Held December 5, 1938 in the United States Bureau of Internal Revenue
Building (Room 3003) Washington D.C.
Called by the Bureau of Narcotics of the United States Treasury Department Presided over by Mr H.J. Anslinger, Commissioner of Narcotics, and Mr H.J. Wollner, Consulting Chemist, Treasury Department
Marihuana Conference Index
Conferees Present: 2 – 3
OPENING STATEMENT OF H.J. ANSLINGER, COMMISSIONER OF NARCOTICS, containing Review of Proceedings of Sub-Committee on Cannabis of Advisory Committee on Traffic in Opium, League of Nations: 4-16
STATEMENT OF DR. A. H .WRIGHT, PROFESSOR OF AGRONOMY, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN, relating to growth of Hemp, where seeds are produced, and Hemp is grown in United States: 16 – 27
STATEMENT OF MR. FRANKLIN, CHIEF OF DRUG CONTROL, STATE OF NEW YORK, as to growth of Marihuana in that state. 27 – 29
STATEMENT OF DR. B. B. ROBINSON, BUREAU OF PLANT INDUSTRY, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, relative to experiments as to World Production of Hemp, and quantity of Production in United States and Growth and Production of Cannabis, and Comparative Results obtained from Seed obtained from various Countries: 29 – 49
STATEMENT OF DR. JOHN R. MATCHETT, CHIEF CHEMIST, BUREAU OF NARCOTICS, as to Tests made from Seeds of Hemp in various Countries: 42- 43
STATEMENT OF MR. HENRY FULLER, CONSULTING CHEMIST, as to his Experience in Growth of Cannabis: 49 – 55
STATEMENT OF DR. JAMES C. MUNCH, PROFESSOR OF PHARMACOLOGY, TEMPLE UNIVERSITY, relating to Effects of Marihuana on Organs of Body: 55- 60
STATEMENT OF DR. S. LOEWE, PHARMACOLOGIST, CORNELL UNIVERSITY MEDICAL COLLEGE, as to Bio-Assay of Marihuana 60 – 65
STATEMENT OF DR. WALTER BROMBERG, SENIOR PSYCHIATRIST, DEPARTMENT OF HOSPITALS, NEW YORK CITY, relating to varying Effects of Marihuana in various Classes of Individuals: 65 – 88
Discussion on Pharmacological Phases of Marihuana Problem: 89 -133
STATEMENT OF H. J. WOLLNER, CONSULTING CHEMIST, TREASURY DEPARTMENT: 133 -137
STATEMENT OF DR. A. H. BLATT, HOWARD UNIVERSITY, Relative to Survey of Chemical Constituents of Cannabis Sativa: 137-143
STATEMENT OF DR. JOHN R. MATCHETT, TREEASURY DEPARTMENT, containing Report of Department of Attacks on Marihuana Problems: 143 -151
STATEMENT OF DR. JOSEPH LEVINE, CHEMIST, BUREAU OF NARCOTICS, as to Tests for Identification of Marihuana 152 -160
STATEMENT OF MR. LOUIS BENJAMIN, CHEMIST, TREASURY DEPARTMENT, as to Tests: 160-164
STATEMENT OF DR. JAMES C. MUNCH, as to Tests: 162-164
STATEMENT OF DR. H. M. LANCASTER, CHIEF DOMINION ANALYST, CANADIAN GOVERMENT, in relation to Tests: 165 -l70
STATEMENT OF DR. JAMES COUCH, PATHOLOGICAL DIVISION, BUREAU OF ANIMAL INDUSTRY, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE: 170 -173
General Discussion: 173-178
BY COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: I want to express to you the appreciation of the Treasury Department for giving your valuable time in an effort to assist the Government in this important work.
