Doctors define the properties of the plant within the limits of their knowledge. The literature on the subject abounds in contradictory statements. Praised by one, damned by another, it is astonishing how little is actually known about it.
Concerning Cannabis Indica
Victor Robinson, M.D.
The habitat of the hemp-plant is extensive: not by the hand of man were the seeds sown that gave it birth near the Caspian Sea, where it wildly flourishes on the banks of the immense Volga; it climbs the Altai range and thrives where the Himalaya rears its stony head ten thousand feet on high; it extends to Persia, and China knows it; the Congo River and the hot Zambesi bathe it in Africa, it is not a stranger in sunny France, and how well it thrives in Kentucky the numerous readers of the Reign of Law will ever remember.
In the 17th century Rumphius noticed that there were differences between the hemp grown in India and the hemp grown in Europe. In the 19th century Lamarck accepted these distinctions, and believing the Indian hemp to be a separate species, agreed in calling it Cannabis indica, as distinct from the Cannabis sativa of Linnaeus and Wildenow. But it is now conceded that from a botanical standpoint the variations are by no means certain or important enough to warrant the maintenance of Indian hemp as a species distinct from common hemp. And as the greater includes the lesser, in botany as well as in geometry, its botanical name is Cannabis sativa, with Cannabis indica as one variety, just as Cannabis americana is another variety.
The hemp grown in Russia is of a fibrous quality, and was largely used for the gallows—to hang the opponents of despotism. Rope, however, is not the only use to which the fibers can be put; they are extensively employed in clothing, and in the manufacture of paper.
The plant is also cultivated for its seeds, which contain a large quantity of oil, and is therefore used in pharmacy for emulsions, and in the domestic arts because of its drying properties. But the seeds are chiefly used as a favorite food for birds. In fact, some birds consume them to excess, which should lead us to suspect that these seeds, though they cannot intoxicate us, have a narcotic effect on them. The seeds also contain sugar and considerable albumen, making them very' nutritious; rabbits eat them readily. They are consumed also by some human beings, but are not as good as sunflower seeds.
The medicinal hemp—the hemp with the potent narcotic principles—is Cannabis indica. In this case we have an example of compensation that would have made Emerson's eyes glisten, for although the fibrous texture of hemp disappears under a southern sun, to make up for the loss there is secreted a resin—Churrus. This resin is collected in a most singular manner. During the hot season, according to Dr O'Shaughnessy, men clothed in leather run violently through the hemp-fields and brush forcibly against the plants. The soft, sticky resin adheres to the garments, and is later scraped off and kneaded into balls. Dr McKinnon informed Dr O'Shaughnessy that in the province of Nepal even the leather attire is dispensed with, and that the natives run naked through the hemp fields, gathering the resin on their bare bodies.
When the larger leaves turn brown and fall to the ground, it is an indication of the approach of maturity. The flowering tops are then cut off, and subjected to a process of rolling and treading by trained human feet. The hemp is placed on a hard floor surrounded by a rail; the natives take hold of a revolving post, march around and around, singing the while, and press the plants in a technical manner. Whether the perspiration which drips from their unshod organs of locomotion works any chemical change in the composition of Cannabis has not yet been determined by E. M. Holmes or E. W. Dixon.
It is not surprising to learn that dealing in hashish is a Government monopoly, and that heavy punishment is meted out to those offenders who buy or sell it without permission. 'The importation of it into Egypt is so strongly interdicted,' explains the Dispensatory of the United States, 'that the mere possession of it is a penal offence; we found it, however, readily procurable. It is said to be brought into the country in pigs' bladders, in the Indo-European steamers, and thrown out at night during the passage into the Suez Canal, to be picked up by the boats of confederates.' This deplorable state of affairs is apt to remind us of our own temperance towns—where there are always some individuals who possess the faculty of obtaining whisky ad libitum.
Cannabis saliva is a member of the Moraceae or Mulberry family, which family was formerly an order of apetalous dicotyledonous trees or shrubs, but is now reduced to a tribe of the Urticaceae or Nettle family which embraces no genera and 1,500 species.
Cannabis is an annual herb, and thus endures but one year, because instead of storing away nutritious matter in underground bulbs and tubers like the industrious biennials or
perennials, it exultingly expends its new-born energy in the production of beautiful blossoms and the maturation of fruit and seed. 'This completed,' says Asa Gray, 'the exhausted and not at all replenished individual perishes.'
Sexually, hemp is dioecious, which means that its staminate and pistillate organs are not on the same plant. When cultivated for its narcotic properties, only the flowering tops of the unfertilized female plants are used, and the male plants are eradicated with great care, as it is claimed that a single one can spoil an entire field. The process of weeding out the males is performed by an expert called a poddar, who brings to his work a conscious technical skill, and an unconscious but interesting argument in illustration of what Lester F. Ward has
described as the Androcentric World View, for the poddar deliberately reverses the names of the sexes, and designates the useful females as males, and calls the rejected males the females.
Cannabis is from four to twelve feet in height; its stem is angular, branching, and covered with matted hairs; its leaves are palmate and, therefore, roughly resemble an open hand; its leaflets are lance-shaped, possessing margins dentated with saw-like teeth; its flowers are yellow and axillary, the male cluster being a raceme and therefore pedicelled, and the female a spike and consequently sessile or stemless; the five male organs or stamens contain pendulous double-celled sacs or anthers; the two female organs or pistils have glandular stigmas, the stigma being the spot where fertilization occurs; the fruit is a grey nut or achene, each containing a single oily seed; the whole plant is covered with a scarcely visible down; the roughness of the leaves and stem is due to the silica, which is a characteristic of the plants of the Moraceae.
Not much need be said of the microscopical characteristics of hemp, for although the powder contains several histological elements, as pollen grains, glands, crystals, resin, fibers, vessels, stone cells, epidermis, parenchyma—indicating presence of stem, leaf, flower, seed—its characteristic hairs or trichomes with their cystolith deposits are of sufficient diagnostic value to make it readily recognizable.
Unfortunately, when we come to the chemical constituents of Cannabis, certainty is at an end. As Dorvoult's L'Offidne says, 'La composition chimique du cannabis indica est mal connue. '
'I have extracted an alkaloid from hashish,' says Preobraschensky, 'and it is potent.' 'No, we have found the active constituent,' say T. and H. Smith; 'it is the resin cannabin.' 'No,' says Personne, 'I have isolated the important ingredient; it is the amber-colored volatile oil, cannabene.' 'Oh, no,' says Fraenkel, 'I have discovered the active' principle—it is a phenol aldehyde.' 'No, indeed,' say Wood, Spivey and Easterfield, 'it is we who have separated the only active ingredient—it is a red oil, cannabinol.' 'Oh, not at all,' says Hamilton, 'not one of these is the active constituent; in fact, the active constituent has not yet been isolated.' In such an arena, where the masters dispute, it behooves the amateur to speak with a stammering tongue.
As to the physiological action of cannabis: It primarily stimulates the brain, has a mydriatic effect upon the pupil, slightly accelerates the pulse, sometimes quickens and sometimes retards breathing, produces a ravenous appetite, increases the amount of urine, and augments the contractions of the uterus. In other words, it has an effect on the nervous, respiratory, circulatory, digestive, excretory and genito-urinary systems.
As a therapeutic agent hashish has its eulogizers, though like many other drugs it has been replaced by later remedies in various disorders for which it was formerly used.
In medicinal doses Cannabis has been used as an aphrodisiac, for neuralgia, to quiet maniacs, for the cure of chronic alcoholism and morphine and chloral addiction, for mental depression, hysteria, softening of the brain, nervous vomiting, for distressing cough, for St Vitus' dance, and for the falling sickness so successfully stimulated by Kipling's Sleary— epileptic fits of a most appalling kind. It is used in spasm of the bladder, in migraine, and when the dreaded Bacillus tetanus makes the muscles rigid. It is a uterine tonic, and a remedy in the headaches and hemorrhages occurring at the final cessation of the menses. It has been pressed into the service of the diseases that mankind has named in honor of Venus. According to Osier, Cannabis is sometimes useful in locomotor ataxia. Christison reports a case in which Cannabis entirely cured the intense itching of eczema, while the patient was enjoying the delightful slumber which the hemp induced. It is sometimes employed as a hypnotic in those cases where opium, because of long-continued use, has lost its efficiency. As a specific in hydrophobia it was once claimed to be marvelous, for Dr J. W. Palmer wrote that he himself had seen a sepoy, an hour before furiously hydrophobic, under the influence of cannabis drinking water freely and pleasantly washing his face and hands! Despite the value of personal observation, it is not hashish that has caused mankind to cease to fear Montaigne's terrible line: 'The saliva of a wretched dog touching the hand of Socrates, might disturb and destroy his intellect.' Frankly, if hashish depended solely on its therapeutic potency for its reputation, it would be resting in the pharmacologic graveyards of the past. Cannabis indica need not be included in the restricted list of 'Useful Drugs'.
Pharmocopoeia Of India, 1868
E. J. Waring, M.D.
Cannabis Sativa, Linn. Indian Hemp.
Properties—Primarily stimulant; secondary anodyne, sedative, and antispasmodic.
Narcotic, diuretic, and parturifacient properties have been assigned to it; but these require confirmation.
Therapeutic Uses.—In tetanus, hydrophobia, delirium tremens, ebrietas, infantile convulsions, various forms of neuralgia and other nervous affections, its use has been attended with benefit. Amongst other diseases in which it has been employed are cholera, menorrhagia, and uterine haemorrhage, rheumatism, hay fever, asthma, cardiac functional derangement, and skin diseases attended with much pain and pruritis. It has likewise been employed in lingering and protracted labors depending on atony of the uterus, with the view of producing uterine contractions.
With reference to the therapeutic applications of Indian Hemp, Professor Christison offers the following valuable remarks, derived from his personal experience with the drug: 'I have for some years,' he observes, 'used a very good alcoholic Extract, sent to me from Calcutta twenty years ago, and still as powerful as ever to subdue pain, obtain sleep, and put an end to spasm in circumstances under which Morphia either did not suit or was objected to by the patient; and after wide experience with it, I am quite satisfied that it is an excellent substitute for it, if given in sufficient doses. The difficulty is, to be always sure of the quality of the Extract, or rather of the Gunjah from which the Extract is obtained. I have known two grains of my alcoholic Extract, given in the form of Tincture, to put an end, promptly and permanently, to the agonizing pain caused by biliary calculus impacted in the ducts; and there can be no more unequivocal test than this of the potency of an anodyne. I have long been convinced, and new experience confirms the conviction, that for energy, certainty, and convenience, Indian Hemp is the next anodyne, hypnotic, and anti-spasmodic to opium and its derivatives, and often equal to it.' He considers that a well-prepared alcoholic Extract is the best of all forms for use, but it requires to be prepared from Gunjah, not too old, collected in the right district, and at the right season. The ordinary resin (Churrus) is generally very impure and untrustworthy.
Hemp Drugs Commission Report, 1894
British Army in India
Question 45a: Does the habitual moderate use of any of these drugs (varieties of hemp) produce any noxious effects—physical, mental or moral?
Answer (by Surgeon-Major R. Cobb, Civil Surgeon and Superintendent, Lunatic Asylum, Dacca): 'No.'
