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By the way, aren't coca leaves, apart from being chewed by the locals as a narcotic, also used to make, you know, cocaine?

Coca leaves are not a narcotic, when consumed in the traditional form (chewing or in brewed tea). Caffeine, tea, and tobacco are more addictive than chewing coca.

As you point out, coca leaves can be processed and refined to make cocaine. Analogous to how corn can be refined into high fructose corn syrup. Chewing corn all day won't give you diabetes, but drinking high-fructose corn syrup regularly will have negative effect on your health.

Oh, I know, a friend of mine worked in Bolivia for a summer and they chewed the leaves. I think they induced a sense of euphoria, but nothing too dramatic.

Having chewed coca leaves quite a bit travelling through Bolivia and Peru I can say the effects are generally quite mild. Done correctly with a small rock of compressed ash (usually from banana peels) your mouth and throat will numb and you will have a slight "buzz". It helps with altitude sickness a bit, but nowhere near as helpful as plenty of rest, water, and time.

Did you watch all the way through? When Severo hits the market they explain that about 1/3 of the coca leaves sold at the market end up being manufactured into cocaine. That really doesn't sound so bad...

I couldn't watch, the video wouldn't play. I'm not saying it's bad (it's no heroin or meth), just remarking on the phrasing.

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