Bibliography: Cannabis canadensis

According to the 2007 World Drug Report by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Canada leads the industrialized world in marijuana use per capita. 

As it turns out, however, the stuff is also interesting historically: in the 19th century, pot was not only used in the treatment of insanity, but its preparation as hashish also became the subject of a full research program in France.

We therefore present two select bibliographies, for those who wish to expand their mind by exploring history.

Cannabis bibliography.

  • Carlson, E. T.  (1974).  Cannabis indica in 19th-century psychiatry.  American Journal of Psychiatry, 131(9), 1004-1007.

Presents the history and usage of cannabis indicus (the 19th-century pharmacological term referring to the plant today called cannabis sativa indica). A review of the drug’s physiological and psychological effects reveals that most of the effects reported in the 1960s were known to writers of the 19th century when the drug was alternately considered a cure for and a cause of insanity.

  • Kendell, R.  (2003).  Cannabis condemned: The proscription of Indian hemp.  Addiction, 98(2), 143-151.

Aims: To find out how cannabis came to be subject to international narcotics legislation. Method: Examination of the records of the 1925 League of Nations’ Second Opium Conference, of the 1894 Report of the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission and other contemporary documents. Findings: Although cannabis (Indian hemp) was not on the agenda of the Second Opium Conference, a claim by the Egyptian delegation that it was as dangerous as opium, and should therefore be subject to the same international controls, was supported by several other countries. No formal evidence was produced and conference delegates had not been briefed about cannabis. The only objections came from Britain and other colonial powers. They did not dispute the claim that cannabis was comparable to opium, but they did want to avoid a commitment to eliminating its use in their Asian and African territories.

  • Schlimme, J., Rada, D., & Schneider, U.  (2001).  Cannabiskonsum und seine psychosozialen Wirkungen im Kulturvergleich. / Cannabis consumption and its psychosocial effects in comparison of different cultures.  Fortschritte der Neurologie, Psychiatrie, 69(8), 367-373.

Discusses cannabis consumption as a social and cultural phenomenon and examines its psychotropic effects as judged in various societies and throughout the ages, from medieval Islam to modern western civilizations. The article addresses physical and psychosocial consequences of cannabis consumption, in particular the risk of its role as a stepping stone to other illicit drugs. It explores the creative aspects of cannabis consumption, and discuss various reasons why these aspects are widely disregarded in scientific research.

  • Winek, C. L.  (1977).  Some historical aspects of marijuana.  Clinical Toxicology, 10(2, Pt 2), 243-253.

Discusses some of the history and characteristics of marihuana that have been known to medicine and science for almost 5,000 yrs. The botanical character, habitat, description, composition, uses, therapeutics, and physiological effects of Cannabis sativa, Cannabis Indica, Cannabis extract, and tincture of Cannabis are noted from some of the early sources in which the drug is mentioned.

  • Woodward, S. B.  (1994).  Observations on the medical treatment of insanity.  American Journal of Psychiatry, 151(6 Suppl), 221-230.  (Original work published 1850.)

Published in 1850, this paper describes the medical (as opposed to the moral) treatment of insanity, including the treatment of acute and chronic mania, melancholia, dementia, periodic insanity (mania followed by melancholia), puerperal insanity, insanity complicated with palsy or epilepsy or dyspepsia, and pulmonary consumption. Bleeding and the use of warm baths are frequent recommendations, as are purging with cathartics or laxatives. Narcotics that can be used to treat insanity include digitalis, stramonium, hyoscyamus, camphor, lupuline, cannabis, and opium. Opiates are particularly recommended for suicidal patients. Silver nitrates and arsenic solutions are recommended for epilepsy.

  • Yvorel, M. J-J.  (2006).  Pour une histoire du cannabis. / A history of cannabis.  Alcoologie et Addictologie, 28(2), 107-112.