Answer (by Asst-Surgeon Bosonto Kumar Sen, in Civil Medical Charge, Bogra) (v.4, p. 314): 'Yes, the use of ganja and bhang produces noxious effects. They weaken the constitution and produce loss of appetite. They generally produce dysentery, asthma and bronchitis. They impair the moral sense, induce laziness or habits of immorality or debauchery. A ganja-smoker never talks on any important moral, social or religious subject, nor docs he mix with good people. He has got a circle of his own where he indulges in loathsome conversation. Ganja produces insanity (mania) both temporary and permanent.'
Answer (by Asst-Surgeon Preonath Bose, Teacher of Materia Medica and Practical Pharmacy, Dacca): 'Evidence on these points is conflicting.'
Answer to Question 41. (a) I have heard it is a digestive, (b) Yes, decidedly so. It helps a man travel long distances without food. I had a syce who went sixty miles in eighteen consecutive hours merely smoking ganja and was quite fit the next day.
(c) and (d) No information. Travelers and others who have to undergo fatigue use it in moderation habitually.
Answer to Question 42. I consider it harmless. I know of no cases where its moderate use has done harm.
Evidence of Mr. J. J. S. Driberg, Commissioner of Excise and Inspector-General of Police and Jails.
Answer to Question 45. As a rule, a lunatic is sent in (say) by a planter with a letter telling of his violence. The man is put in jail for observation, and the police are ordered to make an enquiry. They do so, and submit information in a prescribed form. The cause is a point they have to enquire into. If a man does not enter a cause, I know by experience that the District Superintendent of Police gets a slip telling him to send a more experienced man, or fine this man for carelessness. The man must, therefore, look out for a cause. The readiest is ganja. There is another difficulty here, viz., that many of the lunatics are from other provinces, and nothing is known of them. The safest thing to say is 'ganga'. The police know that no further enquiry will be made, so they stick it down. I think also that a policeman would naturally tend to think rather of physical causes than moral causes ... I think that this consideration may also, to a certain extent, explain the popular idea. Ignorant people would look most naturally for physical causes. I think the causes assigned by the police are generally incorrect (1) because I do not think the police have the ability required to make this enquiry; and (2) because they so seldom see people who are able to give them information. We have similarly unreliable information about vital statistics. There is no popular idea among the Assamese that ganja causes insanity. But among planters and others there is. This is due, I think, to the old official idea, which is due to custom.
551. Of these twenty-three cases then, the records in not less than eighteen show that the crimes cannot be connected with hemp drugs; There is one case on which doubt is thrown by subsequent discoveries. The connection between hemp drugs and crime is only established in the remaining four. It is astonishing to find how defective and misleading are the recollections which many witnesses retain even of cases with which they have had special opportunities of being well acquainted. It is instructive to see how preconceived notions based on rumor and tradition tend to preserve the impression of certain particulars, while the impressions of far more important features of the case are completely forgotten. In some cases these preconceived notions seem to prevail to distort the incident altogether and to create a picture in the mind of the witness quite different from the recorded facts. Some of the witnesses whose memories have thus failed them are men who might have been expected to be careful and accurate. Their failure must tend to increase the distrust with which similar evidence, which there has been no opportunity of testing, must be received.
552. The Commission have now examined all the evidence before them regarding the effects attributed to hemp drugs. It will be well to summarize briefly the conclusions to which they come. It has been clearly established that the occasional use of hemp in moderate doses may be beneficial; but this use may be regarded as medicinal in character. It is rather to the popular and common use of the drugs that the Commission will now confine their attention. It is convenient to consider the effects separately as affecting the physical, mental, or moral nature. In regard to the physical effects, the Commission have come to the conclusion that the moderate use of hemp drugs is practically attended by no evil results at all. There may be exceptional cases in which, owing to idiosyncrasies of constitution, the drugs in even moderate use may be injurious. There is probably nothing the use of which may not possibly be injurious in cases of exceptional intolerance. There are also many cases where in tracts with a specially malarious climate, or in circumstances of hard work and exposure, the people attribute beneficial effects to the habitual moderate use of these drugs; and there is evidence to show that the popular impression may have some basis in fact. Speaking generally, the Commission are of opinion that the moderate use of hemp drugs appears to cause no appreciable physical injury of any kind. The excessive use does cause injury. As in the case of other intoxicants, excessive use tends to weaken the constitution and to render the consumer more susceptible to disease. In respect to the particular diseases which according to a considerable number of witnesses should be associated directly with hemp drugs, it appears to be reasonably established that the excessive use of these drugs does not cause asthma; that it may indirectly cause dysentery by weakening the constitution as above indicated; and that it may cause bronchitis mainly through the action of the inhaled smoke on the bronchial tubes.
Figure 6 Water bottles from Hyderabad. These form part of a hookah and are made of 'bidri', a local metallic alloy.
In respect to the alleged mental effects of the drugs, the Commission have come to the conclusion that the moderate use of hemp drugs produces no injurious effects on the mind. It may indeed be accepted that in the case of specially marked neurotic diathesis, even the moderate use may produce mental injury. For the slightest mental stimulation or excitement may have that effect in such cases. But putting aside these quite exceptional cases, the moderate use of these drugs produces no mental injury. It is otherwise with the excessive use. Excessive use indicates and intensifies mental instability. It tends to weaken the mind. It may even lead to insanity. It has been said by Dr Blanford that 'two factors only are necessary for the causation of insanity, which are complementary, heredity, and stress. Both enter into every case: the stronger the influence of one factor, the less of the other factor is requisite to produce the result. Insanity, therefore, needs for its production a certain instability of nerve tissue and the incidents of a certain disturbance.' It appears that the excessive use of hemp drugs may, especially in cases where there is any weakness or hereditary predisposition, induce insanity. It has been shown that the effect of hemp drugs in this respect has hitherto been greatly exaggerated, but that they do sometimes produce insanity seems beyond question.
In regard to the moral effects of the drugs, the Commission are of opinion that their moderate use produces no moral injury whatever. There is no adequate ground for believing that it injuriously affects the character of the consumer. Excessive consumption, on the other hand, both indicates and intensifies moral weakness or depravity. Manifest excess leads directly to loss of self-respect, and thus to moral degradation. In respect to his relations with society, however, even the excessive consumer of hemp drugs is ordinarily inoffensive. His excesses may indeed bring him to degraded poverty which may lead him to dishonest practices; and occasionally, but apparently very rarely indeed, excessive indulgence in hemp drugs may lead to violent crime. But for all practical purposes it may be laid down that there is little or no connection between the use of hemp drugs and crime.
Viewing the subject generally, it may be added that the moderate use of these drugs is the rule, and that the excessive use is comparatively exceptional. The moderate use practically produces no ill effects. In all but the most exceptional cases, the injury from habitual moderate use is not appreciable. The excessive use may certainly be accepted as very injurious, though it must be admitted that in many excessive consumers the injury is not clearly marked. The injury done by the excessive use is, however, confined almost exclusively to the consumer himself; the effect on society is rarely appreciable. It has been the most striking feature in this inquiry to find how little the effects of hemp drugs have obtruded themselves on observation. The large number of witnesses of all classes who professed never to have seen these effects, the vague statements made by many who professed to have observed them, the very few witnesses who could so recall a case as to give any definite account of it, and the manner in which a large proportion of these cases broke down on the first attempt to examine them, are facts which combine to show most clearly how little injury society has hitherto sustained from hemp drugs.
The following quotation from native literature illustrates the degree to which the drug has been esteemed by some:
To the Hindu the hemp plant is holy. A guardian lives in the bhang leaf ... To see in a dream the leaves, plant, or water of bhang is lucky ... A longing for bhang foretells happiness ... It cures dysentery and sunstroke, clears phlegm, quickens digestion, sharpens appetite, makes the tongue of the lisper plain,freshens the intellect, and gives alertness to the body and gaiety to the mind. Such are the useful and needful ends for which in his goodness the Almighty made bhang ... It is inevitable that temperaments should be found to whom the quickening spirit of bhang is the spirit of freedom and knowledge. In the ecstasy of bhang the spark of the Eternal in man turns into light the murkiness of matter ... Bhang is the Joy-giver, the Sky-flier, the Heavenly-guide, the Poor Man's Heaven, the Soother of Grief ... No god or man is as good as the religious drinker of bhang. The students of the scriptures at Benares are given bhang before they sit to study. At Benares, Ujjain and other holy places yogis, bairagis and sanyasis take deep draughts of bhang that they may centre their thoughts on the Eternal ... By the help of bhang ascetics pass days without food or drink. The supporting power of bhang has brought many a Hindu family safe through the miseries of famine. To forbid or even seriously to restrict the use of so holy and gracious a herb as the hemp would cause widespread suffering and annoyance and to large bands of worshipped ascetics deep-seated anger. It would rob the people of a solace in discomfort, of a cure in sickness, of a guardian whose gracious protection saves them from the attacks of evil influences ... So grand a result, so tiny a sin!
Pharmacopee Arabe, 1900
E. Bertherand, M.D.
The smoke is used in fumigations of parts of the body suffering pain. The ground-up seeds are mixed with bread for people with tuberculosis.
A Dictionary Of Malayan Medicine, 1939
Gimlette and Thomson
Seeds of Hydnocarpus anthelmintica ... form the basis of the Tai Foong Chee treatment of leprosy. After crushing and sieving, they are mixed with Cannabis indica in the proportion of two parts of the seeds to one of Indian hemp. This Chinese treatment was introduced into the Leper Asylum, Selangor, a few years ago by Dr E. A. O. Travers with signal success in his hands.
Medicinal And Poisonous Plants Of Southern And Eastern Africa, 1962
J. M. Watt and M. G. Breyer-Brandwijk
In South Africa various species of Leonotis are miscalled dagga, a name which really appertains to Cannabis sativa ... Very little work has been done on the genus and chemical, pharmacological and clinical investigation of these plants is urgently required ... Wicht states that the plant has properties similar to those of Cannabis sativa ... The active principle is not really known but Marloth has isolated a dark green resin to which he ascribes the 'narcotic' property of the plant ... Leonitis Leonurus has been used since early times by the African ... Pappe mentions that the Hottentot was particularly fond of smoking it instead of tobacco ... Pappe states also that the early colonist employed a decoction in the treatment of ... chronic cutaneous eruptions, possibly even in leprosy, and that the preparation produces narcotic effects if used incautiously ... According to Pi j per a decoction of 'dagga' tops is taken by the European in the Transvaal for the relief of cardiac asthma ... and the plant is smoked for the relief of epilepsy.
The leaf of Cineraria aspera is smoked by the Southern Sotho for asthma and tuberculosis. It is said to be as intoxicating as Cannabis sativa.
Cannabis sativa: The Mfengu use the leaf as a snake-bite remedy and the Xhosa as part of the treatment for bots in the horse. The 'oil' from a dagga pipe has been used as an external application by European 'cancer curers' and others. In Southern Rhodesia the African uses the plant, among others, as a remedy for malaria, blackwater fever, blood-poisoning, anthrax and dysentery, and as a 'war-medicine'. The Sotho administer the ground-up seed with bread or mealie-pap to children during weaning. Sotho women smoke cannabis to stupefy themselves during childbirth ... Speight is of the opinion that the Hottentot not only used the plant as a snake-bite remedy but also for centuries as an intoxicant.
