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rpd_girl
12-29-2007, 03:38 PM
very interesting program on the history channel last night... covered a lot of info concerning opiates used on the battle fields, the invention of the hypodermic needle, and the creation of a addict generation with vets post-CW. I'm sure they'll play it several more times, keep an eye out.

Slickrick214
12-29-2007, 04:14 PM
I saw it and It comes on alot. Its one of those shows the history channel plays over and over again.

rpd_girl
12-30-2007, 02:38 AM
yeah, i think I saw bits and pieces on before... it's part of a series about illegal drugs that they've been running. Although, that's the only one i really found interesting.

NoahBriggs
12-30-2007, 03:45 AM
Unfortunately the post war generation of morphine addicts is a mythology. I do not deny there were addicts, I indicate the numbers which were given on the show seem inflated compared to the actual medical records compiled from the pensions. Access to morphine was not necessarily restricted, but it was expensive to manufacture and/or acquire. Likewisev - hypodermics, which had been around only since 1853 or so, and were not the type of thing marketed towards the general public. (They were pretty scarce during the war.)

http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/History/soldis.htm
The article has a pro-legalization bias to it, but his analysis of the data makes for an interesting read.

Laudanum and paregoric would be the opiates du jour for over-the-counter use, as they were medicines commonly dispensed to soldiers by the surgeons. The surgeons knew what they were doing and adminstered the medicines in moderate amounts, and were on the lookout for possible addictions. Assuming addicts had access to regular supply and/or knew of smoking dens then smoking or chewing the opium paste raw would be the best way to satisfy the craving.

Heroin was developed in 1898 by the Bayer Corporation as a cure for opiate addiction, until someone discovered that heroin was just as easy to which one could become addicted. Heroin is something the Bayer company would prefer to forget inventing. The terms "kicking the habit" and "quitting cold turkey" are slang terms which actually reference heroin withdrawl symptoms, namely, the jitters and goosebumps. This pattern of using another drug to help quit a drug habit still persists with the debate of using methadone to relieve heroin addictions.

www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov

Sure would be nice if the History Channel actually bothered to interview the staff at the DEA Museum. The staff there are bottomless vats of pharmaceutical and controlled substance information. Their regular display has the history of drug abuse laid out from about the 1850s to today, complete with original paraphenelia (sp.) What's more, they have a lot of primary sources. I actually worked with them and with DEA's library to research different drugs which were available in "our" time. It's fascinating stuff, and without the commercial breaks, too.

http://www.deamuseum.org/

there is also a difference between what's available and what was used. Example. The DEA Library has a couple of "history of hemp" books with a strong pro-legalization slant. The authors wrote that because hemp was available in the 19th century that someone discovered you could smoke it and get high. They point to ill-sourced anecdotes of Mr. Lincoln sitting on his porch in Kentucky smoking hemp.

I have never read any primary source which mentioned anything about someone smoking hemp recreationally medicinally. That does not mean it may have happened, but I'd like to see some real documentation first. And one source does not mean it was common. (This is called the "gross generalization" fallacy, where one source which is cited is used to justify it as common everywhere.)

Was marijuana used as a medicine? Henry Beasley mentions it in his book of 2900 prescriptions. However, he mentions it as a tincture, which means the juices and/or sap of the plant were extracted and percolated through alcohol to preserve it so it did not go bad. It was used to treat the severe pain of glaucoma among other things. I have seen some jars labelled "Tr. Cannabis", so we know that in theory it's available at the pharmacy.

http://tinyurl.com/yw58fw Page 159 on medicinal Cannabis, Beasley's 2900 Prescriptions

http://usera.imagecave.com/thesewingacademy/NoahBriggs/Tr.cannabis.jpg
Tincture Cannabis jar, c. 1880s, DEA Museum exhibit "Good Medicine; Bad Behavior: The History of Drug Diversion in America". www.goodmedicinebadbehavior.org

Conclusion for the above. We know that cannabis is available as a prescription drug by the 1850s and has the ability to be prescribed. The next step is to find an actual reference by a doctor or someone else which tells us it was in fact A) truly prescribed, and B) actually adminstered.

In other words, just because it was available does not mean it was actually used.

A last note and then I'll shut up - I feel the History channel prefers to play to sensationalism than to serious historical documentaries these days. Their series on illegal drugs plays up the tillitation that our ancestors tolerated the use of these these drugs and that abuse or misuse was not understood because of course, "the doctors were stupid/uneducated/quacks who did not know any better", which is a mythology the regular posters in this conference are trying very hard to correct.

Marc
12-30-2007, 09:06 AM
Noah,

I must agree with you about the History Channel and its series on drugs.

As most programs on the History Channel are interesting, you must carefully separate the shaft from the wheat so to speak. When I see something new on the History Channel I always check other sources to see if correct.

NoahBriggs
12-30-2007, 10:06 AM
The subject matter bothers me - the history of fringe stuff, such as "Was Hitler's dog psychic when on methamphetamine during the Roman Era? Find out next, on History's Mysteries." Real historians and those who are critical thinkers get little airtime to voice their views, and the "believers" and fringe historians seem to get the major time on the show.

Anyway, back to the drugs. (That came out wrong, but you get the idea.)

hanktrent
12-30-2007, 03:57 PM
I have never read any primary source which mentioned anything about someone smoking hemp recreationally medicinally. That does not mean it may have happened, but I'd like to see some real documentation first. And one source does not mean it was common.

Haven't seen the show, since we don't get cable here, but I also agree that I've not seen much evidence that smoking hemp and/or Indian cannabis was the delivery-method of choice in the U.S.

There was a flurry of interest in recreational use of imported hasheesh (medicinal cannabis) in the late 1850s, but it seems to have been generally swallowed rather than smoked, though it was smoked in foreign countries.

It seems to have been a drug associated with the exotic, the artistic and the intellectual, rather than the farmhands on the hemp plantation down the road. I'd guess that was probably due to the fact that there wasn't a reliable amount of THC in fiber hemp, so the good stuff required importation and a knowledge of what to ask for and how much to take, compared to the easier and more familiar recreational uses of alcohol, tobacco and opium.

Here's an article from April 1858 Harper's http://users.lycaeum.org/~sputnik/Ludlow/Texts/eaters.html

It includes the following:



Although so little is known of hasheesh in this country that the name is scarce familiar to the general reader, it appears that the drug, in one form or other, has been known to Eastern nations from very early times.
* * *
We are, however, in very little danger of becoming a nation of hasheesh-eaters. A predisposing warmth and activity of imagination - a common quality with Eastern races, but a rare one with us - is absolutely necessary to enable a man to become a hasheesh-eater to any purpose. The vast majority of experiments made by Europeans and Americans resulted in naught but a general and painful disturbance of the nervous system - preceded, in a large number of instances, by a condition of insensibility, lasting from twenty-four to thirty-three hours. The hasheesh fantasia seems physically unattainable to the great majority of the Anglo-Saxon race.


I just don't think there's going to be enough evidence of domestic hemp being smoked to consider it a common social phenomenon in the U.S. It was something those furriners did, not us.

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

FloridaConfederate
12-31-2007, 12:13 AM
New York Hearld - September 25, 1861



Hashish .

Three Italian gentlemen in London recently made some experiments with hashish. They took four closes in succession, and did not get rid of the effects of the powerful drug for nearly thirty-six hours. They beat one another without feeling the pain; suffered from convulsions; one believed his brain had turned into marble, and his right eye "for a long time retained the sensation of marble hardness." In his mind ideas succeeded each other with such rapidity that they made a short space of time seem very long. These ideas, although more often scattered, had at times an intimate and long connection; thus every person who had ever assisted him he seemed to see for years and years, performing all those long and varied series of acts which might in reality have been performed during such a period, so that he felt convinced that all those years had really passed. He also had a sort of hallucination, in which he seemed transported to a palace whimsically made of brass; this, he thought, was the vestibule of Mohammed's paradise, and that he was denied entrance to it. On going out he found himself launched into space, and compelled to describe very rapidly a vast orbit, in a gloomy, painfully breathing, oppressive circle. This painful sensation lasted a long time, and was among the most disagreeable of the experiment.

amity
12-31-2007, 11:09 AM
I just don't think there's going to be enough evidence of domestic hemp being smoked to consider it a common social phenomenon in the U.S. It was something those furriners did, not us.


