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 results from an increase in dopamine.
At the same time, cocaine also increases our dopamine levels and gives us a euphoric feeling. Though both are addictive, cocaine and caffeine can be differentiated on many factors.
- Cocaine is an illegal drug that is highly addictive and can cause severe physical and psychological effects. At the same time, caffeine is a legal stimulant that is commonly found in coffee, tea, and energy drinks.
- Cocaine acts on the central nervous system and produces a sense of euphoria and increased energy, while caffeine acts as a mild stimulant that can improve alertness and concentration.
- Cocaine can cause serious health problems, such as heart attack, stroke, and addiction, while caffeine is generally safe in moderate doses.
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 minds 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 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 is very quickly absorbed into our bloodstream.
|Parameters of Comparison||Cocaine||Caffeine|
|Production||Cocaine production, cultivation, and distribution are illegal if it is for non-medicinal purposes.||Caffeine production is not illegal, and more than 80% of the world’s population consumes caffeine every day.|
|Source||Cocaine 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.|
|History||In 1859, a German scientist, 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.|
|Fatality||Cocaine 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 an 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 highly abused, 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.
The Chinese first discovered the presence of caffeine in tea around 3000 BC, 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 bloodstream. 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, making the person feel 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
- Practices like cocaine production, cultivation, and distribution are illegal if it is for non-medicinal purposes, whereas caffeine production is not illegal.
- 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.
- 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 the consumption of tea and coffee started long before that.
- 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.
- Cocaine is a tropane alkaloid whose chemical formula is C17H21NO4, whereas caffeine is a xanthine alkaloid whose chemical formula is C8H10N4O2.
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Piyush Yadav has spent the past 25 years working as a physicist in the local community. He is a physicist passionate about making science more accessible to our readers. He holds a BSc in Natural Sciences and Post Graduate Diploma in Environmental Science. You can read more about him on his bio page.