I will now introduce the conferees in attendance:
DR. JOHN R. MATCHETT, Chief Chemist, Bureau of Narcotics
DR. JOSEPH LEVINE, Chemist, Bureau of Narcotics
LOUIS BENJAMIN, Chemist, Treasury Department
DR. B. B. ROBINSON, Bureau of Plant Industry, Department of Agriculture
DR. HERBERT O. CALVERY, Chief, Division of Pharmacology, Food & Drug Administration, Department of Agriculture
DR. ROBERT P. HERWICK, Food & Drug Administration, Department of Agriculture
DR. LAWRENCE KOLB, Division of Mental Hygiene, Public Health Service
DR. JAMES COUCH, Pathological Division, Bureau of Anlmal Industry, Department of Agriculture
DR. A.H. BLATT, Professor of Chemistry, Howard University
DR. S. LOEWE, Pharmacologist, Cornell University Medical College
DR. A.H. WRIGHT, Professor of Agronomy, University of Wisconsin
DR. WALTER BROMBERG, Senior Psychiatrist, Department of Hospitals, City of New York
DR. JAMES C. MUNCH, Professor of Pharmacology, Temple University
MR. H. M. LANCASTER, Chief Dominion Analyst, Canadian Government, Ottawa, Canada
MR. HENRY FULLER, Consulting Chemist, Washington, D.C.
MR. FRANK SMITH, Chief of Drug Control, State of New York.
DR. JAMES HIBBEN, Geophysical Laboratory Carnegie Institute of Washington
MR. FRED T. MERRILL, Foreign Policy Association Washington, D.C.
MR. PETER VALAER, Chemist, Alcohol Tax Unit Laboratory, U.S. Treasury Department, Washington, D.C.
DR. W. V. LINDER, Chief, Alcohol Tax Unit Laboratory, U.S. Treasury Department, Washington, D.C.
MR. PAUL W. SIMONDS, Assn. Chief, Alcohol Tax Unit Laboratory, U.S. Treasury Department, Washington, D.C.
MR. MORRIS KAPLAN, Office of the Chief, Division of Laboratories, U.S. Bureau of Customs
DR. S. T. SCHICKTANZ, Chemist, Alcohol Tax Unit Laboratory, U.S. Treasury Department
Commissioner Anslinger: I assume the press will be after us. The Treasury Department has not as yet publicly announced this meeting. The Department will do this subsequently. I hope therefore, that none of you will be drawn into discussions with reporters until the meeting is concluded. The Treasury Department will issue a statement on the meeting. I want all of you to freely express your opinions on every phase of the subject under discussion; and if you differ on any point, we hope you will not hesitate to present your side of the picture. I want to give you a brief review of what took place at Geneva, Switzerland, last spring at a meeting of the Sub-Committee on Cannabis, of the Advisory Committee on traffic in opium and other dangerous drugs of the League of Nations. I think this a fitting way to open the Conference. It will illustrate the international significance of the Cannabis problem and show the current status of some of the excellent work that is being done by other nations on the question. This work I think was very important, and I want to give you the reports of the experts of the various countries which will give you an idea as to the points on which the authorities still remain in doubt.
The Secretariat of the League referred to various points submitted to the Experts in a questionnaire drawn up for their use in January, l936, and used as a basis for the Sub-Committees work. He described the research work being undertaken. The Sub-Committee endeavored to indicate on what phases of the Marihuana problem agreement exists, and on what points there is a divergence of views which has formed the subject of exchange of information between the Experts whether on chemical and agricultural questions, or on the medical and pathological questions. Since the Advisory Committee’s last session, Mr. J. V. Collins, Government Analyst, Ceylon, on January 12, l938, notified the Committee of his acceptance of the Advisory Committee’s invitation to act as an Expert on Cannabis in place of the late Dr. Symons. The Committee received important documents from two of its Experts, Dr. Bouquet and Dr. de Myttenaere. Dr. Bouquet has for many years done a vast amount of work on Cannabis. He is the Inspector of Pharmacies in Tunis.
Dr. Bouquet submitted reports on the following points:
I Vegetable products wrongly designated as hemp.
II Microscopic examination of samples of Cannabis.
III Physiologically active resin in the staminate Cannabis plant.
IV New variety of Cannabis.
V Influence of drought on the growth of Cannabis.
VI Medical uses of Cannabis and drugs with a Cannabis base.
VII Use of animal charcoal.
VIII Dr. James C. Munch’s Reaction.
IX Is light petroleum the only solvent of the active element of Cannabis and its preparations?
