Editor’s Note: I’m not sure where these field notes came from, so I can’t cite the source. I found them in a folder on my desktop along with a number of 18th century texts that I had downloaded from archive.org, but failed to record their origin. However, there is enough here of interest that I decided to post without citing a source – something I am normally reluctant to do. These notes offer a detailed look at some interesting and potentially very useful traditional Coca cultivation, harvesting and preparation techniques gathered by this unknown author from contemporary sources in the late 1700’s or early 1800’s.
Botany Of The Coca Plant
Some botanists have considered the characteristic lateral lines of the Coca leaf as nerves. Martins was of the opinion these result from pressure of the margin of the leaf as it is rolled toward the midrib while in the bud, the pinching of the tissue causing the substance of the leaf to be raised, resembling a delicate nerve. The lines have been designated as “tissue folds” but there is no fold in either the epidermis or substance of the leaf. Histologically the lines are formed by a narrow band of elongated cells, which resemble the collenchyma cells of the neighboring epidermis and these doubtless serve to stiffen the blade. The lines have no connection with the veins of the leaf and in transmitted light seem like mere ghostly shadows which vanish under closer search.
Many observers have supposed they had found the original locality of wild Coca. Alcide d’Orbigny describes in his travels, having entered a valley covered with what he supposed to be the wild Coca shrub, but thinking he might be mistaken, he showed the plant to his mule driver, who was the proprietor of a cocal in Yungas, and he pronounced it undoubtedly Coca and gathered a quantity of the leaves. It has been asserted that wild Coca may be found in the province of Cochero, and one of the former governors of Oran, in the province of Salta, on the northern borders of the Argentine Republic, claims to have found wild Coca of excellent quality in the forests of that district. Poeppig also described having found wild specimens, known by the natives as Mama Coca, in the Cerro San Cristobal, near the Huallaga, some miles below Huanueo. These examples closely resemble the shrubs of cultivated Coca collected by Martins in the neighborhood of Ega, Brazil, near the borders of the Amazon, and correspond to the wild specimens commonly found throughout Peru.
In Colombia Humboldt, Bonpland and Kunth described Erythroxylon Hondense as the possible type of the originally cultivated Coca shrub, but there is a difference between the leaves of E. Coca and E. Hondense in the arrangement of their nervures, from which Pyrame de Candolle considers them as entirely distinct species. Andre speaks of Coca in the valley of the river Cauca as in abundance in both the wild and half- wild state, but an excellent authority denies that Coca is found wild in Colombia. The exact locality where Coca is indigenous in a wild state has, however, never been determined. Though there are many Coca plants growing throughout the montaña outside of cultivation, it is presumed that these are examples where the seeds of the plant have either been unintentionally scattered or else are the remains of some neglected plantation where might have flourished a vigorous cocal under the Spanish reign. There are evidences of these scattered shrubs throughout the entire region where Coca will grow, but there is no historical data to base a conclusion that these represent wild plants of any distinct original variety, while the weight of testimony indicates that they are examples of the traditional plant which have escaped from cultivation.
Traditional Coca-Growing Regions
Although the heart of the habitat of Coca is in the Peruvian montaña from 7° S., north for some ten degrees, the shrubs are found scattered along the entire eastern curve of the Andes, from the Straits of Magellan to the borders of the Caribbean Sea, in the moist and warm slopes of the mountains, at an elevation from 1,500 to 5,000 and even 6,000 feet, being cultivated at a higher altitude through Bolivia than in Peru. Throughout this extent there are to be seen large plantations and many smaller patches where Coca is raised in a small way by Indians who come three or four times a year to look after their crop. In some localities, through many miles, these cocals cover the sides of the mountains for thousands of feet. During the Incan period the centre of this industry was about the royal city of Cuzco, and at present the provinces of Caravaya and of Sandia, east of Cuzco, are the site of the finest variety of Peruvian grown Coca. In this same region there grows coffee, cacao, cascarilla, potatoes, maize, the sugar cane, bananas, peaches, oranges, paltas, and a host of luscious fruits and many valuable dyes and woods.
There are still important Coca regions about Cuzco, and at Paucartambo and in several Indian towns along the Ilnanuco valley, situated in the very heart of the northern Montaña and noted for its coffee plantations. At one time this region was accredited with supplying Coca for all Peru, which probably meant the mining centres of Huancavelica—formerly more prominent than at present—and Cerro de Pasco, where the mines are still extensively worked. There are fine cocals at Mayro, on the Zuzu Piver, and at Pozuso—which are German colonies; at the latter place is located the laboratory of Kitz, one of the largest manufacturers of crude cocaine, whose product supplies some of the important German chemical houses. Still further to the northwest—in Colombia, there are a number of small plantations along the valley of Yupa, at the foot of the chain of mountains which separates the province of Santa Marta de Maracaibo, at the mouth of the Magdalena River. Eastward from the montaña Coca is cultivated near many of the tributaries of the Amazon, and through some portions of Brazil, where it is known as ypadu. The Amazonian plant is not only modified in appearance, but the alkaloidal yield is inferior.
Ideal Coca-Growing Conditions
The temperature in which Coca is grown must be equable, of about 18° C. (61.4° F.). If the mean exceeds 20° C. (68° F.), the plant loses strength and the leaf assumes a dryness which always indicates that it is grown in too warm a situation, and though the leaves may be more prolific, they have not the delicate aroma of choice Coca. It is for the purpose of securing uniform temperature and appropriate drainage that Coca by preference is grown at an altitude above the intense heat of the valleys, and where it is virtually one season throughout the year, the only change being between the hot sun or the profuse rains of the tropical montaña. As the temperature lowers with increase of altitude, when too great a height is reached the shrub is less thrifty and develops a small leaf of little market value, while as only one harvest is possible the expense of cultivation is too great to prove profitable.
