our body as it gets easily absorbed into our bloodstreams. Though caffeine has its effect on various body organs, it mainly affects our brain functions. The main function of caffeine is to block the effect of a particular neurotransmitter, adenosine that is responsible for relaxing the brain cells. Caffeine prevents the activation of adenosine receptors and hence the person feels less tired and more energetic. 

Caffeine is easily found in beverages like coffee, brewed tea, soft drinks, and also in chocolates. The caffeine content in an espresso shot (8-ounce) is the highest (240-720 mg) among beverages. Caffeine has several health benefits as it can reduce the chances of diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Decaffeinated coffee lowers the risk of diabetes and also boosts metabolism. 

Main Differences Between Cocaine and Caffeine

  1. Practices like cocaine production, cultivation, and distribution are illegal if it is for non-medicinal purposes whereas caffeine production is not illegal. 
  2. Cocaine is extracted from the Erythroxylon coca bush whereas the main sources of caffeine are tea, coffee, and chocolate (cacao plant), and leaves and fruits of the guarana plants. 
  3. In 1859, a German scientist called Albert Niemann first extracted cocaine from the coca leaves whereas, in 1819, a German chemist called Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge isolated pure caffeine for the first time.  But, consumption of tea and coffee started long before that.
  4. Cocaine is highly fatal as it is a mind-altering drug that can lead to several complications in our body and mind. On the other hand, caffeine is not fatal as cocaine but sometimes hampers our sleep cycle. 
  5. Cocaine is a tropane alkaloid whose chemical formula is C17H21NOwhereas caffeine is a xanthine alkaloid whose chemical formula is C8H10N4O2. 

Conclusion

Though cocaine and caffeine both are stimulants and increases the level of dopamine in our body, they have a different levels of fatality. While cocaine and crack cocaine causes a feeling of euphoria, it can harm us physically in several ways. Some of the health complications include seizures, headaches, strokes, and respiratory failure. As a treatment process for cocaine addiction, most people have to go to rehab and receive therapy. 

On the other hand, the consumption of coffee is extensively popular and legal. It is mainly taken to combat the feeling of sleepiness and tiredness. Common beverages like espresso, tea, filter coffee, etc. make us feel energetic by blocking the adenosine receptors. Caffeine has several health benefits but excessive consumption causes irregular sleep. 

References

  1. https://www.jstor.org/stable/24966552
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0278691595000933
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