MICHAEL ABBEY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MICHAEL ABBEY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Light micrograph (LM) of pure pharmaceutical cocaine in polarized light. Magnification: 80X. Cocaine, or benzoylmethyl ecgonine, is an alkaloid drug obtained from the leaves of the coca plant (Erythroxylon coca). It is mainly used as a recreational drug, where it is smoked, injected or snorted. It produces feelings of exhilaration and energy due to its stimulating action on the central nervous system. Prolonged use of cocaine can lead to anxiety, paranoia and dependency. Overdosing can result in irregular heartbeat and death.
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