Monday, April 25, 2011

Back When Republicans Went to Pot, on Purpose

Lester Grinspoon. Marihuana Reconsidered. New York: Bantam Book, 1971.

Georgia law (in 1971) called for life imprisonment for an adult selling marijuana to someone under age 21. The death penalty was called for a second offense.

A literature search the author conducted of around 100 scientific articles on medical research on marijuana did not find as many medicinal benefits as the author had hypothesized. Yet the research was in its infancy and abruptly decreased.

The Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN) was established in 1930, at a time marijuana was illegal in 16 states. By 1937, almost all states had banned marijuana. It is noted that when Prohibition was repealed, the liquor manufacturers supported the continued demise of their competitor of marijuana.

The FBN declared that marijuana caused aggressive and hostile behavior leading to violent crimes and savage sexual acts. The cases were cites as showing marijuana led to murder and rape. It is noted these ten cases were voluntary comments by prisoners hoping their cooperation would reduce their sentences. A 1934 study of 2,216 convicted felons in New York found only 7 of 361 psychopaths had smoked marijuana at length.

A 1933 study of U.S. soldiers in the Panama Canal Zone found marijuana was mostly harmless.

The author notes several 19th century through modern writings describe marijuana as one that increases awareness and is not, as critics claim an escape from reality.

The author observes the effects of marijuana can vary among people. Some report feeling various sensations from dizziness, twitching, floating feelings, feeling lightness, feeling heaviness, feeling head pressure, etc. Many report hunger feelings and a feeling of euphoria.

A study by F.T. Melges et. Al. concluded that marijuana causes temporal disruptions that can affect perceptions, memory, and expectations. There was a loss in recall, visual distortion, and some experienced a loss of time perspective.

Various studies found marijuana increased sensory perceptions. Sometimes marijuana use would achieve nonlinear conceptual leaps that were difficult for others to comprehend. Some marijuana users claimed it enhanced creativity, but the American Medical Association (AMA) in 1930 disagreed with this claim. The AMA found marijuana caused a combination of stimulation and depressive tendencies.

A U.S. Army study of 310 marijuana users found they used marijuana to feel better. Some reported it eased psychic pain, nerves, and headaches.

85% of 54 white middle income users aged 18 to 30 in a study reported they felt better using marijuana than drinking alcohol.

John Steinbeck IV reported about three fourths of American military personnel smoked marijuana in Vietnam. The military seemed to feel there was no use in fighting this widespread use. In fact, using marijuana helped calm military personnel, alleviated the drudgers of their work, and helped them overcome fear.

W.B. O’Shaughnessy of the Medical College of Calcutta found marijuana useful as a muscle relaxant and for preventing convulsions. Dr. R.R. M’Meens reported to the Ohio State Medical Society in 1880 that marijuana helped with hemorrhages, rheumatic pain, asthma, gonorrhea, chronic bronchitis, postpartum depression, dysmenorrhea, and could be used by analgesic during labor. Both Olshaughnessy and M’Meens observed that marijuana stimulated appetite which could help a person with anorexia nervosa.

Mattisen found marijuana relieved migraine pains and prevent migraines.

H.A. Hare in 1887 found marijuana relieved pain. He noted it could be used as a topical anesthetic and observed some dentists used it as such.

J.P. Davis and H.H. Ramsey concluded in a study of five epilepsy children that marijuana did not control grand mal epilepsy.

J. Kabelik, Z. Krejci, and F. Santary found marijuana cured an infection that was not cured by penicillin or other antibiotics.

E. Birch in 1889 found marijuana could overcome opiate addiction.
Dr. H.H. Kane in 1881 found marijuana, in a study of one patient, could be used to overcome alcohol addiction. S. Allentuck and K.M. Bowman in 1942 found marijuana could be used to overcome opiate addiction. L.J. Thompson and R.C. Proctor found marijuana helped overcome alcohol, barbiturate, and narcotic addictions.

J.J. Moreau in 1845 reported using marijuana for treating melancholia, hypomania, and general chronic mental illness. Subsequent papers found conflicting results with mental illness. In 1947, G.T. Stockings found synthetic marijuana significantly improved 36 of 50 patients with depression. O.A. Pond in 1948 found no effects in treating depression with synthetic marijuana.

Marijuana was found to not be addictive in a 1904 study by G.F. W. Ewens, a 1925 Panama Canal Zone Governor’s Committee study, a 1934 W. Bromberg study, and a J.F. Silver et. al. study finding only 15% of marijuana users stated they “missed marijuana when deprived of it.”

Most studies have failed to connect, or indicated that in only a few cases, that cannabis use was associated with psychosis. There are some theories cannabis may reduce the development of psychosis by dulling its effects.


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