Since I was a little girl, I've heard the myth that Coca-Cola used to actually contain cocaine. However, how credible is this rumor? I set out to find if there was any truth behind this popular myth. So, did Coca-Cola contain coke? 

The History of Coca-Cola

beer, alcohol, liquor, soda, wine, soy sauce
Kevin Dang

Did you know that Coca-Cola is a 131-year-old company? I didn't. It first began in a soda fountain in Downtown Atlanta in 1886. In fact, it was May 8th of that year that John S. Pemberton created Coca-Cola and served it at Jacobs’ Pharmacy. Fun fact: During this year, only nine drinks a day were sold. That's only 3,285 drinks for the entire year. Today, consumers across the world enjoy about 19,400 coke products per second. 

What Was in Coca-Cola's Original Recipe? 

candy, beer
Aurelie Corinthios

Since 1886, the Coca-Cola original recipe has been the world's best kept secret. That was until "This American Life," a weekly public radio show that broadcasts to more than 500 radio stations and 2.2 million listeners, revealed that the recipe had been hiding in an Atlanta-Journal Constitution Article in the 1970s.

The recipe included: fluid extract of coca, citric acid, caffeine, sugar, water, lime juice, vanilla, caramel, alcohol, orange oil, lemon oil, nutmeg oil, corriander oil, neroli oil, and cinnamon oil.  

What Does That Have to Do With Cocaine? 

The National Institute on Drug Abuse explains that thousands of years ago people in South American began to chew and ingest coca leaves, which is the source of cocaine, for their stimulant effects. 

It is important to note that Pemberton was a morphine addict and was trying to recreate something called "Vin Marian," which is a combination of coca and wine. He called his creation "Pemberton's French Wine Coca." This was all before Pemberton created an alcohol-free version called, "Coca-Cola" in 1886. This was just before Atlanta imposed an alcohol prohibition. Talk about good timing.

So, yes, the original Coca-Cola recipe did contain a form of cocaine. 

Does Coca-Cola Still Contain Coca? 

It was in the early 1900s that the United States began talking about prohibiting cocaine. In 1903, a group called Schaeffer Alkaloidal Works removed the cocaine from the coca used in the drink. They chemically make the coca leaves cocaine-free for the Coca-Cola recipe. It wasn't until 1929 that they perfected the extraction of the cocaine from the leaves

What About the Other Myths I've Heard? 

tea, beer
Sarah Strong

If you were a '90s baby, you most likely heard that eating Pop-Rocks and drinking Coke will make your stomach explode. You also most likely didn't even want to try this combination until the myth made you curious. Fox News reports that once you put the Pop Rocks in your mouth, they automatically release carbon dioxide gas, and all that's left is sugar. So, this was false. 

With the fear of accidentally ingesting cocaine behind me, I feel educated and informed. Now, go forth and share a Coke.