Smoking seems to give a much finer gradation of effect than does oral administration ... The electroencephalogram remains unchanged under the effects of cannabis even with high dosage ... In our opinion, the ill effects of the dagga [hashish] habit are negligible compared with those of opium ... Bourhill states that the African smoker begins very young and rarely leaves off ... One African puts it thus:
'We forget all our troubles, we forget we are working and so work very much.' This type of smoker brightens visibly after a smoke but looks tired and worn out between times.
Médicaments Végétaux, 1923
Drs Pie and Bonnamour
Physiological Action: It provokes hallucinations and a special type of intoxication without loss of consciousness ... All the impressions are perceived in gigantic proportions, and the cerebral reaction is in proportion to the illusion.
Bouquet has described hashish intoxication very well: 'Half an hour or an hour after eating a sufficient dose of a hemp preparation, the first effect is felt, and it is a feeling of physical and moral well-being, as Moreau du Tours says, of intense joy; well-being, contentment, indefinable joy which you try in vain to understand, to analyze, of which you cannot seize the cause. You feel happy, you say it, you proclaim it with exaltation, you try to express it by all the means which are in your power, you repeat it over and over; but to say why or in what you are happy, you cannot find words to express it, to make it clear to yourself.' You feel strong, agile, elegant, capable of extraordinary feats; you feel an intense desire for movement. The intelligence remains calm during this period. Then suddenly a certain hilarity, absurd but irresistible, bursts out over an insignificant incident: a banal phrase, a very natural act, the sight of someone is enough to start this laughter. The period of the dissociation of ideas begins at the same time as a need for conversation, for outpouring, is felt. The dialogues become more and more incoherent, the ideas crowd more and more upon each other, they follow each other with dizzying rapidity, but with an exaggeration, a fantastic hypertrophy. Without your noticing it, the disorder of the faculties increases; the lucid moments become shorter and shorter, and you abandon yourself without reservations to subjective impressions; to boisterous joy, agitated at the beginning, succeeds an agreeable state of physical and moral lassitude; the least effort becomes a colossal labor, and the spirit lets itself go with delight into a sort of apathy, of unconsciousness, of complete calm. There is at the same time complete alteration of the notions of space and time, joined to an excessive sharpening of all the senses, especially sight and hearing: the colors of objects are changed; a painting or some flowers become marvelous landscapes, enchanted places; a naked wall becomes covered with the fantastic and brilliant flowering of extraordinary vegetations, strange animals, flamboyant designs. All is animated, surging, shining, evolving to the will of the exalted imagination, then diminishes, fades out to make way for new apparitions just as seductive. The slightest musical sound produces the effect of an ineffable harmony. The memory and the affective faculties are also very excited: scenes long forgotten reappear before the eyes, unroll in their most minute details; the memory of loved ones comes forth with intensity, with insistence; on the other hand, the slightest dislike is transformed into savage hatred.
Finally at the end of a certain time, which varies according to the individual, the extreme excitement of the imaginative faculties calms down bit by bit: the haze which surrounds all objects thickens more and more. The weary brain no longer seems to have the strength to follow imagination and memory in their runaway race: one abandons one's self then to a sort of calm and tranquil ecstasy, which is still crossed by flashes, a few fleeting dreams. Finally a deep absolute sleep terminates the session, and one wakes up fresh and rested, with no other ill effects than a ferocious appetite and a slight depression.
Thus hashish intoxication can be divided into four distinct phases:
(a) Period of motor and sense excitation.
(b) Period of intellectual incoordination.
(c) Period of ecstasy.
(d) Period of sleep.
The voluptuous form of hashish intoxication is not as frequent as is commonly believed; it seems to be most frequent among Orientals, and is probably due to other substances being mixed with it, particularly cantharides. Hemp by itself has no aphrodisiac effect.
Therapeutic Indications: The calming and hypnagogic properties of Indian hemp have been tried out on a large number of diseases.
1. Against troubles of psychic origin: melancholia, delirium, hysteria, painful facial tics, chorea, delirium tremens, migraine headaches, neuralgia, sciatica, insomnia with delirium and nightmares, neurasthenia (Maurice de Fleury).
2. Against certain genito-urinary troubles: gonorrhea, prostatitis, cystitis, dysmenorrhea.
3. Against troubles of the respiratory system: in the form of cigarettes, vapor, and inhalations against chronic catarrh, emphysema, asthma, whooping cough.
4. Against painful troubles of the stomach and intestine: cancer, ulcer, anorexy.
5. Against certain skin diseases: eruptions, herpes, chronic itching (Gillibert).
6. Against infectious diseases: tetanus, cholera, pest, erysipelas, eruptive fevers (Michaud and Deydier).
However, the results have been extremely variable and inconsistent, which is probably because of the disconcerting unreliability of the preparations used and to the addition of foreign substances in drugs of Oriental origin: henbane, datura, opium, nux vomica, cantharides, etc. The study of the therapeutic action of Indian hemp should be taken up again, being careful, as Bouquet insists, to use only hemp, its extract or purified resin, without addition of other substances, and to use only preparations containing a determined proportion by dosage of purified resin. Then perhaps hemp will be able, as Trousseau predicted, to make a victorious entry into the domain of medicine, and there occupy the place that it deserves.
Materia Medica, 1928 (A dictionary of homeopathic substances)
Cannabis Indica (Hashish): Inhibits the higher faculties and stimulates the imagination to a remarkable degree without any marked stimulation of the lower or animal instinct. A condition of intense exaltation, in which all perceptions and conceptions, all sensations and emotions are exaggerated to the utmost degree. Subconscious or dual nature state. Apparently under the control of the second self, but the original self prevents the performance of acts which are under the domination of the second self. Apparently the two selves cannot act independently, one acting as a check upon the other.
Effects of one dram doses by Dr Schneider: 'The experimenter feels ever and anon that he is distinct from the subject of the hashish dream and can think rationally. Produces the most remarkable hallucinations and imaginations, exaggeration of the duration of time and extent of space being most characteristic. Conception of time, space, and place is gone. Extremely happy and contented, nothing troubles. Ideas crowd upon each other.'
Has great soothing influence in many nervous disorders like epilepsy, mania, dementia, delirium tremens, and irritable reflexes. Exopthalmic goitre. Catalepsy.
The author is on the staff of the Noyes Chemical Laboratory, University of Illinois, the Department of Pharmacology of Cornell University Medical College, and the Welfare Island Hospital. The following is taken from a lecture delivered on February 10, 1942.
The clarification of the chemical and medical aspects of hemp extracts has been extraordinarily slow for a material known as long and used as frequently as marihuana. The reasons have been several—the failure of chemists to isolate a pure active principle, the unsuccessful attempts of the pharmacologist to find an animal test which paralleled the activity in humans, and finally the lack of controlled clinical experiments.
The recorded medical literature is most confusing. The reports are contradictory, and the description of the drug varies from one which is habit-forming and which with constant use is as harmful to the system as morphine, to one which is almost completely innocuous with a stimulation not far remote from that of alcohol.
Clinical tests revealed that marihuana produces no significant changes in basal metabolic rates, blood chemistry, hematological picture, liver function, kidney function or cardiac electrical conduction. Marihuana delays somewhat gastric and intestinal motility as gauged by the Carlson apparatus and X-ray studies; it produces definite increase in the frequency of the alpha wave in electroencephalographic recordings, thus indicating increased relaxation.
After the Welfare Island study of every phase of the action of marihuana and the synthetic drugs and after finding no discernible evidence of any permanent deleterious effects, either mental, or physical, Dr Allentuck considered the question of the possible therapeutic value of these substances. The potential availability of pure synthetics of standard potency invites such a study, for hitherto merely hemp extracts were accessible, the clinical activity of which must be determined for each batch of extracted material. Since the outstanding manifestation of the marihuana action is the euphoria which makes its user feel 'high', consideration was given to its possible employment as a drug for individuals in various stages of mental depression such as cyclothymics, involutionals, reactives, or those with organic conditions in which dysphoria is a dominant factor. The invariable characteristic of the drugs to stimulate the appetite suggests they might be applicable in psychoneurosis in which a lack of desire for food exists. Many subjects show an alcohol-like picture of intoxication following the use of marihuana. The idea of using these drugs in the treatment of chronic alcohol addiction was considered and preliminary experiments by Dr Allentuck on private patients and colleagues were sufficiently encouraging to merit investigation on a larger scale and over a longer period of time.
The euphoria produced by marihuana is in many ways comparable to that achieved by the use of opium derivatives. This suggested the possibility of use in the treatment of opiate derivative addictions to eliminate or ameliorate the withdrawal symptoms commonly experienced during previously attempted so-called 'cures'. To clarify this question Dr Allentuck selected a series of cases among drug addicts undergoing treatment. One group of thirteen received 15 mg of tetra-hydrocannibinol orally three times daily at five A.M., two P.M. and ten P.M. and a sterile hypodermic injection; another group of fourteen received the same treatment without the sterile injection. Subjective and objective findings were recorded. In general the consensus of subjective opinions favored the new treatment as compared to previous cures and the established routine taken by some of these patients. They felt happier, had a better appetite and wanted to return to activity sooner. These results served as a basis for further study of fifty cases in which quantitative criteria were employed.
Two groups of twenty subjects were selected, one group receiving the tetrahydrocannibinol treatment up to a maximum of ten days and the others receiving none. Members of each group were observed throughout the day. Each morning they were interviewed and any complaints recorded on a chart. Thus an attempt was made to arrive at a quantitative comparison of the withdrawal symptoms. It was found that the tetrahydrocannibinol treatment was useful in alleviation or elimination of withdrawal symptoms and in diminishing or eliminating the accompanying discomfort which follows cessation of narcotic indulgence. Any withdrawal symptoms under the tetrahydrocannibinol treatment were of a mild character and occurred within the first three or four days following which the patient began to feel better. The chief complaints were restlessness, headache and dryness of the throat. They had an increased appetite and desire for food which diminished or eliminated such withdrawal symptoms as nausea, diarrhea, perspiration, etc. They felt physically stronger and showed psychomotor activity. The feeling of euphoria produced by the tetrahydrocannibinol helped in rehabilitating the physical condition and in facilitating social reorientation. An outstanding result is a subjective feeling of relaxation. The sleep induced by the drug, likewise contributes to the general improvement in the patients' health. These results are in contrast to those from the use of Magendie's solution which produces in the patients contentment for the first three or four days, after which signs of marked discomfort or withdrawal effects appear. The patients after this treatment, upon their discharge were shaky and generally in poor physical condition. These preliminary results with tetrahydrocannibinol justify a more exhaustive study of its possibilities as a means of relieving the withdrawal symptoms in narcotic addicts.
British doctors at the present time are forbidden to prescribe tetrahydrocannibinol or cannabis in any other form in the treatment of •withdrawal sickness, the reason given being that 'there is no medical use for Indian hemp'.