Even close to the equator, in the higher elevations, there is always danger from frost, and for this reason some of the cocals about Huanuco have at times suffered serious loss. All attempts at Coca cultivation on a profitable scale near to Lima have failed not only because of the absence of rain, but because the season’s changing is unsuited.
A peculiar earth is required for the most favorable cultivation of Coca, one rich in mineral matter, yet free from limestone, which is so detrimental that even when it is in the substratum of a vegetable soil the shrub grown over it will be stunted and the foliage scanty. While the young Coca plants may thrive best in a light, porous soil, such as that in the warmer valleys, the full grown shrub yields a better quality of leaf when grown in clay. The red clay, common in the tropical Andes, is formed by a union of organic acids with the inorganic bases of alkaline earths, and oxides – chiefly of iron which in a soluble form are brought to the surface by capillarity.
These elements enter the Coca shrub in solution through its multiple fibrous root, which looks like a veritable wig. The delicate filaments are extended in every direction to drink in moisture, and as these root-hairs enter the interspaces of the soil, the particles of which are covered with a film of water, absorption readily takes place. The clay soil of the montaña affords this property in a high degree, while the hillside cultivation admits of an appropriate drainage the interspaces without which the delicate root would soon be rotted. As the water is absorbed from the soil, a flow by capillarity takes place to that point, and so the Coca root will drain a considerable space.
It is possible a metallic soil may have some marked influence on the yield of alkaloid. At Phara, where the best Coca leaves are grown, the adjacent mountains are formed of at least two per cent, of arsenical pyrites, a fact which is noteworthy because this is the only place in Peru where the soil is of such a nature. Most of the soil of the Andean hills where the best Coca is grown, originates in the decay of the pyritiferous schists, which form the chief geological feature of the surrounding mountains. This, commonly mixed with organic matter and salts from the decaying vegetation, or that of the trees burned to make a clearing, affords what might be termed a virgin earth – terre franche ou normale – which requires no addition of manures for invigoration. In the conservatory it has been found, after careful experimentation, that a mixture of leaf mould and sand – terre de bruyere – forms the best artificial soil for the Coca plant.
Aside from an appropriate soil that is well drained, there is another important element to the best growth of Coca, and that is a humid atmosphere. Indeed, in the heart of the Montaña it is either hazy or drizzling during some portion of the day throughout the year, the intense glare of the tropical sun being usually masked by banks of fog, so that it would seem that one living here is dwelling in the clouds. At night the atmosphere is loaded with moisture and the temperature may be a little lower than during the day, though there is usually but a trifling variation day after day.
Coca Cultivation On A Cocal
The natural life of the Coca shrub exceeds the average life of man, yet new Cocals are being frequently set out to replace those plants destroyed through accident or carelessness. The young plants are usually started in a nursery, or almaciga, from seeds planted during the rainy season, or these may be propagated from cuttings. In the conservatory slips may be successfully grown if care is taken to retain sufficient moisture about the young plant by covering it with a bell glass.
The birds are great lovers of Coca seeds, and when these are lightly sown on the surface of the nursery it is necessary to cover the beds at night with cloths to guard against “picking and stealing.” Before sowing the seeds are sometimes germinated by keeping them in a heap three or four inches high and watering them until they sprout. They are then carefully picked apart and planted either in hills or the seeds are simply sown on the surface of the ground, and from that they take them up and set them in other places into earth that is well labored and tilled and made convenient to set them in. There is commonly over the beds of the nursery a thatched roof – huasichi – which serves as a protection to the tender growing shoots from the beating rain or melting fierceness of the occasional sun. The first spears are seen in a fortnight, and the plants are carefully nourished during six months, or perhaps even a year until they become strong enough to be transplanted to the field.
As a rule, all plants that are forty or fifty centimetres high (16 to 20 inches) may be set out, being placed in rows as we might plant peas or beans. In some cases, they are set in little walled beds, termed aspi, a foot square, care being taken that the roots shall penetrate straight into the ground. Each of these holes is set about with stones to prevent the surrounding earth from falling, while yet admitting a free access of air about the roots. In such a bed, three or four seedlings may be planted to grow up together, a method which is the outgrowth of laziness, as the shrubs will flourish better when set out singly. Usually the plants are arranged in rows, termed uachas, which are separated by little walls of earth – umachas – at the base of which the plants are set. In some districts the bottle gourd, maize, or even coffee, is sown between these rows, so as to afford a shield for the delicate shoots against sun or rain. At first the young plants are weeded – mazi as it is termed – frequently, and in an appropriate region there is no need for artificial watering: but the Coca plant loves moisture, and forty days under irrigation will cover naked shrubs with new leaves, but the quality is not equal to those grown by natural means.
In from eighteen months to two years the first harvest, or mitta, which literally means time or season—is commenced. The leaves are considered mature when they have begun to assume a faint yellow tint, or better—when their softness is giving place to a tendency to crack or break off when bent, usually about eight days before the leaf would fall naturally. This ripe Coca leaf is termed by the Indians cacha.
The Coca shrub, growing out of immediate cultivation, will sometimes attain a height of about twelve feet, but for the convenience of picking, cultivated plants are kept down to less than half that height by pruning – huriar or ecuspar – at the time of harvesting, by picking off the upper twigs, which increases the lateral spread of the shrub. The first harvest—or rather preliminary picking, is known as quita calzon, from the Spanish quitar—to take away, and calzon—breeches. As the name indicates, it is really more of a trimming than what might be termed a harvest, and the leaves gathered at this time have less flavor than those of the regular mittas. Each of the harvests is designated by name—which may vary according to the district. The first regular one in the spring – mitta de marzo – yields the most abundantly. Then, at the end of June, there is commonly a scanty crop known as the mitta de San Juan – the harvest of the festival of St. John – while a third, following in October or November, is the mitta de Todos Santos—the harvest of all saints.
