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The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937

Answers to Marihuana Questionnaire


Dr. W. L. Treadway

Division of Mental Hygeine

Public Health Service

1. Cannabin. Contained in the resin produced by the female pistillate plant of Indian hemp.

2. Cannabin is considered as the active principle. Any active principle, may be curtailed by other substances which, in themselves, are inert, or it may be enhanced, but I do not know of any substance in hemp which activates Cannabinis regarded as the active principle or substance. You may have a drug which has a specific physiological action but that drug may be enhanced by the addition of some other substance which, in itself, is probably inert. For example, take calomel combined with soda -- you would enhance the action of the calomel by the presence of that alkali.

3. It occurs largely in the resin that is found in the flowers of the tops of the pistillate plant. It also occurs in small quantities in the smaller leaves of the tops of the plant and, possibly, to a slight extent, in the fresh or young stalk of the plant.

4. In the seed.

5. I do not know. That would depend upon further experimentation. I do not think it woud be practical, from a commercial standpoint, to attempt to get any considerable yield from any part of the plant other than the resin. It would involve great technical knowledge to make it commercially possible in terms of contraband trade. The small quantitiess in the leaves and stalks would hardly be sufficient to warrant anyone going to the trouble to get a satisfacgtory yield from it. In other words, it may be technically possible but it would be impractical.

6. That is a moot point. I think it is most generally accepted, however, that the resin from the female plant conains the largest amount of Cannabin..

7. Yes. Top leavews and resin dried and kept for from a year to eighteen months becomes practically inert. It loses the strength rapidly. This is also true of the fluid extract of Cannabis. It tends to become inert, or lose its physiological strength.

8. Yes, if kept in dry storage for a long time it deteriorates.

9. Hemp fiber has almost been replaced by cotton because it can be produced cheaper (clothing, etc.) It is also cultured for rope but has been replaced by Sesseli, of the Cactus family, and Abacca fiber, grown in the Philippine Islands, both of which are more desirable for rope and cheaper. Sesseli is the more desirable of these two.

10. It is difficult to say whether the seed in its early development or in its embryonic form, may be contaminated by the presence of this resin. The resin acts as a medium for the collection of pollen. The seed does not contain the active principle of Cannabin. Theoretically, and from the standpoint of tradition, hemp seed is included in bird seed -- probably because of the idea that it did contaiin this resin and make the birds peppy.

11. I suppose you could pinch off the tops of the plants but it would have to be done two or three times for, after each pruning, theyy would produce another series of buds. Like chrysanthemums, after each pruning, they would probably make an extra effort to produce more fruit and, while this pruning would probably temporarily stop the production of ths deleterious substance it woudl eventually enhance and increase it.

12. I do not know.

13. It has been employed since about 500 B.C. for its sedative action. The principle pharmaceutiical product is the fluid extract but it is very rarely used now in medicine because there are so many more desirable hypnotics. It is used, however, as an analgesic in corm plaster. From the standpoint of the Pharmacopoeia, it has been in each revision, but in talking with some of the men interested in the new revision they question whether it is desirable to continue including it.

14. Cannabis Indica does not produce a dependence such as in opium addiction. In opiium addiction there is a complete dependence and when it is withdrawn there is actual physical pain which is not the case witth Cannabis. Alcohol more nearly produces the same effect as Cannabis in that there is an excitement or ageneral feelingg of lifting of personality, followed by a delirious stage, and a subsequent narcosis. There is no dependence or increased tolerance such as in opium addiction. Aas to the social or moral degradation associated with Cannabis it probably belongs in the same category as alcohol. As with alcohol, it may be taken a relatively long time without social or emotional breakdown. Marihuana is habit-forming, altthough not addicting, in the same sense as alcohol might be with some people, or sugar, or coffee. Marihuana produces a delerium with a frenzy which might result in violence; but this is also true of alcohol.

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