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Thoughts On Coca, Cannabis, Opium & Tobacco – Gifts Of The Great Spirit


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The Pathological Action Of Opium

Orange County Sheriff’s Deputies walk along the Santa Ana Riverbed homeless encampment (by) Jeff Antenore

Editorial Note: Dr. Calkins’ Chapter is concerned with a brief review of the processes by which Opium use moves from a blissful to a pathological state. It is worth noting that, in spite of all the current panic about the “Opioid Epidemic” in America, non-prescription Opioid medications are readily available over-the-counter in well over 100 countries around the world, which begs the question: Is the “Opioid Epidemic” a pathological phenomenon, or is America a pathological society? If Opioid pills are openly and legally available just like aspirin in most of the world, why isn’t there a global Opioid Epidemic?

One of the main reasons why I believe that Dr. Calkin’s book is so important today is that while it traces the historical development of Opium addiction worldwide, without saying so directly it is clear that Opium addiction has historically taken a tighter grip of western societies, and in particular on American society, than it has elsewhere in the world.

One might argue that China, for example, is an exception because at the height of its Opium addiction tens of millions of Chinese were severely addicted. However, if tempted to make that argument one would have to account for the fact that before the British and American drug-pushers arrived on the scene Opium use in China was mainly, though not exclusively, an indulgence of the privileged classes, and these people made sure that the Opium they smoked was of the highest quality and thus far less addicting. And, after the Brits and Americans were kicked out Chinese society began to steady itself, and soon became a society where Opium was used, not abused by most Chinese people except those who were most oppressed by life at the bottom of the social and economic ladder. The same argument, and counter-argument, can be made for societies like Persia, India and Turkey.

I believe it is worth asking ourselves – is there something Karmic about American society that drives people at all levels of this society into brutal addiction to all kinds of substances, rather than to a temperate use of these same substances for life-enhancing purposes? Is it beyond imagining that the millions of native people that we slaughtered in order to take their lands, have gathered together in spirit to make our conquest and murder an invisible cancer that is eating away the American soul? Has America ever been the society that we have always proclaimed ourselves to be? Was there ever freedom, justice and liberty for all?  We should make no mistake – ultimately, we will be judged by history, and whatever the judgement it will not be swayed by all our slogans, hymns and propaganda. We will be judged by our deeds.

Dr. Calkins, writing as he did from the perspective of 1870, saw so much of what America has become already in the America of his day. It does make you wonder – what if anything has changed for the better since 1870?

Chapter VII: The Pathological Action Of Opium

(from) Opium And The Opium Appetite”, by Alonzo Calkins, MD (1870)

“Corpore languor inest, vexant insomnia, vixque Ossa tegit macies, nee juvat ora cibus.” Ovid.

“They are drunken, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong-drink.” – Isaiah.

 “Ogni fnedagliaha suorovescio” – the picture has its reverse as well as its obverse face.

Leaving the subordinate features to special occasion while we direct our attention to the salient points rather as they jut out upon the pathway, we shall soon perceive we have indeed a Via Dolorosa to traverse, with only here and there a gleam of sunshine to relieve the abiding gloom.

The morbific leaven, subtle and intangible in its primary evolution, acquires as it pervades the system a cumulative force, in this respect transcending arsenic, mercury, lead, indeed every substance whatever of known zymotic energy. The reaction, whether evolved obscurely or outbursting as with a shock, maturing it may be in three weeks, or perchance not under three years, will culminate in a crisis some time, as inevitable as it is portentous.

The organs that primarily and mainly feel the recoil are the brain with the spinal cord, and the great centre of alimentation, the stomach. Tardieu found in his autopsies sometimes a congestion of the cerebral channels, or else the condition of pulmonary apoplexy, or again both symptoms in conjunction. The peculiar excitement which the brain experiences, though approximating in some points to inebriation from alcohol, sustains towards delirium tremens only an analogical relation (Hobson). In the long course nervous tension becomes obtunded and relaxed, from non-oxygenation of the blood the heart is overloaded and the pulmonary vessels get sluggish, whence come palpitations and dyspnoea, with oppressive anhelations, so as almost to preclude exercise even the most moderate.

Erethism of the fauces – a sense of searing it may be (Trousseau) – occurs in progress, deprivation of appetite, the precursor of confirmed dyspepsia, ensues, and in the end every organ almost has become involved and every function perverted. An evidence not uncommon of a vitiated appetite is a partiality to saccharine substances.

Another organ with complex sympathies, the liver, is a common sufferer, being sometimes stimulated to an excessive reaction, but oftener relapsing into an established torpor. A case of mark is contributed by H. F. Quackenbos, M.D., of New York.

Miss P., a lady of easy condition in life, who died eventually at the early age of 26, began the use of opium ten years before that event, and for the mitigation of suffering caused by morbid obstruction. The routine life of this person was singular in various respects. At sunrise, when people generally are getting up for the day, she went to bed; about sunset she had her breakfast, and her dinner at midnight. Laudanum was the preparation in use, of which she took altogether for the day three wine glasses, the first at 9 o’clock, which acted always as a sedative against the shivery agitations of the morning, the second preceded the breakfast her first meal for the day, and the third was had about 11 p.m., when she was ready for the salon. In the daytime she would lounge about, wearing away the hours in a sort of half-stupor, answering a question with a labored grunt, as if comprehending only one-half and indifferent to the rest, and impatient like as one aroused from a recent doze; but when the deep hours of the night had arrived the transformation in her entire appearance was as if she had just come from some Armida’s bower, when she shone out upon the admiring throng as with a meteor-blaze.

A necroscopic examination revealed the organ more immediately associated with her decline, the liver, now of a purplish-brown hue, enormously hypertrophied (the biggest liver the doctor had ever seen), and so extremely indurated, that on accidentally falling from the hand to the floor it sounded more like a stone. This lady’s death was accelerated by thoracic inflammation, the cause of which was exposure after going from a cotillon party.

As a sequela to hepatic disorder a persistent vis inertia of the various organs is ere long established, and an unresponsiveness to purgatives, and verging to a habitual constipation. This sealing-up of the alvine channels may hold for a fortnight; or, if the wonted allowance has been intermitted (commonly by three days – Day), there is an alternating change, a relaxing of the intestinal constriction, a colliquative diarrhoea by a vicarious effort sets in, and stercoraceous bile loaded with scybalous concretions has free expulsion. An occasional concomitant, debilitating in the extreme whenever it occurs, is a free seminal drain (Macgowan).

Change in the entire contour becomes painfully apparent. Instead of the “complexionally pleasant” softness of hue such as arsenic is said to impart to the cheeks of the Styrian damsels, there is a bronzed complexion and a rigidity of skin like as of parchment, and a tendency to rigors also, unrelieved, unless occasionally, and by an intense sudation setting in. The eye kindles to flash in a momentary glint only, then shrinks again into its characteristic gaze upon vacancy, and the once sonorous ring of the voice has passed into a husky squeak.

An incidental (not uncommon) symptom is a general hyperesthesia, and this being fairly established, the nervous susceptivity may become so acute that not so much as an articulated sound, not the jar from a footstep, shall be endurable. Indeed, the physical torment present seems at times as if an aggregation of all conceivable tortures in their totality. Not the fiery thrills from tic douloureux, not the lancinating pains of cancer can hold comparison, for they, with their exacerbations, have their alternating relaxations; the pangs from opium hold one as with the grip of a vise. Twinges as from electric sparks shoot along the nerve-fibrils, or again flame-flashes radiate from circumference to centre and from spine to surface again. Under such combination of physical pressure body and mind with it succumb inevitably.

Privation

If for an extended period (as among the impoverished classes in China) the wonted supply is no longer, or only very irregularly procurable, glandular degenerescence, rickets, a hydropic tendency or albuminuria will likely ensue (Hill, Oxley). Such privation, indeed, in the view of some observers, as Pidduck and Little, may jeopardize the very life.

A confirmatory instance is from Chardin. A young Persian having a journey to make through a waste and scantily-populated territory, and where supplies of any sort were not to be counted on, had proceeded only half-way when his provisional stock of opium had become exhausted. There was but one alternative, to wheel horse about and put back with all speed for home again; but in the effort he sunk in a fatal collapse. Of this narrative it is safe to say at a venture, “Se non e vero, e bene trovato.”

The culmination of suffering there is yet to be named – the agrypnia or insomnia that must be endured. In place of the “heavy honey-dew of slumber,” come “Slumbers that are not sleep, But a continuance of enduring thought;” when the lone sufferer, with brain distraught and eyeballs as if glazed, must endure and endure hour upon hour, unremittedly agitated and hopelessly bereft of repose, until forced in the exhaustion of his agony to exclaim with Sigismunda, “Oh, for that quiet sleep which knows no waking!”

Sleep, if indeed procurable, is never equable and refreshing, but rather agitative and disquieting; meanwhile comes “The Dream, That mystical usurper of the mind, The spectres which no exorcism can bind.”

The satirist Scarron, quondam-husband of De Maintenon, who for years had been habituated to an evening dose of laudanum, declares in an auto-epitaph written by anticipation, that his first night in the grave was his first night of sleep.

At one period in his life so perseveringly tormented was De Quincey with a diablerie of night-spectres, that he declared despairingly he would “never, never sleep again;” and indeed for years, even after a long intermission, he could get but three hours at most, and then only past midnight.

Mrs. M. of W. New York, a woman now sixty years old, who has used morphine (5 grains for the day) now less than two years, even thus early sleeps but irregularly, occupying herself for the most part with noisy soliloquy for the edification of her family in the night-hours, and diversifying the day with visits to the office of an electro-galvanic praestigiator in the neighborhood.

The Erotic Force Of Opium.

Does this agent, upon repeated use, operate as an aphrodisiac, or as an anaphrodisiac, or is it simply neutral? The question has been variously mooted. In Eastern Asia the positive belief obtains, as appears from Cleyer: “Ad venexem enim ciere integrae nationes usum norunt, et in hunc se adhibent.”

A corresponding idea is entertained among the ladies of Turkey, as we learn from a note of Jahn: “Feminae Turcicae opio viros incitare in contubernium solent.” If the orgasm – favored, as the Chinese suppose, by the admixture of saffron – is really enhanced in the early use, a premature exhaustion may be expected in the sequel. According to Dr. Macgowan an abiding impotentia is the finale, and Brodie and Astley Cooper have expressed similar convictions. De Pouqueville and De Tort also ascertained concerning the theriakis of the Levant, that they are habitually tormented with a satyriasis as abortive as it is insatiable. Several of Dr. Palmer’s cases also appear to indicate a growing indifference to the peculiar marital relation and a prospective dissolution of the bonds.

A case, as untoward in progress as it was gloomy in the end, will illustrate some points in pathogenesis. The particulars, derived upon direct personal inquiry, are communicated by a familiar friend (that was) of the patient.