Hank, I don't know about that, I imagine that there was a decent amount of hemp smoking going on among ALL classes. I have not read this source (and there are others out there, too) but it seems there is a good bit of documentation available. If anyone wants to read this please let us all know the verdict:

http://books.google.com/books?id=TCw-aYJpC7AC&pg=PA27&lpg=PA27&dq=history+of+smoking+hemp&source=web&ots=VEOFjp75RA&sig=8gebRkqIDC148ZOJaocbPrxxEKM

Here's another:
http://www.rexresearch.com/hhist/hhist2~1.htm

I hope that works, but at any rate, typing "smoking hemp in U.S. history" or something similar turns up quite a few relelvant looking hits. I have heard stories. Of course this is in areas where hemp was grown, which wasn't everywhere. Other places had different substances, of course.

NoahBriggs
12-31-2007, 12:13 PM
http://books.google.com/books?id=TCw...Ja ocbPrxxEKM

That's the book I read from the DEA library. I'm still out to lunch on the idea. I'll need to double-check his sources, as the book is obviously pushing a pro-legalization agenda.

Here's another:
http://www.rexresearch.com/hhist/hhist2~1.htm


The original sources cited in that article regarding "hemp the early years" point to the references of hasheesh eating, as opposed to smoking, which includes a reference to putting hashish/hemp/marijuana products into foods, and getting the idea of "educating himself with the description of "Extract of Hemp" in The Dispensatory of the United States, he proceeded to experiment with the substance for two years until 1857 before quitting his trials, which he later described in his memoirs, The Hashish Eater. (40, 41) ."

I'd like to see if it was actually administered medicinally and if anyone recorded the results. Actual experimentation seems to have gotten into gear by the 1850s or so, and takes off post-war.

amity
12-31-2007, 12:21 PM
I formed the impression that common usage was neither medicinal nor experimental. They knew what it did, had known for generations, and when it suited would whack off a few dried leaves and smoke them recreationally or as self-treatment. Two things ever sought for in American society have been a good analgesic and a good soporific!

hanktrent
01-01-2008, 03:59 AM
http://books.google.com/books?id=TCw-aYJpC7AC&pg=PA27&lpg=PA27&dq=history+of+smoking+hemp&source=web&ots=VEOFjp75RA&sig=8gebRkqIDC148ZOJaocbPrxxEKM


No footnotes to primary sources, except the summarized Hohner Harmonica letter about Lincoln. If those primary sources could be tracked down to see the actual words, and place the statements in historic context, we might have something.

However, it does bring up the point, on the previous page, that complicates the matter when we talk about smoking hemp.


Unless it is grown specifically for its medicinal or intoxicating properties, ordinary hemp contains relatively little Tetrahydrocannabinol, the intoxicant.

If fiber hemp has little to no THC, what's the incentive for smoking it, other than that it's convenient and cheap? And the cheapness and convenience would only be slightly greater than tobacco, since tobacco could also be grown in typical hemp climates.

What I'm most interested in is the use of hemp/cannabis historically as an intoxicant, though I'd also like to know more about how the workers, mentioned in the quote below, felt about smoking hemp from the fields whether it was an intoxicant or not.


Here's another:
http://www.rexresearch.com/hhist/hhist2~1.htm

Looks like most of the emphasis is on simply proving that people grew hemp. Well, yeah. A few times, it seems to juxtapose hemp growing and tobacco growing in such a way that it might be inferred that hemp was an alternative to tobacco to smoke, when of course it was an alternative use of the land for a cash crop for its use as fiber. They could have made that clearer.

The fact that Washington grew medicinal hemp in his garden, in addition to fiber hemp, indicates yet again that there may have been a perceived difference in THC levels between domestic fiber hemp and imported medicinal hemp.

This seems the most relevant part, unless I've missed something:



Despite the prevalence of hemp cultivation in America, there was no known use of the flowers for intoxication except among field hands. In his address to a scientific meeting in 1943, Dr. J. Reichard said: "Old persons in Kentucky report seeing colored field hands break up and load their pipes with dried flowering tops of the plants and smoke them." (34)



What's not addressed is whether smoking it caused intoxication, since this was fiber hemp, not medicinal hemp. Was it smoked as a tobacco substitute, causing no more intoxication than tobacco, or as an opium/alcohol substitute?

The section Cannabism in America confirms what we've already said, that recreational/intoxicating hemp (hashish) was considered foreign, rose to notice in the 1850s, and was commonly eaten, or smoked overseas.

Hank Trenthanktrent@voyager.net

hanktrent
01-01-2008, 04:15 AM
No footnotes to primary sources, except the summarized Hohner Harmonica letter about Lincoln.

Looks like the Hohner letter isn't a reliable source.

While just googling for it, I found one site that claimed it was written during his presidency, another that it was written in 1855, and those which claimed to be quoting an actual snippet from it made no mention that the pipe was corn cob, as the footnote claimed. Hmm...

Then I ran across this page, which does have a debunking agenda, but discusses further problems when trying to track down the actual letter:

http://www.slatts.fsworld.co.uk/famous/famous-notes.htm (scroll about halfway down). There's a little more, but...



The Lincoln quote at the above URL is almost certainly a fake. Don Wirtshafter, a leading expert on Cannabis, wrote about it:
"Concerning the Lincoln rumor, the source of this one was supposed to be a letter from Abe to the Honner Harmonica Company that was posted on the wall of their museum in Germany. I later saw a letter from the curator of the museum denying that the letter existed."

But perhaps the main reason for disputing it is no one has produced the actual Hohner box lid or a copy thereof.


Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

amity
01-01-2008, 08:26 AM
Mr. Trent, is the "hemp" you are wondering about just the growing-wild-by-the-side-of-the-road kind of cannabis? Then although it does not compare to some of the specialty imports of the 1970s and 80s, it can definitely get one plenty high. That is why the highway departments are so conscientious about seeing to it that it don't grow there.

Plus if I remember right, the tobacco that the original colonists way back in the 17th century found being smoked by Native Americans was positively hallucinatory, it was so strong. It was used an entheogenic, not recreationally. Would the distinction you are making here:

"What's not addressed is whether smoking it caused intoxication, since this was fiber hemp, not medicinal hemp. Was it smoked as a tobacco substitute, causing no more intoxication than tobacco, or as an opium/alcohol substitute?"

have meant the same thing to mid-19th cent. Americans that it does to us, even?

hanktrent
01-01-2008, 09:40 AM
Mr. Trent, is the "hemp" you are wondering about just the growing-wild-by-the-side-of-the-road kind of cannabis? Then although it does not compare to some of the specialty imports of the 1970s and 80s, it can definitely get one plenty high. That is why the highway departments are so conscientious about seeing to it that it don't grow there.

I don't know the origin of modern "wild by the side of the road" cannabis. Both sativa and indica have been grown in this country long enough now, that either or a mix of both could have naturalized. It's my understanding that all cannabis (fiber and marijuana) is illegal to grow in this country, frustrating those who support virtually-no-THC-bred hemp as a potentially profitable modern fiber crop, like these folks: http://www.naihc.org/hemp_information/hemp_defined.html So it all gets destroyed.

But what I'm referring to is the hemp which was grown for fiber as a commercial crop in the 1860s, generally called Cannabis sativa in the period. That's in comparison to the imported variety, generally called Indian hemp (referring to India, not Native Americans), hashish/hasheesh, or Cannabis indica. Sometimes both were categorized as the specis sativa, and indica was the variety name.