Usually the shrubs are weeded only after each harvest, and there seems to be a prejudice against doing this at other times, though if the cocals are kept clear the harvest may be anticipated by more than a fortnight. Garcilasso tells how an avaricious planter, by diligence in cultivating his Coca, got rid of two-thirds of his annual tithes in the first harvest.
Harvesting & Curing Coca Leaf
Picking exerts a beneficial influence on the shrub, which otherwise would not flourish so well. The gathering – palla – is still done by women and children – palladores as they are termed – just as was the custom during the time of the Incas, though the Colombians will not permit women to take part in the Coca cultivation at any time.
Many writers have spoken of the extreme care with which the leaves are picked or pinched from the shrub, one by one; but to a casual observer the gathering seems to be done far more carelessly. The collector squats down in front of the shrub, and taking a branch strips the leaves off with both hands by a dexterous movement, while avoiding injury to the tender twigs. The pickers must be skilled in their work, for not only a certain knack, but some little force is requisite, as is shown by the wounds occasioned to even the hard skin of the hand of those who are accustomed to the task.
The leaves are collected in a poncho or in an apron of coarse wool, from which the green leaves – termed matu – are emptied into larger sacks – materos – in which they are conveyed to the drying shed – matucanclia. Four or five expert pickers in a good cocal can gather a cesta—equivalent to a bale of twenty-five pounds, in a day.
Harvesting is never commenced except when the weather is dry, for rain would immediately spoil the leaves after they have been picked, rendering them black in color and unsalable, a condition which the Indians term Coca gonupa, or yana Coca.
Coca when gathered is stored temporarily in sheds matuhuarsi, which open into closed courts, the cachi, or matupampa, and the contents of these warehouses indicate the prosperity of the master of the cocal. In the drying yards of these places the leaves are spread in thin layers two or three inches deep, either upon a slate pavement – pizarra – or simply distributed upon a hard piece of clear ground of the casa de hacienda. The closest guardianship must now be maintained over the leaves during the process of drying, and on the slightest indication of rain they are swept under cover by the attendants with the greatest rapidity.
Drying may be completed within six hours in good weather, and when properly dried under such favorable conditions, the leaf is termed Coca del dia and commands the highest price. A well cured mature Coca leaf is olive green, pliable, clean, smooth and slightly glossy, while those which are old or are dried more slowly assume a brownish green and are less desirable. After drying, the leaves are thrown in a heap, where they remain about three days while undergoing a sort of sweating process. When this commences the leaf is crisp, but sweating renders it soft and pliable. After sweating the leaves are again sun dried for a half hour or so, and are then ready for packing. If the green leaves cannot be immediately dried, they may be preserved for a few days if care be taken not to keep them in heaps, which would induce a secondary sweating or decomposition and give rise to a musty odor, termed Coca cespada, which clings even to the preparations made from such leaves.
The refinement of curing maintains a certain amount of moisture in the leaf, together with the peculiar Coca aroma, and it is exact discernment in this process which preserves the delicacy of flavor. When drying has been so prolonged as to render the leaf brittle and without aroma, the quality of Coca is destroyed. It has been suggested that an improvement might be made in drying through the use of sheds, where the leaves could be exposed in layers to an artificial heat, and a current of dry air, after the manner of the secaderos used in Cuba for drying coffee. But whether because of an unwillingness to adopt new methods, or because of some peculiar influence of the atmosphere imparted to the leaf in the native way of drying, all attempts to employ artificial methods have proved unsatisfactory.
Care & Preparation Of Coca Seeds
When the fruit has formed it changes color in ripening, through all the hues from a delicate greenish yellow to a deep scarlet vermilion, and upon the same shrub there may be a number of such colorations to be seen at one time. Monardes, writing centuries ago, said: ”The fruit is in the form of a grape, and as the fruit of the myrtle is reddish when it is ripening, and about of the same dimensions—when attaining its highest maturity becoming darker black.” I was going to say that the fruit resembles the smallest of oval cranberries, both in color and in shape, for I at one time found some little cranberries which appeared so much like the Coca fruit as to seem almost identical; but all cranberries are not alike, and there has already been too much confusion in hasty comparison, so I shall reserve my description for the more technical details. The fruit is gathered while yet scarlet during the March harvest, but if it is permitted to remain on the bush it becomes dark brown or black and shrivels to the irregular lobing of the contained nut.
In selecting the seeds care is taken to cast aside all fruit that is decayed, the balance being thrown into water, and those which are light enough to float are rejected as indicating they have been attacked by insects. The balance of the seeds are then rotted in a damp, shaded place, to extract the seed, which is washed and sun dried. When it is desired to preserve these any length of time the fruit is exposed to the hot sun, which dries the fleshy portion into a protective coating. But the seeds do not keep well. In Peru, perhaps they will retain germinating power for about fifteen days, while those from plants grown in the conservatory must be planted fresh, when still red, for if allowed to dry they become useless.
Natural Enemies Of The Coca Plant
With every detail to cultivation which tradition has inspired, the Coca crop is not always secure, for the cocals are subject to the attacks of several pests, which, while a constant source of annoyance may at times seriously damage the shrubs. Below an altitude of four thousand feet there is the iilo, a little butterfly, which during a dry spell deposits its eggs, and as the grubs develop they devour the younger leaves. In the older cocals an insect called mougna sometimes introduces itself into the trunk of the shrub and occasions its withering. M. Grandidier speaks of a disease termed cupa, or cuchupa, in the valley of the Santa Marta, which has destroyed an entire crop within eight days. From an attack of this not only the immediate leaf is rendered small and bitter, but during the following year the shrub remains unproductive, and a gall-like excrescence is developed termed saran moello—seeds of gall. Some cultivators at the first indication of this disease prune the affected twigs and so succeed in raising a new crop by the next harvest.