The Pharmacological Basis Of Therapeutics, 1955
Dr Louis S. Goldman and Dr Alfred Gilman
Cannabis has been considered as a breeder of crime, especially in psychopathic individuals, a concept supported by the acts of violence presumably committed while under the acute influence of the drug. Suicide, homicide, and sexual assaults have been blamed on marihuana. It has been contended that inhibitions are removed and personality traits exaggerated, and that the criminal is thereby emboldened to do violence. Evidence on which the above view is based is not always of the most acceptable variety. The sociological, psychiatric and criminological aspects of marihuana were studied and reviewed by Bromberg (1939) and Shoenfield (1944), and no positive relation could be found between violent crime and the use of the drug. Marihuana is no more an aphrodisiac than is alcohol, and the drug apparently is not used for sexual stimulation. No cases of murder or sexual crimes due to marihuana were established, and Shoenfield concluded that the smoking of marihuana was not associated with juvenile delinquency. Marihuana habituation does not lead to the use of morphine, heroin, cocaine, or alcohol, and the associated use of marihuana and narcotic drugs is rare. Indeed, strong alcoholic beverages counteract the psychic effects of marihuana and are avoided by the habitué.
Drugs And The Mind, 1957
Robert S. De Ropp
The preparation of these active materials represented a prodigious amount of work on the part of the chemists, but for some strange reason practically all work on the drug has now been abandoned. We have no idea what happens to this potent substance, tetrahydrocannibinol, after it enters the body. We cannot tell in what form it enters the brain or in what manner it affects the chemistry of the brain cells. Despite the tremendous
recent interest in psychochemistry this important group of compounds has been ignored and we know as little about the mode of action of the hemp drug on the brain as did Hasan-iSabbah when he fed it to his followers a thousand years ago.
The Medical Use Of Cannabis Sativa
Dr R. Polderman
The author who lives in Baarn, Holland, has made a wide study of Oriental medical systems.
The plant is a narcotic inebriant. In some countries it is reputed to be a remedy for malaria, blackwater fever, blood poisoning, anthrax, and dysentery. A poultice of the plant is beneficial in local inflammation, erysipelas, neuralgia, etc.
The leaves are sedative, anodyne, narcotic, antispasmodic, diuretic, digestive, and astringent. They are given in doses of forty grains as a sedative or anodyne. Half a drachm of the dried leaves are given with a little sugar and black pepper as a household remedy for dysentery and diarrhea. The powdered leaves are administered as a stomachic and-for relieving flatulence. In cases where it is not advisable to use opium, the leaves are given to induce sleep. They are also used in tetanus and for relieving pain in dysmenorrhea. Some practitioners consider it preferable to boil the leaves before use. The leaves are also used externally. A cataplasm of fresh leaves is applied to tumors as an aid in resolving them. The fresh juice of the plant is used for removing dandruff and vermin from the scalp, and for allaying pain in the ear. A powder of the leaves is useful for dressing fresh wounds and sores, as it promotes granulation. A poultice of the fresh leaves is used in diseases of the eye with photophobia, in piles, and in orchitis.
Bhang or Hashish is prepared from the dried leaves and flowers of both male and female plants, wild or cultivated, by infusing them with milk and other ingredients. It is given in dyspepsia, gonorrhea, bowel complaints, and also as an appetizer and a nerve stimulant. The dose of the dried leaves is one-fourth to two grains, and they may be used even
without infusing them.
Ganja is the dried pistillate flowering top of the cultivated plant, which is coated with a resinous exudation. It contains an oily principle, cannabinol. As an antidote to orpiment poisoning, Ganja smoke is swallowed through the mouth. In cases of strangulated hernia and the griping pains of dysentry, Ganja smoke is passed through the rectum. It is classed as one of the best of the anodyne, hypnotic, and anti-spasmodic drugs. It is administered with advantage for inducing sleep in those suffering from hallucinations. It is applied locally to relieve pain and itching in eczema, pruritis, etc. Ganja is given in doses from one-fourth to two grains.
Charas is the resinous exudation that collects on the leaves and flowering tops of the plants. It is the most active part of the plant and is a valuable narcotic, especially in cases where opium cannot be used. It is of great value in malaria, chronic headache, migraine, acute mania, whooping cough, asthma, anaemia of the brain, nervous vomiting, tetanic convulsion, insanity, delirium, dysuria and nervous exhaustion. It is also used as an anesthetic in dysmenorrhoea, as an appetizer and aphrodisiac, as an anodyne in the itching of eczema, in neuralgia, in pain from the various kinds of corns, etc. Homeopathic-ally it is a wonderful remedy for stuttering, yielding remarkable results. In the lower potencies, it is used against bladder troubles with urine retention and painful urges. It has been known to relieve the symptoms in cases of oppressed breathing and palpitation. It is also given against nightmares. Charas is given in doses from one-sixth to one-fourth of a grain, and is also widely used in veterinary practice.
The seeds of the plant are not narcotic. They contain the alkaloid trigoneline, and were useful in the treatment of gonorrhea.
The Psychological Significance Of The Soma Ritual
Dr Esther Harding
In the legend of the soma we find records of a gift, namely, inspiration or ecstasy, which leads on to the final initiation of the moon, that is into a higher stage of consciousness. This new condition comes, however, not from the Logos, the brightness of mind, or intellect, but from the unconscious.
For the inspiration of the moon comes, the myths relate, from the dark moon and from the soma drink brewed from the moon tree. It is not embodied in rational thought but in dark obscure movements, in thoughts and impulses of darkness, intoxicating like the soma drink, producing an enthusiasm which may even lead to madness. To eat the soma, or to drink the soma drink was to partake of the food of the gods, to become godlike and to share in those attributes which distinguish the gods from the mortals. These attributes are the power to transcend death, to be immortal, and the power to create, to make that which had not being before. These two gifts are bestowed by the soma drink.
In the Hindu teachings about the soma it is said: '... the moon. That is Soma, the king. They are food of the gods. The gods do eat it.' (Khandogya Upanishad 5, 10, 4.) In another translation this text reads: 'King Soma, he is the food of the Gods that Gods eat ... But they who conquer the worlds (future states) by means of sacrifice, charity, and austerity, go to smoke, from smoke to night, from night to the decreasing half of the moon, from the decreasing half of the moon ... to the world of the fathers, from the world of the fathers to the moon. Having reached the moon they become food, and then the Devas (the gods) feed on them there, as sacrificers feed on Soma, as it increases and decreases.' (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 6, 2, 16.) Another rendering reads: 'Just as one eats the King Soma with the words "swell and decrease" so they are eaten by the gods ... This moon is the honey (nectar) of all beings, and all beings are the honey of this moon. Likewise this bright immortal person in this moon, and that bright immortal person existing as mind in the body both are (madhu) (soul). He is indeed the same as that Self, that Immortal, that Brahman, that All.' (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 2, 5, 7.) 'The person or spirit that is in the moon on him I meditate ... I meditate on him as Soma, the king, the self (Atman) (source) of all food. Who so meditates on him thus, becomes the self (source) of all food.' (Kaushi-taki Upanishad 4, 4.) Or as another translation renders it, 'becomes the Self of Nourishment.'
The soma is nourishment of the gods, and man, too, can partake of it, thereby becoming part of the Self, the Atman. This is a mystical way of expressing the belief that through this ritual there develops within the worshipper a self which is not his personal ego, but is non-personal, partaking of the qualities of the divine self or Atman. This self is unique, it is said to be 'free from all the pairs of opposites', 'it never bends the head to anyone,' 'it is immovable and homeless.' (Mahabharata, Anugita XLIII). Jung has called this nonpersonal, nonego, self the individuality, and I must refer the reader to his works for most illuminating discussions of the whole subject.
The ancient teachings about the moon state that this 'self develops in that individual who has undergone the required initiations to the moon deity, or, as we might say in psychological terms, who has related himself to the feminine principle. The 'self possesses those qualities which alone can stand against the inflooding of the chaotic unconscious. For it is said that the self is immovable, it is homeless, that is to say it is not dependent on being established or conditioned, its strength is in itself; one might also say its strength lies in its being itself. It is that which it is, and nothing else. 'It never bends the head to anyone.' The ritual of the soma drink was believed to have power to put the worshipper in touch with this aspect of his psyche, the eternal, immovable, reality of Self.
In drinking the soma the initiant gave himself up to be filled with the god. He knew that he would lose his personal, conscious control. He would become the prey of whatever thoughts or inspirations came to him out of the unknown. His mind would be the playground of strange thoughts, of inexplicable feelings and impulses. He would experience an intoxication, an ecstasy, which he believed to be a possession by God. Even those who think of God as all-good, a loving father, a beneficent spiritual being, might still hesitate before handing themselves over to His power in this way and renouncing their personal self-control through the influence of the soma drink. Even the boon of the renewal of life, which the soma is believed to give, might not be sufficient to induce them so to lay aside their personal autonomy. How much greater a sacrifice was demanded of those worshippers who believed that God, like the moon, was black as well as white, destructive as well as creative, cruel as well as kind. How great an act of devotion was needed can be sensed only when we contemplate giving ourselves up to the daemonic influence which arises within our own psyches. For in actual fact we find that the belief in the unity of the one good God is little more than an intellectual formula, counterbalanced by the theory that man is the victim of original sin which will arise spontaneously within him if he relaxes his control for a moment.
What it means, psychologically, to drink the soma and allow the inner voice of the daemon to speak within and take over the control for a space, Jung has discussed in his essay on the Becoming of the Personality. To dare to listen to that inspiration from within which voices the ultimate reality of one's own being requires an act of faith which is rare indeed. When the conviction is borne in upon one that anything which is put together, or made up, has no ultimate reality and so is certain to disintegrate, one turns to one's own final reality in the faith that it and it alone can have any virtue or any value. Jung has used the Greek word pistis to express the kind of faith in, or devotion to, the rightness, the wisdom of that inner spark which speaks and functions of itself, quite apart from our conscious control. This wisdom was called the Divine Sophia. The Greek word sophos means wisdom and Sophia is a personification of wisdom, the Lady Wisdom, or the Goddess Wisdom. She is the highest incarnation of the feminine principle, the Moon Goddess in her function of spirit, divine
knowledge. The moon goddesses were, in the majority of cases, considered to be the source of knowledge and wisdom. The words used for mental activity are associated in many languages, it will be recalled, with the names of the moon or of the moon deities, while in many cases the name for the moon deity meant far more than mental activity. Plato, for instance, says that the ancients signified the Holy Lady by calling her Isis and also Mental Perception and Prudence, for the Greeks believed that the name Isis was cognate with Isia which means knowledge. The etymology is probably incorrect but the comment shows that to the Greeks of Plato's time the goddess Isis was goddess of knowledge. The robe of Isis, Goddess of Wisdom, concealed, it will be recalled, the deepest revelation, and Shing Moo, the Chinese moon goddess, is called Perfect Intelligence, while the Virgin Mary, Moon of our Church, is also the bearer of Perfect Wisdom. To the Gnostics of Greece and Egypt, Sophia was the Divine Wisdom, the female form of the Holy Spirit. Devotion to, or faith in, this wisdom is the one motive which can make it possible for a human being, whether man or woman, to listen to his inner voice, relinquishing his own autonomy and resigning himself to the inflow of the dark powers of the moon, through partaking of the drink of soma.
The ritual of the soma drink was, however, highly prized by the initiants and brought them the priceless gifts of which we have been speaking. Their confession was:
We've quaffed the Soma bright,
And have immortal grown;
We've entered into light,
And all the Gods have known.