Dr. C, of the Genesee Valley, whose death at the age of 47 occurred two years since, had been an opium eater eleven years. Diphtheria (for this seems to be the proper name) appearing at an early period, had seriously impaired a constitution originally frail, leaving behind a nervous adynamia and a gastric derangement that had degenerated into’ a settled dyspepsia. To combat the existing gastralgia, and at the instance of a brother-doctor, morphine was put on trial, and thereafter continued for the rest of his life, though the relief anticipated never came. The patient grew melancholic and morose as time wore on, insisting he must die soon, and that the doctors were but ignoramuses, comprehending nothing of his maladies. For the last few years the average professedly consumed was over one drachm for the week, besides the very considerable leeway-reserve always to be calculated on in such cases. Constipation, early confirmed, became a permanent and most annoying symptom, over which purgatives exerted but a qualified efficacy, and which the syringe only scantily relieved. Insomnia was the rule, and sleep, such as it was, brought no refreshing. The eye wore the peculiar dazy glitter, a basilisk-lustre almost, such as the person describing had never seen the like of, or would willingly see again. The fauces became aphthous, a brownish sordes loaded the rugose tongue, and incessant twinges in the stomach kept the man in a sort of perpetual motion. As the months passed the patient got more and more intractable. At times he would be around, with vial in pocket, so as to have his stimulus at free command, and whoever does this will renew his dose without stint, bongre malgre; or if for prudential reasons put upon strict allowance, feeble and impotent as he was he would work himself into a frenzy, begging for his morphine with moans and sobs; or again, assuming the minatory attitude, he would denounce his friends for their barbarities with reproaches and imprecations. On a certain day (nor was this, as appears, a solitary instance) he must have swallowed what, upon estimate (and as was his admission to a professional friend), an entire drachm of morphine.

This child in sensitiveness, this monomaniac in wayward capriciousness, became in his last months so thoroughly restive under any and every restraint devised, that an allowance of whiskey was judged expedient. The drink was given in measured quantity at first, and in alternation with his morphine, but afterward conjointly with it, and finally was supplied ad libitum. The “vulnus in venis” had penetrated too deeply even for the plastic hand of a Machaon to reach. “Vraiment Thomme ne meurt pas, il se tue.”

A case from Dr. C. H. Wood illustrates the impetuosity of this morbid appetite, and the consequent inveteracy of the habit. C. a cordwainer, age 35, having suffered dysenteric attacks repeatedly (but not from intemperate living), had after various discouragements sought relief in morphine. The dose, very inconsiderable at first, and but gradually advancing, had got to be a stationary one, a drachm for the week, but now and then just twice that. The malady declined so as to occasion little trouble, but not so the urgency for the remedy. Trials at a change repeatedly undertaken were as often baffled. The patient, sustained by his adventitious support, was happy as a lord, and equal to a full day’s work at any time; but so surely as the supply was intermitted for any cause, such was the precordial distress he must take to his bed and have the doctor’s help right off. The skin had finally taken a deep icteric hue, as though it had been dyed in saffron. These victims of habit come and go, appearing and disappearing again, chacun a son tour.


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The Physiological Action Of Opium

(From) “Opium And The Opium Appetite”, by Alonzo Calkins, MD (1870)

Chapter VI: The Physiological Action Of Opium

“Impia sub dulci melle venena latent.” – Catullus.

“A dance of spirits, a mere froth of joy, That mantling high, now sparkles, now expires, Leaving the soul more vapid than before.” – Young.

Opium exerts its stimulative action in a twofold direction; upon the body, and upon the mind. The earliest ab-interiori impression is an indisposition to locomotion and an inaptitude to exertion every way. Muscular play, whatever there is of it, seems fortuitous rather than determinative, the lower propensities abate their intensive force and settle into torpidity, and the physical state is that of an automatic inertia. The will too, “that power triumphant where it dares,” lapses into a careless quiescence, the dormancy of reverie.

The transformations wrought upon the intellectual sense and the emotional susceptibilities during the opium-paroxysm partake indeed of the marvellous. The volitional faculty, that primum-mobile of the intellectual man, having shrunk into a mere passivity, judgment the balance wheel, now swayed this way and that in the conflict between the centripetal and centrifugal forces reason and imagination, is jolted. Opium, from its pivot-poise, and the soul now disenthralled from terrene clogs is wafted away upon fancy’s exultant pennons as by an electric rebound.

“Winging its flight from star to star, from world to luminous world, as far as the universe spreads its flaming wall,” to traverse if it may find some empyrean of a more ethereal and enrapturing entrancement than dull earth affords. The vision is as of some fairy mirage, without the tantalizing sense of vacuity, without the vapid disrelish arising from satiety.

Illustrative of this spiritual metamorphosis is the recorded experience of the hospital patient Mr. B.:

“Opium intensifies all the capacities for thought, with all the emotional capabilities; lifting the man to a higher plane of existence, where he may enjoy in panoramic perspective as it were, illusions no longer negations in seeming but veritable realities rather. The votary has now become a child in sensibility, a youth full-grown in vividness and splendor of conception, a more than man in copiousness of ideas and grasp of thought.”

The emotional developments are as novel and incongruous as are the proper conceptual creations. Querulousness and irascibility, though native to the man, recede for a space and give transient place to an amiable self-complacency, a self-satisfied disposition that would maintain accord with everybody and everything. Flashy wit in turgid declamation (the “rauca garrulitas”) here breaks out, to expire perchance even in the very utterance.

Another scenic “Paradise of Fools” has opened to the view; yet through all these transitional stages of rhapsodic exaltations and ephemeral inanities, the sense of personal identity is at no stage altogether effaced.

A few hours at the longest having lapsed, sleep begins. This may for a brief space be profound and death-like, a “consanguineus leti sopor,” as indicated by stertor and a dropping of the nether jaw, or it may be unquiet and fugitive at best, a hurried slumbering merely. The pattamaras (letter-carriers) on their journeys from Lahore, having reached their halting-stations, drop at once into a slumber which is profound only in the appearance; woe to the wayfarer who carelessly disturbs them! Not like the sleep on whose inventor the Governor of Barataria so piously invokes a blessing is this opium sleep, but rather a fitful yet oppressive somnolence, that leaves behind an aching brain, a fevered throat, and a languor and depression paralyzing to the whole body.

In sleep (but not with all) comes the dream. This, as if through some, spontaneity of working, takes shape and coloring less or more from the occupations and the musings of the day just gone, when, however, the “ruling passion,” under all diversities “Simulacra lacessunt Haec eadem animos nostros, quae cum vigilamus.” – Lucretius, of temperament or bias, is sure to come uppermost. The gamester is shuffling his cards once more, the stump orator boils over in vociferous harangue, the miser gloats again over his coffered hivings, the gourmand renews the feast at tables laden with appetizing viands, the castle-builder awakes to raptures anew, in a “chateau d’Espagne” his fancy has reared and decorated, the enthusiast devotee bending before Superstition’s shrine, hails in rapturous ejaculation the paradise o£ his dream where hope shall be exhausted in fruition.

Here too, libertinage finds its congenial atmosphere, but in enjoyments “linguae reticenda modestae,” for “Les sensations d’un tel reveur sur l’appareil genitale sont non-seulement voluptueuses, mais en rapport avec les tendences habituelles” (Libermann).

Such in its “best estate” is the virginal paroxysm of the opium-dreamer; a spasmodic ecstasy, an illusory enchantment, which in the recurrence becomes toned down to what has been termed a “static equilibrium, that can never be transcended again by any effort or device”.

The Bazaars and shops present a various and altogether a very repulsive picture. In a company some may be absorbed in their reveries and incognizant of the scenes around them; others grow mirthful and loquacious, breaking out into cachinnations the most absurd, and all because they cannot help it; others again, with pallid face and shrunken lips, are earnestly waiting in expectation of that excitement that shall dispel care and melancholy, and make them for a season oblivious of themselves.

Fatuity bordering on idiocy is the prominent feature around. Madden, on making acquaintance with the theriakis, remarked the glassy lustre and the incessant agitation of their eyes, the flushy hue of face, the swaying to and fro of the body in its unsteadiness, the ridiculous incoherency of their talk, and the extravagance of their maladroit gesticulations.

In the New Court, London, the camp-ground of a colony of foreigners, Chinese, Bengalese, Greeks, and others, is one of these opium dens under the direction of Ya-Hi, a man eighty-years old and himself an inveterate smoker, who makes the ordering of the nightly entertainment. Here in a close room styled “the Divan” the air of which is enough to stifle a stranger, may be seen numerous visitors arranged squat around the tea trays upon which their pipe-bowls rest, now indulging in vapid twaddle, now relapsing into idiotic mutterings, with the accompaniment of a motion of the lower jaw, sheep-fashion, or all may be quiet for the time, ready to break into mirthful extravagance at any instant – and for any or no cause. These people confess their willingness to work all day for procuring the furtive but fugitive enjoyment this receptacle holds out for the night.

Certain amateur explorers in the mines of experiment – all of course having specially in view “the general weal,” have recorded their sensations from making trial of opium.

Dr. Madden then sojourning at Constantinople visited the Theriaki Tchartchiffi or Grand Bazaar – the Lunatic Asylum, by some singular conjunction, stands fronting directly opposite – partly with the view of taking notes, but as much for making trial of the course, secundum artem, in his own person. After swallowing in succession several lozenges to the amount of 4 grains in all, he began to have an unwonted feeling of self-expansion corporeally, while at the same time things as seen in vision appeared in an exaggerated amplitude. Singularly indeed, so often as he opened his eyes the phantasmagorial figures would flit off and vanish, to return again and again. The doctor’s anticipations were in the sequel fulfilled only very indifferently.

Dr. Macgowan experimented upon himself in China, and with more satisfaction. His sensations assimilated much to those that come of inhaling nitrous oxide.

Note. In Winslow’s Journal of Psychology, 1859, is described in its details a very curious phenomenal case, that of a lady, who, for an organic sexual malady, had recourse occasionally to morphine. The case is the more remarkable in consideration of the extreme disproportion of symptoms to the inconsiderable amount of dose, which was 3 1/2  grains only.


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Traditional Methods Of “Eating” Opium

(From) “Opium And The Opium Appetite” by Alonzo Calkins, MD (1870)

Chapter V: Methodical Forms Of Opium Stimulation

“Que voulez-vous? Il est fait comme cela.” – Fr. Proverb

“Oh, that men should put an enemy into their mouths to steal away their brains!”- Othello.

A Gentleman’s Chandu Tools

The term Opodipsesis or Opodipsia is a legitimate coinage, being pathognomonic of the morbid condition; Opophagesis or Opophagia (Opium-eating) is a pseudonym. This latter term, however, being in accommodation to the popular idea – though indeed in no proper sense is opium ever taken by any eating process, unless hypothetically so – may serve for a technical convenience as well as any.

Among opium eaters two prevalent usages obtain: one consisting in swallowing a draught or a bolus, the other in firing a boulette or pea (the chandoo), and then inhaling the smoke through a pipe adapted to the purpose. Such pipe is known in China by the appellative yen-tsiang or opium-pistol. The people of the Flowery Kingdom universally smoke the chandoo; in Persia and the Levant they swallow the lozenge.

In the base of the bowl is a chink for transmitting the smoke into a stem, and above this is laid the pellet. The smoker, having taken the position of recumbency with a sideward inclination, the pipe in one hand and a small lamp for flame in the other, makes one full inspiration. Experienced operators swell the lungs to their full expansion, and after retaining the smoke a considerable time, as long practice enables them to do, finally exhale the fumes through the nostrils. When the spirituous preparation is used in such way, as by the grandees, a single whiff of the vaporized liquid permeates the entire cell area as with a thrill from a galvanic circuit.