I haven't smoked either kind, so can't comment from personal experience. However, period authors do make a distinction between the two types, and for both medical and recreational use, went to the trouble of importing the Indian variety. The US Dispensatory specifically called for the Indica variety, for medical use. "It is from the Indian variety exclusively that the medicine is obtained; the heat of the climate in Hindostan apparently favouring the development of the resinous matter upon which its efficacy depends."

Not to say there was no THC in fiber hemp, but apparently the difference was noticeable enough that it paid to import the foreign kind. Or possibly, the THC level was unreliable and unpredictable in fiber hemp, but predictable in the foreign kind. From the web site above, talking about modern fiber hemp: "Hemp cannot be used as a drug because it produces virtually no THC (less than 1%), where marijuana produces between 5 - 20 % THC."


"What's not addressed is whether smoking it caused intoxication, since this was fiber hemp, not medicinal hemp. Was it smoked as a tobacco substitute, causing no more intoxication than tobacco, or as an opium/alcohol substitute?"

have meant the same thing to mid-19th cent. Americans that it does to us, even?

Well, I dunno. We've got lots of period reports of the psychological effects of India hemp, either ingested or smoked. Now what we need are period reports of the effects of fiber hemp, for comparison. That's what I'm waiting to see, and if smoking it was a routine thing, it shouldn't be that hard to find.

One can say hemp-field slaves were illiterate or weren't publishing memoirs, but surely either their masters tried it too, or had an opinion on the effect it had on their slaves if it was causing noticeable psychological effects. Or poor Kentuckians or Missourians later became well-to-do and published their recollections. Another source might be period accounts of botanical or "Indian" (Native American) remedies, or southern war-time substitutes.

I checked Francis Peyre Porcher, Resources of the Southern Fields and Forests, 1869 edition, just now, and he says,


I have not been able to ascertain whether the juice of the [fiber, Cannabis Sativa] plant, as cultivated here, possesses the intoxicating properties of the East India species, (C. Indica,) though it has been asserted that "water in which it is soaked becomes violently poisonous."

If one of the foremost writers and researchers on uses of southern plants in the 1860s couldn't figure out the answer, it leads me to believe that fiber-hemp smoking (or even injesting) wasn't all that widespread, whether or not the answer was yes or no. But I dunno.

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

amity
01-01-2008, 10:36 AM
I don't know the origin of modern "wild by the side of the road" cannabis.
Neither do I, Hank. I am assuming it was the widely cultivated hemp plant of the 19th century gone feral, but for all I know it could have been teenagers in 1960 throwing seeds out of the car windows! But I doubt it, because even my grandmother, born 1911, was fully familiar with roadside hemp. It was widespread by that time. Whichever, it does give a more than slight buzz.


However, period authors do make a distinction between the two types, and for both medical and recreational use, went to the trouble of importing the Indian variety. The US Dispensatory specifically called for the Indica variety, for medical use.
Yes, one variety naturally has much more of the psychoactive ingredient, but this is also influenced by cultivation. If one wishes for medicinal or psychogenic cannabis, the male plants must be destroyed and females only grown in isolation so that seeds are not produced. This will increase the levels of THC (TCH?) in either variety. Look for references to that type of hemp culture and you may have found what you are looking for? Or just tracing that type of cannabis culture may prove fruitful.


One can say hemp-field slaves were illiterate or weren't publishing memoirs, but surely either their masters tried it too, or had an opinion on the effect it had on their slaves if it was causing noticeable psychological effects. Or poor Kentuckians or Missourians later became well-to-do and published their recollections. Another source might be period accounts of botanical or "Indian" (Native American) remedies, or southern war-time substitutes.
I suspect all of the above would probably be the case, but why would we expect to find abundant written resources? If they had been having wild pot-induced orgies, yes, that would have been comment-worthy. But they weren't likely doing so, and why write about it otherwise? Most plain ordinary and common everyday things were little written about. And yet I don't doubt that it was something that was common enough in hemp-producing areas. Most everything that is useful is exploited at some point or other. These people thought nothing at all of ingesting all manner of psychotropic substances, e.g. opium. Why balk at cannabis? Rural people in particular are of a mind-set to make full use of everything in the environment, i.e. eating all parts of a butchered animal, searching for local dyestuffs and edibles and medicinals in the countryside. And it never hit them at all that hemp could help nausea, headache, myalgias, arthritis, induce sleep, and make the world seem a little brighter for awhile?

I think once we divorce the idea of pot-smoking from 20th century notions of indolent partying, etc., we can see why it was not commented on much.

FloridaConfederate
01-01-2008, 11:49 AM
"The hemp plant was cultivated in the United States for centuries, apparently without general knowledge of its intoxicating properties"

Grinspoon, L.: Marihuana Reconsidered, Cambridge: Harvard University Press (1971). Page 10

The well noted hemp historian and drug policy historian goes on to note that returning soldiers from the Panama Canal zone in the late teens...early 1920's (where personal use remains de-criminalized to this day) fueled its popularity as an intoxicant.

amity
01-01-2008, 11:56 AM
You say that like it settles the matter, Christopher!

I don't take that as definitive myself. Even this author seems blown away by the very prospect that they might somehow not have known ... His quote might have continued: "Incredible!"

Has anyone chased down the citation about Jefferson's diary saying he used hemp for a headache? Or did someone already answer that?

FloridaConfederate
01-01-2008, 12:07 PM
THE ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANNICA, DICTIONARY OF ARTS, SCIENCES, AND GENERAL LITERATURE. (EIGHTH EDITION.)

WITH EXTENSIVE IMPROVEMENTS AND ADDITIONS; AND NUMEROUS ENGRAVINGS. VOLUME XI

LITTLE, BROWN, AND CO., BOSTON, U.S.

MDCCLVI.

[The Proprietors of this Work give notice that they reserve the right of Translating it.]

(skip to page 311, bottom right to find:)

This is almost odourless, and is probably the _momeea_ or _waxen churrus_, said to be collected with great care by the hand, and to be highly prized. The dried plant after it has flowered, and from which the churrus has not been removed, is compressed into bundles of twenty-four plants each, and is sold in the bazaars of India under the name of gunjah. The larger leaves and capsules, without the stalks, are also compressed into irregular sized masses, which receive the names of bang, subjee, or sidhee, in India. The hashish of the Arabians consists of the tops of the small branchlets after inflorescence, carefully gathered and dried. Both this and the two previously mentioned preparations are extensively used for smoking and chewing - the gunjah and bang in India and Persis, and the hashish in Africa. When the bushmen of Southern Africa were brought to England, they passed much of their time in smoking this narcotic in pipes made of the long teeth of alligators, hollowed out for the purpose. Its use as a means of intoxication is said to have given rise to our word assassin, from the fact that the low Saracen soldiery, called _hashashins_, when intoxicated with hashish, were sent into the camps of the crusaders for the purpose of killing whomsoever they met, the drug rendering them quite regardless of the consequences. The physiological effects of the various preparations above mentioned are most remarkable, and are unlike every other narcotic at present known. It produces inebriation and delirium of decidedly hilarious character, inducing violent laughter, jumping and dancing. The writer several times witnessed its effects upon the bushmen. After inhaling the smoke for some time they rose and began a very slow dance, which was gradually quickened until they became perfectly frenzied, and finally fell down in a state of complete insensiblity, from which they were a considerable time in recovering. Dr O'Shaughnessy relates some most remarkable effects of the churrus, particularly its power in producing a state of true catalepsy. The same effects do not appear to take place upon Europeans, but this point has not yet been fairly tried, as the drug evidently suffers some change in its transmission by sea.

amity
01-01-2008, 12:19 PM
Yeah, well, hashish IS quite a bit different, so the author is certainly right about that.

Sorry, I don't have time to do actual research on this, but I did find out briefly that cannabis was first listed in the pharmacopoeia in 1850 (although its use is much older, obviously), indicated for treatment of pain, esp childbirth, seizures, and melancholia among other things. So I guess "they knew" (or at least some of "them" did.) Did they make use of this knowledge?

