Kingdom Animalia and Plantae-Cocaine

Posted on: 17th May 2023


Plant Chemical Adaptations

Physical adaptations are one-way plants adjust to specific environmental conditions. For example, cacti have spines in place of leaves to prevent water loss in the arid conditions of the desert. Chemical adaptations are another means for plant protection. Many plants produce toxic or noxious compounds to protect themselves from insects or animals that would eat them, to reduce competition from other plants, or even to change the response of pollinators. Humans often harvest these compounds for their own benefit.Watch this video for help with completing the assignment.

  1. Choose 1 of the following compounds:
    • Caffeine
    • Cocaine********chosen
    • Nicotine
  2. Answer the following for the compound you chose in the form of a 1–2-page paper.
    • Describe the compound and in what plant(s) it is found.
    • Explain how this compound provides protection for the plant.
    • Does the compound provide any other benefits for the plant, such as enhanced pollination?
    • What effect does the compound have on humans?
  3. Utilize at least 1 credible source to support the arguments presented in the paper. Make sure that you cite appropriately within your paper, and list the reference(s) in APA format on your Reference page.
  4. Formatting guidelines: In accordance with APA formatting requirements, your paper should include Title and Reference pages; should be double-spaced; and should include a running head and page numbers. Your paper should be 1–2 pages in length, not counting the Title page, and Reference page.

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Kingdom Animalia and Plantae-Cocaine

Compound Description

Cocaine is a tropane alkaloid having stimulant and analgesic properties for the central nervous system (CNS). Cocaine is present in a coca plant’s leaves that thrives in the Northern America region. The action of Cocaine involves dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine reuptake into presynaptic neurons. The process is inhibited when Cocaine binds to the transport proteins for the` neurotransmitters (Sonkar, Singh & Husen, 2022). When this happens, the synaptic cleft becomes overloaded with the relevant neurotransmitters, which might lead to an increase in postsynaptic receptor activity. Sodium voltage-gated channels in neuronal cell membranes are the mechanism of action by which Cocaine exerts its local anesthetic effects (NIDA, 2021). Cocaine suppresses the start and conduction of nerve impulses by stabilizing neuronal membranes, resulting in a temporary lack of feeling.

How the Compound Protects the Plant

N-methyltransferases are a group of enzymes that include Cocaine-producing enzymes. Various compounds may be synthesized from it, found in many kinds of plants. Many of the chemicals generated from these compounds are used in warfare against plants. For other plants to grow, the Cocaine in the coca leaves that have died and fallen to the ground makes it more difficult (Tlak Gajger & Dar, 2021). Insects have evolved taste receptors that warn them not to consume plants that contain high quantities of Cocaine.

There is no way to tell what it does in plants, where it comes from, or how it works. Current research shows that Cocaine has insecticidal properties at levels seen in coca leaves. However, unlike in humans, the pesticide effects of Cocaine are demonstrated to originate from an increase in insect octopaminergic neurotransmission rather than dopamine’s absorption. In addition to affecting the amine transporters of vertebrates, amine-reuptake blockers of other structural classes also have pesticide effects.

Benefits For the Plant, Such as Enhanced Pollination

Since they are exclusively entomophilous, Coca plants can only be pollinated by insects, namely little flies from the Ceratopogonidae family. Nectar with a small amount of Cocaine from Coca trees is useful for pollinating insects, eating nectar smeared with Cocaine, and benefiting from this activity. Insects are more likely to return to bloom if they remember the smells and are attracted to them, so it helps to pollinate the plant (Tlak Gajger & Dar, 2021). Thus, a plant containing flowers full of nectar with a small dose of Cocaine benefits the plant from pollinating insects.

Effects of Cocaine on Human

Cocaine is a powerful stimulant in humans. Because the brain and the body are awakened, it may be used to treat drowsiness and migraines. Acute aortic rupture, cardiac arrhythmia, and sudden cardiac arrest have been linked to Cocaine use (NIDA, 2021). When taken in excess, Cocaine can have serious consequences for both the user’s mental health and the health of their entire body. Cocaine’s transient rise in synaptic dopamine may justify why the drug is frequently re-administered. Changes in dopamine neurotransmission may cause compulsive patterns of use. Numerous social, financial, and family issues can arise when Cocaine use becomes addictive, including psychosocial dysfunction and deviant behavior. There is a real danger of Cocaine use: addiction, serious medical complications, and even death.

In summation, Cocaine has both positive and negative impacts as a stimulant. First, it is an effective insecticide; it is also a protective element as it produces chemicals that kill the plants, likely to create competition for nutrients. Additionally, Cocaine in the nectar assists in pollination as it attracts insect pollinators. Further, it has medicinal value as a treatment for migraine. However, Cocaine misuse for recreation may lead to addiction and consequential detrimental effects on the users.



NIDA. (2021). what are the short-term effects of Cocaine use? Retrieved from on 2022, June 8

Sonkar, S., Singh, A. K., & Husen, A. (2022). Convolvulus pluricaulis (Shankhpushpi) and Erythroxylum coca (Coca plant). In Herbs, Shrubs, and Trees of Potential Medicinal Benefits (pp. 83-94). CRC Press.10.1201/9781003205067

Tlak Gajger, I., & Dar, S. A. (2021). Plant allelochemicals as sources of insecticides. Insects, 12(3), 189.

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