Legal Coca in Bolivia
In an attempt to obtain legal recognition for the traditional use of coca, Peru and Bolivia negotiated paragraph 2 of Article 14 into the 1988 United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, stipulating that measures to eradicate illicit cultivation and to eliminate illicit demand “should take due account of traditional licit use, where there is historic evidence of such use. Traditional medical uses of coca are foremost as a stimulant to overcome fatigue, hunger, and thirst. It is considered particularly effective against altitude sickness. It also is used as an anesthetic to alleviate the pain of headache, rheumatism, wounds and sores. Before stronger anaesthetics were available, it also was used for broken bones, childbirth, and during trephining operations on the skull. Because cocaine constricts blood vessels, the action of coca also serves to oppose bleeding, and coca seeds were used for nosebleeds. Indigenous use of coca has also been reported as a treatment for malaria, ulcers, asthma, to improve digestion, to guard against bowel laxity, as an aphrodisiac, and credited with improving longevity.