In June of 1884, Freud wrote an essay on cocaine called Über Coca, where the origin and use that the South American Indians made of this substance was related.

It was Sigmund Freud, better known as "the father of psychoanalysis", the first to discover the properties of this drug, both its exciting and energetic characteristics, and its medical use in the form of a local anesthetic. Although, finally it was not Freud who achieved fame with this discovery but one of his co-workers.

At that time Freud was starting to use cocaine, but he never became addicted to it. He also offered it to his friends, brothers, and even his girlfriend Martha. When he later began to realize the toxic effects of this drug, due among other things, the death of a friend of his for cocaine addiction, began to retract the good publicity he was making of it, accepting then, as only possible application, the medical one.

Freud and Koller were 28 and 26 years old respectively when they worked at the General Hospital in Vienna as ophthalmologists. Both were very eager to have a name and fame, thus being able to obtain a more comfortable economic position. Thus, Freud could marry his girlfriend Martha and Koller be appointed head of the hospital's ophthalmology service.

Freud already knew the possible applications as an anesthetic that had the cocaine but did not have time to continue experimenting. He left his professional career aside to start a new life with his girlfriend. It was then that he asked his friend, ophthalmologist Leopold Köningstein, to investigate these properties, so that it could be used as an ocular anesthetic. Leopold had several failed attempts, so he left, going on vacation.

It was then when Koller, knowing already of the publication of Freud, began to investigate knowing that the cocaine would serve to anesthetize the eye. First he practiced with a frog, then with rabbits, dogs, with friends and even with himself. Proving that the cocaine dissolved in water was capable of anesthetizing the eye.

Aware of the finding, he wrote a paper for the Ophthalmological Congress, causing a huge sensation.

When Freud and Köningstein returned from their vacations and found out what had happened, they only regret not having stayed to try it more times. For his part, Freud would reproach his and his wife Martha for having distracted him from his main role.

All this led Freud to great disappointment at not having achieved it. But at that time, he still did not know that he would later be known as the father of psychoanalysis, a therapy that would point to the whole momentum of twentieth-century psychiatry and psychology.

COKE | The History & Truth of Cocaine (November 2019).