What is known about the history of hashish in France or, more precisely, the history of the relationship between cannabis and the inhabitants of France? Which aspects of these relationships deserve more detailed investigation by historians? Which periods have been most extensively studied and which periods have been neglected? To answer these questions, this article is essentially based on the author’s contribution to Cannabis et adolescence. Les Liaisons dangereuses. Before the 19th century, although Indian hemp was not completely unknown in France, it was very poorly known and essentially described in travellers’ tales. For example, no trace was found in the medical literature before the book by Aubert-Roche, De la peste et du typhus en orient published in 1840. Five years later, the publication of Du Haschisch et de l’aliénation mentale by Moreau de Tours raised a certain amount of interest in the medical world. This “alienist”, working at Bicêtre and then at Salpêtrière hospitals, played a major role in the introduction of cannabis in France. The history of this substance therefore begins in the middle of the 19th century. The author distinguishes three levels of analysis, which, although related to each other, possess a certain degree of independence. The author examines the place of hashish in scientific and more particularly medical thought and practice and then examines the place of hashish in literary and artistic representations. Finally, the sociological aspects of hashish consumption are studied. These three aspects obviously do not exhaust the subject. For example, cannabis in relation to the law and public policies constitutes another especially heuristic aspect.

Hashish bibliography.

  • Abel, E. L.  (2005).  Jacques Joseph Moreau (1804-1884).  American Journal of Psychiatry, 162(3), 458.

Presents a brief life history of the French psychiatrist Jacques Joseph Moreau (1804-1884). Frustrated over not being able to locate a structural cause for insanity in the brain, in the mid-19th century, French psychiatrists began to focus on function. The conceptual shift followed Moreau’s experiments with hashish. Since hashish induced some of the same hallucinations and disordered thoughts that he saw in his psychiatric patients, Moreau concluded that insanity stemmed from a dynamic disturbance in brain function that caused it to become unbalanced. Moreau conjectured that the etiology of this imbalance was an inherited condition that caused the brain to become more “irrigated” than other bodily organs. Moreau warned that the hereditary brain pathology induced by alcoholism would turn successive generations of affected individuals into an easily manipulated mob of criminals and political anarchists.

  • Baruk, H.  (1970).  The life and work of Moreau de Tours.  Annales Médico-Psychologiques, 2(1), 27-32.

Presents a biographic sketch of Moreau de Tours, a pioneer in French psychiatry. His interests tended toward the physiological and biological, thereby lending balance to the early predominance given to moral causation of the behavior disorders by Pinel and Esquirol. His book on hashish, published in 1845, was a foundation stone for modern psychopharmacology. He is also known for his early interest in the problems of epilepsy and for the fruitful analogy he made between psychosis and the normal dream process. The Society of Moreau de Tours was formed in 1959 to honor his name and to further the study of psychopharmacology. The interests of the society have extended to psychiatric pharmacology in antiquity, histopathologic and biochemical investigation of mental disease, and experimental psychopathology in animal Ss.

  • Bell, J.  (1985).  On the Haschisch or Cannabis Indica.  Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 2(4), 239-243.  (Original work published 1857.)

Reprints an article that originally appeared in ” The Boston Medical and Surgical Journal, ” LVI (No. 11) Thursday, April 16, 1857, in which a New Hampshire physician describes the self-experimental use of hashish.

  • Bollotte, G.  (1973).  Moreau de Tours: 1804-1884.  Confrontations Psychiatriques, 6(11), 9-26.

Outlines the life and work of the French psychiatrist. J. Moreau de Tours, emphasizing his contributions to modern psychiatry with his early studies of the effects of hashish on humans and the possibilities of using this drug in the study of experimentally induced psychosis.

  • Kalant, O. J.  (1971).  Moreau, hashish and hallucinations.  International Journal of the Addictions, 6(3), 553-560.

Presents a summary of J. J. Moreau’s 1841 main observations on hashish (dawamesc of North African origin), i.e., physical and psychological effects. Psychological effects were classified into 8 main types of phenomena: (a) feelings of happiness; (b) excitation, dissociation of ideas, etc.; (c) errors of time and space; (d) stimulation of auditory sensitivity and the influence of music; (e) obsessions, delusions; (f) emotional effects; (g) impulsive reactions; and (h) illusions and hallucinations. About the same time as Moreau’s work on primarily the psychological effects of cannabis in France, W. B. O’Shaughnessey in England was studying primarily “the physical or organic effects of cannabis and with its application in therapeutics as an analgesic, sedative, and antispasmodic. These 2 contributions, almost simultaneous and independent of each other, constituted the beginning of the modern scientific and medical study of cannabis. Their relative difference in emphasis reflects, perhaps, the major medical trends in France and Britain in the middle of the 19th century.”

  • Mora, G.  (1989).  Historical antecedents of modern psychopharmacology.  Psychiatric Journal of the University of Ottawa, 14(1), 279-281.