Or among those who could afford it was there a definite preference for opiates? I assume poppies were cultivated in the U.S., right? Anyone know?

NoahBriggs
01-01-2008, 10:42 PM
I assume poppies were cultivated in the U.S., right? Anyone know?

I don't recall the source off the top of my head, but I believe there was a brief flirtation with domestic opium production. Vermont and Iowa stick out in my mind, but again, that's not gospel and I have to back that up.

Page 66 in Civil War Pharmacy states,
"One of the most acute shortages was in the supply of opium, which normally was imported from Far Eastern and Turkish sources." (My emphasis added)

It goes on to explain that the Confederate government encouraged Southern ladies to cultivate the garden poppy. Confederate medical purveyors were instructed to provide any lady who asked seeds on demand.

I'd have to reread [I]Medicines for the Union Army by George W. smith to see what references there are to supply of opium imported to the US vs. domestic production.

There is another secondary source, Opium: A History by Martin Booth.

NoahBriggs
01-02-2008, 01:25 AM
I knew I had read about domestic opium production somewhere.

Included as a quote in Civil War Pharmacy, page 6. The original quote is from Williams Haynes, American Chemical Industry, 6 Volumes (New York: Van Nostrund, 1954), Background and Beginnings, Vol. 1, pg. 401:


All the familiar war-born influences - shortages, sky-rocketing prices, substitutions, hasty improvisations to increase output - stimulated feverish activity. Opium poppies were grown in the Carolinas, Vermont, and Califirnia . . .

The ellipses are in the original citation, which leads me to conclude there might have been some clarification on where, when, how and how long the poppies were grown in the US before idea was discontinued for whatever reason.

hanktrent
01-02-2008, 03:56 AM
Most plain ordinary and common everyday things were little written about. And yet I don't doubt that it was something that was common enough in hemp-producing areas.

Okay, I think I see where we differ.

It goes back to what I call people's "default assumption." When there's a lack of evidence, we have to make assumptions. If we can't actually document that people sneezed, do we assume they did, or didn't? Well, obviously, we assume they did.

In this case, your default assumption would be, "People generally smoke cannabis where it's available."

Mine is, "People don't generally smoke cannabis unless it's part of the culture."

For example, morning glory seeds. They're known as a recreational drug. Morning glories grow everywhere today, free, no regulation. While people do occasionally use them, they're certainly not a common recreational drug, nor is there much effort put into breeding them or processing them for a better high, because they're just not part of our current culture.

The problem is, we're not finding solid primary sources showing rural people typically smoked hemp. So each of us is falling back on our default assumptions, which differ.


Sorry, I don't have time to do actual research on this, but I did find out briefly that cannabis was first listed in the pharmacopoeia in 1850 (although its use is much older, obviously),

Sigh. That's what I've been talking about. I've been using the 1851 U.S. Dispensatory, among other sources--the actual book, sitting here by my computer, calfskin bound. What the pharmacopoeia included is cannabis indica, imported from India, not homegrown fiber hemp.

The heading is "Extractum Cannabis. U.S. Secondary [meaning it's a secondary drug in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia]. Extract of Hemp. An alcoholic extract of the dried tops of Cannabis sativa, variety Indica. U.S. [meaning it's in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia]... It is from the the Indian variety exclusively that the medicine is obtained..."

My whole point is that it's easy to document the knowledge and recreational use of cannabis indica, and place it in social context in the period--a very minor medicine, a minor recreational drug with exotic implications that gained some notice in the late 1850s, more likely eaten here, smoked overseas.

What I can't find out about is the use of cannabis sativa, fiber hemp. I'll take your word that fiber hemp is an intoxicant; what's strange is the modern pro-fiber commercial-crop advocates claim that it basically isn't. I don't doubt that some people smoked it as a tobacco substitute--look at all the coffee substitutes people used! But how commonly? Were they seeking a recreational high like opium? Did the average country person in Kentucky or Missouri (the two main hemp-growing states) smoke hemp instead of or in addition to tobacco? What about the average country person nationwide?

While one can say that smoking fiber hemp must have been so common no one wrote it down, I'll ask, if it was uncommon, what evidence would be enough to support that? It's rare to find primary sources saying, "I've not heard of anybody who..." because people rarely write about what doesn't occur to them. Yet the Francis Peyre Porcher quote comes pretty close to that.


Or among those who could afford it was there a definite preference for opiates? I assume poppies were cultivated in the U.S., right? Anyone know?

Poppies weren't generally cultivated for opium in the U.S. They were planted as ornamentals, but if you wanted opium, typically you went down to the drugstore and bought it. That's what I'm finding in period accounts. As Noah mentioned, southerners were encouraged to manufacture opium during the war, but even then I can't find that it was actually done to any significant extent.

Fearing Burr, 1865, explained, "The expense of labor forms the principal objection to the cultivation of the Poppy in the United States for its opium."

But again, we could have clashing default assumptions. It's well known that people grew poppies as ornamentals, and that they used opium medicinally and recreationally. The two opposite assumptions could be, typically poor people did (or did not) manufacture their own opium from poppies, unless there's evidence to the contrary.

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

hanktrent
01-02-2008, 04:27 AM
Couple quick notes:

Just occurred to me to check Gunn's 1859 New Domestic Physician, since he was a Kentucky doctor (from a hemp-growing state) who included a 150-page section on "all the most valuable medicinal plants which, from experience and investigation, have resulted in many cures, where mineral medicines have entirely failed... Practical experience has fully established in my mind the great benefits to be derived from Roots, Barks, Herbs, etc.

He does not include hemp/cannabis. :confused:

Lots of other extremely common things are included: catnip, cayenne pepper, pennyroyal, nutmeg, etc., and also imported medicines like gamboge and jalap.

Opium is mentioned as the juice of the poppy, though it's unclear whether he expects it to be made domestically. "The Opium of commerce is obtained mostly from Turkey and neighboring countries."

It's hard-copy, so I can't do a search to see if hemp/cannabis is mentioned anywhere in the text, but it's not alphabetized

Here's Francis Peyre Porcher's 1869 edition on opium poppies during the war:

http://books.google.com/books?id=pjfTuqmKfk4C&pg=PA25

Basically, he says it's been successful experimentally. "It is not generally known that the gum which hardens after incising the capsules is then ready for use, and may be prescriped as gum opium, or laudanum and paregoric may be made from it with alcohol and whiskey."

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

2RIV
01-02-2008, 09:48 AM
Just a friendly thought here. There is no such thing as accurate statistics on addiction. Let me say it again, THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS ACCURATE STATISTICS ON ADDICTION. I would find people very hard pressed today, let alone 140+ years ago to find enough people open for discussion of there addiction problems. Who knows for sure how many addicts were around then, we don't even have a clue how many are around now. I am a bit of a pessimist and say take what ever number a study gives you about addiction and multiply that by 100.

FloridaConfederate
01-02-2008, 10:42 AM
I assume poppies were cultivated in the U.S., right? Anyone know?

The answer is out there.....


