"My eyes are veiled, because I drink cups of bhang." -- Afghan Song.
THIS drug is not really new but, as yet, is comparatively unknown in the United States and
Canada, although three of the American States -- California, Missouri and Wyoming -- have legislated
against its use, the authorities and police officers
generally being woefully ignorant of its nature or
At the Convention held at The Hague in 1912,
Italy suggested a study of this drug, holding that its
use would increase as the opium traffic was suppressed.
Marahuana is known by chemists and physicians as
cannibis indica, and more commonly as Indian hemp.
Sometimes it is called hasheesh or hashish.
In Chapter 31 of The Count of Monte Cristo,
Dumas gives us an account of a hashish debauch. In
this chapter "Sinbad" the host, describes the green
preserve as nothing less than the ambrosia which Hebe
served at the table of Jupiter. "Sinbad" speaks of
this as "the hashish of Alexandria -- the hashish of
Abour-Gor, the celebrated maker, the only man to
whom there should be built a palace, inscribed with
these words, 'a grateful world to a dealer in
Eminent medical doctors in India, principally at
Calcutta, have made experiments with Cannibis Indica
and have discovered that it induces symptoms of catalepsy or even of trance. It is also claimed that the
fakers of India who suffer themselves to be buried
and who are later disinterred, do so through the agency
of this drug.
Some years ago, Dr. James Braid of Edinburgh
wrote a monograph on this subject entitled "Trance
and Human Hybernation," which was published by
John Church of Princes Street, Soho, London.
Hashish or hasheesh is the Arabic name and means
literally "dried herb." It may be smoked, chewed or
drunk. Our English word "assassin" comes from this
The hemp resin for smoking and chewing come
in three forms -- chang, ganja and charas.
This Indian hemp is used chiefly in Asia Minor,
India, Persia and Egypt, but is being increasingly
used on this continent, particularly by the Mexicans,
who smuggle it into the United States. Last year
fifty-four persons were convicted for using, or pedd-
ling it in Los Angeles, California.
Charles A. Jones, the Chief of Police for the city,
said in a recent letter that hashish, or Indian hemp,
grows wild in Mexico but to raise this shrub in California constitutes a violation of the State Narcotic
law. He says, "Persons using this narcotic, smoke the
dried leaves of the plant, which has the effect of
driving them completely insane. The addict loses
all sense of moral responsibility. Addicts to this drug,
while under its influence, are immune to pain, and
could be severely injured without having any realization of their condition. While in this condition they
become raving maniacs and are liable to kill or indulge
in any form of violence to other persons, using the
most savage methods of cruelty without, as said before, any sense of moral responsibility.
"When coming from under the influence of this
narcotic, these victims present the most horrible condition imaginable. They are dispossessed of their
natural and normal will power, and their mentality is
that of idiots. If this drug is indulged in to any great
extent, it ends in the untimely death of its addict."
Mr. Hamilton Fyfe in The Real Mexico, writing of
this drug says of it, "They (the Mexicans) madden
themselves with a drug called Marahuana. This has
strange and terrible effects. It appears to make those
who swallow it do whatever is uppermost in their
thoughts. At El Paso, a peon came across the International Bridge firing a rifle at all and sundry. Much
talk against the Americans and a dose of Marahuana
had decided him to invade the United States by himself. The bridge-keeper quickly put a bullet into the
W. H. B. Stoddart of the Bethlehem Royal Hospital of London, says the drug is used for the purpose
of inducing pleasurable motor excitement and hallucinations which are commonly sexual in character
among Eastern races. This contention is, however,
denied by the Encyclopaedia Brittanica, which says
there is no evidence that the drug is an aphrodiside.
Stoddart says further that, hasheesh causes epigastric sensations, with anathesia of the arms and
legs. The acute intoxication is characterized by
sleepiness and "a certain impudent, dare-devil demeanor." As in intoxication from alcohol, the gait is
staggering. The addict has delusions of persecution
or of measureless grandeur. Speaking of the latter
delusion, Dr. Palmer writes that in India, under its
influence, your servant is apt to make you a grand
salaam instead of a sandwich, and offer you an houri
when you merely demanded a red herring.
