Facts About Marijuana


Marijuana originated in the middle east (Taiwan, Korea). China 
plays an important part in Marijuana's history. Hoatho, the first
chinese physician to use Cannabis for medical purposes as a painkiller 
and anesthetic for surgery. In the Ninth Century B.C., it was used as 
an incense by the Assyrians Herbal, a Chinese book of medicine from 
the second Century B.C., was first to describe it in print. It was 
used as an anesthetic 5,000 years ago in ancient china. Many (*) 
ancient cultures such as the persians, Greeks, East Indians, Romans, 
and the Assyrians for many things. These were what they used it for: 
the control of muscle spasms, reduction of pain, and for indegestion. 
Imagine that if they still practiced this, instead of taking an Alka 
Seltzer after you had mom's Chili or Tacos, you might be sitting in 
the living room on the LAY-Z Boy, smoking a joint or however they
would take it. The folk medicine of Africa and Asia have used it as an 
herbal preparation. A "mythical" and "legendary" pharmacist and 
emperor Shen Nung thought using it as a seditive was all right. In 
2,700 B.C. that same "mythical" emperor said it helped female 
weakness, gout, rheumatism, malaria, beri-beri (?), contipation, and 

 In 1979 (A.D.) Carlton E. Turner visited China and found 
marijuana was not in use in formal medical places. J. D. P. Graham
of the Welsh National School of Medicine wrote, "One not need take to 
seriously the anecdotal use of it's use for many purposes in China or 
by the Hindus in the pre-Christian Millennia ...and by the Arabs!" In 
1890 in England's "Lancet" said cannabis extract was good for 
neuralgia, fits, migraine and psychosomatic disorders but not for 
rheumatic conditions. It is not easy to tell the dosage because of the 
variations in potency and the irregularity in absorbtion. The time 
delay before the onset of the possible effects of marijuana lowered 
it's popularity as a medicine as did the introduction of a variety of 
new and better medicines like aspirin, morpheine (habit forming), 
chloral, barbituates tranquilizers, and when it got on the list of 
drugs thought by the world community to require legal restrictions.

 Our first President, George Washington, grew cannabis on his 
plantation. The cannabis he grew was more fibrous and is better known 
as hemp. Hemp was used to make rope, twine, paper and canvas (the word 
"canvas" comes from Cannabis) and was an important crop in the 
american colonies. In Jamestown, Virginia it was grown for it's fiber 
qualities in 1611. (Snyder, 1985) The U.S. Pharmacopeia had it listed 
as a useful medicine from the year 1870 to 1941. A Pharmacopeia is "a 
book of directions and requirements for the preparations of medicines, 
generally published by an authority; a collection or stock of drugs."

 This tells us the U.S. Pharmacopeia was an authority on the 
use of drugs for medical purposes, and said that the use of marijuana 
for said purposes was helpful. The U.S. Pharmacopeia last listed 
cannabis ("the dried flower tops of the pistillate plants of cannabis 
sativa") in 1936.(Lovinge,1985,p434) That years epitome of the 
pharmacopeia and the national formula described the drug for 
physicians thus:"a narcotic poison, producing a mild delirium. Used in 
sedative mixtures but of doubtful value. Also employed to color corn 
remedies." The next pharmacopeia released in 1942 (I gather they were 
relaesed every six years) did not have cannabis sativa in it. "The 
1937 U.S. dispensatory said:"Cannabis is used in medicine to relieve 
pain, encourage sleep, and to soothe restlessness. We have very little 
definite knowledge of the effects of therapeutic quantities, but in 
some persons it appears to produce a euphoria and will often relieve 
migrainic headaches. One of the great hindrances to the wider use of 
this drug is the great variability and the potency of different 
samples of Cannabis which renders it impossible to approximate the 
proper dose of any individual smaple except by clinical trial. Because 
of occasional unpleasant symptoms from unusually potent preparations, 
physicians have generally been overcaustious in the quantities 
administered. The only way of determining the dose of an individual 
preparation is to give it in ascending quantities until some effect is 
produced. (The Book suggested using a fluid extract - powdered 
cannabis in solution, 4/5 alcohol - three times a day, starting with 
two or three minims.)"(Lovinge,1985,p434)

 Extracts, tinctures, and herbal packages of cannabis 
manufactured by many drug companies, was available in any pharmacy
until 1941 when "The two main professional directories of drugs in the United States" dropped it.(Snnyder 1985,p38) It is still used as a 
medicine in the Middle East and Asia, and is completely legal in 
Amsterdam. Since the 19th Century, it has been recognized as as 
intoxicant in Europe, and an intoxicant for many centuries in Central 
and South America, and in Asia. "An 1870 Book called "The Hasheesh 
Eater" by Fitz Hugh Hudlow, discussed the intoxicating properties of
marijuana."(Snyder,1985,p39) Mexican farm workers emigrating to the 
United States smoked marijuana regularly, and the surrounding 
population..." quickly followed.

 California and Utah were the first to call it a narcotic and 
outlawed it completely except for mecial purposes. "From 1914 to 1931, 
29 States, 17 of them West of the Mississippi made it a criminal 
offense to possess or use it."(Snyder,1985,p40) An army report from 
1925 concerning the Panama Canal Zone said it wasnt habit forming and 
no steps should be taken to keep it from being sold or used. The 
Uniform States Narcotic Act said all states should control drug 
distribution. "By 1937 marijuana use was restricted by law" 
(Snyder,1985,p42) and the Marijuana Tax Act was signed by President 
Roosevelt. This act was made to collect more taxes and locate people 
selling marijuana. You had to pay $1 for medical use and $100 for 
recreational use as tax. This was a large factor why doctors quit 
using it as a medicine. "The Narcotics Drug Control Act of 1965 
increased the existing penalties for selling and distribution of 
marijuana and heroin..." (Snyder,1985,p46) The National Organization 
for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) was founded in 1970. Just the 
facts Ma'am: It is illegal to own or sell marijuana. It is a 
misdemeanor not a felony. Penalties vary widely in each state, for 
growing and selling it is almost always a felony. It can cause cancer 
in the lungs and the throat IF smoked. "Among the reasons to suspect 
potentially injurious effect of cannabis use on the lungs, pointed out 
it "the almost ubiquitous occurrennce of throat discomfort and 
irritation associated with marihuana smoking" (Lovinge,1985,p15)but 
the same carinogens are present in tobacco smoke. Marijuana takes away 
the discomfort and nausea associated with chemotherapy taken to stop 
the growth of cancer. It also helps people with glaucoma and it keeps 
them from going blind. It doesn't lessen feelings and pain, it 
heightens them. Users say they hear things better, and they see 
details they have never seen before. If made legal, it could be 
regulated by the U.S. government (Food and Drug Administration?) as to
how potent it would be. Or there could be a "government monopoly on it 
controlling the cultivation, importation, manufacture, wholesale 
distribution, and retail sales. Controls could also be placed on the 
quantity, potency,, amount, price, time and place of sale, and age of 
buyers. This would do away with black market activity, cost of law 
enforcement and tax revenue."(Snyder,1985,p89) It would also keep alot 
of people out of jail/prison and save the government money.


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