Legend holds that the initial Coca-Cola formula contained a far-ranging amount that cocaine.

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Published19 might 1999

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ContextThe initial 19th century Coca-Cola formula had some residual amount of cocaine precursor in it, but that amount to be drastically reduced to only traces through the beforehand 1900s and entirely got rid of by 1930.


What we now know as the Coca-Cola soft drink to be named earlier in 1885 because that its 2 “medicinal” ingredients: extract that coca leaves and also kola nuts. Among the substances generally produced indigenous the extract the coca pipeline is the medicine cocaine, a fact which has provided rise to the legend that the ubiquitous soft drink Coca-Cola once did (or even still does) include cocaine.

The quick answer to questions around “cocaine in Coke” is the Coca-Cola did contain some cocaine (or much more specifically, it consisted of ecgonine, a precursor to cocaine) in its original formulation, however in an lot that’s an overwhelming to calculation now given the secrecy that shrouded its formula and manufacturing processes earlier in the 19th century. Suffice it to say that whatever amount that cocaine was existing in Coke was relatively small and not have to in a form that would provide anyone lot of a buzz, the amount was greatly lessened to only traces about the rotate of the century, and also it was virtually entirely removed by 1930.

When Coca-Cola gotten in the step in the so late 19th century, the control not controlled medicinal market of the time was flush v patent drugs that contained narcotics such as morphine, opium, heroin, and cocaine. A negative public perspective towards this substances was starting to take host as Coca-Cola’s developer (including Asa Candler and Frank M. Robinson) operated on perfecting the formula in 1891, and thus from really early top top Coca-Cola’s usage of coca extract was marginalized:

The first stirrings of a national conflict had started over the negative aspects the cocaine, and also manufacturers were farming defensive end charges that usage of their commodities might lead to “cocainism” or the “cocaine habit”. The full-throated fury against cocaine was still a couple of years off, and Candler and Robinson to be anxious to proceed promoting the supposed benefits of the coca leaf, but there was no factor to risk putting much more than a tiny little of coca extract in their syrup. They cut the amount come a just trace.

However, some amount of coca extract was kept as an ingredient in the syrup in bespeak to protect the profession name “Coca-Cola”:

But neither might Candler take the basic step of eliminating the fluid extract the coca pipeline from the formula. Candler thought that his product’s name had to be descriptive, and that the must have actually at least some by-product that the coca leaf in the syrup (along with some kola) to protect his best to the name Coca-Cola. Protecting the name was critical. Candler had actually no patent top top the syrup itself. Anyone can make an imitation. However no one can put the label “Coca-Cola” on one imitation so lengthy as Candler owned the name. The surname was the thing of actual value, and also the registered trademark to be its only safeguard. Coca leaves had actually to stay in the syrup.

How much cocaine was in that “mere trace” is difficult to say, yet we do understand that by 1902 it was as tiny as 1/400 the a grain of cocaine per ounce of syrup. Coca-Cola didn’t become fully cocaine-free until ecgonine alkaloid extraction was perfected in 1929, yet there was scarcely any of the medicine left in the drink by then:

he quantity of ecgonine to be infinitesimal: no much more than one part in 50 million. In an entire year’s supply of 25-odd million gallons the Coca-Cola syrup, heath figured, there could be six-hundredths the an oz of cocaine.

So, yes, at one time there to be cocaine in Coca-Cola. But prior to you’re tempted to operation off declare Coca-Cola rotate generations the drinkers right into dope addicts, take into consideration the following: ago in 1885 it was much from uncommon to use cocaine in patent medicines (which is what Coca-Cola was initially marketed as) and also other clinical potions.

When it first became general knowledge that cocaine could be harmful, the backroom chemists who made up Coca-Cola at the time (long prior to it ended up being the vast company we now know) did everything they could with the technology they had available at the moment to eliminate every trace of cocaine from the beverage. What was left behind (until the modern technology improved sufficient for it all to it is in removed) wasn’t enough to provide a paris a buzz.


Allen, Frederick. Secret Formula. Brand-new York: HarperCollins, 1994. ISBN 0-88730-672-1 (pp. 35-36, 41-42, 45, 192).


Miller, Michael. “Things Go much better with Coca Extract.” Rocky hill News. 22 November 1994 (p. A28).

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Pendergrast, Mark. For God, Country, and also Coca-Cola. Brand-new York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1993. ISBN 0-684-19347-7.