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Chewing the Leaves
by chewchew
Citation:   chewchew. "Chewing the Leaves: An Experience with Coca (exp63230)". Erowid.org. Apr 1, 2018. erowid.org/exp/63230

  buccal Coca (leaves)


On a long bike trip through South America, I had several occasions to chew coca leaves, on and off the bike. I always chewed it with baking powder (sodium bicarbonate, "bica") or a very acidic chalk substance that I could buy as little rocks. Every small Peruvian and Bolivian highland or Andean village will have both the leaves and some catalisator substance. This substance helps to free the active alkaloids from the leaves and enable the mouth tissue to absorb them easily. If I want any strong effect, I always use the two together (otherwise I won't feel much, other than numbed mouth), and reload leaves and bica every one hour or so, or if you feel that they loose their power. I could easily find leaves and fanatic chewers at least from Ecuador till the north of Argentina (I wasn't into it yet while riding in Colombia).

I would chew them like this: Take a handful of leaves, preferably fresh ones that I would keep in a light proof container. Gradually chew them down with some water, without swallowing them. Their size will reduce greatly so a handfull isn't exagerated. After 5-10 minutes, I move the chewed leaves towards the side of the mouth, between the teeth and the cheeks and/or inside of the lips, adding a fingertip of bica powder to the tongue or biting off and grounding down a small bit of chalk with my teeth. I thouroughly mix the leaves with it inside the mouth. The coca leaves will further be broken down and liquidize.

After a few minutes I feel the numbing effect on the mouth tissue increase dramatically, and then the actual stimulating effect will come and rise for about 20-30 minutes. If I'm doing something aerobic or tiring (hiking, biking, body exercise, carrying heavy backpack), I'll notice a huge increase of energy, or rather the disapearance of 'negative' sensations like tiredness, hunger, strain or pain. I also experience an increased concentration, and show more awareness of and apreciation for the surroundings (both human and nature), and at the same time I feel strongly motivated to interact with it. If I'm inactive, let's say sitting down and watching TV, I'll experience a strong general feeling of welbeing and a lack of urges. I'll feel pretty 'complete'. When someone steps into the room however, I'll likely behave very socially and relaxed, rather than isolate myself in my little 'bubble'.

On one day I biked a 150km+ day starting with climbing out of the Atacama dessert in Chile into the Andes, with more than 2800 metres of height difference (highest point more than 4800 masl.), and with 25kg of extra gear plus 12 liters of water and a few kilos of food. Continuously chewing from the late afternoon till the end of the day, I found it hard to accept that the sun was going down and I had to stop biking. I biked one and a half hour more with a small headlight (super concentrated!) because I liked the feeling of not getting tired at all.
I biked one and a half hour more with a small headlight (super concentrated!) because I liked the feeling of not getting tired at all.
I only stopped because it suddenly apeared to me that biking in the dark I couldn't enjoy the awe inspiring landscape anymore. Since then I know that Coca leaves, if chewed correctly and in large amounts, come pretty close to the sensation I would get from taking a small line of coke.

I don't overdo, I have two cheeks but only fill one! Once I add the bica, the whole lot will get pretty liquid as my mouth will start to produce saliva like crazy and the bica will further break down. I don't swallow, but rather save the active substances and the bica from my digestion system (or start to make my stomach hurt) and have the blood absorb them through the soft mouth tissue. Also If my mouth is stuffed too much, small parts of the harsh leaves will inevitably float towards deeper parts of the mouth and throat. My body will have the reflex to cough those little irritating bastards back up, or worse, I will choke on 'em! The coca juice stains my lips, I keep it somewhat clean and check and wipe from time to time.

I always drink plenty of water and at least have some sugar or easy carbs ready, especially during aerobic activities! Once I stop chewing I eat asap, even if I don't feel necesarily hungry. Being stuck without enough food after being active on super-human level, or not having enough ounch to get food, isn't fun at all. Otherwise I'll posibly feel terribly weak!

Coca will alter my sleep pattern, but only if I chew too much and do too little.

The bica or catalist will make the interior of the mouth raw after a few hours. This can be painfull, and after prolonged use result in temporary damaging of the tongue and inside of the cheeks. Some people remove the stems to prevent irritation of the mouth tissue.

Exp Year: 2007ExpID: 63230
Gender: Male 
Age at time of experience: Not Given 
Published: Apr 1, 2018Views: 1,746
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Coca (158) : Public Space (Museum, Park, etc) (53), Performance Enhancement (50), Preparation / Recipes (30), Retrospective / Summary (11)

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