For the novice a single pellet may suffice; not so for the practised smoker. Surgeon Hill describes a scene he witnessed on board the ship Sunda. The smoker, a young man of twenty-four years only, used eight pellets of the pea-size one after another, and all in the course of twenty minutes, making one long inspiration after each; he then fell into a profound sleep, which continued unbroken for three hours. The breathing was heavy and the circulation depressed, the pulsations being reduced by about one in twenty.

The progress towards stupefaction is less speedy as experience grows into a habit. Old stagers may require hours and many repetitions ere the coveted excitation is secured. Libermann, an attache of the Imperial army against the Yaous, and the author of surgical memoirs covering several years, speaks of pellets of 10-15 centigrammes in weight, 10, 20, or 30 of which, even up to 200, might be requisite to the complete somnolescence. Suppose the full influence attained in two hours, it will hold for four or five.

In certain regions modes altogether peculiar obtain. The Rajpoots, a military class exclusively, have the following fashion. On the arrival of a friend, the first question put to him is, “Umul Nya – Have you opiumed?” At their festive gatherings a big bowl of water, into which has been dropped a lump of opium, is set in the centre of the table. When the guests around have a dip each in turn, making a cup of the hollow of the hand. (Col. Tod, 1829.)

Another mode is observed in Siam. Here the company, be it opium or bhang that makes for the time the entertainment, sit squat in a circle, just like a Choctaw with his squaw and the rest, when settled in a ring around they are ready to pass from mouth to mouth the whiskey canteen.

The opium shops in the cities (where the hoi polloi, the “filth and scum” are prone to hive) are narrow rooms, secluded from outside observation, dingy and dank, with a solitary lamp suspended midway, apparently for the purpose of making darkness visible rather, and which are packed almost to suffocation. These dens of dissoluteness and debasement are but rarely visited by merchants and others of better class, unless with a view to greater privacy for the time.

“At the mansions of the rich (says Hue) there is usually found fitted up for the accommodation of friends, a private boudoir, richly ceiled, and garnished with superb adornments, such as art only can achieve and wealth procure; and here rich paintings, with choice scraps from Confucius, adorn the walls, and carvings in ivory with other articles of virtu, grace the tables. Here also is provided in chief the gilded opium pipe with all its appurtenances; and here host and guests, unrestrained by curious eyes, deliver themselves up without concern to the inebriating chandoo and its beatific transports.”

In Constantinople the bazaars are adorned in a style more accordant with the Asian pomp of the Ottoman. The visitor, having placed himself reclining upon a dais, the servitor in waiting, with a tactus eruditus such as ever designates the trained expert, deftly lays a single lozenge upon the tongue of the recipient, like as is the manner in a Christian country with the knight of the mortar and pestle, who “(Most mild of men!) Bids you put out your tongue, Then put it in again.”

As between pipe and bolus, in view of their pathologic consequences, says Surgeon Smith, there is little to choose. The chandoo being partially denarcotized, has the advantage in respect of purity, an advantage evenly counterbalanced if not more than that in this, that the area of cellular surface in the expanded lungs directly exposed to the narcotizing action is in excess so many times over of that of the stomach-membrane.

A third mode of bringing the system under the desired influence, is the Hypodermic method – subcutaneous injection by means of a syringe. In this way one-third the quantity that would ordinarily be taken by the mouth suffices, i.e. the same amount exerts a triple force. The practice, as favoring the habit, appears to be less hazardous in instances, but not certainly. Eulenberg in a case of disease made 1200 injections in all, and without manifest injury appertaining. For withdrawal he advises graduated reductions, with atropia incorporated in proportionately increased quantities. Any reliance placed upon this form of use, however, for its supposed comparative security, is likely to prove delusive.

Dr. Sewall of N. Y. has just reported two cases. In the first, the practice, after a two months’ continuance, was arrested, but not without much embarrassment; the second patient still continues on, writhing as helplessly as if, Laocoon-like, he were wound around in the coils of some monster-serpent. This gentleman, now of middle life, having suffered much from a diseased ankle, was advised (professionally) to use morphine hypodermically. The immediate effect being found most soothing and satisfactory, an indefinite continuance was suggested; and now, after a habituation for two years, the invalid is hopelessly delivered over, an abject slave to the habit, enervated in body and enfeebled in mind. The thigh of the affected limb is literally studded with punctures, to be counted by the score.

There is a case reported by Dr. Parrish, marvellous indeed in every view. The patient, a country physician, having now become an inmate of the Sanitarium, thus introduces himself before the public.

The Probe: by Joseph Parrish, M.D., Media, Penna., No. 1, 1869.

“Two years ago, I was suffering under a violent attack of neuralgia; meanwhile I could procure no sleep, not even any respite from suffering through the agency of any one of the recognized narcotics as employed in the usual modes. A medical friend suggested morphine, eighth-grain doses in solution by the subcutaneous mode. The relief experienced so sudden, so complete, I can never forget. Delivered of all pain, I was furthermore enjoying a repose indescribably entrancing. From the day on which these sensations occurred, I date my present bondage to a habit that has well-nigh ruined my health, prostrated my business, and blasted my hopes for coming time.”

This gentleman, of good position at home, with a moral constitution peculiarly sensitive under the pangs of self-reproach, and the mortification arising from having yielded to a fascination whose history he was sufficiently familiar with, now lay prostrate under the inertia of despair. The quantity he had fixed upon for the day was 5 grains regularly, and for 730 consecutive days he had used his instrument at home when time allowed, or again when abroad in his carriage; by the roadside; at the house of a patient; or during a halt at the tavern. The punctures, averaging several a day, were made irrespective of locality, though commonly near the seat of the central pain, and not unfrequently to the depth of an inch. They numbered altogether 2190. The morphine consumed amounted to 3650 grains, the equivalent of thrice such quantity taken in the ordinary way, that is to say, 23 ounces. For the sequel vide c. xxi.

Methodical Forms of Opium-Stimulation (Chapter 5, continued)

This being eminently an age of novelties and experimentations, there falls in here, not malapropos, a case quite unique in character certainly, and illustrative of what may be more delicately described perhaps by a euphemism, the Methodus per Inversionem. The case is contributed by Dr. L. of New York. Mrs. B., demi-veuve, age 25, of delicate habit and fair complexion, had been habituated to morphine three to four years, introducing solutions of the same intra-rectum, by means of a small acuminated glass syringe.

Repeated efforts to break off, with veratria for a substitute, had been of no permanent avail, for the appetite would not thus be put down. One day, in the height of the gold-excitement (Sept. 1869), the lady (a frequenter of the bourse) went down to Wall Street about ten o’clock in the morning, but without her usual supply which she in her hurry had left behind. Suddenly seized with overpowering tremors, she rushed into the first saloon she could find and swallowed a full tumbler of raw whiskey, and again a second after a little interval only, besides purchasing a bottle for use on the return home.

The doctor found her about 7 p.m., tremulous all over in body, and in great mental perturbation, for she had drunk, as appeared, a good deal besides the extra bottle, though without any inebriating feeling. Ale was advised for the night, and several pints were taken, but no sleep came. The case proving intractable (for “she must have her morphine or die” – so she said), was, after a few days’ treatment, abandoned. Her mode of using was (the account is her own), to pour into the palm of the hand a quantity – about 10 grains, as she illustrated by drawing a vial from beneath her pillow – then to transfer the same with water to another vial for solution, and from this to charge the instrument. The operation was repeated several times in the day, and abroad as well as at home; any by-place serving as a convenience, a side-room in a broker’s office, or a nook in a secluded street. Verily “knowledge by witty inventions” is not yet, it would appear, “past finding out.”


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Dr. Calkins Chapter IV: The Pharmacology Of Opium

The “War on Drugs” has been a great success in achieving its true intent – to fund the bloated bottomless budgets of untouchable government agencies, to pay outrageous salaries to squads of goons who otherwise couldn’t keep a minimum-wage job, to give half-human morons unrestricted license to kill, destroy and imprison millions of people, and to empower soul-dead halfwits with the freedom to practice their piggish racism.

As an intro to Chapter 4 of Dr. Calkins’ book, I thought that I would offer you a brief excerpt from an excellent article “Ethical and practical issues with opioids in life-limiting illness” By Robert Fine MD (in) Proceedings Of Baylor University Medical Center Journal 2007.

While Dr. Fine’s references are from the 1980s and 1990s, before the current “Opioid Epidemic”  whose advocates love to screech “Just one pill and you’re hooked”, the observations of these research studies are worth thinking about.

Quoting Dr Fine:

“… the reality is that opioids are rarely addictive in the setting of life-limiting illness. Substantial information in the peer-reviewed literature backs up this statement. For example:

  • In 1980, Porter and Jick reported on a prospective study of 12,000 hospitalized patients who received at least one opioid preparation for moderate to severe pain. They found only four reasonably well-documented cases of addictive behavior (1)

  • In 1981, Kanner and Foley noted that the medical use of opioids rarely leads to drug abuse or to iatrogenic opioid addiction among cancer patients (2)

  • In 1982, 181 health care professionals with an average of 6 years of experience who worked at 93 burn units and cared for at least 10,000 hospitalized patients reported no case of addiction in patients treated for burn pain (3)

  • In 1992, Schug et al reported only one case of addiction among 550 cancer patients who experienced pain and were treated with morphine for a total of 22,525 treatment days (4)

  • In 1992, Zenz et al reported no incidents of serious toxicity or addiction among 100 patients with diverse pain syndromes who received narcotics for prolonged periods (5)

  1. Porter J, Jick H. Addiction rare in patients treated with narcotics. N Engl J Med. 1980;302(2):123. [PubMed]

  2. Kanner RM, Foley KM. Patterns of narcotic drug use in a cancer pain clinic. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1981;362:161–172. [PubMed]

  3. Perry S, Heidrich G. Management of pain during debridement: a survey of U.S. burn units. Pain. 1982;13(3):267–280. [PubMed]

  4. Schug SA, Zech D, Grond S, Jung H, Meuser T, Stobbe B. A long-term survey of morphine in cancer pain patients. J Pain Symptom Manage. 1992;7(5):259–266. [PubMed]

  5. Zenz M, Strumpf M, Tryba M. Long-term oral opioid therapy in patients with chronic nonmalignant pain. J Pain Symptom Manage. 1992;7(2):69–77. [PubMed]

(From) “Opium And The Opium Appetite”, by Alonzo Calkins, MD 1870

Chapter IV: The Pharmacology Of Opium

“Incedis per ignes Suppositos cineri doloso.” – Horace.

O true Apothecary, thy drugs are quick!” — Romeo and Juliet.

Opium (from Onos, the Juice) – Ufiyoon in Arabic, Ufeent in Hindu, O-fu-jung in Chinese – is the crystalline liquid that exudes from the capsules of the Poppy, and what Galen has poetically denominated “Lachrymae papaveris” – poppy tears. All species of the family yield opium in some proportion; that known to commerce is in botanical nomenclature the Papaver Somniferum.

Opium by pharmaceutical classification ranks among the gums. It is stimulant and exhilarating, tonic and roborant, or anodyne and soporific, according to the indications for using, the quantity employed, and the period of use.

The purest extract is procured from the borders of the great Mediterranean basin; Europe and the United States (where the poppy has scarcely as yet secured a habitat) have their supplies mainly from India.

