Coca leaves are a stimulant and the raw ingredient in cocaine. And according to BBC News, Pope Francis is eager to partake of the substance during his upcoming visit to Bolivia. Bolivian Culture Minister Marko Machicao said the government offered the Pope coca tea and the pontiff had “specifically requested” to chew coca.

According to Wikipedia: “coca is known throughout the world for its psychoactive alkaloid, cocaine.”

But the alkaloid content of coca leaves is relatively low which means the pontiff will likely not experience the intense high and euphoria of cocaine.

Bonus Fun Facts

  • Coca leaves were declared an illegal substance under the 1961 UN convention on narcotic drugs
  • However the growing of coca leaves for religious and medicinal purposes is legal in Bolivia
  • Coca leaf extract was used in Coca-Cola soda from 1885-1929
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