Essay, Research Paper: College Paper On Alcohol And Drugs

Alcohol and Drugs

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Marijuana originated in the middle east (Taiwan, Korea). China plays an
important part in Marijuana's history. Hoatho, the first chinese physician to
use Cannabis for medical purposes as a painkiller and anesthetic for surgery. In
the Ninth Century B.C., it was used as an incense by the Assyrians Herbal, a
Chinese book of medicine from the second Century B.C., was first to describe it
in print. It was used as an anesthetic 5,000 years ago in ancient china. Many
(*) ancient cultures such as the persians, Greeks, East Indians, Romans, and the
Assyrians for many things. These were what they used it for: the control of
muscle spasms, reduction of pain, and for indegestion. Imagine that if they
still practiced this, instead of taking an Alka Seltzer after you had mom's
Chili or Tacos, you might be sitting in the living room on the LAY-Z Boy,
smoking a joint or however they would take it. The folk medicine of Africa and
Asia have used it as an herbal preparation. A "mythical" and
"legendary" pharmacist and emperor Shen Nung thought using it as a
seditive was all right. In 2,700 B.C. that same "mythical" emperor
said it helped female weakness, gout, rheumatism, malaria, beri-beri (?),
contipation, and absentmindedness. In 1979 (A.D.) Carlton E. Turner visited
China and found marijuana was not in use in formal medical places. J. D. P.
Graham of the Welsh National School of Medicine wrote, "One not need take
to seriously the anecdotal use of it's use for many purposes in China or by the
Hindus in the pre-Christian Millennia ...and by the Arabs!" In 1890 in
England's "Lancet" said cannabis extract was good for neuralgia, fits,
migraine and psychosomatic disorders but not for rheumatic conditions. It is not
easy to tell the dosage because of the variations in potency and the
irregularity in absorbtion. The time delay before the onset of the possible
effects of marijuana lowered it's popularity as a medicine as did the
introduction of a variety of new and better medicines like aspirin, morpheine
(habit forming), chloral, barbituates tranquilizers, and when it got on the list
of drugs thought by the world community to require legal restrictions. Our first
President, George Washington, grew cannabis on his plantation. The cannabis he
grew was more fibrous and is better known as hemp. Hemp was used to make rope,
twine, paper and canvas (the word "canvas" comes from Cannabis) and
was an important crop in the american colonies. In Jamestown, Virginia it was
grown for it's fiber qualities in 1611. (Snyder, 1985) The U.S. Pharmacopeia had
it listed as a useful medicine from the year 1870 to 1941. A Pharmacopeia is
"a book of directions and requirements for the preparations of medicines,
generally published by an authority; a collection or stock of drugs." This
tells us the U.S. Pharmacopeia was an authority on the use of drugs for medical
purposes, and said that the use of marijuana for said purposes was helpful. The
U.S. Pharmacopeia last listed cannabis ("the dried flower tops of the
pistillate plants of cannabis sativa") in 1936.(Lovinge,1985,p434) That
years epitome of the pharmacopeia and the national formula described the drug
for physicians thus:"a narcotic poison, producing a mild delirium. Used in
sedative mixtures but of doubtful value. Also employed to color corn
remedies." The next pharmacopeia released in 1942 (I gather they were
relaesed every six years) did not have cannabis sativa in it. "The 1937
U.S. dispensatory said:"Cannabis is used in medicine to relieve pain,
encourage sleep, and to soothe restlessness. We have very little definite
knowledge of the effects of therapeutic quantities, but in some persons it
appears to produce a euphoria and will often relieve migrainic headaches. One of
the great hindrances to the wider use of this drug is the great variability and
the potency of different samples of Cannabis which renders it impossible to
approximate the proper dose of any individual smaple except by clinical trial.
Because of occasional unpleasant symptoms from unusually potent preparations,
physicians have generally been overcaustious in the quantities administered. The
only way of determining the dose of an individual preparation is to give it in
ascending quantities until some effect is produced. (The Book suggested using a
fluid extract - powdered cannabis in solution, 4/5 alcohol - three times a day,
starting with two or three minims.)"(Lovinge,1985,p434) Extracts,
tinctures, and herbal packages of cannabis manufactured by many drug companies,
was available in any pharmacy until 1941 when "The two main professional
directories of drugs in the United States" dropped it.(Snnyder 1985,p38) It
is still used as a medicine in the Middle East and Asia, and is completely legal
in Amsterdam. Since the 19th Century, it has been recognized as as intoxicant in
Europe, and an intoxicant for many centuries in Central and South America, and
in Asia. "An 1870 Book called "The Hasheesh Eater" by Fitz Hugh
Hudlow, discussed the intoxicating properties of
marijuana."(Snyder,1985,p39) Mexican farm workers emigrating to the United
States smoked marijuana regularly, and the surrounding population..."