Bengal opium, often adulterated by admixture with foreign ingredients, is inferior in strength to that from Turkey. At the Exposition Universelle held in 1867, specimens from Persia and the Levant proved to be of double the strength as compared with others from India (Schroff). The opium of the Peninsula is bitter and nauseous to the taste, that from Western Asia is more acrid and heating. In France the imported gum, having been subjected to a process of depuration, is afterward compacted into masses of definite strength and inclosed in a stamped envelope of metal-foil. This is the “opium titre,” as known in the Paris market.

Prepared Opium, alias Smoking-opium, is properly an extract, procured by subjecting the crude gum to a thorough filtration with water assisted by heat for the menstruum. In China the process is conducted with the most scrupulous care, as anything of an inferior quality would be rejected by the chief purchasers, i.e. the grandees, positively and altogether. This article, known as the Chandoo (Tschandii), which constitutes about 54 percent of the original, is marked by a more pronounced development of the exhilarant and sedative properties, with a corresponding reduction upon the narcotic element. A similar preparation is the Ya-pieu-kao, made up of Indian and native opium in mixture.

The residuum of all (faex) is denominated Tye or Tinco, and there is further a refuse of a refuse, the Samshung.

In the region of the Bosphorus there is used a confection made by combination with aromatics, and fashioned into the lozenge form. Pellets of the sort are put up in packets bearing the label Mash-Allah or Maslach (“The great gift of God”), to be exposed for public sale (Ollivier).

Opium is variously combined, besides, with other narcotics. At Cairo is found a conserve, El Mogen (Magoon), in which hyoscyamus is the adjunct. In India it is cannabis resin, or the datura, or nux vomica. In Borneo opium and tobacco are often smoked together.

The Turks supplement the gum with the Sublimate of mercury to the extent even of 10 percent of the mass, and for the purpose of intensifying the stimulation. There was an opium eater at Broussa who used 40 grains of the sublimate. A more marvellous instance is the case of Suleyman Yeyen, a centenarian well known towards the close of the last century as a familiar pedestrian about the streets of Constantinople, who had attracted the notice of De Pouqueville, Hobhouse, and other Europeans. This veteran among the eaters, having used opium a lifetime until with him it had become effete, betook himself one day to the shop of a Jew, and procured a drachm of the mercurial. This Israelite in name that was (but not “an Israelite indeed”), having anxiously expected for over a day the reappearance of his singular customer, began to apprehend a summons from the Cadi to answer to the charge of complicity in a suicide, and forthwith shut up shop. To his intense relief the desired visitant returned after the lapse of two days, and for a fresh supply.

Just give it a try – free sample!

Morphia (Morphine) is an alkaloid extract, in which the sedative property is amply developed, but where the narcotic force is reduced to the minimum. Good opium yields 8 to 10 percent or more. This is the form preferred by the more intelligent classes, and what is held in superior favor by the sex. The “dear morphine” it is that commands the especial patronage of English ladies. An additional reason for preference is this, that in the protracted use less disturbance of the stomach eventuates.

Laudanum – in the French Codex an Alcoole – is a spirituous solution. This form, which in China is limited to the gentry rather, is in the U. S. the choice of plebeians, and of such as have broken down upon alcoholic potations. In Persia there is made a vinous liquor of similar character, the Coquemar or Cocomar (D’Herbelot). Laudanum has long been the favorite agent for effecting suicide, but of two hundred cases of direct attempts and accidental substitutions through mistake, as appears from a collation of cases made by the writer, laudanum was the form in 138 of them; and of 60 suicides pure, 46, or 4 out of every 5, were accomplished by the same means.

The record for England and Wales, 1863-67, is 682 out of an aggregate of 2,097 instances. In reference to the suicidal propensity generally it may be here observed, that when traceable to moral obliquities it is commonly consummated, if not by laudanum, then by some other poison proper; whereas cases that have their origination in pure despondency are oftener finished by the more summary process of self-strangulation.

Opium in conjunction with alcohol in any form operates with a revivified energy. This reciprocal action did not escape the notice of Galen. Champagne wine or anisette-cordial, for instance, would be an “extra hazardous” adjunct. In a goodly city of ours, among whose conspicuous adornments are the long colonnades of towering elms that enfilade its avenues, there was an Esculapian brother, whose wont was to prepare himself with liberal potations of the like preparatory to the expected soiree, and once mingled with the throng, to grow decidedly impulsive and loquacious in the general not only, but amusingly demonstrative and ingratiative in the particular.

Black-Drop (Quaker Drop) is an acetous tincture. This, as compared with laudanum, exerts a duplicated sedative action, but holds in narcotic influence an inferior place. The merits of this “drop” are certified to by a Philadelphian, a purchaser of the stimulus by the gallon for a good while, who, after ample trial, assures her friends that the preparation is less perturbative of the proper nerve energy, and is furthermore less damaging to the complexion.

McMunn’s Elixir is a denarcotized laudanum, prepared with ether for a menstruum. Extensively used empirically, and held in request by eaters, it has a large patronage in regular practice.

Paregoric is an aromatized laudanum, camphor being the adjunct. This elder elixir, originally intended for the infantile period, has long enjoyed a most intimate family hospitality.

Accept No Substitutes!

Godfrey’s Cordial. This and the preceding, with “Mistress Winslow’s Syrup,” constitute together a sort of triad of household idolship undisturbed by any rivalling interlopers. The monopoly of patronage so long secured to the first two named is now arrogated by the Soothing Syrup and its arriere-garde, “Mother Bailey’s Quieting Syrup.”

The basis of Winslow – “haud ignota loquor” – is morphine; what had been certified to before upon indubitable testimony is now assured by a recent analysis, which gives nearly one grain of the alkaloid to an ounce of the liquid. The dose for an infant, as per label, is at least five times over what ordinary prudence would authorize. This nostrum, now distributed broadcast over the country, has well-nigh distanced all competitors.

Such are the elixirs and syrups which, as administered whether by deluded mothers or crafty nurses, have soothed many and many a luckless infant into that state of quiet that knows no after-disturbing. Among our publicans there obtains only a very vague apprehension of the pregnant fact that the popular nostrums of the day, the cholera-drops, the pain-killers, the lung-troches and other pectorals, draped as they are in a flaunty incognito, or ensconced as they may be behind the objective screen of a caveat – enough, if mustered into line, to make up a regiment — owe whatever inherent virtue (if any) they possess to the omnipresent leaven, opium.

The stereotyped cautionary phrase, Caveat Emptor, should be the statutory appendix to every one of their trade-marks.

The manipulators in this species of manufacture – marauders upon society they are, for out of the life-blood of the people comes their bread – would appear to be the legitimate representatives, by a sort of apostolic succession, of a class described by Celsus, the Circulatores (“homines circumforanei”), who went about enticing and amusing the popellum or dregs by their high-and-low tumbling, and all, “lucri causa”, for filthy lucre’s sake.

The only difference between now and then appears in this – the originals circulated themselves, their imitators circulate placards.


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Commercial Origins Of The Global Opium Pandemic

(From) “Opium & The Opium Appetite” by Alonzo Calkins, MD published 1870

Chapter II: The Commercial History Of Opium In Europe And The Orient

“Audax lapeti genus Ignem fraude mala gentibus intulit.” – Horace.

“Japheth shall dwell in the tents of Shem” – The Patriarch

Among Semitic peoples it originally was where the poppy extract, Opium, found its marts and consumers; and if Egypt was the originator, Persia certainly “cette patrie ete pivot” says Ferishta, is the historic foster-mother. The Moslem, it is reckoned, carried opium to the China-frontier as early as the tenth century or before. Chardin, the traveller, who visited Persia towards the close of the seventeenth century, found the article a familiar acquaintance there, for Schah Abbas had put it under the ban of a decree a hundred years before this. According to this author, the Tartar hordes at the era of the Conquest, 1644, took opium along with them across the Great Wall; yet for more than a century after, the new immigrant made no measurable advance, being restricted to medicinal purposes solely, e.g., in dysentery and melancholia.

The importations into China, from alien sources, had not by 1767 exceeded 200 packages annually. From so small beginnings the trade thus initiated by Portuguese adventurers at Whampoa has now, upon various estimates, Johnston’s with the rest, so expanded as to comprehend an aggregate of populations numbering above 700,000,000 of individuals, in their various distributions over Persia, India, China and Tartary, Malacca and the Sunda Isles, and Turkey and the Levant, even to Mauritania and Egypt; indeed, whithersoever the Crescent has conducted migrations opium has borne company, finding for itself successive lodgments.

The introduction of opium into the Island of Formosa is credited by Choo-Tsun to the Hung Maou or red-haired (the English); another account implicates more directly the Dutch merchants of Batavia.

Hindustan, which furnishes eight-tenths of the total supply for China, might be styled, and without hyperbole, an immense poppy-garden. The importations from India into China were: 1767 – 200 caissons. 1800-1810 – 2,500 piculs (133 lbs/picul), average. 1820 – 4,700 (7,000) piculs; 1830 – 18,700 piculs 1840 – (1838, 48,000) 50,000 piculs; 1850 – (1848-9, 54,000) 55,000 piculs 1860 – 60,000 piculs upon estimate; 1867 – 75,000 piculs (=10,000,000 lbs.)

For the later decennial periods there has been a falling off below the two percent of annual increase that was, a reduction variously ascribable to poverty, increasing celibacy, and impaired fecundity and infanticide, the direct and palpable offshoots of the national vice.

Opium being in China a dutiable article, a large margin must be allowed for the contraband traffic. Some presumptive estimate may be formed of the extent of such traffic from an item of the commercial history of the country for 1839.

About this year had been issued the famous “Edict,” which proscribed and condemned to destruction all the opium then in the ports. Within a twelve month thereafter there passed through Canton 1800 piculs, upon 700 of which only, or 40 percent of the whole, was the duty paid. In view of the fact that there is to be guarded a coastline of twenty-five hundred miles, swarming with a population whose supreme passion is the procurement of opium at all hazards, legitimately or illicitly, an addition of 12 percent to the customs figures would be a safe reckoning.

There is besides a large home production, which Dr. Macgowan, more than twenty years since, estimated as coming up to twenty-five percent on the importations. The cultivation has proceeded for years in the southwest province, Yunnun, and has extended (on the authority of Waterton) to at least six provinces, from one of which alone there annually go out several thousand chests. The accounts for 1869 are, that the manufacture as well as the consumption is increasing at rapid rates, particularly in Mongolia and Mantchuria. The home growth must be very large; indeed, upon a calculation made by G. S, Cooke, then resident in the country, it approximates to the amount imported.

Suppose this domestic supply to have now reached 35 percent only as compared with the foreign, the people of China are now (1867) consuming in a single year 110,620 piculs = 14,750,000 pounds of opium. To such swelling proportions has this “cloud no bigger than a man’s hand” expanded itself, and within the range of just one century!

The tabulated records are confirmed every way by miscellaneous facts. As long ago as 1842, Surgeon G. H. Smith, of Pulo-Penang. estimated that one-tenth of the people of the kingdom were then addicted to the opium pipe, and one-third of that proportion in Malacca. The returns made by Sir John Bowring for Canton and the contiguous districts give a ratio of 26 percent; three local reports, made by native officials, comprise 4,600 smokers out of a total of 13,500 individuals. In Rajpootana (Col. Todd), the use of opium in one form or another is well- nigh universal; and what is true of this district is equally so of Tartary, where the Abbe Hue found the pipe in requisition among all classes and everywhere, their tribunals and solemn assemblies not excepted.

