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The New Illustrated Medical and Health ENCYCLOPEDIA - H.S. Stuttman Co., Inc Publishers (Copyright 1964 By Nelson Doubeday) page 1238

MARIHANA, also known as hashish in the Orient, a habit-forming drug. It is the dried leaves and flowers of the Indian hemp plant, usually smoked in cigarettes. Addiction to marihuana is as widespread in the United States as in other countries. Every country in Asia has a centuries-long history of marihuana drug addiction.

The effects of marihuana have been recognized since the beginning of recorded history ---An Assyrian medical tablet in the British Museum refers to hashish as "an intoxicant which cheers the spirits and sharpens the erotic impulse." Vivid descriptions of hashish debauches abound in ancient Arabian literature. Marco Polo in his description of his travels tells of the desperate band of Persian highwaymen, the Assassins, who initiated new members into their order by a licentious hashish carnival. It has even been suggested that the words assassin and hashish are derived from the same root.

Marihuana or hashish affects its users in many ways, since it stimulates the nervous, respiratory, circulatory, digestive, excretory, and genital systems. The drug clouds the mind and reduces self-control; the person becomes restless and talkative, relaxed and exhilarated with a sense of well-being, followed by drowsiness. Generally difficulty in focusing and sustaining mental attention is noted.

Because of its effect on the mind and on the body, marihuana, like alcohol, can be considered a dangerous drug. The addict usually requires psychiatric as well as medical care. For best results, hospital treatment is often advised. Serious withdrawal symptoms are not known to occur in the treatment of the marihuana addict, and complete, immediate abstinence from the drug may be effected. Treatment is similar to that of the chronic alcoholic.

Marihuana has long been a major problem for government narcotic squads, for the Indian hemp plant grows wild in many areas. Smoking the drug in the form of "reefers" has become increasingly prevalent. In 1934, the United States Congress enacted legislation which prescribed almost as severe penalties for the use and sale of marihuana as for narcotics. See also DRUG ADDICTION.

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