The ant, cuqui, which is a great pest through all the montaña, is a dangerous evil to the Coca plant. It not only cuts the roots, but disintegrates the bark and destroys the leaves, and in a single night may ruin an entire plantation. In fact, the sagacity of the traditional ant is outdone by these pests. Some of them are capable of carrying a kernel of corn, and an army of them will run off with a bag of corn in a night, kernel by kernel, making a distinct trail in the line of their depredations. They build their nests of leaves, twigs and earth, and even construct an underground system of channels to supply their hillocks with water. It is extremely difficult to keep them out of a cocal, as they will burrow under the deepest ditches, and the only method of being free from them is to destroy their hills wherever they are found.
Another enemy to the shrub is a long bluish earthworm, which eats the roots and so occasions the death of the plant. Then a peculiar fungus, known as taja, forms at times on the tender twigs, occasioned by injury or from poor nutrition.
Aside from these pests, there are a number of weeds which are particularly injurious to Coca, among which are the Panicuni platicaule, P. scandens, P. decumheus, Pannisetum Perurianum, Drimaria, and Pteris arachnoidea.”’ These plants grow rapidly and take so much nourishment from the soil as to destroy the nutrition of the Coca shrub. For a similar reason the planting of anything between the rows of Coca is now abandoned.
The Cannabis Cure For Headaches
You may already know that Cannabis has been recognized throughout human history as a safe & effective treatment for headaches. But even if you already know that Cannabis is a remarkable treatment for many kinds of headaches, I’ve been reading a research paper on this topic that is worth a bit of study no matter how familiar you are with medical Cannabis.
This research study, published in a peer-reviewed medical journal and authored by prominent Southern California physicians and psychiatrists, gets around the US government’s deliberate failure to fund studies that might show Cannabis is an effective natural medicine by examining the ancient & past historical record in detail, as well as by looking at credible contemporary reports and analyses.
It is written in easily understood, layman’s language and cites historical sources like Assyrian manuscripts dating around 2000 BC, the ancient Greek physician Dioscorides, the 9th Century Arabic medical encyclopedia “Al-Aq-rabadhin Al-Saghir”, and Persian medical texts from the 10th through the 17th Centuries. Most relevant to today’s environment, the researchers also cite clinical literature showing wide-spread medical use of Cannabis for headaches in the 1800’s in Europe and America.
This research study focuses on the four main types of headache: migraines, tension-type headaches, cluster headaches, and medication-overuse headaches. The authors find that headache is a major public health concern, with enormous individual and social costs estimated at $14.4 billion annually, due mainly to decreased quality of life, decreased productivity and crippling disability. Each year, nearly 50% of the US population experiences major headaches, including migraine (10%), tension-type headache (38%), and chronic daily headache (3%).
Women are 200-300% more likely than men to experience migraine and 125% more likely to experience tension-type headache, which may explain to some degree why the government could care less about headache research. As most people know, any disease that affects mainly women and minorities typically gets the shaft from our government unless strong advocacy forces the issue.
Some of the most powerful evidence for the effectiveness of Cannabis in treating and curing headaches of all kinds comes from clinical publications in 19th Century America and Europe. According to the authors “Clinical publications between 1839 and 1937 provide valuable insights into the most effective practices, challenges, and benefits during an era when cannabis was commonly used to treat headache.”
They continue, “Historical sources indicate that cannabis was used as an effective prophylactic and abortive treatment for headache disorders. Although dosing varied among physicians, most prescribed alcohol extractions of the drug in the range of ¼ to ½ grain (16–32 mg). This dose was likely chosen to minimize the effects of intoxication while also providing effective therapeutic relief. Other providers suggested that doses should be progressively increased until modest effects of intoxication were felt. For prophylactic treatment, these doses were usually administered two to three times daily for weeks or even months. Acute treatment often involved higher doses taken as needed and, in some cases, smoked cannabis was recommended.”
As so often happens, non-medical people suffering from a disease are way ahead of the doctors in seeking out treatments and cures, and the millions of Americans and Europeans who suffer from headaches today are no exception. Even though the usefulness of Cannabis for treating headaches has been well-established for centuries, and even though the US government makes it a crime to treat yourself with Cannabis, millions of people have been risking jail (before the growing success of the Cannabis legalization movement) to use Cannabis as a medicine, and they already know that it works even in the absence of official “proof”.
The authors discuss how both doctors and patients are already “proving” that Cannabis works in states where it is now legal. For example, in a passage on the current state of Cannabis treatment in California, the authors note that:
“Many individuals are currently using cannabis for the treatment of migraine and headache with positive results. In a survey of nine California clinics … 40.7% patients self-reported that cannabis had therapeutic benefits for headaches and migraines. In another California survey of 7525 patients, 8.43% of patients reported that they were using medical cannabis to treat migraines. Another survey of 1430 patients found that 9% of patients were using medical cannabis to treat migraines.”
The authors further report that “One retrospective study described 121 patients who received cannabis for migraine treatment, among whom 85.1% of these patients reported a reduction in migraine frequency. The mean number of migraines at the initial visit was 10.4, falling to 4.6 at follow-up visits after cannabis treatment. Moreover, 11.6% of the patients found that, when smoked, cannabis could effectively arrest the generation of a migraine.”
In today’s environment there are plenty of choices of strains of Cannabis that are well-known to be specifically helpful for relief of headache, regardless of the absence of clinical research. In Cannabis-legal states you can depend on the team comprised of a trusted medical professional and your local medical Cannabis dispensary to provide you with good information on your treatment options.
In states where Cannabis is not yet legal, patients who have to resort to the “black market” can inform themselves on what to look for through on-line resources like https://leafly.com, a trustworthy provider of both medical and recreational strain information. Then it’s a matter of buying from someone who can be trusted to sell you exactly what they claim they are selling you, to ensure that you are getting a headache-specific Cannabis strain.