In 1843, when the Rev. Mr. Lowrie was at Amoy, it seemed to him that almost everybody was given to the stimulus; and Johnson, missionary at Fou-Cliow in 1S67, found a state of things well-nigh as bad. As for the hospitals and almshouses of China, they present records to which nothing corresponding as chargeable to alcoholics is yet furnished by similar institutions in our own land. In 1844, at Dr. Little’s House of Correction in Singapore, of the 44 inmates, 4 out of 5 were found to be consumers; a proportion agreeing exactly with the observations of Surgeon Smith.

Compare now, by way of contrast, 1867 with 1840. To the 50.000 pounds of 1840 add 25 percent (for the home culture), making no allowance for clandestine importations where there was little or no inducement to such, the ratio of advance for this 27 years is as 185 : 100, which, compounded with that of population.

In 1840 the East India Company realized out of the opium traffic with China the sum of $4,000,000; in 1850 the receipts reached $15,000,000, a figure which had doubled by 1858. More than ten years back (1854) the Chinese paid this company for opium alone a sum exceeding in valuation the total export of their teas and silks together. Indeed, as Dr. Allen has calculated, the annual surplus profit at the time from this branch of trade alone was adequate to the liquidation, in the course of seven years, of the twenty million debt that had been incurred by the act of colonial emancipation, principal and interest both.

To such proportions has this species of trade tentatively undertaken by a few roving mariners now culminated, fostered as it has been by the indomitable greed of English merchantmen. The humanising tendencies of British civilization, as enforced and supported by British artillery, are very palpably illustrated in a saying current among the people of China, of this sort: “During the opium war the English gave their Chinese acquaintance cannonballs of iron, and after the war, cannonballs of opium; so that our people had the desperate privilege of choice as between being shot to death and poisoned to death.”

“ Revenons a nos moutons – oh nos cheres moutons!” 

Great Britain & The Continent

Paracelsus introduced opium to the notice of Europeans just about two centuries ago. All over Europe the gum bears the highest repute for its therapeutic powers, but as a narcotic stimulant it is little known beyond the limits of the English people and the Parisians. England alone (for Scotland is exempt, and Ireland nearly so) probably consumes more than France and Germany and the Peninsula altogether.

Importations into Great Britain (vide Parliamentary Documents). 1830 – 22,000 pounds; (over re-exportations). 1835- 30,400; 1840 – 41,000; 1850 – 44,000; 1860 — 98,300; 1867 – 125,000. 

Population. 1840 – 27,000,000, 1860 – 29,000,000. 1867 – (1869, 31,000,000) 30,000,000.

1856 Dr. Hawkins of King’s Lynn ascertained upon inquiry that the chief consumption was in Lancashire and other districts, within which are embraced the large manufacturing centres, Sheffield, Manchester, Birmingham, Preston, Nottingham – cities that make up an aggregate population bordering on two millions. The operatives in Lancashire alone (Liverpool excluded) number about two hundred thousand. A chemist in one locality informed Dr. H. he had, in a single year, sold in divided parcels to the amount of two hundred pounds of the drug. Another dealer had thus disposed of a hundred and forty pounds, with the extras of Laudanum and Godfrey’s Cordial, to the extent of ten gallons per week. Here was opium enough, sold at one shop alone, adequate to the supplying of fifteen hundred persons with one drachm of laudanum every day of the year. In the town of Preston, 1843, as was ascertained, sixteen hundred families were regular purchasers of Godfrey, making a ratio of twelve and a half upon the entire population.

Editor’s Note: Godfrey’s Cordial (also called Mother’s Friend) was among the most widely used patent medicine given to infants and children in England and the United States during the latter years of the 18th and early part of the 19th centuries. It was almost always given without a physician’s advice, and was used for a wide variety of symptoms ranging from run-of-the mill fretfulness and colic, to the severest forms of dehydration caused by explosive, bloody diarrhea. Despite the innocuous name, it was a dangerous preparation for infants because of its heavy opium content; Godfrey’s Cordial contained one grain of opium in each two ounces.

Some years since, Dr. A. S. Taylor, an eminent toxicologist, presented, by appointment, to a Committee of Parliament, a report of observations and inquiries made upon a survey of Marshland and the contiguous districts. A druggist whom he met in one parish, assured him he had made sales in small packages during the year previous to the amount of a thousand pounds; a quantity not equal to the demand by a half. This informant declared further, that there was not a village in all that region round but could show at least one shop and its counter loaded with the little laudanum vials, even to the hundreds, for the accommodation of customers retiring from the workshops on Saturday nights. Thus has an aggressive trade with the foreigner recoiled to plague the aggressor in his own homesteads.


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The Opium Poppy & The Ancient World

(from) “Opium & The Opium Appetite”, published in 1870 by Alonzo Calkins, MD

Editors note: This is Dr. Calkins’ short introductory chapter with some interesting classical references to the Opium Poppy and its widespread medical and popular use in the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Greece and Rome.

Off We Go, In Search Of The Legendary Poppy

Chapter I: The Poppy – Its History, Mythic And Traditional

“Pro magna, teste vetustas Creditur.”- Ovid.

“Pauvres humains, qui bonheur attendez, Levez vos coeurs et nos dictes entendez.” – Rabelais

In the ancient mythologies; Greek and Roman, the early existence and use of the Poppy have abundant attestation. Cybele, mother of the gods, is represented on the old monuments as wearing a wreath of poppies, a symbol of fecundity (Jacques).

The Romans accounted the plant a gift of Demeter or Ceres, the goddess of corn, and she is described as bearing a sceptre in one hand, and in the other the symbolic capsule.

Ovid introduces Night advancing with the significant emblem in her coronet: “Interea placidam redimita papavera frontem Nox venit, et secum somnia nigra trahit.”

Somnus also was often painted as reposing upon a bed of snowy poppies. Silius Italicus speaks of him as wandering about by night, scattering from his loaded horn the medicated herb as he passes along: “Curvoque volucris Per tenebras portat medicata papavera cornu.”

Virgil in the Georgics instances the injunction to make an offering of the poppy to the infernal deities for the repose of the manes of Orpheus: “Inferias Orphei Lethaea papavera mittes.”

Catullus adverts to the “Lethaea papavera” and Tibullus to the “medicata papavera.”

Homer, earlier than any of the rest, who dates about 900 b.c., names the poppy among the familiar embellishments of the garden. The poets, careful observers of natural phenomena and faithful chroniclers of antique lore as they ever are, have thus assigned to the poppy a prehistoric existence as also a foremost preeminence. Expede Herculem – allusions thus distinctive and positive must have an origination outside of the mere unsubstantial creations of the poet’s brain.

Diodorus relates that the women of Thebes were acquainted with an herb having properties analogous to those of the poppy certainly, though he does not specify the name. Pliny, while he does not include the poppy in his enumeration of the indigenous products on the Nile border, plainly well understood its virtues, as is evident from the following passage: “Succus papaveris densatur, cui non vis soporifera modo inest, verum si copiosior hauriatur, mortifera per somnos.”

The poppy was evidently known to the Romans at least five centuries before the Christian era, being spoken of by Livy as conspicuous in the gardens of Tarquinius Superbus. Hippocrates, 460 b.c., was acquainted with the same, and among all the physicians and herbalists of his period, the plant ever holds a prominent place. The famous Mithridaticum, which consisted of thirty-six ingredients, and upon which, as a basis, Andromachus, physician to Nero, compounded his Theriaca, contained poppy-extract in large proportion. Here was the Philonium also, an opiated electuary (as commonly supposed, combining hyoscyamus), a compound experimentally known to Plato, who, it appears, was wont to innovate upon his vegetarian habitudes with something more potent than beans and cress. This doughty champion in the van of the philosophers thus turns up in a novel association, as a pioneer to the long line of opium eaters.

Dioscorides, the Linnaeus by anticipation of his day, and Galen, the erudite physician of a period somewhat later, both accord to the poppy a precedent rank.

To Egypt, mother of the ancient civilization and cradle of art, medical writers have from earliest times been prone to point, as having been also the original herbarium of the botanic world. All refer with various speculations to the Nepenthes of the Odyssey as described in Lib. iv. 220. Thirty centuries since it was, as we measure the veiled past, when on the occasion of a nuptial banquet in the halls of Menelaus, at which Telemachus was present as a guest of honor, Helen, the famed in Trojan story, is related to have commingled for the use of her company a cordial of some sort: “A mirth-inspiring bowl, To clear the clouded front of wrinkled care, And dry the tearful sluices of despair” as it would do through twenty-four hours continuously.

The essential element, or what imparted to this liquor its intoxicant virtue proper, has been generally thought to have been a poppy-essence. Such is the view maintained by the learned Sprengel; and Van Swieten indicates his belief in the following passage: “Papaver, instar Helena: Nepenthes, oblivionem omnium malorum inducit.” That the prevalent opinion in the time of Claudian was in accordance with this, is plain from the following significant passage, indicative both of the origin of the plant which affords our opium, and of the primitive mode of preparation. The lines belong to an epithalamium dedicated to Palladius: “Nuiacm pingue desuuat vulnere cortex.”

The Nepenthes, a complex compound, and what Pliny thus adverts to as the “Nobile Nepenthes oblivionem tristitis afferens,” not unlikely, as indeed Dioscoridcs suspected, combined the Cannabis besides.

At the beginning of the present century and later, says Lane, among the common people of Egypt the Cannabis in one or another form, as compared with opium, was in more familiar use; and to this day a wine is made corresponding in character to the description by Dioscorides, and which, mingled with their booza or barley-wine, bears the name of bandji.

In Constantine, Algeria, the fashion at the soirees is to smoke the herb, and also to commingle the wine in their coffee; and thereupon ensues singing and dancing with hilarious extravagance in every way. Galen adverts to a virous liquor made from the seeds of the hemp, a beverage anciently used for its exhilarating inspirations. This much is rendered certain, the Cannabis was a familiar stimulant in the period of the Caliphate.

Very noticeable is the fact that the Hebrew Scriptures, amid references to balsamics and other aromatics, with their confections, make no distinctive allusion to the poppy, nor indeed to any narcotic extract, unless myrrh be so accounted. For such omission there is to be found a measurable explanation, perhaps, in the consideration that the Hebrew family, that “peculiar people” though having sojourned in the land of Egypt, their “house of bondage” for four hundred years, were kept nevertheless by the ruling power carefully segregated from the indigenous race, and under the governance of rigid taskmasters who made their lives “bitter with hard bondage.” The “strong drink” repeatedly spoken of in Leviticus and the prophetic writings was inebriating rather than soporific (Prov. XX-I, and Isa. V.- 11); though myrrhated and absinthiated liquors were employed of old for their recognized stupefactive powers. Vide chap. xxii.

 


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Posting A Remarkable Opium Book – From 1870

Oh No! Granny Found Her Pipe Again!

Something is missing from the media’s breathless coverage of the Opioid crises. Is it just my limited perspective, or are the faces and lives of the people suffering from addiction missing from what we are being shown and told?