The soma drink was believed to bring not only immortality but also inspiration and wisdom. The wisdom it brought was not the outcome of wide-knowledge, or great erudition, or of worldly experience, but was rather the wisdom of nature. It is the wisdom that knows without knowing how. A gull, for instance, can soar as no modern glider can. This unconscious bird can utilize the winds with their varying currents and velocities, it knows all about areas of high pressure and areas of low pressure without, however, knowing anything about them at all. The bird's unknowing knowledge is a picture of the moon wisdom, which we human beings have so largely bartered for our conscious rationale and exact information. Our information is a priceless achievement but it is after all only a tool of the mind and not the real content of wisdom. Again, to quote from one of the sacred books of India, in the Mahabharata it is said: 'The Supreme Lord creates all creatures ... his mind is in the moon, his understanding dwells always in knowledge.' 'When the understanding, of its own motion, forms ideas within itself, it then comes to be called Mind.' This text agrees with primitive concepts that one of the chief characteristics of the moon is her ability to give men thoughts, ideas, and inspiration 'of its own motion'. For the moon, mens, is mind, not only in the language of many peoples, but in the underlying concept as well. In Hindu thought, moon is King Soma, and soma is manas, mind.
The ideas which the moon gives, however, are far from academic thinking, with its power to dissect, organize, and formulate. These aspects of thinking belong to the sun, while from the moon come phantasies, intuitions, and strange ideas, or so primitive men and the cultured people of antiquity as well, believed.
The moon, it was thought, insinuates into man's mind ideas and intuitions which are not at all in accordance with intellectual standards but are strange and bizarre, and, because of the profound truth hidden beneath their unusual form, they may be creatively new. These ideas are filled with a peculiar emotion or with intoxicating delight, like the ecstasy of the soma drink.
Thus the moon stands for that strange kind of thinking which comes and goes apparently with complete autonomy; man's rational laws have no more power to control it than his wishes control the moon's movements high in the heavens. A man can of his own will sit down and think logical thoughts. He can say: 'Now I will work on this mathematical problem, or draw up a plan for this or that' and his thinking obeys him. But 'moon' thinking goes of itself. It is not under the sway of logic. It will not come when he bids it. It will not go at his command. It does not originate in his head. It rises rather from the lower depths of his being and befuddles his mind, like the intoxicating drink, soma.
Thinking of this kind is despised among us, but it has been highly esteemed in many ages and many civilizations. It is thought to be due to a possession by a divine power. Even in extreme form, as in the case of lunacy (lune is moon), primitives and the ancients thought that a god spoke through the man's delirium. Today in modern art we find again the cult of that which goes of itself. Our artists seek, painstakingly, to express that which is not rational and indeed unfolds of its own volition. There is to us, in this twentieth century, undoubtedly a value concealed in the irrational, in that which is not controlled by rational laws. It will be recalled that the wisdom of Isis, when searching for the lost body of the dead Osiris, was represented as coming to her in quite irrational ways. She was first guided by the babbling of little children, then by the instinct of the dog, and lastly by the word of her own daemon voice. These three stages represent ways through which men and women, today, may listen to the voice of the moon wisdom, much as Isis did. The babbling of little children represents, perhaps, taking note of the irresponsible phantasy which flits by beneath the contents to which conscious attention is directed; the instinct of the dog will represent those things that the body, the animal part of the human being, tells one. These intimations are also disregarded in large measure, by the average person, as being too trivial for serious consideration. And thirdly, the inner voice still speaks, although it is usually drowned out by the clamor of personal interest and the insistent demands of the world, during the daytime. It is more easily heard in the dreams and visions of the night.
To pay attention to these things is by no means easy, to do so requires the renouncing of personal autonomy over one's own thoughts for the time being and allowing dark, unknown ideas to take possession of one's mind. Usually a man in whom 'moon thinking' arises feels that there is something inferior about the whole process, something uncanny, something not quite clean, by which he is besmirched. He feels that such thinking is not a masculine but a 'womanish' sort of thinking; and he may add that women think in that confused way most of the time. But certain women, if they were asked, would say that the thoughts and inspirations which come to them from the depths of their being are likely to be right, can be relied on, and can be acted on with confidence. When a woman thinks in her head as a man thinks, she is often wrong; she is very apt to be deceived by ready-made opinions, to spend her time on side issues; and her thinking, when of this kind, is usually unproductive and uncreative. Ideas formed under the moon, inferior though they may seem to be, yet have a power and compelling quality which ideas originating in the head rarely have. They are like the moon in that they grow of themselves. They demand an outlet; if a suitable one is not provided they may become obsessive and produce, as the primitives would say, 'moon madness'. For the children of the moon must come to birth just as surely as physical children. And furthermore as the Hindus have said, only when the Understanding of its own motion forms ideas within itself can it be called Mind. When written in this way with the capital letter the Mind refers to the Atman, supreme consciousness, the Self. In other words when one listens to the voice of that nonpersonal factor within one's own psyche one comes into touch with that unique factor with oneself, which the Hindus felt to be part of the Atman, the Self. Through such an experience it is said that the individual's life is renewed by partaking of the ever-renewed life of the moon.
What this may mean to us when the symbols are recognized as symbols and the whole is translated into psychological terms, is hard to say with any certainty. It surely does not mean that to give oneself over to the guidance of the unconscious, renouncing all the achievements of consciousness, will give one eternal life. Such a course of action could produce nothing but disintegration, the loss of individuality and, in extreme form, mental unbalance or insanity. To us the ravings of the lunatic certainly do not voice the oracles of divine wisdom. If the strange thoughts and images arising from the unconscious are to have any value at all for us, they have to be interpreted, made available for life, through the mediation of the human understanding. One must ask with the Knight of the Grail legends, 'What does it mean?'
The Free Fall And Its Relation To The High Feeling
Dr S. H. Groff
Dr Groff, of Amsterdam, is a psycho-physiologist, who has had experience with both parachute jumping and psychedelics. The following is an excerpt from a talk given at St Martin's School of Art, London, on January 7, 1966. It is interesting to compare a comment made by a member of the Royal Air Force that 'Pilots flying at very high altitudes have reported hallucinations in which they seem to be outside the cabin looking at the shell of themselves on the inside.'
Already at birth the baby enters this world conditioned to respond in a specific way to many given circumstances, aside from its spontaneous movements and reflexes. Among other things, there is a response to what is called a natural force: the phenomenon of Gravity. We can suppose that this process of responding began as far back as the instant of conception. In the process of their development, the meiotic and mitotic functions seem to be influenced by external physical forces similar to that of Gravity, if not that of Gravity itself. Our powers of resolution to date have reached what would have seemed an incredible magnitude to a microscopist of only fifty years ago. Today micro-scopists discuss that level of magnification concerning chromosomes and genes, and even their building blocks, with the calm assurance that so often accompanies the living out of an hypothesis which can still explain most of the facts it is concerned with at the time. From the beginning of what we commonly refer to as recorded time, this power of resolution in our world has been growing in magnitude in the fashion of a geometric progression. In recent times science fiction has often had no longer than a number of years to wait to become science reality. So it is that today man as always, inspired by an ecstasy from within, continues to hypothesize seeming wonders, and waits for the resolution which is perhaps just around the corner. Meanwhile many of his fellow men, again it would seem as always, mock his faith because they have been conditioned into a relative state of mental inertia, and sometimes even try to deny him his right to mental freedom.
The associations brought to mind when confronted with words like: up and down, flying, floating, high, etc., are most often derived from a conditioning related either consciously or unconsciously to the phenomenon of Gravity. It is not unreasonable to expect that when using these words some of the thoughts that are by reflex brought to mind concern injury or destruction. Even in this age, where seeing an aircraft overhead is commonplace, more often than not, even amongst professional pilots, the exhilarating spectacle of flight and floating is dampened by irrepressible, morbid thoughts related to the immediate physical consequences of a sudden alteration in this temporary triumph over Gravity.
Right from the beginning, man has both suffered and profited from the effects of Gravity. Getting a large boulder up an incline was a chore, while letting water run down that same incline provided the energy to drive a wheel. In that part of the sport of Parachuting known as Sky-diving, where the participants exercise the Free Fall, once again man uses the force of Gravity to his advantage. The jumper gets as high as possible to increase the length of his Free Fall, and uses his vertical descent, effected by the pull of Gravity towards the earth, to gain his terminal velocity. This is achieved within one to eight or nine seconds after departing from the aircraft, depending on the speed of the aircraft at that time, and calculated from average conditions including the weight of the jumper, his surface of resistance, the temperature and density of the air, etc. The speed is roughly one hundred and twenty miles per hour. At that moment, there is no sensation of falling, the feeling being comparable to resting on an air mattress floating on a lake. No special equipment is necessary, the human body being perfect for the job as it is, and by altering the arch of the back, and the position of the head and extremities, the speed may be varied between one hundred and twenty and over two hundred miles per hour.
If one eavesdrops around a Drop Zone, he would almost get the impression that there is some sort of mystical-religious cult being practiced. Exclamations concerning the inability to describe the experience in words are commonplace, and to be compared only with conversations during and after psychedelic sessions. Psychedelic methods for expanding consciousness have included sensory deprivation, yoga exercises, disciplined meditation, psychodrama, Gurdjieff techniques of self-awareness, and more recently certain drugs, including LSD, DMT, Mescaline, Psilocybin, and Marihuana. These drugs have opened up psychedelic art techniques of direct (nonsymbolic) energy stimulation. At least one artist I know is now investigating the possibilities of expanding his consciousness through the Free Fall and is communicating his experiences in his paintings. I feel it only fair to point out that in some cases the Free Fall, unlike the Psychedelic drugs mentioned above, does call to mind similarities between itself and the drugs of addiction: opium, its derivatives such as morphine and heroin, and cocaine. Preparing for the jump, and right up to it, there is often an atmosphere of anxious waiting, and a poverty of discussion amongst the participants. The Free Fall has taken a central place in their thoughts, and the greatest part of the day is devoted in some way to this central theme, often to the exclusion of former seemingly important matters. Very often feelings closely identifiable with withdrawal symptoms are reported. During and after the Free Fall, another atmosphere reigns. It is not necessarily typified by the increased measure of conversation, but rather a special feeling or newly won state which seems to embrace and unite all. Considering the fact that with increased altitude the Oxygen tension and proportionate component values of other air gases (drugs) are altered, it might be interesting for some competent governmental enforcement agency, in lands where this practice has gained silent but steady following, to initiate an investigation into the use of this method.