Dr. Warnock in The Journal of Mental Sciences
for January, l903, states that acute mania from
hasheesh varies from "a mild, short attack of excitement to a prolonged attack of furious mania, ending
in exhaustion or even death."
He describes the hasheesh user in the following
words: "They are good-for-nothing lazy fellows who
live by begging or stealing, and pester their relations
for money to buy the hasheesh, often assaulting them
when they refuse the demands. The moral degradation of these cases is their most salient symptom; loss
of social position, shamelessness, addiction to lying
and theft, and a loose, irregular life makes them a
curse to their families."
It appears that in using this poison, the time-sense
becomes impaired in such a way that time appears to
pass slowly. One addict says that on recovering
from a debauch "It was like returning home from an
eternity spent in loneliness among the palaces of
strangers. Well may I say an eternity," he continues,
"for during the whole day I could not rid myself of
the feeling that I was separated from the preceding
one by an immeasureable lapse of time."
It is also a peculiarity of hasheesh that its fantasia
almost invariably takes Oriental form. "It is hasheesh
which makes both the Syrian and the Saxon Oriental,"
quoth one of its habitués.
De Quincey tells the same of opium, but this may
only have been because in normal hours his imagination dallied with Eastern themes and scenes.
Speaking of these fantasia with their "unimaginable horrors" he writes, "I was buried for a thousand years in
stone coffins with mummies and sphinxes in narrow
chambers at the heart of eternal pyramids. I was
kissed with cancerous kisses, by crocodiles, and laid
confounded with unutterable slimy things amongst
reeds and nilotic mud."
It is believed that the Arabian Nights were written
under the motor excitement of hasheesh. The romancer under its influence travelled on a magic carpet
and saw strange lands and sights.
Blown on some mystic wind conjured up by the
drug, the modern habitué, in a phrensy of travel,
passes through all latitudes in gigantic tours. Now,
with joyous lightness, he is "on the way to Mandalay,"
or again, in the profoundest dejection, he has come to
"say good-bye." He travels through marshy jungles
over mid-earth lakes, across desert plains, over valleys
of roses, or in the high air where insane faces howl
at him and curse horribly.
Sometime about the middle of the last century, a
remarkable volume entitled The Hasheesh Eater was
written by Fitz-Hugh Ludlow, an American author of
great ability and high culture. He was born in the
State of New York in 1836 and died of consumption
in Switzerland in 1870. He was special correspondent to the New York dailies; wrote much magazine
literature and edited Vanity Fair from 1858 to 1860.
The effects of hasheesh, "this weed of madness,"
being explained to him by a druggist, he was impelled
by curiosity, and by a desire to record these effects
scientifically to experiment with this narcotic, not only
on himself but on his fellow students.
There are plenty of folk who pretend to themselves
that they yield to narcotic enchantment in a desire
for research and not for sensual gratification, and
that they inure their friends to its effects for the same
reason, but, however kindly in judgment, one finds
these statements hard to credit, and even if credited,
only demonstrates these persons as rascals-manifest.
Ludlow has described the delirium of hasheesh,
with its hellish agonies, as no one ever did before, or
could wish to again. He told of the jubilance from the
drug, and of its reactory results in physical and mental depression; of the nervous waste from hasheesh
addiction, and the necessity of again using the drug
to supply the waste which it first occasioned.
He also tells the story of his enfranchisement from
this fell and deadly habit till that time when he was
no longer "an outcast from man's league with God."
It has been pointed out that there are three ways
out from the regency of this addiction:
This is assuredly a direful trinity and one with
which the public should be cognizant in order that they
may be warned of the sharp danger that lies in even
curiosly tasting poisons which have been inhibited, or
which are habit-forming.
- 1st -- Insanity.
- 2nd -- Death.
- 3rd -- Abandonment.
Scanned by Dave Haans