I see lots of talking heads – experts, politicians, police, doctors, scientists, moralists and so on discussing the “Crisis” and what to do about it, but only rarely do I see any attention paid to acknowledging the reality of human beings who are trapped in hopelessness, misery and despair.

Well, sometimes I do see individuals who “used to be” addicted, being interviewed with the purpose of promoting the idea that addiction can be overcome using the latest solution touted on Oprah, and once in a while I see a quick shot, with the face blurred out, of a dead addict. Holy shit – would you look at that!

That scary approach ought to keep the kids safe – at least the good little boys and girls. Use lurid stories and images for deterrence, and then go to barbaric punishment and wacky therapies when deterrence fails, which it always does. (That’s where private prisons come in. What a goldmine!)

For these and other reasons I was first fascinated, then thrilled to discover a book by Dr. Alonzo Calkins, MD, published in 1870 in Philadelphia and New York. The full title of Dr. Calkins’ book is: “Opium And The Opium Appetite: With Notices Of Alcoholic Beverages, Cannabis Indica, Tobacco And Coca, Coffee And Tea, And Their Hygeienic Aspects and Pathologies Related.”

Whew – those long titles were certainly popular! As you can see I have taken the liberty of shortening it a bit. I’ve republished a slightly edited version as “Opium & The Opium Appetite”.

Dr. Calkins writes with the wordiness, flourishes, classical references, occasional racial stereotyping, and moralizing of his time and place, which may make rough going at first for those unaccustomed to reading books from 150 years ago. However, if you are interested in understanding the true nature of today’s “Opioid Crisis”, many aspects of which you will almost never hear discussed, and also in exploring all of the solutions that were tried and found lacking in the centuries leading up to 1870, and that are reflected 100% in the “solutions” being proposed in 2018, then I commend this book to your attention.

Even more important than gaining a familiarity with the long history of failures of institutions and governments to deal effectively with Opioid addiction, and being able to confirm why almost all of the proposals being made today are also doomed to failure, in the pages of Dr. Calkins’ book you will discover real solutions that worked for real people 150 years ago. That is the true value of spending some of your precious time and attention reading what Dr. Calkins has to say.

As a blogger it is my job to make information easy for you to access, so I am not simply going to tell you to go to Amazon where I have re-published Dr. Calkins’ book, edited for clarity and given it a hyperlinked Table of Contents for browsing convenience – although you are welcome to do so.

However, if you prefer to browse the book in small bytes I am going to devote the next month or two to publishing Dr. Calkins’ book chapter by chapter here on panaceachronicles.com. Believe me, that is a much easier way to read it than to settle down with  250+ pages of incredibly densely-packed information – although the entire book is a fascinating and rewarding read 

Nevertheless, after all the pain is described, and all the failures documented, and all the ignorant, venal, self-serving experts and authorities quoted, this book is about hope, and redemption, and the ultimate strength of the human spirit. Read this book and you will learn that there are real solutions to the “Opioid Crisis” of 2018, and these solutions will work today just as well as they worked centuries ago – but only if the false solutions are rejected, and the inborn human will to survive is nurtured and supported, and only if people finally learn to care what happens to other human beings. And good luck with that.

Here is a list of all 28 chapters. I will post Chapter One tomorrow, January 17, 2018 and will post each successive chapter every few days.

Chapter I: The Poppy – Its History, Mythic & Traditional

Chapter II: The Commercial History Of Opium In Europe And The Orient

Chapter III: The Opium Record For The United States

Chapter IV: The Pharmacology Of Opium

Chapter V: Methodical Forms Of Opium Stimulation

Chapter VI: The Physiological Action Of Opium

Chapter VII: The Pathological Action Of Opium

Chapter VIII: The Psychological Action Of Opium

Chapter IX: Opium Literature In The Reflex View

Chapter X: Longevity & Personal Deterioration

Chapter XI: Immature Development & Family Degeneracy

Chapter XII: Idiosyncrasies

Chapter XIII: Utilities & Anomalies Of Opium

Chapter XIV: Causes & Occasions

Chapter XV: Class, Age, & Sex

Chapter XVI: The Posology Of Opium

Chapter XVII: Is The Opium-Appetite Qualifiedly Vincible?

Chapter XVIII: Voluntary Reforms & Involuntary Failures

Chapter XIX: Specific Therapies

Chapter XX: General Therapeutics & Moral Hygiene

Chapter XXI: Institutional Discipline

Chapter XXII: Narcotic Stimuli: The Varieties Of Alcohol

Chapter XXIII: Opium Contrasted With Alcoholic Beverages

Chapter XXIV: The Alternatives:  The Vine Or The Poppy – Which?

Chapter XXV: Opium & Cannabis Indica Contrasted

Chapter XXVI: Tobacco, And Coca (Cuzcan Tobacco), Contrasted With Opium

Chapter XXVII: Coffee & Tea In Contrast With Opium

Chapter XXVIII: Legislation Against Stimuli

 


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Historical Insights Into Hashish

Courtesy of 420 Magazine

Before getting to the promised insights, dear reader, please indulge me for a few paragraphs.

Readers of this blog know that I am fascinated by lost knowledge, and by the phenomenon of history repeating itself for new generations who believe that their experiences are unique in the history of the human race.

So it is with the current “Opioid Crisis”. The historical reality is that absolutely none of this current “Crisis” is new – not in kind, not in scale, not in consequences, not in causes, and certainly not in the ineffectual “solutions” that are (once again) being proposed.

I am in the process of editing and preparing to re-publish a lengthy and complex book from 150 years ago by a New York doctor, Alonzo Calkins, who wrote the book for members of the medical profession of his time. His objective was to make clear the deep historical roots of the love affair between people and mind/body altering substances. Although it is clear that Dr. Calkins disapproved – to put it mildly – of any kind of mind-alteration with the possible exception of vigorous exercise and (Christian) prayer, he was also clearly a person with a deep grasp of world history and human nature.

The book is: “Opium And The Opium-Appetite: With Notices Of Alcoholic Beverages, Cannabis Indica, Tobacco And Coca, Coffee And Tea, And Their Hygienic Aspects and Pathologies Related” by Alonzo Calkins, MD, New York, 1870. (I will have this ebook available on Amazon in a week or so and will post a link in the sidebar of this blog.).)

Dr. Calkins lived near the end of the great Age of Exploration. For centuries before he wrote this book thousands of explorers, adventurers, writers, physicians and entrepreneurs of all kinds had been ranging the earth sampling all of the many and varied ways that people use mind-altering natural substances.

As far as Dr. Calkins was concerned, using drugs outside of a medical context is a destructive and immoral activity, so his book was not written in praise of all of those discoveries of colorful and imaginative ways that people of the world have found to get high. He was, however, a competent and observant physician, and he understood that in addition to people seeking to alter their minds in order to just plain have a good time, most people who use mind-altering substances are seeking ways to deal with misery, pain, disease, poverty, hopelessness and the general brutality of their existence.

This acknowledgement of the legitimacy of the human need for drugs, and the extensive documentation he offers, should give Dr. Calkins’ book a place in the library of anyone today who seeks to learn the lessons of the past in order to better understand the profound dilemmas we face today – dilemmas like 60,000+ Americans dying of pharmaceutical overdose. These numbers, so alarming to the breathless media, hypocritical politicians, parasitic “professionals”, and privileged classes, are really nothing new. Not at all. They are, however, absolute proof that people never learn, and especially that people who fancy themselves to be “in charge” never learn.

As long as societies that can well afford to change do not, and as long as a tiny minority keeps all the wealth and power of the society to themselves and continues to allow pain, disease, poverty, hopelessness and brutality to dominate the lives of the majority, the “drug problem” will never, not ever, be solved. Violent revolutions, however, can and do occur with regularity, and they are always about the same evils that “cause” the “drug problem”.

That is because, as Dr. Calkins’ book makes so clear although the author himself does not realize that he is making this point, in the end the “problem” is not drugs. It is the life that so many people are forced to lead by the cruelty, ignorance and selfishness of others.

So, that said, here is one of the many interesting chapters in Dr. Calkins’ book, chock full of those historical references I promised. Although I have been an avid investigator of the history of both Cannabis and Opium for many years, some of the following observations on Hashish were brand new to me, as I hope they will be to you as well. Keep well in mind the limitations of the time in which Dr. Calkins wrote, and have fun!

Chapter XXV: Opium And Cannabis Indica Contrasted

“Fallax Herba veneni.” – Virgil.

“That juice – the bane, And blessing of man’s heart and brain – That draught of sorcery, which brings Phantoms of fair forbidden things.” – Moore

The authorities upon Cannabis besides those to be specified are Rhases, Kaempfer, D’Herbelot, Herault, Mantegazza, and others. The solid extract (which is procured from the summitates of the herb) is called Hashisch in Arabia, Gunjah and Chumts in India (where it is also familiarly known as the “Herbe des Fakirs”), Bust or Shoera in Egypt, El Mogen by the Moors, and among the Hottentots Dacha or Dagga (Von Bibra). Bangue (Bang) or Bendji is the spirituous extract.

Cannabis as a stimulating narcotic has for some centuries at the shortest been known and familiarly used in India, Persia, Bokhara, and other countries, and in some of the Islands. In Egypt, particularly among the lower orders, it takes precedence of opium, and is chewed or sometimes smoked from the gozeh (Lane). Bhang – the more active preparation – is conspicuous for its inebriative and delirative operation.

The Massagetce (as is related by Herodotus), a people on the Araxes, had a seed (conjectured to have been this same seed of Indian Hemp or perhaps of the Datura), which thrown upon hot stones sent forth a vapor that excited boisterous mirth and shouting. Davis the navigator on visiting Sumatra found such a seed, a little only of which being eaten gave to every object a metamorphosed appearance and turned the man for the time into a fool. Dampier observed among the natives of this island an herb which produced exhilaration and then stupefaction, making the eater lively or dull, witty or foolish, or merry or sad, according to the predominant temperament.

Hashisch far surpasses opium in relative power. A dose of twenty centigrammes of the resinoid repeated three or four times shows activity in half an hour, but the full effect is not attained short of three times this space. The duration of action is three to four hours (Steeze of Bucharest). Irregularity and uncertainty in action are doubtless to be ascribed to adulteration (Schroff).

The full impression once produced the brain is speedily affected with a sensation of extraordinary elasticity and lightness and the senses become wondrously acute, a tingling as from an electric shock is felt shooting from the spinal centre to the periphery of the body, the vault of the cranium is lifted off as it were by the expansive force within, the skull seeming as if enlarged to the dimensions of a colossus; and now with one impetuous rebound the experimenter rises above this low commonplace of terrene existence to soar in a purer ether above.

If still conscious of a lingering upon the confines of earth he sways himself along in a balancing gait as though he were under a sort of ivresse. External impressions as from the pricking of a pin or a stroke from the hand may perchance pass unheeded. Objects in the immediate range seem invested with an unwonted splendor, human faces take on a seraphic lustre, and the man for the time feels himself to be possessed of the power of ubiquity. According to the varying humor things around may seem to have assumed a fantastic dress, when peals of laughter will break forth; or suddenly a change will have come over the spirit, when under the impressions produced by lugubrious images and depressing apprehensions the mind will be wrapped in cloudiness and gloom (Polli).

