Cocaine (INN
International Nonproprietary Name
An International Nonproprietary Name is the official nonproprietary or generic name given to a pharmaceutical substance, as designated by the World Health Organization...

) is a crystal
A crystal or crystalline solid is a solid material whose constituent atoms, molecules, or ions are arranged in an orderly repeating pattern extending in all three spatial dimensions. The scientific study of crystals and crystal formation is known as crystallography...

line tropane
Tropane is a nitrogenous bicyclic organic compound. It is mainly known for a group of alkaloids derived from it , which include, among others, atropine and cocaine. Both alkaloids contain tropinone from which tropane is a derivate...

Alkaloids are a group of naturally occurring chemical compounds that contain mostly basic nitrogen atoms. This group also includes some related compounds with neutral and even weakly acidic properties. Also some synthetic compounds of similar structure are attributed to alkaloids...

 that is obtained from the leaves of the coca
Coca, Erythroxylum coca, is a plant in the family Erythroxylaceae, native to western South America. The plant plays a significant role in many traditional Andean cultures...

 plant. The name comes from "coca" in addition to the alkaloid suffix -ine, forming cocaine. It is a stimulant
Stimulants are psychoactive drugs which induce temporary improvements in either mental or physical function or both. Examples of these kinds of effects may include enhanced alertness, wakefulness, and locomotion, among others...

 of the central nervous system
Central nervous system
The central nervous system is the part of the nervous system that integrates the information that it receives from, and coordinates the activity of, all parts of the bodies of bilaterian animals—that is, all multicellular animals except sponges and radially symmetric animals such as jellyfish...

, an appetite suppressant
An anorectic or anorexic , also known as anorexigenic or appetite suppressant, is a dietary supplement and/or drug which reduces appetite, food consumption, and as a result, causes weight loss to occur.-List of anorectics:Numerous pharmaceutical compounds are marketed as appetite suppressants.The...

, and a topical anesthetic
Topical anesthetic
A topical anesthetic is a local anesthetic that is used to numb the surface of a body part. They can be used to numb any area of the skin as well as the front of the eyeball, the inside of the nose, ear or throat, the anus and the genital area. Topical anesthetics are available in creams,...

. Specifically, it is a serotonin–norepinephrine–dopamine reuptake inhibitor, which mediates functionality of these neurotransmitters as an exogenous catecholamine transporter
Catecholamines are molecules that have a catechol nucleus consisting of benzene with two hydroxyl side groups and a side-chain amine. They include dopamine, as well as the "fight-or-flight" hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline released by the adrenal medulla of the adrenal glands in response to...

In coordination chemistry, a ligand is an ion or molecule that binds to a central metal atom to form a coordination complex. The bonding between metal and ligand generally involves formal donation of one or more of the ligand's electron pairs. The nature of metal-ligand bonding can range from...

. Because of the way it affects the mesolimbic reward pathway
Mesolimbic pathway
The mesolimbic pathway is one of the dopaminergic pathways in the brain. The pathway begins in the ventral tegmental area of the midbrain and connects to the limbic system via the nucleus accumbens, the amygdala, and the hippocampus as well as to the medial prefrontal cortex...

, cocaine is addictive
Substance use disorder
Substance use disorders include substance abuse and substance dependence. In DSM-IV, the conditions are formally diagnosed as one or the other, but it has been proposed that DSM-5 combine the two into a single condition called "Substance-use disorder"....


Unlike most molecules, cocaine possesses pockets with both high hydrophilic and lipophilic efficiency
Lipophilic efficiency
Lipophilic efficiency , sometimes referred toas ligand-lipophilicity efficiency is a parameter used in drug design and drug discovery to evaluate the quality of research compounds, linking potency and lipophilicity in an attempt to estimate druglikeness...

, violating the rule of hydrophilic-lipophilic balance
Hydrophilic-lipophilic balance
The Hydrophilic-lipophilic balance of a surfactant is a measure of the degree to which it is hydrophilic or lipophilic, determined by calculating values for the different regions of the molecule, as described by Griffin in 1949 and 1954...