Fortunately, many of the most common “black market” strains are known to be therapeutic for headache, although online Cannabis advice-givers seem to focus almost exclusively on Migraines and ignore making recommendations for tension headaches, cluster headaches, and medication-overuse headaches.
Among the commonly available strains that are also widely recommended for Migraines are Northern Lights, OG Kush, Blue Dream, Lemon Kush, and several low-THC, high-CBD strains that are not as universally available including Charlotte’s Web, CBD, Harlequin and Remedy. As always, seek the most reliable source for your medical Cannabis, and stay aware of the fact that growers of the same strain vary widely in their attention to healthful growing practices.
What if there was a natural medicine that could not only control Huntington’s Chorea, as well as chorea stemming from other non-genetic diseases and conditions, but quite possibly cure it?
What if instead of having to take a medicine that may force you to think about suicide, you could take the extract of a simple flower and re-discover how good life is without chorea?
What if the medical profession published numerous medical journal articles about this natural medicine 150 or so years ago, when it was a standard successful treatment for chorea?
And finally, what if for the last 80 years or so the combined power of the US government and Pig Pharma corporations had made possession of this natural medicine grounds for slamming you in prison for a long, long time? That would be – let’s see, what’s the opposite of “Awesome”?
Huntington’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease and most common inherited cause of chorea. Other non-inherited causes of chorea are show in the graphic above.
Chorea is characterized by brief, semi-directed, irregular movements that are not repetitive or rhythmic, but appear to flow from one muscle to the next. When chorea is serious, slight movements will become thrashing motions.
The characteristic movements of chorea often include twisting and writhing. Walking may become difficult because of uncontrollable body postures and leg movements.
Unlike ataxia, which affects the quality of voluntary movements, or Parkinsonism, which is a inhibition of voluntary movements, the movements of chorea occur involuntarily, without any conscious effort to move a limb, an extremity (hands or feet), the head or neck, or any other part of the body. Because all movements associated with chorea are involuntary, it is classified as a hyperkinetic movement disorder.
The only answers that Pig Pharma has for Chorea are treatments, not cures. One of the most commonly prescribed “medicines” is tetrabenazine. Among the risks associated with tetrabenazine’s use are: sedation, fatigue, insomnia, akathisia, anxiety and nausea. Oh, and also tetrabenazine increases the risk of depression and suicidal thoughts and behavior in people afflicted with Huntington’s disease. So it doesn’t cure you, but it may make you decide to kill yourself. Nice drug. All the other Pig Pharma answers to Huntington’s Disease pose similar risks and do not cure Chorea.
In fairness, it is important to point out that one of the following reported cases of someone with chorea who was healed by Cannabis, was a young girl who had suffered from a bout of rheumatic fever a month prior to the onset of Chorea. It is well-established (in 2018) that one type of Chorea, Sydenham’s chorea, occurs as a complication of streptococcal infection, and that twenty percent of children and adolescents with rheumatic fever who are left untreated with antibiotics develop Sydenham’s chorea as a complication. So it is possible, even likely, that what Dr. Douglas is describing is a strep infection leading to Chorea – in other words, a sub-set of Chorea. However, since Cannabis is not an antibiotic, it seems unlikely that in this case being described its beneficial use in the treatment of Chorea would be confined to this single sub-set of the disease. Plus the instance of this young girl is only one of many Cannabis chorea cures that are described in this medical journal article from 1869.
Fortunately for people suffering from Huntington’s today, in most places Cannabis is available for self-treatment, and in the more advanced states there are even physicians who have bothered to learn and build on what their colleagues discovered 150 years ago, ignoring the poisons being pushed by Pig Pharma.
Here is one example of what has been known and withheld from those who suffer for eight generations. The research isn’t perfect, and the doctor is very much trapped in many of the false assumptions of his day, but he is clear on one thing – Cannabis is a powerful natural medicine that is safe and effective for treating neurological diseases like Chorea.
By Dr. Douglas F.R.G.P.E.
Vice-President of the Medico-Chirurgical Society of Edinburgh
February 4th, 1869
THE USE OF INDIAN HEMP IN CHOREA
The value of Indian hemp as a therapeutic agent is well established, but a singular difficulty has been experienced in securing for it the confidence to which it is evidently entitled. Without attempting to explain or to excuse this difficulty, I propose to illustrate what appears to me one of its most useful applications.
The negative virtues of the drug are amongst its chief merits. Dr. Russell Reynolds, who writes one of the most recent, and one of the best expositions of the value of this remedy, tells us, as the result of a manifestly practical and thoughtful experience, that it is a soporific, anodyne and antispasmodic; and that it relieves pain and spasm: that it does not leave behind it headache nor vertigo; nor does it impair the appetite nor confine the bowels. These important virtues accord with anything I have seen of its action; nor have I met with any annoyance in practice from its peculiar action on the emotional or intellectual state of the sick. We are apt to be deterred from the use of a remedy by such pictures of its more peculiar actions, as are given of the abuse of the drug in countries where it is resorted to as a means of intoxication, and of its action in the cases of patients who under its use became tortured by ocular illusions and spectres of horrible form.
I do not doubt that such effects result from the use of the drug; but, in prescribing it, I have not met with them, and I am disposed to think that they are to be avoided even more certainly than we can guard against the unpleasant effects of opium.
As in the case of other useful drugs, the contradictory and extreme views of the efficacy and certainty of its therapeutic action, urged by writers of high authority, have retarded confidence in cannabis Indica; and indeed its applications to disease seem scarcely to have been investigated with the reliance which its demonstrated energy would justify. It is now many years since Dr. Dominic Corrigan published a series of cases which underwent cure in the course of four or five weeks, mainly by the use of the cannabis Indica, in doses of five minims of the tincture, increased to twenty-five: one of the cases, being of ten years standing, was cured in a month. (Archives of Medicine. Edited by Lionel S. Beale, M.B. Vol. ii. London Medical Times, 1845.)