quickly followed. California and Utah were the first to call it a narcotic and
outlawed it completely except for mecial purposes. "From 1914 to 1931, 29
States, 17 of them West of the Mississippi made it a criminal offense to possess
or use it."(Snyder,1985,p40) An army report from 1925 concerning the Panama
Canal Zone said it wasnt habit forming and no steps should be taken to keep it
from being sold or used. The Uniform States Narcotic Act said all states should
control drug distribution. "By 1937 marijuana use was restricted by
law" (Snyder,1985,p42) and the Marijuana Tax Act was signed by President
Roosevelt. This act was made to collect more taxes and locate people selling
marijuana. You had to pay $1 for medical use and $100 for recreational use as
tax. This was a large factor why doctors quit using it as a medicine. "The
Narcotics Drug Control Act of 1965 increased the existing penalties for selling
and distribution of marijuana and heroin..." (Snyder,1985,p46) The National
Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) was founded in 1970. Just
the facts Ma'am: It is illegal to own or sell marijuana. It is a misdemeanor not
a felony. Penalties vary widely in each state, for growing and selling it is
almost always a felony. It can cause cancer in the lungs and the throat IF
smoked. "Among the reasons to suspect potentially injurious effect of
cannabis use on the lungs, pointed out it "the almost ubiquitous
occurrennce of throat discomfort and irritation associated with marihuana
smoking" (Lovinge,1985,p15)but the same carinogens are present in tobacco
smoke. Marijuana takes away the discomfort and nausea associated with
chemotherapy taken to stop the growth of cancer. It also helps people with
glaucoma and it keeps them from going blind. It doesn't lessen feelings and
pain, it heightens them. Users say they hear things better, and they see details
they have never seen before. If made legal, it could be regulated by the U.S.
government (Food and Drug Administration?) as to how potent it would be. Or
there could be a "government monopoly on it controlling the cultivation,
importation, manufacture, wholesale distribution, and retail sales. Controls
could also be placed on the quantity, potency,, amount, price, time and place of
sale, and age of buyers. This would do away with black market activity, cost of
law enforcement and tax revenue."(Snyder,1985,p89) It would also keep alot
of people out of jail/prison and save the government money. Interview with a
marijuana user. Q: Do you think Marijuana has had any long lasting effects on
you? A: None besides the effects regular cigarrette smoke does to your lungs.
Scientific facts prove there are none except the carcinogens produced by the
smoke. It doesn't cause brain damage like your teachers tell you. Q: How do you
take it? A: Smoke it. I use pipes, bongs, & papers. Q: How often? A: Quarter
ounce a week, 15-18 joints a month. Q: How much does it cost? A: $200 an ounce,
$2,500 lb...and thats minimum quality. Q: How can you tell quality? A: Smoke it.
Q: How are "Thai Sticks"? A: Better than average. $65 1/4 ounce Q:
Where do you think most marijuana is grown? A: 80% of all (in US) marijuana is
grown in the US. 20% from Mexico & Jamaica In Alaska & Utahyou can have
up to an ouce legally. The biggest growinng states are the Carolinas, &
Texas. It grows wild in some places. And cows wont eat it. Q: Do you grow any?
A: Yes Q: How many at 1 time (the most)? A: 12...check them once a week. Q: Are
you in NORML? A: Yes, South Florida chapter. I'm the secretary. Q: Whats the
highest price you've ever seen? A: $150 1/4 ounce. Q: Is sinsimilia good? A: Yes
$100-125 ounce. thats usually imported. Q: can you use a plant more than once?
A: no. you kill the male plants as soon as you find their sex, and harvest the
females. Q: What kind do you grow? A: Average weed. Q: How do you get the seeds
or what you need to grow them? A: They are in the stuff I buy. Q: Whats the best
kind? A: Depends on how it's grown. Q: Do you think alot of people smoke weed?
A: If it was legal & sold for the same price as tobacco (since when does
tobacco cost $200 an ounce?!?!) it would make 2.1 BILLION! Tobacco makes 3.1
billion, and alcohol make 1.6 billion. (I have NO idea how much 1 ounce of
tobacco costs, but it can't be more than $10. Marijuana sells for 20 times that
much! That would be OVER 40 BILLION!) Q: Would it be better if legalized? A:
Yes, another taxable income for the government. Prices would go down. The crime
factor would be gone. It would take the money out of the hands of criminal and
put it in the hands of the government. It's not addictive, you can't overdose
unlike alcohol, but the smoke does cause cancer. Q: Would less people use it if
legalized? A: no. Q: How much is caught by the government? A: 2% of total in
U.S. Basically thats the government admittinng that they are losing the war on
drugs. Q: How does it smell? A: Usually good, sometimes bitter. a sweet smell.
Q: THC makes you high right? A: yes, they have found it causes no long lasting
effects. Water Pipes/bongs remove 80% of the smoke Q: Do you eat it? A: No,
eating uses up more. That way isn't cost effective. (end of interview) Marijuana
doesn't cause brain damage. The smoke does cause cancer, but so does tobacco.
The smoke can be reduced by up to 80% with special paraphenalia. We used to have
limited knowledge on the subject, now our knowledge is increasing. 
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