Why is caffeine found in so many plants while other compounds like nicotine/cocaine/THC only come from a single source?


As we know caffeine is present in a lot of food and drinks like cocoa (chocolate), tea leaves, and coffee beans. After some quick googling I came to find that caffeine is present in over 60 other plant species!
Why is caffeine such an abundant stimulant, while other stimulants such as nicotine or cocaine seemingly only come from tobacco leaves and coca leaves, respectively?

In: Biology

Many plants fall under the Cannabaceae family and contain THC, much like many plants fall under the Nicotiana tabacum and contain Nicotine. You’re probably used to just hearing the more popularized plants: Weed and Tobacco, which are very specific labels that can classify a broad spectrum of plants. The chemicals these plants produce will automatically label them under a broad term instead of a specific plant because we as humans tend to simplify things to create a wider understanding under a generalization of categories. If you look at just the chemicals, they have some variety (or brother and sister plants) that produce it. Sometimes chemicals can be found in both plants and animals, such as the chemical N,N-Dimethyltryptamine.