Everyone has most likely at least once clearly experienced a temporary disturbance or change of awareness of the time value. The time may have flown by, where hours seemed like minutes, or perhaps it dragged, where a minute seemed like an hour. In any case, an altered sense of time in some degree is a lowest common denominator for descriptive experiences. The Sky-diver usually uses 2,250 feet as a minimum altitude for terminating his Free Fall. Thus, when exiting the aircraft at 3,250 feet he makes a Free Fall of ten seconds; from 4,200 feet—fifteen seconds, 6,500 feet—thirty seconds; 12,500 feet—sixty seconds; 15,500 feet—ninety seconds; etc. The only altitude limitations are the maximum ceiling of the aircraft, and in connection with the oxygen content which decreases with altitude as mentioned earlier. An oxygen cylinder and mask are required for altitudes above 18,000 feet. In the Free Fall when he arrives at 2,250 feet, the brain, with its exquisite and intricate computer function, sends its signal, and a hand reaches in to remove the rip-cord from its pocket, and releases one of' the two parachutes that the jumper takes along. The Free Fall being ended, he then floats, suspended by the parachute. The last half mile, during the re-entry phase, which lasts about two minutes, until the gentle contact with the earth below. Recent advances in the design and materials used for parachutes, increasing their maneuverability and rate of descent, have made the former landing jolt connected with the landing, a thing of the past. True enough, for some debutants, the first jump may be accompanied by a certain element of fear, but after a number of jumps, when the jumper is on Free Fall status, and progressively increasing the length of the Free Fall and the awareness of this new state, he becomes freed from unnecessary preoccupations and becomes more capable of experiencing the trip to a fuller extent. At this level of awareness he is also capable of liberating himself from many of his conditioned associations with regards to Gravity. Without introducing any psychological play on words concerning matters described as a 'death wish', and barring intentional suicides, accept for a moment the concept that the jumper has no problem regarding the awareness of the altitude at which he will open his parachute. (By using an altimeter and a stopwatch, he may double-check the brain, if he so desires, and a few even use automatic barometric opening devices, pre-set at the proper opening altitude.) He may then during the period of the Free Fall go beyond his usual concept of the force of Gravity, transcending for that short period of time the conditioning to its game rules. Close your eyes for a moment some time, and have another person let you know when sixty seconds have gone by. During this time try to imagine yourself in the process of making a sixty second Free Fall. This may help you rediscover just how long sixty seconds are, but considering the possibility again of an altered perception of the time sense, it should excite-you to try and imagine what a sixty second Free Fall might seem like to the jumper. In this ecstatic state of complete freedom from earthbound game involvements, is it then not also conceivable that a situation exists in which liberation from still other conditioned models are possible?
Since the beginning of time, some men have sought to go beyond their conditioned states, and through various techniques have enabled themselves to achieve a greater awareness. The suggestion here is that this may again be another method to be added to the ever growing list. Perhaps one which is particularly attractive to yourself. So if the opportunity is available, one day visit a Dropping Zone, and further investigate the possibilities. Granted, there may be some Zen masters in the ranks, and the answers you get may not at once seem to fit into any of the models and expectations you may have brought with you, but still you may find out something of that which you would like to know. For myself, I fall back on a saying from Lao Tse: 'He who knows speaks not, and he who speaks knows not', and I would prefer suggesting the value of self-experience. It's all up to you. Remember, the choice is always your own.
Cannabis Intoxication And Its Similarity To That Of Peyote And LSD
Dr William H. McGlothlin
Pharmacology texts invariably classify cannabis as a hallucinogen, along with LSD, mescaline and psilocybin. Recent interest, however, has concentrated on the last three, probably because the 'model psychosis' hypothesis grew out of work with these more potent hallucinogens. Also, those interested in examining possible therapeutic effects of these agents have preferred to avoid the stigma attached to marihuana. On examining descriptions of cannabis intoxication, however, it is clear that virtually all of the phenomena associated with LSD are, or can, also be produced with cannabis.1 2 3 The wavelike aspect of the experience is almost invariably reported for cannabis as well as for all the other hallucinogens. Reports of perceiving various parts of the body as distorted, and depersonalization, or 'double consciousness', are very frequent, as well as spatial and temporal distortion. Visual hallucinations, seeing faces as grotesque, increased sensitivity to sound and merging of senses (synesthesia) are also common. Heightened suggestibility, perception of thinking more clearly and deeper awareness of the meaning of things are characteristic. Anxiety and paranoid reactions may also occur. Walton writes:
The acute intoxication with hashish probably more nearly resembles that with mescaline than any of the other well-known drugs. Comparison with cocaine and the opiates does not bring out a very striking parallelism. With mescaline and hashish there are numerous common features which seem to differ only in degree.
Similarly, De Ropp states:
We have no reason to suppose that Gautier had ever heard of peyote but his descriptions of his experience under the influence of hashish are so like those of other investigators under the spell of the sacred cactus that one is tempted to suppose that the two drugs must produce within the brain a similar reaction, despite the chemical dissimilarity of their active principles.4
The difference between cannabis and the other hallucinogens must be understood in terms of the motivation of the user as well as the strength of the reaction. This is not to say that the set of the user is not very important for the others as well, but cannabis is especially amenable to control and direction so that the desired effects can usually be obtained at will. Michaux, a French writer, has repeatedly explored his own reactions to the various hallucinogens and writes, 'Compared to other hallucinogenic drugs, hashish is feeble, without great range, but easy to handle, convenient, repeatable without immediate danger.'5 It is these features, plus the fact that consumption by smoking enables the experienced user to accurately control the amount absorbed, that makes cannabis a dependable producer of the desired euphoria and sense of well-being. This aspect is pointed up in the study by the New York Mayor's Committee which examined the reaction of experienced users to smoking and ingesting marihuana extract.6 When smoking, the effect was almost immediate, and the subjects carefully limited the intake to produce the desired 'high' feeling. They had no difficulty maintaining a 'euphoric state with its feeling of wellbeing, contentment, sociability, mental and physical relaxation, which usually ended in a feeling of drowsiness.' When ingested, the effect could not be accurately controlled and, although the most common experience was still euphoria, users also frequently showed anxiety, irritability, and antagonism. It is common knowledge among marihuana users that one must learn to use the drug effectively, and that beginners are often disappointed in the effect.'
With the much stronger and longer lasting hallucinogens, LSD and mescaline, there is much less control and direction possible, and even the experienced user may find himself plunged into an agonizing hell, instead of experiencing satori. In summary, it appears that the reaction to cannabis is on a continuum with the other hallucinogens and, given the same motivation on the part of the user, will produce some of the same effects. On the other hand, cannabis permits a dependable controlled usage that is very difficult if not impossible with LSD and mescaline.
One distinct difference that does exist between cannabis and the other hallucinogens is its tendency to act as a true narcotic and produce sleep, whereas LSD and mescaline cause a long period of wake-fulness. One other very important difference from the sociological standpoint is the lack of rapid onset of tolerance that occurs with the other hallucinogens. The cannabis intoxication may be maintained continuously through repeated doses, whereas the intake of LSD and mescaline must be spaced over several days to be effective. In addition, the evidence on the use of these drugs indicates that, although the mild euphoria obtained from cannabis may be desirable daily, or even more frequently, the overwhelming impact of the peyote and LSD experience generally results in a psychological satiation that lasts much longer than the tolerance effect. These aspects will be discussed further in Section V.
In this country marihuana users almost invariably report the motivation is to attain a 'high' feeling which is generally described as 'a feeling of adequacy and efficiency' in which mental conflicts are allayed. The experienced user is able to achieve consistently a state of self-confidence, satisfaction and relaxation, and he much prefers a congenial group setting to experiencing the effects alone. Unlike the reasons the Indian gives for taking peyote, the marihuana user typically does not claim any lasting benefits beyond the immediate pleasure obtained.
In India and the Middle East, cannabis is apparently taken under a much wider range of circumstances and motivations. The long his-story, wide range of amount used, and the fact that legal restrictions do not require its concealment permits investigation under a variety of conditions. Most Eastern investigators draw a clear distinction between the occasional or moderate regular user and those who indulge to excess. Chopra states that cannabis is still used fairly extensively in Indian indigenous medicine, and that it is also frequently taken in small quantities by laborers to alleviate fatigue and sometimes hunger.$ In certain parts of India this results in a fifty per cent increase in consumption during the harvest season. Chopra writes:
A common practice amongst laborers engaged on building or excavation work is to have a few pulls at a ganja pipe or to drink a . glass of bhang towards
the evening. This produces a sense of well-being, relieves fatigue, stimulates the appetite, and induces a feeling of mild stimulation, which enables the worker to bear more. cheerfully the strain and perhaps the monotony of the daily routine of life.
Similarly, Benabud found moderate use of kif by the country people in Morocco to 'keep spirits up'. The need for moderation is expressed in the folk saying, 'Kif is like fire; a little warms, a lot bums'.9 Bhang is also frequently used as a cooling drink or food supplement.
Cannabis also has a long history of religious use in India, being taken at various ceremonies and for 'clearing the head and stimulating the brain to think' in meditation. It also plays a central role in the religions of certain primitive African and South American tribes.10 In India, the religious use of cannabis is by no means always moderate. Chopra writes, 'The deliberate abuse of bhang is met with almost entirely among certain classes of religious mendicants.'
Whatever aphrodisiac qualities cannabis may possess, virtually all investigators agree these are cerebral in nature and due to the reduction of inhibition and increased suggestibility. It is probable that it is little, if any, more effective than alcohol in this respect. In fact, Chopra writes, 'Amongst profligate women and prostitutes bhang-sherbet used to be a popular drink in the course of the evening when their paramours visited them. This practice has, however, been largely replaced by the drinking of alcohol which is much more harmful.'11 Chopra also mentions that certain 'saintly people who wish to renounce world pleasure use cannabis drugs for suppressing sexual desires.'
One final motivation should be mentioned—that of musicians who feel marihuana improves their ability. Walton writes, 'The habit is so common among this professional group that it may properly be considered a special occupational hazard.' He grants that the release of inhibitions may intensify the 'emotional character of the performance' for certain audiences, but doubts that technical performance is improved.
Benabud stresses that the major problems with cannabis in Morocco exist among the urban slum dwellers, especially among those who have newly come from the country and are 'no longer buttressed by traditional customs.' By contrast, he points out that although kif is widely used among the country people, there is no sign of compulsive need, such as exists 'among the uprooted, and poverty-stricken proletariat of the large town.'
Frequency Of Use And The Question Of Addiction
The confirmed user takes cannabis at least once per day; however, many others indulge only occasionally. There are no statistics on the ratio of regular to occasional users, but Bromberg found that only a small proportion of those who smoked marihuana in New York used it regularly. 12 Of those who use it regularly in the United States, most report they have voluntarily or involuntarily discontinued the habit from time to time without difficulty, (v. p.2, 94.)
Regarding the question of addiction to cannabis, most investigators agree there is generally no physiological dependence developed and only slight tolerance. This applies particularly to the moderate use observed in the United States. In the Mayor's Committee study, the officers who posed as marihuana habitués found no evidence of compulsion on the part of the user—there was no particular sign of frustration or compulsive seeking of a source of marihuana when it was not immediately available. In the studies mentioned above, where experienced subjects were allowed to smoke marihuana at will, no behavioral evidence of discomfort was observed when it was abruptly withdrawn.
Concerning the use of cannabis in India, Chopra writes:
In contrast to the other narcotic drugs, we found that the necessity for increase of dosage in order to produce the same effects subsequently was only rarely observed in those who took cannabis drugs habitually. The tolerance developed both in animals and man was generally slight, if any, and was in no way comparable to that tolerance developed to opiates. Its occurrence was observed only in those individuals who took excessive doses, after its prolonged use. Even then, it was hardly appreciable when cannabis was taken, orally, but sometimes occurred when it was smoked ... Habitual use of bhang can be discontinued without much trouble, but withdrawal from ganja and charas habits, in our experience, is more difficult to achieve, and is sometimes accompanied by unpleasant symptoms, though they are negligible compared with those associated with withdrawal from opiates and even cocaine.