"But opium poppies were also legally grown within the United States. One early reference--- perhaps the earliest--- was in a letter from a Philadelphia physician, Dr. Thomas Bond, who wrote to a Pennsylvania farmer on August 24, 1781: "The opium you sent is pure and of good quality. I hope you will take care of the seed." Proceedings, American Pharmaceutical Association, 13 (1865)

During the War of 1812, opium was scarce, but "some parties produced it in New Hampshire and sold the product at from $10 to $12 per pound." Perry M. Lichtenstein, "Thirteen Years' Observation on Drug Addiction at the Tombs Prison"

“Opium was also produced in the Confederate states (Virginia, Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia) during the Civil War” D. M. R. Culbrith, Materia Medica and Pharmacology, 3rd ed. (1903),

"There are so many channels through which the drug may be brought into the State, that I suppose it would be almost impossible to determine how much foreign opium is used here; but it may easily be shown that the home production increases every year. Opium has been recently made from white poppies, cultivated for the purpose, in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Connecticut, the annual production being estimated by hundreds of pounds, and this has generally been absorbed in the communities where it is made. It has also been brought here from Florida and Louisiana, while comparatively large quantities are regularly sent east from California and Arizona, where its cultivation is becoming an important branch of industry, ten acres of poppies being said to yield, in Arizona, twelve hundred pounds of opium." Annual Report of the State Board of Health, Massachusetts (1871)

amity
01-02-2008, 01:27 PM
Hank - I think I see where we are becoming confused. Your concept is apparently that cannabis indica is the medical kind, while hemp is cannabis sativa, and does not "intoxicate". However, the species known as "marijuana" is cannabis sativa, not indica. Hashish I am pretty sure is indica, not sativa. So you can see that both varieties have the potential to "intoxicate." If the active ingredient is THC, as I assume it was (?) then the folks who ingest it are getting .... well ... at least a profound sense of wellbeing out of the deal, consistent with the indications in the 1850 pharmacopoeia, right? Melancholia?

And how 21st century of us to discuss something like cannabis using concepts like "high" "recreational use" etc. The lore of pot culture is that pot by itself would not make one high. "High" was a learned behavior. The first time or two that people smoked, they did not get "high." So I think you are being very perceptive to note that people in the mid-19th cent might not have experienced what we would view as "recreational drug use" as such, but rather experienced the mind-altering aspects as treatment for melancholia.

How do we know that cannabis was used medicinally? Because doctors kept records for us. What if people were self-medicating, without physician involvement? I am not doubting that some or many were. My assumption is not, as you say ""People generally smoke cannabis where it's available." It is rather, as I said previously, that "People tended to be capable exploiters of local resources."

Thanks for the interesting info on opium, everyone.

Edit: I just checked quickly and I think now that indica is actually a subspecies of sativa.

FloridaConfederate
01-02-2008, 02:29 PM
Sativa will quite certainly get you quite high, more cerebral and giggly than the sedating or body stoning Indicas, or so I have read :cool:

However, my suspicion and it is purely that... it stems more from the effects of smoking the dried leaves of hemp cultivated for its fibrous stem system and not the groomed female resinous flowering tops & buds or gunjah as described in my earlier 1857 encyclopedia reference and post....than the strain.

hanktrent
01-02-2008, 03:00 PM
Hank - I think I see where we are becoming confused. Your concept is apparently that cannabis indica is the medical kind, while hemp is cannabis sativa, and does not "intoxicate".

Correct. Though what I'm doing is summarizing the concept I've found repeatedly in 19th century primary sources. They wrote that cannabis for medicinal/narcotic use was different than the cannabis growing here in the fields, and to get the narcotic effect, you needed to import it from India. The reason they usually gave was that the intoxicating properties were due to being grown in the peculiar foreign climate (though I'd guess it had more to do with breeding).

I've provided a few period citations to that effect in this thread, and can provide more. It's not my own idea; it's a summary of what they were saying--right or wrong.


However, the species known as "marijuana" is cannabis sativa, not indica

The definitions really are confusing. In the period, there were conflicting botanical classifications, because the two varieties interbred, yet were perceived to have distinct properties. So some people classed them both as sativa species, with indica being a separate variety, while others classed them as two species: indica and sativa.

However, I've consistently found a distinction being made in the period between two things (and this even shows up in that cite you gave about George Washington, growing cannabis for fiber in the fields and cannabis indica in the garden):

1) Fiber hemp, hemp, cannabis sativa, - all referring to hemp grown commercially for fiber in the U.S., primarily Kentucky and Missouri. Russia was the main foreign grower.

2) Hashish, hemp, cannabis sativa var indica, cannabis indica - all referring to medicinal cannabis imported from India, or grown here experimentally from imported seed.


So you can see that both varieties have the potential to "intoxicate." If the active ingredient is THC, as I assume it was (?) then the folks who ingest it are getting .... well ... at least a profound sense of wellbeing out of the deal, consistent with the indications in the 1850 pharmacopoeia, right? Melancholia?

I'm not doubting your word that fiber hemp can intoxicate (for lack of a better word). However, there are a lot of folks today saying that fiber hemp should be legalized as a cash crop, and staking a lot of their argument on the fact that it doesn't intoxicate and therefore won't provide easy access to "marijuana." What they say matches what the writers in the 19th century were saying--that fiber hemp doesn't do what cannabis from India did, only they have the chemical analysis to back it up.

The modern buzz-word is "industrial hemp," since it's used for paper-making, oil, etc., not just fiber. For example, the link I posted earlier about THC levels, plus http://www.votehemp.com/myths_facts.html
http://www.industrialhemp.net/
and, well, you can find scads more on google with "industrial hemp" and "THC" as search terms. The first site mentions "feral hemp" and claims it "is a remnant of the Industrial Hemp once grown on more than 400,000 acres by US farmers. It contains extremely low levels of THC, as low as .05 percent." The second site goes into greater detail on THC and CBD levels of industrial hemp and marijuana.

I dunno. Haven't smoked 'em, haven't tested 'em in a lab, so all I can do is report what others say. The distinction seems consistent across the centuries.


And how 21st century of us to discuss something like cannabis using concepts like "high" "recreational use" etc. The lore of pot culture is that pot by itself would not make one high. "High" was a learned behavior. The first time or two that people smoked, they did not get "high." So I think you are being very perceptive to note that people in the mid-19th cent might not have experienced what we would view as "recreational drug use" as such, but rather experienced the mind-altering aspects as treatment for melancholia.

I'm wondering if you may have hit on the key to the whole thing, right there. To sorta repeat and emphasize and summarize the idea:

The period medicinal hemp (synonym for indica, hasheesh, etc. etc. :) ) had so much THC, and was perhaps taken in overdose by inexperienced users, that there was no mistaking the effect, even on the first use. Again, I'm basing that on their actual reports of first-time use, not supposition. That's where we get all the period experiences in the link I posted in Post #7 (follow all the hyperlinks in the article for tons of period stories), about hallucinations, intoxication, etc.

Without a culture though, that "taught" people how to experience THC in lower doses, smoking (or eating) fiber hemp, either in smaller quantities and/or with lower THC content to begin with, didn't produce much more effect than tobacco, subjectively speaking. But that is speculation, until we can find some period mention of it. And there may have been pockets of society where it was considered more of an intoxicant (ignoring any THC difference for the moment), and therefore experienced as such--and again, that's only speculation until more information comes forth.


How do we know that cannabis was used medicinally? Because doctors kept records for us. What if people were self-medicating, without physician involvement?

I agree, but we do know many other things people were self-medicating with. Individuals mentioned it in diaries and letters, travelers commented even if the users were illiterate (those strange Georgians eat clay!), people like Francis Peyre Porcher asked around for alternate uses of local plants, and so forth. Even embarrasing stuff like self-medicating with cantharides for sexual arousal.

Fiber hemp wasn't some rare plant growing up in the hills that only a few country people had access to or knew about--it was widespread. Thus, it's hard for me to believe that people were smoking it as a common, well-known thing in the 1860s, and no evidence has come down to us. So far, there's that mention you cited of African American workers smoking it in the fields. I'd love to see more.

Because of course this has a practical application to reenacting. As a white Kentucky laborer in the 1860s, would I smoke fiber hemp... only when I couldn't afford tobacco? Only when I was too lazy to walk from the hemp field to the house to get my tobacco? When I was feeling bad? To cure nausea? To celebrate on Saturday night? Never because only slaves do that? Never because I've not been that desperate for some awful tobacco substitute?

I'd love to know more.

By the way, this has been a great conversation on a topic that doesn't get hashed out (bad pun) every day! Thanks for your posts.