The appetite is assisted by moderate doses but made ravenous for the time by large ones, and the digestive function is correspondingly aroused while constipation is obviated, and the various secernent processes go on in their normal way (Dr. Teste). Not until after long-continued and excessive use does appetite decline, as is observable of the Arabs, says Auber, who finally get fleshless and withered as the general tendency to decay becomes more distinct and progressive.

An excessive dose hinders the approach of sleep; a moderate one brings on a sopor speedy and irresistible. This sleep may be profound and stertorous, or it may partake more of the dreaminess of ecstasy. In the story of Mahmoud lord of the Black Isles, the wife, to cover up her absence for the night, administers just before going out a powder that soporizes him immediately and effectually for the time, or until she shall return again to awaken him with a perfume placed under the nostrils.

This powder there is reason for believing was some preparation (simple or compounded) of the hemp. In another of the stories of the “Nights,” that of the Jew Physician, is a similar incident described. So the chamberlain of Ala-ed-Deen is suddenly thrown into a profound sleep by the use of a powder which Ahmed Kamakim an arch-thief throws upon his face. Unlike that after the opium-sleep, the sensation on awaking is one of refreshing.

The mental condition is an ideal existence, the most vivid, the most fascinating. Time and space both seem to have expanded by an enormous magnification; pigmies have swelled to giants, mountains have grown out of molehills, days have enlarged to years and ages. De Moria in wending his way one evening to the opera house, seemed to himself to have been three years in traversing the corridor. De Saulcy having once fallen into a state of insensibility following upon incoherent dreamings, fancied he had lived meanwhile a hundred years. Rapidity as well as intensity of thought is a noticeable phenomenon. De Lucca after swallowing a dose of the paste saw as in a flitting panorama the various events of his entire life all proceeding in orderly succession, though he was powerless in the attempt to arrest and detain a single one of them for a more deliberate contemplation. Memory is sometimes very singularly modified nevertheless, there being perhaps a forgetfulness not of the object but of its name proper, or the series of events that transpired during the paroxysm may have passed away into a total oblivion.

The normal mental condition is that of an exuberant enjoyance rather than the opposite, that of melancholy and depression, though the transition from the one state to the other may be as extreme as it is swift. Oftener the subject is kept revolving in a delirious whirl of hallucinatory emotions, when images the most grotesque and illusions the drollest and most fantastic crowd along, one upon another, with a celerity almost transcending thought (Mirza Abdul Roussac).

Command over the will is maintainable, but temporarily only. As self-control declines the mind is swayed by the mere fortuitous vagaries of the fancy; and now it is that the dominant characteristic or mental proclivity has its real apocalypsis. The outward expression may reveal itself under a show of complacency and contentment in view of things around, or suspicion, distrust, and querulousness of disposition may work to the surface, or maybe a lordly hauteur that exacts an unquestioning homage from the “profanum vulgus” by virtue of an affected superiority over common mortals, is the ruling idea of the hour; or peradventure the erotic impulses may for the time overshadow and disguise all others.

Amid the ever-shifting spectacular scene the sense of personal identity is never perhaps entirely lost, but there does arise in very rare instances the notion of a duality of existence; not the Persian idea precisely, that of two souls occupying one and the same body in a joint-stock association as it were (the doctrine as alluded to by Xenophon in the story of the beautiful Panthea), but rather the idea of one and the same, soul in duplication or bipartition else, and present in two bodies.

The rapturous delights inspired by the beatific visions thus find expression in an exclamation of an aged Brahmin: “O sahib, sahib, you can never know what perfect pleasure is until you see as I have seen and feel as I have felt – spectacles the most gorgeous, perfumes the most delicious, music the most transporting and bewildering.”

The inspiration of the Pythian priestess at Delphi has been attributed to opium and again to hashisch, and not unlikely both conspired to the effect. This improvisatore power was amusingly developed one day in a pupil of Dr. O’Shaughnessy’s, upon a trial of ten minims of the tincture. The young man in the ecstasy of the excitement assumed the airs and language of an Indian rajah, talking learnedly and haranguing with great volubility in a lively display of brilliant fancy and logical acuteness, to the admiration of friends no less than to his own astonishment as subsequently felt (for the recollection of his scenic personations survived the performance), inasmuch as a habitual taciturnity and an unostentatious carriage were so congenial and habitual to the young man. The paroxysm having lasted six hours, a retransformation occurring somewhat suddenly was complete nevertheless.

Note. In a Prize-essay lately read before the American Philosophical Society by H. C. Wood, M.D., the Professor records an experimentation with somewhat unexpected results, as conducted upon himself. The preparation used was an extract made from Kentucky hemp, in quantity about half a drachm. The effect, which began in three hours, lasted into the following day. At midnight a profound sleep had come over him, and in the hours of waking there was noted an anesthesia affecting the entire skin. The characteristic expansion of time and space was a conspicuous symptom. Mental action as an effect of volitional effort was mostly restrained, from the embarrassment experienced in attempts towards a concentration of the thoughts. A sense of impending death besides hung over him at intervals. In a student who experimented with a grain dose, there was developed a hilarious excitement simply, with a sexual erethism ensuing which did not relax short of three days. This scientific paper (the first contribution of the kind to the medical literature of America) should command the attention of the Profession.

This singular excitant, extensively known in the age of the Crusades appears to have been used by the Saracens for a double purpose, to kindle up the ardor of the soldier against the Paynim, and in larger dose to beguile his adversary into a careless security and so to facilitate the stealthy use of the poignard. In the neighborhood of Mount Libanus there existed from the beginning of the twelfth century for about one hundred and fifty years a military organization, made up for the most part of rude hordes gathered out of the tribes of Kurdistan. Ishmaelitish by genealogy, vindictive in their passions and implacable in their resentments, while professing fealty to the Crescent they campaigned oftener in reality, “their hand being against every man and every man’s hand being against them. Their generalissimo was known as “Le Vieux de la Montagne” (Von Hammer).

At Allamut and Massiat were their famed gardens, secluded by high walls from the vulgar gaze but within adorned with every decoration and luxury that could entrance the vision and captivate appetite; and here presided girls of enchanting beauty and ravishing seductiveness, the houris of the scene. Into this “outer court of the temple,” the youthful aspirant to the honor of a matriculatory membership having been previously drugged with hashisch, was mysteriously conveyed, here to breathe the balmy airs of a terrestrial paradise, introductory to the solemn oath of covenant which at once exacted entire and unquestioning obedience and which denounced an abjuration on peril of life.

Such were the Herb-eating Assassins, the “Hashasheen” (De Sacy). A final dispersion was carried out by the victorious sword of Hulakii, when Aldjebal, Khalif of Baldrach, after sustaining a siege of three years was shut up in a tower by Ulau, there to perish in his solitude by a lingering death (Benjamin of Tudela).

Hashisch, more energetic in action than opium, is in comparison prematurely exhaustive also. Rapid deterioration of the physical forces is to be expected, and as is thought a determination towards phthisis may be established. The ultimate mental condition is that of dementia. The santons (holy men) of Egypt, those distinguished objects of popular veneration in their wanderings from town to town, are living illustrations of this degenerescence, in their corporeal as well as in their mental decay.

Quite unlike opium in one characteristic, hashisch is a powerful aphrodisiac (O’Shaughnessy), ranking second on the list perhaps, or after arsenic. The power of the latter indeed appears remarkable. In the Edinburgh Medical and Surgical Journal is a case from Dr. Parker, that of a young man thirty years old at his death, who began the use at the age of four. A double effect ensued, a prodigious development of the sexual organs in size, and a proportionate exaltation of function amounting to an impetuous and uncontrollable salacity.

Deleterious as is hashisch in the ordinary habitual use, it may be counteracted or neutralized very effectually for the time by the free use of lemon-juice. Dr. Castelnuovo a resident in the country for thirty years observes, that the people of Tunis understand the secret thoroughly and avail themselves habitually of the benefits.

Bearing an analogy to the poppy from their more intimate relationship to cannabis are Hyoscyamus, Belladonna, and the Datura family. The first – reckoned by Von Hammer to have been identical in origin with the bendji – produces giddiness and stupidity. Belladonna, that “insane root that takes the reason prisoner” (rather is it one out of a number of such), excites delirium and the risus sardonicus (Ray).

The pathologic mental phasis is described by Winslow as a species of “hallucination without fantasia,” i.e. a metamorphosis of things actual in idea rather than a display of mere fanciful creations without analogies in natural things. A pathologic condition has been remarked simulating delirium tremens. The recollection of past phenomena is found to have been obliterated “at once and irrecoverably.”

Datura brings spectral illusions, but leaves a persistent, perhaps incurable stupidity. A singular effect wrought upon the memory is in the interchanging of the names of objects, there being at the same time a conscious perception of the incongruities. The daturas possess strong erotic powers, and a species is used in India by courtesans upon themselves and for the benefit of their visiting friends. The cordial sometimes made by digesting the seeds in wine is especially dangerous to the sex by a double action, exciting physical desire most actively for the time and making the subject oblivious altogether of any faux-pas adventures hazarded.


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Coca Leaf, Hashish, & Poppy Juice – A Perspective From 1871

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Just as Coca Leaf was rather deliberately turned into the plague of Cocaine, the natural juice of the Opium Poppy was quite purposefully turned into the plague of morphine and heroin. But this wasn’t because people were growing their own Coca plants and Poppies and then setting up labs to convert their garden’s production into high powered toxic drugs that they used to addict little kiddos at the neighborhood playground. It was because the same commercial and political interests that profit today from the “War On Drugs” were around centuries ago profiting from taking pure, natural drugs like Coca leaf and Poppy juice and finding ways to make them irresistibly addictive in order to grow more rich and more powerful at the expense of millions of destroyed lives.

So as long as I have my wits about me – and at my age that is always an iffy proposition – I intend to keep speaking out on what I think is one of the great travesties in history which is the fear and loathing that established powers-that-be feel toward anything that is free and natural and potent and creates happiness and a desire for freedom from oppression. The withered souls that inhabit the halls of power, whether political, religious, corporate or inherited wealth have always opposed even the slightest degree of freedom for the People and have given way only inch by inch, and that grudgingly, as awareness of their evil game has increased over the years.

My hope is to move that frontier forward an inch or two by these efforts. Please join me any way that you can.

Opium And The Opium-Appetite: With Notices Of Alcoholic Beverages, Cannabis Indica, Tobacco And Coca, Coffee And Tea, And Their Hygienic Aspects and Pathologies Related By Alonzo Calkins, MD 1871

Chapter XXV: Opium And Cannabis Indica Contrasted

“Fallax Herba veneni.” – Virgil.

“That juice – the bane, And blessing of man’s heart and brain – That draught of sorcery, which brings Phantoms of fair forbidden things.” – Moore

The authorities upon Cannabis besides those to be specified are Rhases, Kaempfer, D’Herbelot, Herault, Mantegazza, and others. The solid extract (which is procured from the summitates of the herb) is called Hashisch in Arabia, Gunjah and Chumts in India (where it is also familiarly known as the “Herbe des Fakirs”), Bust or Shoera in Egypt, El Mogen by the Moors, and among the Hottentots Dacha or Dagga (Von Bibra). Bangue (Bang) or Bendji is the spirituous extract.