Physical And Mental Effects
The Mayor's Committee compared the forty-eight users and twenty-four non-users from the standpoint of mental and physical deterioration resulting from long-term use of marihuana. They also conducted detailed quantitative measures on seventeen of those who had used it the longest (mean eight years, range two to sixteen; mean dose per day seven cigarettes, range two to eighteen). They conclude that the subjects 'had suffered no mental or physical deterioration as a result of their use of the drug.' Freedman and Rockmore also report that their sample of three hundred and ten, who had used marihuana an average of seven years, showed no mental or physical deterioration. 13
In India, the study of the mental, moral and physical effects of cannabis has had a long history, beginning with a seven-volume report issued by the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission in 1894. Their conclusions, as quoted by Walton are as follows:
The evidence shows the moderate use of ganja or charas not to be appreciably harmful, while in the case of bhang drinking, the evidence shows the habit to be quite harmless ... The excessive use does cause injury ... tends to weaken the constitution and to render the consumer more susceptible to disease ... Moderate use of hemp drugs produces no injurious effects on the mind ... excessive use indicates and intensifies mental instability.
The commission continued, as quoted by Chopra: 'it (bhang) is the refreshing beverage of the people corresponding to beer in England and moderate indulgence in it is attended with less injurious consequences than similar consumption of alcohol in Europe.' Chopra writes, 'This view has been corroborated by our own experience in the field.'
Chopra provides numerous statistics on the effect of cannabis on health by dose size and mode of consumption. In the previously mentioned sample of 1,200 regular users, there was a distinct difference in the effects on health, as reported by the user, depending on whether bhang or ganja and charas were consumed. For bhang, sixty-five per cent reported no effect, nineteen per cent minor impairment, four per cent marked impairment and eleven per cent slight improvement. For ganja and charas the comparable percentages were thirty-one, thirty-three, thirty-two, and four. 14 By dose level, seventy per cent of those using less than ten grains per day said there was no effect on health and thirty per cent reported improvement. By comparison, of those using more than ninety grains per day, twenty-five per cent claimed no effect, thirty-one per cent minor impairment, forty-four per cent marked impairment and none claimed improvement of health. Forty per cent of the ganja and charas users reported sleep disturbance and insomnia as compared to four per cent of the bhang drinkers.
Turning now to the relation between cannabis and psychosis, it is well established that transient psychotic reactions can be precipitated by using the drug, and, in susceptible individuals, this may occur even with moderate or occasional use. Out of a total of seventy-two persons used as experimental subjects the Mayor's Committee reports three cases of psychosis: one lasted four days, another six months, and one became psychotic two weeks after being returned to prison (duration not noted). The Committee concludes, 'that given the potential personality make-up and the right time and environment, marihuana may bring on a true psychotic state.'
Benabud especially stresses excessive use and environmental factors, pointing out that the rate of psychosis among the moderate-smoking country people is only one-tenth that in the large cities.
The chronic cannabis psychosis reported by Eastern writers has not been observed in this country. Most Western authors, while recognizing the role of cannabis in precipitating acute transient psychoses, have questioned the causal role in chronic cases. Mayer-Gross writes: 'The chronic hashish psychoses described by earlier observers have proved to be cases of schizophrenia complicated by symptoms of cannabis intoxication.'15 Allentuck states that 'a characteristic cannabis psychosis does not exist. Marihuana will not produce a psychosis de novo in a well-integrated stable person. '16 And Murphy writes: 'The prevalence of major mental disorder among cannabis users appears to be little, if any, higher than that in the general population.' Since it is well established that cannabis use attracts the mentally unstable. Murphy raises the interesting question of 'whether the use of cannabis may not be protecting some individuals from a psychosis.'
Cannabis And Crime
The Mayor's Committee found that many marihuana smokers were guilty of petty crimes, but there was no evidence that the practice was associated with major crimes. On the contrary 'professional' criminals considered marihuana smokers to be inferior and unreliable and would not associate with them. The Committee also investigated thirty-nine schools and found that marihuana was used by small numbers in certain schools, but that it was not a large-scale practice. Finally, they report that although marihuana smoking causes disinhibition, it does not alter the basic personality of the user or 'evoke responses which would be totally alien to him in his undrugged state.'
More recent assessments tend to agree with these findings. The Ad Hoc Panel on Drug Abuse at the 1962 White House Conference states, 'Although marihuana has long held the reputation of inciting individuals to commit sexual offences and other anti-social acts, evidence is inadequate to substantiate this .'1' Maurer and Vogel write:
While there may be occasional violent psychopaths who have used marihuana, have committed crimes of violence, and who have, in court, explained their actions as uncontrollable violence resulting from the use of the drug, these are exceptions to the general run of marihuana users.18
In addition to impulsive acts performed under acute cannabis intoxication, there are frequent references in the literature to criminals using the drug to provide courage to commit violent acts. There has been no evidence offered to substantiate this claim; rather, Chopra writes as follows regarding premeditated crime:
In some cases these drugs not only do not lead to it, but actually act as deterrents. We have already observed that one of the important actions of these drugs is to quiet and stupefy the individual so that there is no tendency to violence, as is not infrequently found in cases of alcoholic intoxication. The result of continued and excessive use of these drugs in our experience in India is to make the individual timid rather than lead him to commit violent crimes.
It is interesting that a number of observers, particularly in countries other than the United States, consider alcohol to be a worse offender than cannabis in causing crime. For instance, an editorial in the South African Medical Journal states:
Dagga produces in the smoker drowsiness, euphoria and occasional psychotic episodes, but alcohol is guilty of even graver action. It is not certain to what extent dagga contributes to the commission of crime in this country. Alcohol does so in undeniable measure.19
In the United States, probably the most serious accusation made regarding marihuana smoking is that it often leads to the use of heroin. The Mayor's Committee found no evidence of this, stating, 'The instances are extremely rare where the habit of marihuana smoking is associated with addiction to these other narcotics.' Nevertheless, it is difficult to see how the association with criminal peddlers, who often also sell heroin, can fail to influence some marihuana users to become addicted to heroin.
Summary And Appraisal
Cannabis is an hallucinogen whose effects are somewhat similar to, though much milder than, peyote and LSD. The confirmed user takes it daily or more frequently, and through experience and careful regulation of the dose is able to consistently limit the effects to euphoria and other desired qualities. Unlike peyote, there are typically no claims of benefit other than the immediate effects. Mild tolerance and physical dependence may develop when the more potent preparations are used to excess; however, they are virtually nonexistent for occasional or moderate regular users. There are apparently no deleterious physical effects resulting from moderate use, though excessive indulgence noted in some Eastern countries contributes to a variety of ailments. The most serious hazard is the precipitation of transient psychoses. Unstable individuals may experience a psychotic episode from even a small amount, and although they typically recover within a few days, some psychoses triggered by cannabis reactions may last for several months. In Eastern countries, where cannabis is taken in large amounts, some authors feel that it is directly or indirectly responsible for a sizeable portion of the intakes in psychiatric hospitals.
In this country cannabis is not used to excess by Eastern standards; however, it does attract a disproportionate number of poorly adjusted and non-productive young persons in the lower socio-economic strata. The extent to which legal prohibition and social stigma prevent other groups from indulging is a matter of conjecture. In Eastern countries cannabis is currently also largely restricted to the lower classes; however, moderate use is not illegal, socially condemned, nor necessarily considered indicative of personality defects. The reputation of cannabis for inciting major crimes is unwarranted and it probably has no more effect than alcohol in this respect.
Of those familiar with the use of marihuana in this country, there is general agreement that the legal penalties imposed for its use are much too severe. Laws controlling marihuana are similar or identical to those pertaining to the opiates, including the mandatory imposition of long prison sentences for certain offences. Many judges have complained that these laws have resulted in excessive sentences (five to ten years) for relatively minor offences with marihuana. The 1962 White House Conference made the following recommendation: 'It is the opinion of the Panel that the hazards of marihuana per se have been exaggerated and that long criminal sentences imposed on an occasional user or possessor are in poor social perspective.'
The cultural attitude toward narcotics is, of course, a very important determiner of legal and social measures adopted for their control. An interesting commentary on the extent to which these attitudes resist change and influence factual interpretation is afforded by the lively debate that followed the publishing of the Mayor's Committee Report on Marihuana in 1944. This was an extensive study conducted under the auspices of the New York Academy of Medicine at the request of Mayor La Guardia. Its findings tended to minimize the seriousness of the marihuana problem in New York and set off a series of attacks from those with opposing viewpoints. An American Medical Association editorial commented: 'Public officials will do well to disregard this unscientific uncritical study, and continue to regard marihuana as a menace wherever it is purveyed."20 And, as Taylor points out, 'We have done so ever since .'21 Anslinger, the Commissioner of Narcotics, wrote, 'The Bureau immediately detected the superficiality and hollowness of its findings and denounced it. '22 The authors expressed dismay that the report was attacked on the grounds that the findings represented a public danger, rather than on its scientific aspects.23 Walton, a leading authority on cannabis, wrote:
The report in question came generally to the same conclusion that any other group of competent investigators might reach if they repeated the inquiry under the same conditions ... A scientific study should be expected to report merely what it finds, avoid propaganda and let the public do what it will with the results.24
Murphy raises the question of why cannabis is so regularly banned in countries where alcohol is permitted. He feels that one of the reasons is the positive value placed on action, and the hostility towards passivity:
In Anglo-Saxon cultures inaction is looked down on and often feared, whereas over-activity, aided by alcohol or independent of alcohol, is considerably tolerated despite the social disturbance produced. It may be that we can ban cannabis simply because the people who use it, or would do so, carry little weight in social matters and are relatively easy to control; whereas the alcohol user often carries plenty of weight in social matters and is difficult to control, as the United States prohibition era showed. It has yet to be shown, however, that the one is more socially or personally disruptive than the other.
1 Ames, F., 'A Clinical and Metabolic Study of Acute Intoxication with Cannabis Sativa and Its Role in the Model Psychoses,' J. Mental Sci., 104, 1958, pp. 972-999.
2 Bouquet, R. J., 'Cannabis, Part III-V,' Bull. on Narcotics, 3, No. 1, 1951, pp. 22-43.
3 Walton, R. P., Marihuana, America's New Drug Problem, Lippincott, New York, 1938.
4 De Ropp, R. S., Drugs and the Mind, St Martin's Press, New York, 1957.
5 Michaux, H., Light Through Darkness, trans. by H. Chevalier, The Orion Press, New York, 1963.
6 Mayor's Committee on Marihuana, New York City, Cattell Press, Lancaster, Pa., 1944.
7 Becker, H. S., 'Becoming a Marihuana User', Amer. J. of Social., 59, 1953, pp. 235-242.
8 Chopra, I. C. and R. N. Chopra, 'The Use of Cannabis Drugs in India,' Bull. on Narcotics, 9, No. 1, 1957, pp. 4-29.
9 Benabud, A., 'Psycho-pathological Aspects of the Cannabis Situation in Morocco: Statistical Data for 1956,' Bull. on Narcotics, 9, No. 4, 1957, pp. 1-16.
