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In a communication dated 13 July 1965, for example, the Permanent Central Opium Board, the international drug control institution that was later renamed the International Narcotics Control Body, asked the Colombian government to submit "the forecasts of the amount of coca leaves that will be used in 1966 for chewing and the amount of coca leaves that will be stored for the same purpose on 31 December 1966" (Lande, 1965).
In all the meetings we had attended, the Latinos emphasized that their indigenous people had been chewing coca leaves for centuries to cure altitude sickness, with no harmful effects.
Coca leaves contain alkaloids, which are chemicals in plants that contribute to many well-known flavors.
Bolivia is the world's third largest supplier of coca leaves.
Once harvested, the coca leaves are ground up and saturated with a chemical then baked in the sun to become a dry, white powder.
It is incorrect to say that coca does not contain cocaine, but the cocaine alkaloid content of coca leaves is less than 1%.
He argues that chewing coca leaves, which helps alleviate the symptoms of acute mountain sickness, is an integral part of the culture of the Andes.
Long before the arrival of European explorers to South America, the Incas had discovered that chewing a concoction made by mixing coca leaves with lime had a stimulating effect and warded off hunger.
Many people there earnmoney from processing the coca leaves used to make cocaine, and thus the locals are wary of him.
The traditional process of extracting cocaine base from coca leaves is concentrated in Colombia, but Europe is specialised in second-hand production.
Coca leaves have been used since ancient times, he points out, but people learned to purify or alter cocaine to deliver it more efficiently to their brains (by injecting or smoking it, for instance).
Earsarkul stressed the fact that his company only produces Red Bull Energy Drink which is not made from coca leaves and thus cannot contain cocaine.