One cannot resist the impression that other elements in the treatment, besides the administration of the cannabis, had need to be taken into account in the explanation of such cures; and moreover, before the actual value of the drug in such cases can be determined, a minute statement of the clinical and pathological relations of each case would be required i.e., how far the case might be one of chorea arising in connexion with rheumatism, struma, cerebral or spinal disease, or in connexion with some more temporary source of irritation in the system, as from derangement of the digestive or of the generative or other functions.
Again, we find Dr. Wilks of Guy’s Hospital arguing that, because fifty remedies have been found to cure such a disease as chorea, it may be safely left to itself. Accordingly, Dr. Wilks, admitting the usefulness of Dr. Hughes favourite and useful remedy, rhubarb steeped in port wine, prescribes to his patients the syrup of orange, that students may witness the spontaneous cure of the disease; and his patients, like Dr Corrigan’s, left the hospital cured in about a month.
Nevertheless, whatever preference we may have for a medicine expectant, that permits the sick to recover, over the heroic measures, whose advocates claim to have cured the patients who escape out of their hands, thoughtful practitioners will not be prevented from inquiring into the nature and the extent of special therapeutic actions by the scepticism of doubters nor by the rash generalizations of hasty observers.
Jane Williamson, aged 13, was admitted into the Chalmers Hospital under my care on the 15th of October last. She had the look of previously good health, and she was well nourished, but not robust. At the date of her admission, she presented the awkward gesture and the grimace of established chorea, though not severe in its degree. Temperature was natural; pulse 90, rather small; there was slight rheumatic pain of the knees and elbows, and an excited state of the heart’s action. The urine was loaded with lithates, it was normal in density, about 30 oz. in twenty-four hours. The bowels were easily regulated.
The treatment, in the first instance, consisted in the administration of a solution of the acetate of potash, with infusion of digitalis, and four minims of Fowler’s solution thrice a day.
The history of her previous illness given by herself and her friends was that, about a month previously, she was taken with a not intense attack of rheumatic fever. She suffered a good deal from the state of the larger joints; no symptom of cardiac inflammation appeared to have existed, but, for about a fortnight preceding her admission, she presented choreal action, gradually increasing indegree and affecting the extremities and face. . .
During the days immediately succeeding her admission, a rapid change occurred in the degree of the choreal movements, and in the state of the heart’s action. The latter became so disturbed, feeble, and excited, with feeble arterial pulse, as to cause serious anxiety for the safety of the patient, and at the same time the choreic agitation increased with such violent restlessness and 1 oiling in bed that excoriation occurred over the sacrum and both nates, while contortion of the features and tossing of the extremities, especially when their movement was attempted, continued excessive, the articular effects of rheumatism decreased, temperature became more natural, and urine healthy, but the bowels became torpid. The arsenic was persevered with, and a few 30-grain doses of bromide of potassium were given. Each dose was followed by a short period of quiescence, but, on the 20th, the excitement of the heart’s action became so alarming that 25-minim doses of tincture of Indian hemp were administered, followed by apparently marked, but only transient abatement of the spasmodic movement, which, as Dr. Hogg, the resident physician, reported, seemed to recur subsequently with increased and distressing severity.
On the following day, that is, the sixth of her residence in the Hospital, her condition seemed desperate, chiefly on account of the protracted and uncontrollable hurry of the heart’s action. She was ordered to have six minims of the tincture of cannabis every hour, the arsenic and other remedies being intermitted. The bowels were now well regulated, the excoriations of the back and nates had increased so as to form superficial sloughs of considerable extent, the pulse was small and so rapid as not to be counted, and the heart’s action was still feeble, rapid, and disturbed. She had four ounces of brandy per day. On the following day, having had twenty doses of the tincture, there was marked and increasing improvement. The violence of the tossing and rolling had diminished materially, though still it was necessary to have her secured in bed to prevent her falling or rolling over. From this time till the 15th day of her residence in the hospital, the tincture was administered from hour to hour, and she continued to make daily and progressive improvement. At that date (the 28th) she had been free of all the more violent spasmodic movements for two days and the heart’s action was quiet, pulse about 80, appetite good, bowels regular. She still presented a degree of the peculiar grimace, with awkwardness in protruding the tongue and in movement of the arms and hands. There was great mental lethargy, with languor and exhaustion, which made it impossible for her to be out of bed.
The tincture of hemp was now discontinued, and arsenical solution in four-minim doses resumed.
The subsequent progress of the case, though tedious, and so far disappointing, may be told in a few sentences. On the 1st of November, and on several occasions during the rest of that month, there occurred a renewal of the choreal state, which had not indeed absolutely disappeared, though it was often so trivial and even absent as to encourage the hope of an early recovery. Arsenic was perseveringly employed, with a carefully-regulated diet and general management, but on each occasion, of which three were noted, when an exacerbation of the choreic condition arose, a marked abatement of the muscular action resulted from the administration of small and hourly-repeated doses of tincture of hemp, relief sometimes arising so speedily as within six or eight hours. On one occasion the improvement was not decided for three or four days.
In the beginning of December, rheumatic symptoms recurred with slight febrile action and articular pains and renewal of choreic agitation. At the same time, marked excitement of the heart’s action was renewed, and now, for the first time, a faint soft diastolic murmur, indicative of aortic regurgitation, was with difficulty perceived. A weak solution of acetate and nitrate of potash was administered, and grain doses of opium four or five times in twenty-four hours. Pain arid fever abated, but not the spasmodic movement, and on the third day afterwards six-minim doses of tincture of hemp were given every two hours, followed by an immediate decrease of the chorea, which at once declined to its slightest degree in two or three days.
