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The Music and Chemistry of Highness

Being a chem major and blogging about music isn’t totally a weird thing. This post is a product of this sweet addictive vision of occasionally uniting these two very interesting fields in a highly sweet way (or sweetly high way, if you wish). So let's talk about cocaine (blow, coke, etc.). It's chemical name is benzoylmethylecgonine. It's a stimulant from the leaves of coca bush.  

The chemical structure of cocaine is as follows:

As you may notice, there is a nitrogen (amine group) on top of that boat-shaped ring which suggests that the molecule has a basic group, thereby could essentially accept a hydrogen ion. A positive charge will be formed if an additional H is attached to it in addition to the three bonds it already formed. Thus, cocaine, mixed with acid (say HCl) results to the formation of a salt (positively charged cocaine ions with negatively charged Cl ions). Essentially, mixing this salt with a base would result to the cocaine’s original free structure.

The hell I’m talking about these shits? It’s the fact that the thing people call cocaine is in fact cocaine HCl and this salt formation stuff is part of the basic chemistry of being high (if such term is appropriate).

Going back, what people actually want is the free-base form of cocaine and not the salt form. And this has to do with vaporization. Solid cocaine has (+) charge cocaine ions and (-) charge Cl ions which suggest that they are strongly held together due to attraction of opposite charges. In effect, vaporizing cocaine in salt form is a lame idea. In contrast, the free base form has cocaine molecules which are way much weaker and are easier to vaporize.

Once in the system, the body will get rid of it by metabolizing and excreting it. Metabolizing means breaking down/ hydrolizing the ester (C-O-C=O group) giving benzoylecgonine and ecgonine methyl ester as major hydrolytic products excreted through urine.

And the whole process gave rise to that invincible, indestructible, I-own-the-world feeling of cocaine intoxication.

P.S. This post (mainly the chem part, not the cocaine part) is inspired by the fact that today is the first day for the University of the Philippines College Admission Test (UPCAT), the exam I took  some six years ago which was the sole reason why I'm in the university as a Chem major. 

Best hopes for the future Iskos and Iskas.

The Music and Chemistry of Highness The Music and Chemistry of Highness Reviewed by Olivr Salangad on 4:34 PM Rating: 5


  1. Aga-aga oh, nose bleed ako.. kakahilo, haha.. i missed chemistry and the periodic table of elements, char!

  2. UPLB ka pala graduate..tama ba ko?..hehe wala lang may naalala lang ako :)

  3. I can still remember, I used to top this subject in HS because I love studying chemical elements and all. But I didn't pursue the field because my first love back then are Engineering and Journalism.

    Now, going back, parang nose bleed na nga ako..hehehe..though saulo ko pa din ang Table of Elements pero hanggang doon nalang yon. Ang dami ng bago kasi ngayon...hehehe

  4. wow, cocaine chemistry!! looks interesting and reminds me of my high school chemistry exams way way many many years ago~~ :D

  5. chemist ka na pla naun hohoho wa na ko matanda daan sa chemistry ko nuon haha

  6. chem??? ano daw??? ok thanks bye! lol!

  7. daming napunta na cocaine sa samar....ang mga inihulog sa dagat dahil napansin ng mga drug lord na hinahabol sila....can you add my blog to your blog list..add you also..thanks..tell me if you add me na..

  8. Chemistry is a very complicated subject to me. Pero I'm glad, hindi naman ako bumagsak nung high school sa chem subject ko hehe.

    Thanks for always dropping by to my blog and you don't mind, link exchange?

  9. Cocaine's a b*tch. LOL Thank you for resurrecting my curiosity.

  10. ano daw?! benzoylchorvah! hehe.. anywei, when I was in HS, like ko ang Chem. after non, wala na ko maalala! Talino mo kasi eh, pero saludo ko sayo UP ba naman eh.. Goodluck..


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