Cannabis as a stimulating narcotic has for some centuries at the shortest been known and familiarly used in India, Persia, Bokhara, and other countries, and in some of the Islands. In Egypt, particularly among the lower orders, it takes precedence of opium, and is chewed or sometimes smoked from the gozeh (Lane). Bhang – the more active preparation – is conspicuous for its inebriative and delirative operation.

The Massagetce (as is related by Herodotus), a people on the Araxes, had a seed (conjectured to have been this same seed of Indian Hemp or perhaps of the Datura), which thrown upon hot stones sent forth a vapor that excited boisterous mirth and shout- ing. Davis the navigator on visiting Sumatra found such a seed, a little only of which being eaten gave to every object a metamorphosed appearance and turned the man for the time into a fool. Dampier observed among the natives of this island an herb which produced exhilaration and then stupefaction, making the eater lively or dull, witty or foolish, or merry or sad, according to the predominant temperament.

Hashisch far surpasses opium in relative power. A dose of twenty centigrammes of the resinoid repeated three or four times shows activity in half an hour, but the full effect is not attained short of three times this space. The duration of action is three to four hours (Steeze of Bucharest). Irregularity and uncertainty in action are doubtless to be ascribed to adulteration (Schroff).

The full impression once produced the brain is speedily affected with a sensation of extraordinary elasticity and lightness and the senses become wondrously acute, a tingling as from an electric shock is felt shooting from the spinal centre to the periphery of the body, the vault of the cranium is lifted off as it were by the expansive force within, the skull seeming as if enlarged to the dimensions of a colossus; and now with one impetuous rebound the experimenter rises above this low commonplace of terrene existence to soar in a purer ether above.

If still conscious of a lingering upon the confines of earth he sways himself along in a balancing gait as though he were under a sort of ivresse. External impressions as from the pricking of a pin or a stroke from the hand may perchance pass unheeded. Objects in the immediate range seem invested with an unwonted splendor, human faces take on a seraphic lustre, and the man for the time feels himself to be possessed of the power of ubiquity. According to the varying humor things around may seem to have assumed a fantastic dress, when peals of laughter will break forth; or suddenly a change will have come over the spirit, when under the impressions produced by lugubrious images and depressing apprehensions the mind will be wrapped in cloudiness and gloom (Polli).

The appetite is assisted by moderate doses but made ravenous for the time by large ones, and the digestive function is correspondingly aroused while constipation is obviated, and the various secernent processes go on in their normal way (Dr. Teste). Not until after long-continued and excessive use does appetite decline, as is observable of the Arabs, says Auber, who finally get fleshless and withered as the general tendency to decay becomes more distinct and progressive.

An excessive dose hinders the approach of sleep; a moderate one brings on a sopor speedy and irresistible. This sleep may be profound and stertorous, or it may partake more of the dreaminess of ecstasy. In the story of Mahmoud lord of the Black Isles, the wife, to cover up her absence for the night, administers just before going out a powder that soporizes him immediately and effectually for the time, or until she shall return again to awaken him with a perfume placed under the nostrils.

This powder there is reason for believing was some preparation (simple or compounded) of the hemp. In another of the stories of the “Nights,” that of the Jew Physician, is a similar incident described. So the chamberlain of Ala-ed-Deen is suddenly thrown into a profound sleep by the use of a powder which Ahmed Kamakim an arch-thief throws upon his face. Unlike that after the opium-sleep, the sensation on awaking is one of refreshing.

The mental condition is an ideal existence, the most vivid, the most fascinating. Time and space both seem to have expanded by an enormous magnification; pigmies have swelled to giants, mountains have grown out of molehills, days have enlarged to years and ages. De Moria in wending his way one evening to the opera house, seemed to himself to have been three years in traversing the corridor. De Saulcy having once fallen into a state of insensibility following upon incoherent dreamings, fancied he had lived meanwhile a hundred years. Rapidity as well as intensity of thought is a noticeable phenomenon. De Lucca after swallowing a dose of the paste saw as in a flitting panorama the various events of his entire life all proceeding in orderly succession, though he was powerless in the attempt to arrest and detain a single one of them for a more deliberate con- templation. Memory is sometimes very singularly modified nevertheless, there being perhaps a forgetfulness not of the object but of its name proper, or the series of events that transpired during the paroxysm may have passed away into a total oblivion.

The normal mental condition is that of an exuberant enjoyance rather than the opposite, that of melancholy and depression, though the transition from the one state to the other may be as extreme as it is swift. Oftener the subject is kept revolving in a delirious whirl of hallucinatory emotions, when images the most grotesque and illusions the drollest and most fantastic crowd along, one upon another, with a celerity almost transcending thought (Mirza Abdul Roussac).

Command over the will is maintainable, but temporarily only. As self-control declines the mind is swayed by the mere fortuitous vagaries of the fancy; and now it is that the dominant characteristic or mental proclivity has its real apocalypsis. The outward expression may reveal itself under a show of complacency and contentment in view of things around, or suspicion, distrust, and querulousness of disposition may work to the surface, or maybe a lordly hauteur that exacts an unquestioning homage from the “profanum vulgus” by virtue of an affected superiority over common mortals, is the ruling idea of the hour; or peradventure the erotic impulses may for the time overshadow and disguise all others.

Amid the ever-shifting spectacular scene the sense of personal identity is never perhaps entirely lost, but there does arise in very rare instances the notion of a duality of existence; not the Persian idea precisely, that of two souls occupying one and the same body in a joint-stock association as it were (the doctrine as alluded to by Xenophon in the story of the beautiful Panthea), but rather the idea of one and the same, soul in duplication or bipartition else, and present in two bodies.

The rapturous deliglits inspired by the beatific visions thus find expression in an exclamation of an aged Brahmin: “O sahib, sahib, you can never know what perfect pleasure is until you see as I have seen and feel as I have felt – spectacles the most gorgeous, perfumes the most delicious, music the most transporting and bewildering.”

The inspiration of the Pythian priestess at Delphi has been attributed to opium and again to hashisch, and not unlikely both conspired to the effect. This improvisatore power was amusingly developed one day in a pupil of Dr. O’Shaughnessy’s, upon a trial of ten minims of the tincture. The young man in the ecstasy of the excitement assumed the airs and language of an Indian rajah, talking learnedly and haranguing with great volubility in a lively display of brilliant fancy and logical acuteness, to the admiration of friends no less than to his own astonishment as subsequently felt (for the recollection of his scenic personations survived the performance), inasmuch as a habitual taciturnity and an unostenta tious carriage were so congenial and habitual to the young man. The paroxysm having lasted six hours, a retransformation occurring somewhat suddenly was complete nevertheless.

Note. In a Prize-essay lately read before the American Philosophical Society by H. C. Wood, M.D., the Professor records an experimentation with somewhat unexpected results, as conducted upon himself. The preparation used was an extract made from Kentucky hemp, in quantity about half a drachm. The effect, which began in three hours, lasted into the following day. At midnight a profound sleep had come over him, and in the hours of waking there was noted an anaesthesia affecting the entire skin. The characteristic expansion of time and space was a conspicuous symptom. Mental action as an effect of volitional effort was mostly restrained, from the embar- rassment experienced in attempts towards a concentration of the thoughts. A sense of impending death besides hung over him at intervals. In a student who experimented with a grain dose, there was developed a hilarious excitement simply, with a sexual erethism ensuing which did not relax short of three days. This scientific paper (the first contribution of the kind to the medical literature of America) should command the attention of the Profession.

This singular excitant, extensively known in the age of the Crusades appears to have been used by the Saracens for a double purpose, to kindle up the ardor of the soldier against the Paynim, and in larger dose to beguile his adversary into a careless security and so to facilitate the stealthy use of the poignard. In the neighborhood of Mount Libanus there existed from the beginning of the twelfth century for about one hundred and fifty years a military organization, made up for the most part of rude hordes gathered out of the tribes of Kurdistan. Ishmaelitish by genealogy, vindictive in their passions and implacable in their resentments, while professing fealty to the Crescent they campaigned oftener in reality, “their hand being against every man and every man’s hand being against them. Their generalissimo was known as “Le Vieux de la Montagne” (Von Hammer).

At Allamut and Massiat were their famed gardens, secluded by high walls from the vulgar gaze but within adorned with every decoration and luxury that could entrance the vision and capti- vate appetite; and here presided girls of enchanting beauty and ravishing seductiveness, the houris of the scene. Into this “outer court of the temple,” the youthful aspirant to the honor of a matriculatory membership having been previously drugged with hashisch, was mysteriously conveyed, here to breathe the balmy airs of a terrestrial paradise, introductory to the solemn oath of covenant which at once exacted entire and unquestioning obedience and which denounced an abjuration on peril of life.

Such were the Herb-eating Assassins, the “Hashasheen” (De Sacy). A final dispersion was carried out by the victorious sword of Hulakii, when Aldjebal, Khalif of Baldrach, after sustaining a siege of three years was shut up in a tower by Ulau, there to perish in his solitude by a lingering death (Benjamin of Tudela).

Hashisch, more energetic in action than opium, is in comparison prematurely exhaustive also. Rapid deterioration of the physical forces is to be expected, and as is thought a determination towards phthisis may be established. The ultimate mental condition is that of dementia. The santons (holy men) of Egypt, those distinguished objects of popular veneration in their wanderings from town to town, are living illustrations of this degenerescence, in their corporeal as well as in their mental decay.

Quite unlike opium in one characteristic, hashisch is a powerful aphrodisiac (O’Shaughnessy), ranking second on the list perhaps, or after arsenic. The power of the latter indeed appears remarkable. In the Edinburgh Medical and Surgical Journal is a case from Dr. Parker, that of a young man thirty years old at his death, who began the use at the age of four. A double effect ensued, a prodigious development of the sexual organs in size, and a proportionate exaltation of function amounting to an impetuous and uncontrollable salacity.

Deleterious as is hashisch in the ordinary habitual use, it may be counteracted or neutralized very effectually for the time by the free use of lemon-juice. Dr. Castelnuovo a resident in the country for thirty years observes, that the people of Tunis understand the secret thoroughly and avail themselves habitually of the benefits.

Bearing an analogy to the poppy from their more intimate relationship to cannabis are Hyoscyamus, Belladonna, and the Datura family. The first – reckoned by Von Hammer to have been identical in origin with the bendji – produces giddiness and stupidity. Belladonna, that “insane root that takes the reason prisoner” (rather is it one out of a number of such), excites delirium and the risus sardonicus (Ray).

The pathologic mental phasis is described by Winslow as a species of “hallucination without fantasia,” i.e. a metamorphosis of things actual in idea rather than a display of mere fanciful creations without analogies in natural things. A pathologic condition has been remarked simulating delirium tremens. The recollection of past phenomena is found to have been obliterated “at once and irrecoverably.”

Datura brings spectral illusions, but leaves a persistent, perhaps incurable stupidity. A singular effect wrought upon the memory is in the interchanging of the names of objects, there being at the same time a conscious perception of the incongruities. The daturas possess strong erotic powers, and a species is used in India by courtesans upon themselves and for the benefit of their visiting friends. The cordial sometimes made by digesting the seeds in wine is especially dangerous to the sex by a double action, exciting physical desire most actively for the time and making the subject oblivious altogether of any faux-pas adventures hazarded