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

amity
01-02-2008, 03:39 PM
Hank, I think that is a little clearer now. It really makes no difference WHICH variety people were smoking (or otherwise ingesting), they could "get high" more or less either way. And one of the medical indications for cannabis listed in the pharmacopoeia is as a cure for melancholia.

treatment for melancholia = "getting high"

These are two different centuries' terms for the same objective reality, are they not?

Now, I am sure you have read many medical tomes on the indications and usage of cannabis as a drug. Have you read anyone's personal account of using it? I mean as a patient? If not, then why would it be so remarkable not to have read anyone's personal account of smoking hemp, whether field hemp or specially grown hemp, for the same purpose? Do you see what I mean?

Let me try to give another example. I read a 19th c. cookbook that lists marjoram as a spice for poultry, but I have never actually read an account in, say, a diary or a letter of someone popping a bit of marjoram into a chicken stew. Nevertheless, I can conclude from the cookbook that people were using marjoram to spice chicken, right? But if I then read that there is an area of the country where a similar variety of marjoram grows wild, or is cultivated for some other purpose, am I to conclude that the local folks were too dense to realize that they did not have to buy their marjoram at the grocers, but could instead use what they were finding by the roadside? Or grow it in their own garden from the seeds of the store bought variety, for that matter ... Or at least TRY THE STUFF growing by the side of the road and see if it is worth messing with, or if they still need to buy the grocer's marjoram to get the effect they are looking for? The more reasonable assumption is that they would use it, at least on occasion.

I think the reason we don't make the same assumption in this case is because we expect that their experience and associations of cannabis would be the same as ours. When they don't write something like "Man, I got so wasted on weed last week" we conclude there was no "recreational drug usage" and let it go at that. My assumption would be opposite. The 19th c. was peopled by some pretty big (and very casual) recreational drug users, and I don't think they missed this very obvious opportunity altogether.

BTW, cannabis is not a tobacco substitute. Totally different chemoreceptors involved.

I nominate this topic for strangest discussion ever on this discussion board!

hanktrent
01-02-2008, 06:51 PM
Hank, I think that is a little clearer now. It really makes no difference WHICH variety people were smoking (or otherwise ingesting), they could "get high" more or less either way.

Can you provide some evidence that it makes no difference, beyond an individual subjective report?

Here's the problem: There are dozens (probably hundreds) of web sites containing chemical analyses and discussion of industrial hemp, which all say that one can't "get high," or it would be very difficult to, on fiber hemp.

And authors in the period were saying the same thing (that fiber hemp didn't work like Indica).

That's just too much evidence for me to ignore, even in the face of one person's statement to the contrary.

If I should ignore it all, why are so many people so wrong? I'm not saying you're reporting the experience wrong, but I can think of more reasons why an individual experience might not match broader evidence, than vice versa.

Of course, I realize that from your point of view, you're convinced, so there would be no need to bother with any other evidence, so we can just agree to disagree.


The 19th c. was peopled by some pretty big (and very casual) recreational drug users, and I don't think they missed this very obvious opportunity altogether.

Again, I'd first like to see more evidence that it was an opportunity.


BTW, cannabis is not a tobacco substitute. Totally different chemoreceptors involved.

That's like saying chicory isn't a coffee substitute because it doesn't contain caffeine. I mean it might be considered a substitute in the sense that "the inner bark of the willow is by no means a despisable substitute for tobacco [in the wilderness], when scraped from a twig and dried. The leaves of the Uva ursa are also dried and smoked in great quantities by the savages west of the Rocky Mountains, who call it kini-kin-ick. I cannot say that I like either the one or the other, but then if we cannot get what we like we must have what we can." (At Home In the Wilderness, 1867)


I nominate this topic for strangest discussion ever on this discussion board!

Seconded!

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

hanktrent
01-03-2008, 12:48 AM
Now, I am sure you have read many medical tomes on the indications and usage of cannabis as a drug. Have you read anyone's personal account of using it? I mean as a patient? If not, then why would it be so remarkable not to have read anyone's personal account of smoking hemp, whether field hemp or specially grown hemp, for the same purpose? Do you see what I mean?

Just realized I forgot to address that part.

Actually, I think that points up how we differ in the whole approach to the research on this.

I can conclude that cannabis indica was available as a medicine because it was in the pharmacopoeia (though with a minor mention, compared to the common drugs of the period), and I can conclude it was occasionally used because there are a few physicians reports of prescribing it.

But since it doesn't show up in patients' reports of visits from the doctor, that's why I conclude it was a minor medicine, not often prescribed.

If it was not often prescribed by doctors, therefore I'm concluding it wasn't often used without the care of a doctor either, until evidence comes forth otherwise. And that's only indica. Domestic hemp was not in the pharmacopoeia at all and I've seen no evidence that doctors prescribed it.

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

amity
01-03-2008, 11:33 AM
Nope, no evidence at all. If the average person was unaware of cannabis's greater use earlier (revolutionary war times) then I doubt they would have often sampled hemp at all, much less tried to culture it for medical purposes. I wasn't aware its use had died out since that time.

Hank, I think the chicory/ coffee substitution thing was based on similarity of taste.

FloridaConfederate
01-04-2008, 11:53 AM
Philadelphia Bulletin - Nov 1861

..........General Scott fortunately is a Virginian.--Should armed force become necessary, we should not send a man from the North against South Carolina. We should gather the chivalry of Kentucky, the patriotic citizens of Tennessee, Virginia and North Carolina, who are not maddened by this hashish of sedition, that, if possible, it might be suppressed without bloodshed. The responsibilities of the new President will be very great, and we are fortunate in possessing at the head of the Government, in such times, so brave and-clear-headed a man as Abraham Lincoln."

At least one northern journalist descriptively dentifies hashish as a maddening agent in 1861...I also have a wonderful firper narrative of visit to a NYC hashish house in 1871 (I wont post it because of the date)...however it leads to me to suppose they might have been around in 61-65 as well ?

hanktrent
01-04-2008, 01:24 PM
At least one northern journalist descriptively dentifies hashish as a maddening agent in 1861...I also have a wonderful firper narrative of visit to a NYC hashish house in 1871 (I wont post it because of the date)...however it leads to me to suppose they might have been around in 61-65 as well ?

I think the journalist is using it in the legendary sense of hashish being given to the original "assassins" (hence the origin of the word) to stir them to a frenzy for murder. The basic story shows up fairly often in the period, so I think most readers would recognize the metaphor. For example, from The Living Age, 1858:


But the chief historical interest of the drug is in connection with the strange and formidable sect of the Ishmaelites, who, in the time of the Crusades, spread throughout and beyond the Mussulman world a terror out of all proportion to their numbers. By means of this narcotic [hashish], the chief of the sect, the "Old Man of the Mountain," obtained over his followers an influence more absolute than has ever, before or since, been possessed by one man over others.

For first person accounts of actual hashish use by Americans, both here and overseas, check out the link I posted in post #7 on this thread http://users.lycaeum.org/~sputnik/Ludlow/Texts/eaters.html If you follow all the hyperlinks, there's a bunch of stuff. Though usage was small compared to opium, there's plenty of literature on it if you're particularly searching for it. I've not run across specific mention of hashish houses in New York pre-1865, unless there's one buried in all those links, but it's certainly possible.

As far as New York, The Women of New York by George Ellington, 1869, has the following:


Women of all classes of society in New York use stimulants and narcotics to a greater or less extent, but the demi-monde in particular, above and beyond all otehrs, are addicted to these unwholesome and life-destroying habits...Hasheesh was the favorite drug with these women some years ago [possibly during that late-1850s fad that seems to keep showing up?], but is no longer thought much of. Arsenic was the next "sensation" in this line, and has held its own until the present time, principally for the reason that it sicklies the brow o'er with the "pale cast of thought" and makes the person look pale and interesting. Ladanum is a favorite drug with the demi-monde, and some of them carry its use to a fearful extent. [He then discusses use of opium and morphine for quite a while.]