The patient now presented more marked indications of returning health. The state of mental lethargy into which she had early lapsed was now passing off; her appetite was revived, and on the 20th December she was able to be out of bed and to walk with assistance. Small doses of the iodide of potassium with the infusion of quassia were given, and improvement went on uninterruptedly; she did not, however, cast off the choreic jerk and awkwardness till the second week of January 1869. She has since had a very comfortable convalescence, but the diastolic murmur noted above continues strongly developed.
In the remarks I have to offer on this case, I confine myself to the points which illustrate the value and application of cannabis Indica in the treatment of choreal spasm. It is well said by Dr. Hughes, that each case of chorea, like each case of every other disease, should be separately studied; and though it may be regarded as one of a class, should still be viewed as a distinct individual of the class. In the case of my patient, the general characteristics of the attack point it out as an example of a large class of cases in which acute rheumatism constitutes the primary and originating source of chorea, while its special features simply declare the degree of chorea, with its repeated recurrences, and the unusual violence of agitation, to have been more than ordinarily severe, without any such personal or inherited constitutional peculiarity as exists in certain forms of this and of other nervous diseases.
Connected with the severity of the chorea, an inquiry of some difficulty arises out of the condition of the heart, particularly its disturbed action in the early stage, and the endocarditic lesion which occurred later, and which declared its presence only with the renewed rheumatic attack in the beginning of December. At the time of her admission and subsequently, notwithstanding the extra-ordinary hurry of the heart’s action, I persuaded myself that there was no organic nor inflammatory lesion, and I came to the conclusion that the severity of the choreic state had extended to the heart. The evidences of endocarditis subsequently developed cast doubt on my view of the previously choreic state of the heart; and there does not appear to be any means of solving the question beyond the opinion of those who saw the patient.
It certainly seems unlikely that endocarditis capable of causing such extreme disturbance of the heart’s action should have existed, unaccompanied from the outset by other indications of its presence.
This point possesses some interest in connexion with the view advanced by Dr. Russell Reynolds, that Indian hemp has been of no service in those affections of mind, sensation, or motility, which are simply functional in their character, or, at all events, have no established morbid anatomy. On the other hand, that it has afforded notable relief in cases where organic disease existed.
I do not agree with this view, but it would be beside my object to discuss it here. On the supposition, however, that the view is a sound one, it suggests that, in my patient, the organic lesion had originated in the heart at an early stage of the attack, and, consequently, the beneficial effects of the cannabis were so readily exerted. On the whole, the conclusion is a fair one, that endocarditis was present earlier than appeared; though still, I cling to the view that the disturbed action was, in the first instance, functional and choreic.
The practical interest of my case, however, consists in the illustration it affords of the special use and application of cannabis in the treatment of choreal spasm, and of the mode in which the remedy may be administered in many cases, if not in all. I have already remarked on the mistake, as it seems to me, of looking for general curative results in this or in any disease from the mere general application of special therapeutic observation or experience.
I think the cases and cures of chorea by tincture of hemp reported, to whlch I have referred, illustrate the fallacy of such reasonings; but, on the other hand, the case of my patient suggests that there is a special, and perhaps a frequently useful, application of the drug in such circumstances. The impression which the case leaves on my mind is, that cannabis has a peculiar value and power in controlling the irregular movements of chorea, which ever and again are terribly distressing, and possibly even dangerous, to the patient; and it would be of no small moment to determine the extent and limit of its influence, and to ascertain whether or not choreic action, even in slighter cases, might not be moderated by this remedy.
The result of repeated trial in my patient seems to show, on the one hand, that the violence of choreal action was speedily moderated; and the protracted duration of the case, on the other hand, makes it sufficiently evident that the virtue of the remedy did not reach farther in the direction of removal and radical cure of the disease. This points to an important question in the treatment of chorea, which has been mooted by many writers on the subject, viz., how far the chorea is to be dealt with as an independent condition, and how far its treatment and removal will be best achieved by the treatment of the diseased state out of which it has sprung?
I think that systematic writers and clinical lecturers have dealt with the subject of chorea too much as an independent disease, and that the late Dr. Babington, of London, in his justly-admired paper on chorea, indicated a sound and philosophic principle, when he advised that when the disease has arisen by metastasis of rheumatism, it should be treated in the same way as pericarditis is treated.
Recognising, then, the principle that our chief aim in the treatment is to combat the constitutional state, or the local disease in connexion with which the chorea has arisen, I conclude farther, from the case I have read, that an important aim must sometimes, if not at all times, be to allay the severity of the choreal state by the use of cannabis, or by other means. On this point, I cannot resist quoting from M. Trousseau his earnest utterances in the behalf of tartar emetic as a means of subduing the violence of choreal agitation: “Unfortunately,”says that learned physician, “there are cases in which the convulsive agitation is of such violence that all known means are without avail, and the physician too often sees poor young girls perish miserably, the skin rubbed and deeply ulcerated by incessant friction, that no appliance can obviate.
But surely, in such circumstances, cannabis Indica is a far more appropriate remedy than tartar emetic, affording, as M. Trousseau adds, “if though only in exceptional cases, a chance of success where we appeared impotent.”
The limit of the therapeutic action of cannabis Indica in these cases is incidentally indicated, with a thoroughly practical wisdom, by Dr Williams and by Dr Walshe. So long ago as in 1843, Dr Williams is reported to have said, in the course of a discussion, that he had found it “ relieves chorea during its exhibition, but without radical effect on the disease.”
In 1849, Dr Walshe, in a clinical lecture, says: “Not only was its sedative effect marked in degree, but it was almost immediate in point of time, leaving no doubt on my mind as to the reality of its influence.”
The recurrent attacks of chorea in the case of my patient afforded the means of direct illustration of the efficacy of the drug in subduing the choreal state. for repeatedly the same result was witnessed in the speedy and more or less complete subsidence of the agitation under the use of the remedy, and the decided effect produced on the heart’s action tends to confirm me in the impression that the disturbed state of that organ was largely choreal.
