Each Friday, we’ll be republishing an article from the High Times archives. This week, we’re bringing you an article by John Groff, published in the August/September, 1975 issue.
Three centuries after the European discovery of coca leaves, their amazing properties were still generally unknown. Then, in 1859, Paola Mantegazza, an eminent Italian neurologist, published “On the Hygienic and Medicinal Coca Virtues of Coca.” This monograph extolled the virtues of coca in the practice of medicine and inspired widespread interest in coca leaves.
By the mid-1860s, Europe and America were deluged with cocaine preparations, and a great social experiment of freely experienced cocaine was under way. By the 1890s coca was enjoying a phenomenal popularity, available everywhere in an astonishing variety of forms: tonics, elixirs, wines, liquors, lozenges, teas, cheroots, and more. The leading figures of the Victorian age — doctors, scientists, churchmen, prominent politicians,…
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