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

amity
01-04-2008, 02:19 PM
I don't think conflating hashish with cannabis is going to prove very fruitful. Hashish is really quite different for several reasons:

First, as far as I know hashish is only the resin, not the flower or leaves. It is distilled from a large volume of plant material so that it is extremely concentrated. It is a sticky, crumbly to hard pellet-like lump that must be softened with heat and mixed with something else to be smoked.

Secondly, hashish is usually adulterated with other substances, opium especially. You might want to check if that was true during the period, too (but that might prove difficult as most of these period sources make about as much sense on the subject as Reefer Madness.) The admixture with opium gives it other effects than those of cannabis, inducing dream-like visions, rather than the sociable euphoria of cannabis.

Thirdly, neither cannabis nor opium produces anything close to the effects that are being attributed to hashish, especially those of extreme violence. This old story goes back to Marco Polo and is not considered reliable.
See this article on the hashashins:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hashshashin

hanktrent
01-04-2008, 03:44 PM
I don't think conflating hashish with cannabis is going to prove very fruitful. Hashish is really quite different for several reasons:

So far, "hashish" is the most commonly documented synonym for cannabis, when Americans used it for its psychoactive effects in America in the period, so I think it is useful to consider the two together, just as they did.

We might as well explore first what is documented, as well as what we can speculate about.

Since eating preparations of the resin ("hashish") was the most common documented usage here, it appears that the meaning of "hashish" was sometimes expanded to refer to any preparation of cannabis indica, including tops and leaves.

But actual use of other preparations of indica by Americans is rarer to document (mostly traveling overseas), and use of sativa (not indica) here in America in any form is what I'm withholding judgment on until more primary sources show up.

Here's a typical basic discussion from the period:

But what, the reader asks, is Hasheesh, and how does it work? Let us begin at the beginning. The hemp plant flourishes with equal vigour, both in Northern and Southern latitudes. But in the torrid zone it secretes a glutinous substance, which gives to it a somewhat distinctive character, and on this account Botanists have called it the Cannabis Indica, (or Indian hemp.) in contradistinction to the Cannabis Sativa, which, growing free of fibre, becomes in virtue of this quality the great resource for mats and cordage. The gluten which adheres to the Cannabis Indica is Hasheesh. (From Russell's Magazine, 1858, in a review of Ludlow's Hasheesh Eater)

Here's an example of a broader usage of "hasheesh" in the period, where the author begins with the narrower definition but then seems to use "hasheesh" to refer to any form including the dried tops also, or at least doesn't use any other nouns as he expands his discussion:

The resin of the cannabis Indica is hasheesh... The forms in which it is employed are various. Sometimes it appears in the state in which it exudes from the mature stalk as a crude resin; sometimes it is manufactured into a conserve with clarified butter, honey, and spices; sometimes a decoction is made of the flower tops in water or arrack. Under either of these forms the method of administration is by swallowing. Again, the dried plant is smoked in pipers or chewed, as tobacco among ourselves.

Used in whatever preparation, hasheesh is characterized by the most remarkable phenomena, both physical and spiritual...

Bayard Taylor's report of using it in Egypt was published a few places; Linda found it in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, October 6, 1852. He describes hasheesh as being made from the leaves, though it's not clear if it used resin also:


While in Egypt I had frequently heard mention of the curious effects of hasheesh, a preparation made from the cannabis indica. It is used by the Turks to throw them into an ecstasy, similar to that caused by opium, but is milder and less dangerous in its effects. On reaching Siout, I took occasion to buy some of it for the purpose of testing it. It was a sort of paste, made of the leaves of the plant, mixed with sugar and spices. The taste is aromatic, and slightly pungent, but by no means disagreeable. -- About sunset I took what Achmet considered to be a large dose, and waited half an hour without feeling the slightest effect...


This old story goes back to Marco Polo and is not considered reliable.

Didn't mean that the historic story was a true account of what happened centuries before, nor that it proved cannabis or opium caused violence, only that it was commonly known and therefore an understandable metaphor in the 1860s.

Here's an example of someone in the period using "hashish" to refer to something smoked, and also showing familiarity with the assassin story (this is someone visiting a Middle East market):


in answer to my inquiry, whether he had any hasheesh, or prepared hemp, which is stronger than the strongest tobacco--he produced me a sample, but I did not really want this vegetable, and I only asked for it from my curiosity to see an etymological root, for it is said that hemp smoked to frensy, when it leads to the commission of outrages, originated the name of the assassins...(A Diary of a Journey to the East, William Beaumont, 1856)

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

FloridaConfederate
01-05-2008, 12:17 AM
Medical Properties Extract of hemp is a powerful narcotic, causing exhilaration, intoxication, delirious hallucinations, and, in its subsequent action, drowsiness and stupor, with little effect upon the circulation. It is asserted also to act as a decided aphrodisiac, to increase the appetite, and occasionally to induce the cataleptic state. In morbid states of the system, it has been found to produce sleep, to allay spasm, to compose nervous inequietude, and to relieve pain. In these respects it resembles opium in its operation; but it differs from that narcotic in not diminishing the appetite, checking the secretions, or constipating the bowels. It is much less certain in its effects; but may sometimes be preferably employed, when opium is contraindicated by its nauseating or constipating effects, or its disposition to produce headache, and to check the bronchial secretion. The complaints to which it has been specially recommended are neuralgia, gout, tetanus, hydrophobia, epidemic cholera, convulsions, chorea, hysteria, mental depression, insanity, and uterine hemorrhage. Dr Alexander Christison, of Edinburgh, has found it to have the property of hastening and increasing the contractions of the uterus in delivery, and has employed it with advantage for this purpose. It acts very quickly, and without anesthetic effect. It appears, however, to exert this influence only in a certain proportion of cases. 1854 United States Dispensory


"the various periodicals of this country have abounded, during the last few years, with accounts of hashisch; every experimenter giving the history of the effect it has had upon himself." 1857 Dr. John Bell -Boston Medical and Surgical Journal


The true aphrodisiac, as I compound it, acts upon the brain and nervous system, not as a stimulant, but as a tonic and nutritive agent, thus sustaining its power and the power of the sexual organs also, which is entirely dependent upon the nervous power. For convenience, I have it so put up, in a dry form, air and water tight, that it can be kept uninjured, for any length of time, in any climate, and under any circumstance. It can also be taken without the inconvenience of measuring, using liquids, or any other troublesome requirement, thus ensuring secrecy and facility of use, let a man be situated however he may. A gentleman can keep it in his vest pocket without any fear of detection from smell, or appearance. It will go anywhere by post, with perfect safety, and in such a form that no one through whose hands it passes would ever suspect its nature, or that it is anything peculiar!Marriage Guide - Federick Hollick (1850)


"..... there had been a widening interest in cannabis during the previous three to four years." "On the Use of Cannabis Indica in the Treatment of Insanity." American Journal of Insanity 16 (1860) - Dr. John P Gray


Young America is beginning to use the "bang" so popular among the Hindoos, though in a rather different manner, for young Johnathon must in some sort be an original. It is not a "drink", but a mixture of bruised hemp tops and the powder of the betel, rolled up like a quid of tobacco. It turns the lips and gums of a deep red, and if indulged in largely, produces violent intoxication. Lager beer and schnaps will give way for "bang" and red lips, instead of red noses [Cooke predicted, will] become the style. M. C. Cooke, - The Seven Sisters of Sleep (London, 1860),

CJ Rideout

FloridaConfederate
01-05-2008, 12:33 AM
Medical and Surgical Reporter May 17, 1862

http://antiquecannabisbook.com/images/EdwardParrishA.gif

Cj Rideout

FloridaConfederate
01-05-2008, 12:35 AM
Vanity Fair Magazine Sep 20, 1862


http://antiquecannabisbook.com/images/HasheeshCandy.gif

amity
01-05-2008, 02:13 AM
Wow, it sounds fairly expensive! Does anyone have a record of indica being grown in this country during 1850s - 60s, either to lower the price or raise the supply?