As to the mode of administering the remedy, small and frequent doses proved both safe and effective, and great advantage appeared to arise from increasing the frequency of the dose rather than its amount. Believing, as I do, that cannabis Indica is a remedial agent of value in many and various maladies, I am prepared to recommend this mode of seeking its effects by frequent rather than by larger doses at longer intervals. Such a mode of prescribing it has not been usual; but I find, quoted from an American source, the account of a case of hiccup treated in this way by eight-drop doses of a fluid extract, administered hour by hour, in which recovery from an attack that had defied treatment for five days took place in a few hours.
I have brought this case under the notice of the Medico-Chirurgical Society, not on account of any novelty in its history, nor on account of any conclusions it very positively points to, but simply to bring anew to the light of day an important therapeutic fact, which seemed like to be buried in the pages of undisturbed magazines, and which, probably, has an important application, not only to distressing and dangerous cases of chorea, but even to slight and ordinary cases, as well as to cases of other spasmodic diseases, such as hiccup, irritable heart, asthma, tetanus, and the like.
If you would like to have a copy of this 1869 article by Dr. Douglas as a PDF file please email me with your request.
I’ve just heard about a young doctor, a friend of our friend Hannah, who has devoted her life to working with poor people in medical clinics that she and others founded and ran in Austin, Texas. She has apparently just been diagnosed with MS, in her mid-30’s! All that dedicated work, and all that good heart, and all that caring for others looks like it will be cut short by this awful disease.
But what has really got me going is that she lives in Texas, as I do, where ignorant, self-serving, “religious” hypocrites have managed to keep Cannabis out of the hands of people who could have benefitted from self-medication for decades. Many, many people have suffered and died needlessly as a result of the broad, punitive laws crafted by these Satanic beings. In fact, there are still people in prison in Texas who were sent there decades ago for the possession of a single joint.
Those who maintain and benefit from the system that does this should, in a just world, be put on trial for their blatant, deliberate, conspiratorial crimes against humanity, although they are so mired in illusion that even if they could be tried and convicted they would probably be genuinely confused about why.
The reason that I am particularly incensed is that I’ve been seeing so much of this kind of evil hypocrisy lately. For the past few months I have been gathering research for a newsletter I intend to begin publishing soon that will be titled Straight Talk On Medical Cannabis™, in which I will review and comment on research published in peer-reviewed medical journals worldwide on the therapeutic use of Cannabis.
My purpose in doing this is to show, largely by inference, that the medical research community is fully aware of the wide-ranging therapeutic properties of Cannabis, and also that they are completely in the iron grip of governments and corporations that are directing their work in very specific directions – away from any research into the Cannabis flower itself and focusing on only two things – (1) how “harmful” the use of the natural flower is and how joyful people should be that they are being protected from this harm by vigilant governments, and (2) how confident people should be that Pig Pharma is working overtime to develop actual, real pharmaceuticals “based on” Cannabis that people can use “safely”.
Just this morning I was looking at an especially interesting article that, like most, is more relevant for what it does not say than what it does. However, the author is, unlike many of his peers, at least willing to admit the well-established fact that generations of people have recognized the value of Cannabis in treating a wide range of diseases, including neurological diseases like MS and Parkinson’s.
So I would like to share the information on this bit of research, including a link to its PubMed abstract, along with my own observations. This is an example of what is coming soon in Straight Talk On Medical Cannabis™, which I plan to publish twice a week.
Curr Clin Pharmacol. 2016;11(2):110-7.
Endocannabinoid System: A Multi-Facet Therapeutic Target
This research discusses drugs based on Cannabis, not the therapeutic value of the Cannabis flower itself, nor does it cite any well-designed, peer-reviewed research (probably because there is almost none) on the relative therapeutic value of specific Cannabis strains in neurological disease. This is typical of officially sanctioned and funded research. Pig Pharma and governments, working together, do not want to look into whether plain old Cannabis flowers that anyone can grow will do the job. They want to find a laboratory pharmaceutical they can patent, control, sell and tax at huge profit.
But in spite of this well-hidden bias, the importance of research like this lies in what it does NOT say, and the true implications of what it DOES say, for people with neurological diseases. Reading between the lines of all such research it is clear that people currently suffering the devastation of neurological disease need to strongly consider self-medicating rather than waiting for Pig Pharma to develop a pharmaceutical “based on” Cannabis.
As the author confesses “Study of cannabinoids was at bay for very long time and its therapeutic value could not be adequately harnessed due to its legal status as proscribed drug in most countries. The research of drugs acting on endocannabinoid system has seen many ups and downs in the recent past.”
He continues “ Presently, it is known that endocannabinoids have a role in pathology of many disorders and they also serve “protective role” in many medical conditions. Several diseases like emesis, pain, inflammation, multiple sclerosis, anorexia, epilepsy, glaucoma, schizophrenia, cardiovascular disorders, cancer, obesity, metabolic syndrome related diseases, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and Tourette’s syndrome could possibly be treated by drugs modulating endocannabinoid system.”
“Could possibly be treated” – duh.
There are a lot of other research articles like this one, published in India in an Indian medical journal that, taken together, confirm obliquely what many people in Cannabis-legal states already know – that the Cannabis flower itself, without any pharmaceutical manipulation or intervention, is an amazing natural medicine that works extremely well for many people who suffer from all of the diseases that the author mentions above, and many more.
The only real issue is that only people who live in “Cannabis-legal” states have access to this natural medicine without risking prison, while people who are trapped in “illegal” states like Texas like this brave young doctor with MS would, if they were caught self-medicating, quite likely die behind bars. I hope that she can escape to Colorado, or Oregon, or California … anywhere but Texas.