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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 absentmindedness. 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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