January 30, 2013

Blast From The Past

Doctor Discusses Pot in '73

A lot can change in thirty years, but the debate on marijuana remains steady. In this week’s Blast from the Past, originally published in The Dickinsonian on Feb. 1, 1973, we receive a glimpse of what was known about marijuana during a time of widespread drug use. Original article written by Diane Tudor.

A new 300-page book entitled Marihuana, Deceptive Weed by Gabriel G. Nahas, M.D. is to be published in the early summer by Raven Press.

The author concerns himself with two attitudes towards Cannabis usage. The first has prevailed throughout the world and considered Cannabis to be a stupefying drug which should fall under national and international legislation for its elimination.

The second attitude has developed recently in Great Britain and the United States and is backing the repeal of all marihuana laws in order to make the week legally available to all who want it. Six hundred references are used to dispute and support these two positions.

Several major properties of marihuana were pointed out by Dr. Nahas with the use of 24 tables, 23 figures and a well-outlined text. The potency of the weed varies, thus the psychoactive substances of Cannabis may react in many ways.

The derivatives of Cannabis sativa owe their intoxicating properties to a psychoactive substance known as delta THC. The wide range of effects on users can be explained by the varying amounts of this found in the plant.

The delta 9 THC is insoluble in water, has a very high fat solubility and is “irregularly absorbed by the gut.” By administering marihuana or its derivatives in a period of less than a week, an accumulation of its metabolites (toxins) are found in body tissues, including the brain. This produces the existence of mutually conflicting feelings or thoughts from the central nervous system with stimulating sensory effects combined or followed by depressant ones.

Although the frequent or occasional user of this drug has not developed a physical dependency, he does show a psychological dependence on it. The stagnation of its users has caused many countries to ban the use of this drug through national and international legislation.

Nahas considers marihuana and drug taking as “symptomatic or the dissatisfaction and the craving for fulfillment of a disillusioned youth seeking new values.” In his view such a fulfillment cannot be found in a lasting way though the use of intoxicating drugs.