Discusses the contributions of a work on hashish by the French psychiatrist Jacques-Joseph Moreau de Tours to the development of modern psychopharmacological research and theory on mind-altering drugs. Freud’s accounts of the effects and potential value of cocaine are also regarded as a foundation of the discipline.

  • Okasha, A.  (1999).  Mental health in the middle east: An Egyptian perspective.  Clinical Psychology Review, 19(8), 917-933.

This article introduces the reader to mental health in the Middle East with an Egyptian perspective, from the Pharaonic era through the Islamic Renaissance, up until the current state. During Pharaonic times, mental illness was not known as such, as there was no separator between Soma and Psyche. In spite of the mystical culture, mental disorders were attributed and treated on a somatic basis. The first mental hospital in Europe was located in Spain, following the Arab invasion, and from then on it propagated to other European countries. The 14th century Kalawoon Hospital in Cairo had 4 departments, including medicine, surgery, ophthalmology, and mental disorders. Six centuries earlier, psychiatry in general hospitals was recognized in Europe. This article discusses the current state of the mental health services in Egypt and the transcultural studies of the prevalence and phenomenology of anxiety, schizophrenia, depression, suicide, conversion, and obsessive compulsive disorders. An outline of psychiatric disorders in children is discussed. The problem of drug abuse is also addressed, especially that in Egypt after 1983, where drugs like heroine replaced the common habit of hashish.

  • Richardson, J. T. E.  (2004).  The origins of inkblots.  The Psychologist, 17(6), 334-335.

From at least the time of Leonardo da Vinci, artists and scholars have described the imaginative interpretation of naturally occurring phenomena such as rocks or cloud formations. Many early psychologists devised their own materials to investigate these processes in the form of inkblots. The use of inkblots is often associated with the psychiatrist Hermann Rorschach, but its origins lie in children’s games, experiments on visual perception, studies of the effects of hashish, the testing of immigrants at Ellis Island and the work of Frederic Bartlett. Rorschach initially experimented with inkblots in 1911, when his interest was to study whether gifted children gave richer interpretations than less gifted children. He did not publish the results, and he abandoned this work in favour of psychoanalytically oriented research. It was only the publication of a dissertation by Szymon Hens in 1917 that prompted Rorschach to carry out serious research on the diagnostic significance of inkblots in clinical patients, and the first detailed account of this work did not appear until 1921. Rorschach’s method is premised on the value of inkblots in demonstrating the interpretative nature of perception and in studying individual variation in imaginative capacities – something that had previously been established in the investigations of experimental and educational psychologists.

  • Siegel, R. K. & Hirschman, A. E.  (1985).  Hashish and laughter: Historical notes and translations of early French investigations.  Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 17(2), 87-91.

Based on the work of 19th-century French investigators, it is suggested that J. M. Raulin (1900) may have been correct in claiming that hashish-induced laughter is different from other types of drug-induced laughter. It appears similar to pathological laughter and may be related to toxic psychosis. Pathological laughter has been observed in organic (e.g., parkinsonism, multiple sclerosis) and psychiatric states.

See also:

  • Berridge, V.  (2003).  Queen Victoria’s cannabis use: Or, how history does and does not get used in drug policy making.  Addiction Research and Theory, 11(4), 213-215.

Reflects on where history has and has not come into recent policy making. Policy making in the US and UK is discussed. It is concluded that historical “facts” tend to emerge out of the needs of policy agendas rather than in any other rational relationship and that drug policy making is badly in need of some historical context.

  • Zeese, K. B.  (1999).  History of medical marijuana policy in US.  International Journal of Drug Policy, 10(4), 319-328.

The medical use of marijuana has been subject to a long, contentious policy debate since the mid-1970s when Robert Randall became the first person to succeed in defending himself against marijuana charges using a medical necessity defense. This paper considers legislative developments and the politics associated with medical marijuana use.

(Updated: 3 Aug 2007)

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About Jeremy Burman

Jeremy Trevelyan Burman is a senior doctoral student in York University’s Department of Psychology, specializing in the history of developmental psychology and its theory (especially that pertaining to Jean Piaget). Prior to returning to academia, he was a producer at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

3 thoughts on “Bibliography: Cannabis canadensis

  1. It was only the publication of a dissertation by Szymon Hens in 1917 that prompted Rorschach to carry out serious research on the diagnostic significance of inkblots in clinical patients, and the first detailed account of this work did not appear until 1921.

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