10 Murphy, H. B. M., 'The Cannabis Habit: A Review of Recent Psychiatric Literature,' Bull. on Narcotics, 15, No. 1, 1963, pp. 15-23.
11 Chopra, R. N. and G. S. Chopra, 'The Present Position of Hemp-Drug Addiction in India,' Indian J. Med. Res. Memoirs, No. 31, 1930, pp. 1-119.
12 Bromberg, W., 'Marihuana Intoxication,' Amer. J. of Psychiat., 91, 1934, pp. 303-330.
13 Freedman, H. L. and M. J. Rockmore, 'Marihuana, Factor in Personality Evaluation and Army Maladjustment,' J. Clin. Psychopathology, 7, and 8, 1946, pp. 765-782 and 221-236.
14 As described in the previous section the consumption of bhang was typically much lower and its effect less potent than ganja and charas.
15 Mayer-Gross, W., E. Slater and M. Roth, Clinical Psychiatry, Cassell and Co., London, 1954.
16 Allentuck, S., and K. M. Bowman, 'The Psychiatric Aspects of Marihuana Intoxication,' Amer. J. of Psychiat., 99, 1942, pp. 248-251.
17 White House Conference on Narcotic and Drug Abuse, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, 1963.
18 Maurer, D. W. and V. H. Vogel, Narcotics and Narcotics Addiction, Charles C. Thomas, Springfield, Ill. 1962.
19 Editorial, 'Dagga,' So. African Med. J., 25: 17, 1951, pp. 284-286.
20 Editorial, 'Marihuana Problems,' J.A. M.A., 127, 1945, p. 1129.
21 Taylor, N., Flight from Reality, Duell, Sloan and Pearce, New York, 1949.
22 Anslinger, H. J. and W. G. Tompkins, The Traffic in Narcotics, Funk and Wagnalls, New York 1953.
23 Bowman, K. M., 'Psychiatric Aspects of Marihuana Intoxication,' J.A.M.A., 125, 1944, p. 376.
24 Walton, R. P., 'Marihuana Problems,' J.A.M.A., 128, 1945, p. 383.
Marijuana And The 'O' Effect, 1966
Dr S. H. Groff
I have observed that besides a variation in the intensity of specific effects brought about by the use of Marijuana grown in different parts of the world, there is also a variation in the nature of the effects it may arouse. The psychedelic effect and its relationship to consciousness expansion, and the parasympathetic effect on the central nervous system, have been quite thoroughly investigated and described, and its use in the healing arts in the form of an extract and a tincture has been listed in the Pharmacopeia of many countries. I have given the name 'O' effect to one specific property of some types of Marijuana, because it seemed to be, at least semantically, a descriptive lowest common denominator for being understood when discussing this hypothesis with those having some experience in this area. To be sure, the 'O' is lent from the word Opium, and indeed a part of the meaning is meant to indicate that this is an undesirable effect. At the outset it should be made clear that it is not my intention to make any value judgment concerning the use of Opium for any means whatever, nor has the particular effect I am about to describe any relationship with yet another undesirable effect specific to Opium, that of addiction. That Marijuana does not have any addictive effect has been unequivocally authenticated through investigation, and need not be gone into further here. The specific effect I call the 'O' effect has often been described as that of being 'stoned out'. It is meant to describe a physical situation occurring con-comitantly with other mind manifesting properties which the Marijuana brings about. Contrary to what one would expect in that enlightened state, it seems almost impossible to get the body to respond to the desired normal motor function when this effect is present. I daresay that one being accustomed to a type of Marijuana in which this effect is absent or negligible, when confronted with this new effect after having had experience with Marijuana from some other part of the world, depending on his level of paranoia at the moment, may be thrust into a situation which creates an entirely negative experience for him. It has been reported for example that Marijuana grown in certain regions of Morocco has either very little or no 'O' effect inherent to it, whereas the Marijuana referred to as 'Congo Wheat' causes a rather high level of the 'O' effect. Further, it would seem that in the process of preparing Hashish from Marijuana, a greater level of the 'O' effect is always the result, since to my knowledge there is no Hashish reported which does not have a noticeable 'O' effect resultant from its use. At this moment it is assumed by some that the active principle in Marijuana is dependent on a group of substances called tetrahydrocannabinols and it would thus seem a rather simple task for the biochemist to test the quantity of these substances found in the various types of Marijuana. However, I should like to point out that even after such an extensive research was done into the chemical presence of these substances one could always question whether it is truly these substances which are responsible for the ascribed effect, and problems as to the level of our biochemical powers of resolution at the moment will always remain subservient to subjective experimentation. This should be understood as an attempt to indicate a more complete and healthy attitude in one's approach to the problem, and shifts in emphasis are apparent as the story is retold or rewritten rather than misunderstood to imply a lessened faith in the value of biochemical research. Lastly, I should like to point out that it is of course possible that this effect that I have ascribed to Marijuana may be nothing more than an individual's response to the Marijuana, having nothing to do with the Marijuana itself. There is no question in my mind that this is possible, and I am certain that if not the sole answer, it surely does play a role.
A Psychiatrist Looks At Jack And The Beanstalk
Phillip S. Epstein, M.D.
The author is a Resident in Psychiatry at the University of Chicago's Department of Psychiatry. At the time of writing (1966) he is a Fulbright Scholar in Neuro chemistry at the Institute of Psychiatry, the Maudsley Hospital, London.
Traditional and children's stories are part of the folklore studied by social anthropologists, psychoanalysts, and students of literature for insight into the cultures in which the stories originate. The symbols and imagery of the stories reflect the society's mores, ethics and world view, as well as some of the realities of everyday life. Modifications in different cultural and historical contexts but the overall image usually remains the same.
More generally these stories and myths provide delightful image excursions into fantastic other worlds for children and adults alike. Part of their beauty and universal appeal derives from the synthesis of many levels of 'reality' into an apparently simple image statement. In some instances profound philosophical statements find expression beyond the power of words alone in the total image creation of the children's tale, as in Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
Jack and the Beanstalk is certainly one of the most popular of the traditional stories which has been preserved and retold for centuries. It is deceptively simple; on the most superficial level it is an imaginative and exciting adventure story with vivid symbols of good and evil clearly stating an unambiguous moral position. Considering it on a more psychological level, a Freudian analyst has no difficulty in relating Jack, his mother and deceased father, the giant and his wife, and Jack's princess as characters in a complex dream-like Oedipal situation. In this context the Freudian symbols are obvious; beanstalk—phallus, climbing beanstalk—sex act, hiding in oven—return to the womb, ogre who devours boys—reversal of original primal horde scene, chopping down of beanstalk—castration, etc. The imagery may also be just as easily discussed in terms of Jungian archetypes. Such analyses and interpretations are of interest and valid in their own terms but they do not adequately deal with the phenomenology of the total image.
The predominant image is one of a miraculous and powerful plant which provides the means to experience the truths, insights and perspectives attendant to a new level of reality or altered state of consciousness. Jack and the Beanstalk is thus a narrative of a psychedelic experience. The correspondence between the beanstalk and a plant such as marijuana is too close to be strictly fortuitous. One may argue that the magical seeds which Jack receives from the mysterious old woman are not hemp seeds but, for example, morning glory seeds; however this point is academic. What is of importance is the fact that the plant takes Jack
to new heights of awareness and reality which enable him to live a richer and fuller life.
Upon 'awakening' in the morning Jack begins to climb to the 'other world' and is able to see his mother and past life from this new perspective. As he climbs 'higher and higher' he experiences aching limbs and fatigue; indications of the physical—somatic aspects of the psychedelic drug experience. Having reached the heights, he again meets the guru-like old woman who is of both worlds. Jack makes his way through the new reality-fantasy world and sees the extremes of horror and evil and truth and beauty with remarkable clarity.
Jack visits this world three times, each time advancing to a greater level of awareness. At each successive level the horrors and encounters with the evil ogre are more dangerous but the rewards and treasures which he brings back are increasingly more beautiful. He is really not content until his third 'trip' when returning with the most treasured singing harp he has his ultimate confrontation with the ogre. In slaying the pursuing ogre by chopping down the beanstalk Jack also destroys his means to the other world and thus accomplishes his final re-entry. In the context of the obvious conventional materialistic and capitalistic images of good and evil, he is able to function on a higher plane of reality by virtue of the experiences afforded by the magical plant. We may speculate as to whether Jack ever gets beyond that reality.
Two Letters, 1964
Dr R. D. Laing and Dr A. Esterson
The following two letters were written by English doctors after one of their colleagues was imprisoned for possession of marihuana. The letters were written to the editors of two medical journals who refused to print them because they 'did not wish to seem to take sides'.
1st June, 1964
Last week in Glasgow several people, including a doctor, were sentenced to months of imprisonment after conviction on charges of being in possession of marijuana. Does not this case point urgently to the need for the medical profession to do what we can to dispel the mounting panic in the country, reflected in the Police and judiciary, at the effects of this drug that is not known to have any deleterious effects whatever?
As far as I know, marijuana has no addictive properties; it has no harmful physiological effects; it induces no deterioration in the personality. The simplest short summary of its action is that it induces an enhanced sense of delight and serenity (see Lancet Editorial 9/11/63).
It is my impression that it is a useful therapeutic agent in people who feel mildly unreal and depersonalized, that is, people who would probably be diagnosed as ambulatory schizophrenics, with symptoms of depersonalization and derealization. I have never heard of a marijuana smoker who was an alcoholic.
There seems to me to be a strong case both to point out to doctors that it is possible for them to prescribe this drug with discrimination and, moreover, to think seriously about making it as available to the public as nicotine or alcohol. -It seems to me that the bad effects of marijuana arise practically entirely through the need for young people to go underground if they wish to 'turn on'. One is reminded of the Prohibition period. Anyone
who knows anything of this drug, knows how tragically ironic it is that the innocent delight it occasions should be associated in so many good people's minds with degeneracy and depravity.
I would be far happier if my own teenage children would, without breaking the law, smoke marijuana when they wished, rather than start on the road of so many of their elders to nicotine and ethyl alcohol addiction.
R. D. Laing, MB, CHA, DPM.
2nd June, 1964
A wave of hysteria appears to have gripped the authorities and the popular press on the issue of marijuana. They seem to believe that this substance is dangerous and that members of the public must be protected from it. People who smoke it are being sent to prison as if they were dangerous criminals and last week in Glasgow a doctor was sentenced to six months' imprisonment for being in possession of a quantity.
In these circumstances should not the medical profession through its representatives try to stem the panic by placing the facts on marijuana before the public? Marijuana, far from being dangerous, appears to be completely harmless and under certain circumstances beneficial. It is non-addictive and unlike nicotine and ethyl alcohol it has no known deleterious physiological effects. Psychologically, it is known to enhance perception including self-perception and there is no scientifically respectable evidence to suggest that it causes any harm morally or mentally. On the contrary, there is evidence to suggest it may be useful in psychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia and states of depersonalization and derealization.
True, those who smoke it sometimes fall foul of the law but this is simply because smoking it is illegal. If the law was changed these people would not transgress, and since the law in this matter is based on a total misunderstanding of the effects of marijuana, is it not time that this change was made?
A. Esterson, MB, CHB, DPM.