Notice these various sources cannot seem to make up their collective mind whether it is a narcotic or a stimulant.

hanktrent
01-05-2008, 02:37 AM
Yep, that's pretty much what I've been seeing (referring to Christopher Rideout's examples). If an American was familiar with the psychoactive properties of cannabis, he or she would most likely swallow it, and consider it an exotic imported drug that came to notice in the 1850s.

There's loads of documentation for that. Anything else, at this point, is speculation, until the same kind of documentation comes forth.

I thought this was interesting:



It is not a "drink", but a mixture of bruised hemp tops and the powder of the betel, rolled up like a quid of tobacco. It turns the lips and gums of a deep red, and if indulged in largely, produces violent intoxication. Lager beer and schnaps will give way for "bang" and red lips, instead of red noses [Cooke predicted, will] become the style. M. C. Cooke, - The Seven Sisters of Sleep (London, 1860),


Sounds like they're saying it was chewed, more like the betel traditionally was? Now that's something different in America! There were plenty of reports in the U.S. of how betel was chewed in the exotic East, but I've not run across mention of its actual use here, recreationally.

The 1851 US Dispensatory, in a listing of Drugs and Medicines not Officinal, says

immense quantities of the [Areca or Betel] nut are consumed in the East, mixed with the leaves of the Piper Betel, and with lime, forming the masticatory so well known by the name of Betel. The red colour which this mixture imparts to the saliva and the excrements is owing to the Areca nut, which is also powerfully astringent, and, by its internal use, tends to counteract the relaxation of bowels to which the heat of the climate so strongly predisposes. The nut is used in this country almost exclusively in the preparation of tooth-powder, for which purpose it is first reduced by heat to the state of charcoal.

I wonder if there's any corroborating evidence from America, that "Young America" really was using betel to any extent, or if this was an isolated report by Cooke?

Trying to follow up on that, I ran across the same Cooke quote in Reefer Madness: The History of Marijuana by Larry Sloman in google books, and ironically, they team up the quote with Ludlow as if that's about all the evidence of recreational cannabis use in the 1850s. Missed just a bit there!

For better or worse, the book also says that "Among the first Americans to smoke the flowering tops of the cannabis plant were the Black Cavalry units stationed along the Mexican border at the turn of the century," picking up its use from the popularity of smoking it in cigarettes in Mexico in 1898. He adds though that "some reports claim that as early as colonial times slaves smoked the hemp plant, having been familiar with it in Africa." No citation, though.

Also, the author mentions wild cannabis:

During the Second World War, the U.S. government encouraged farmers throughout the Corn Belt to plant 300,000 acres of marijuana, in the hopes of replacnig fiber supplies from Asia that had been cut off by the Japanese. The program, whose slogan was "Hemp for Victory," turned out to be a financial disaster and left marijuana growing wild throughout the midwest. Known as ditchweed, this marijuana now blankets tens of thousands of acres. For years it had a negligible delta-9-THC content and was used mainly as filler by drug dealers, but there is evidence that the dithcweed may be cross-pollinating with the potent marijuana now cultivated outdoors.

A claim about the rising popularity after 1900 of smoking cannabis certainly fits with the lack of documentation for smoking either indica or sativa (at least by white literate people) in the U.S. in the 1860s.

If we've already found more documentation for cannabis use in the 1850s than he has, it sounds like we're covering the ground pretty thoroughly. But still, smoking of hemp (fiber or indica?) by slaves sounds like the last best hope. The Mexican usage also leaves open the possibility of Mexican War soldiers smoking it in Mexico, if there's any evidence it was used in Mexico 60 years earlier.

By the way, on the topic of smoking field/fiber hemp in America in the 1860s/antebellum era, I searched yesterday for several forms of smoke near hemp in Documenting the American South, the 1930s WPA slave interview collection, the Kentuckiana Digital Library, the Wright American Fiction database 1851-1875, and only came up with examples obviously referring to Indica in the East.

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

hanktrent
01-05-2008, 03:01 AM
Wow, it sounds fairly expensive! Does anyone have a record of indica being grown in this country during 1850s - 60s, either to lower the price or raise the supply?

Haven't run across evidence of that yet. The users in the late 1850s fad seem to be educated well-to-do folks, and mostly city-dwellers as well, so I'm wondering if there just wasn't enough quibble over the price, or natural inclination to try a home-made version, and thus not enough demand to tempt a price war. They were the same demographic who liked experimenting with new and not necessarily cheap drugs, such as nitrous oxide earlier.

Those who were poor and/or rural, who wanted a similar recreational experience, seemed to turn to alcohol or a form of opium as the social norm, so there didn't seem to be much market there to introduce other substances.

I've not seen it in the few period seed catalogs I've looked at, but I figure that would be the last place (chronologically) it would show up. I wouldn't be surprised if the Patent Office tried to introduce it at one time or another--they were really active in the 1850s trying to introduce anything from overseas that might be profitable here. But I can't recall reading of it among the Patent Office reports, and with the low emphasis on it as a medicine, it may just not have attracted their attention. Porcher also doesn't mention growing it domestically as a southern self-reliance thing (worries more about hemp for rope), so like the Patent Office he perhaps didn't perceive that the country felt a lack of it.

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

amity
01-05-2008, 03:30 AM
Anywhere unprocessed leaves and tops are used, there are going to be some seeds. Even sinsemilla has a few seeds in it (although sterile). I wouldn't expect seeds with processed hashish on the other hand.

Wouldn't it seem likely that doctors at least were growing their own indica?

hanktrent
01-05-2008, 03:58 AM
Anywhere unprocessed leaves and tops are used, there are going to be some seeds. Even sinsemilla has a few seeds in it (although sterile). I wouldn't expect seeds with processed hashish on the other hand.

Wouldn't it seem likely that doctors at least were growing their own indica?

If you have documentation to that effect, it would end the speculation.

But if we're only speculating, I'd say no, it wouldn't seem likely.

The strongest evidence is the fact that writers in the period were blaming the difference between sativa and indica on the climate. So people believed that even if foreign seeds were grown in the American climate, the result wouldn't be medically useful. (A few primary sources to that effect have been posted in this thread, but I can post more if you want.)

True or not, if that's what "everyone" is saying, why would the average doctor bother trying? Or if doctors were successfully growing indica here, why were they claiming it couldn't be done?

Also, we have to consider how really minor a medicine it was. Based on the low number of examples of it being prescribed and described in medical journals, compared to common medicines, it just wasn't a medicine that the average doctor felt a need of.

Additionally, the idea of the old-time 1860s doctor growing his own herbs in his garden is a favorite concept when the local garden club is brought in to plant around historic homes today, but not so much in the period. Typically, doctors ordered their drugs wholesale from pharmacies or purchased them other ways, and didn't produce them themselves. Most of his medicines were coming from overseas or were difficult to make at home (all the mineral ones, for example), so it made more sense just to add to the order, even ones that could theoretically be grown in this climate.

So if doctors weren't typically growing their own major medicines in general, the idea that they'd go to the trouble of growing an obscure medicine they rarely or never prescribed, and that they believed couldn't be produced in this climate anyway, seems unlikely.

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

amity
01-05-2008, 07:59 AM
Yes, if it was that medically obscure you are right. However, the popularity of it in "drug dens" makes one wonder why no one is cashing in on that segment of the market. I have tried many seeds after being told "that won't grow here" and had some nice surprises. But we have to accept that explanation for the time being.

So we have a pot culture range from:
1. poor quality hemp grown for rope, smoked by slaves and possibly also by poor rural white people in areas where it was grown,
2. medical grade cannabis indica, all of which was presumably imported, available to anyone who could afford it.
3. adultered hashish ingested in "dens" somewhere in the middle in terms of quality, also imported.

Very interesting, Hank and Christopher, and thank you for the research!