Did the original Coca-Cola drink really contain cocaine?
Invented by pharmacist John Pemberton, Coca-Cola debuted as an "Intellectual Beverage and Brain Tonic" in Atlanta in 1886
The name derived from its extracts of coca leaves and kola nuts – and yes, the former did contain small amounts of cocaine.
But this was by no means unusual. In fact, the drink was considered a healthy alternative to the alcoholic ‘French Wine Coca’, and was marketed as a cure for headache, hysteria and melancholy.
In 1903 – following concerns about the narcotic effect the drink could be having on the general population – caffeine replaced cocaine as the stimulating ingredient, but tiny traces of the drug were probably present until the extraction process was refined in 1929.