X Addiction by certain solanaceae.
Then the report is supplemented by Dr. Bouquet regarding the following points:
I Are the light petroleum extracts of Cannabis the only ones that are physiologically active?
II Observations on document O.C.1542 (z) (Report on the research conducted by the Treasury Department of the United States of America, in cooperation with the Department of Agriculture, in connection with studies on the chemical identification of Cannabis Indica (Cannabis Sativa).
III Identification test for Cannabis resin, proposed by Dr. de Myttenaere.
IV Method of identifying resin, proposed by Dr. H. J. Wollner.
V Procedure for experiments.
VI Observations on the causes of Cannabis addiction in North Africa.
Dr. de Myttenaere submitted to the Secretariat a supplement to the third note on Indian hemp, and a fourth note on Indian hemp, including a study of the published work which has appeared since May, 1937, giving observations of Mr. Wollner’s experiments in the United States. Apart from these contributions from Experts of the Sub-Committee on Cannabis, the Secretariat received a “Study of the Chemical Identification of Marihuana (Cannabis Indica)” by Dr. Rafael Plasencia, Government Chemist of Cuba, and a reply concerning the same subject from the United Kingdon Representative. It also received information regarding experiments on the chemical identification of Cannabis indica communicated by the United States Government. This is the report covering the investigation conducted by the Treasury Department in cooperation with the Department’s Agriculture. The United Kingdom also submitted to the Secretariat a communication concerning the question as to whether Cannabis stalks used commercially for the production of fibre still contained resin. That point was also discussed. As to the American documents, we usually summarize all work that has been done on Cannabis, incorporate it into one document and submit it to the League of Nations. As to Dr. Plasencia’s experiment; he has followed up Beam’s experiments and elaborated a new method which he states is absolutely and specifically suitable for Cannabis and constant for all the varieties tested, even Merck’s extract of Cannabis indica with which Beam’s reaction gave no result. Our Government has submitted observations on this paper. The United Kingdom Representative also transmitted an opinion by the Government Chemist who suggests certain modifications in this method. These modifications consist of an attempt to separate the substances responsible for the characteristic color in Beam’s test on the assumption that it is a phenol. All of these documents are available in the United States Treasury Department for anyone who would like to study them. It would seem that Dr. de Myttenaere and Mr. Wollner have different opinions on the point as to whether light petroleum is the best solvent for Cannabis. Dr. de Myttenaere considers that so far as is known at present, light petroleum is the best solvent for the extraction of the active principles of Cannabis, and hence the only one suitable for Beam’s test; and he has carried out experiments as to whether ethyl acetate should be substituted, or is preferable as a solvent for petroleum ether.
In the report there is also given the list of vegetable products wrongfully designated as hemp, We have a little trouble with that in this country, as it is frequently designated as Cannabis, New Zealand hemp, hemp of the Americas, Bombay hemp, African hemp, etc. It has been found that these were all wrong designators used by various persons interested in the problem. NOTE.–Until very recently. the definition of Cannabis sativa (marihuana) was based upon the traditional conception that the active principle of the drug, technically known as cannabinol or cannabinone, is present only in the female or pistillate plant and present there only in the flowering tops. Since the development of more refined chemical tests, it has been discovered that the active principle is contained in the leaves of the pistillate plant as well as the leaves of the staminate plant. This brought about the advisability of makihg the definition all inclusive in laws for control of the drug found in the male as well as the female plant. It will therefore be necessary to change the definition in the League of Nations Treaty of 1925. Dr. Bouquet, while investigating this question, found that it always has been acknowledged that intoxicating resin could be obtained from male Cannabis plants but in such small quantities that for practical purposes this source of production is not utilized at present. He realized, however, that it might become worthwhile for traffickers to turn their attention to it, and recommended that the free handling of the vegetative parts of both male and female Cannabis plants should be prohibited. That work was started in America by the laboratory of Parke-Davis some years ago. Then the question of the production of the fibre, the condition of development, depending on the meterological factors of the crop area was discussed. In this respect differences have been noted between the height of the plant, and the length, consistency and toughness of the textile fibres. The growing conditions of the plant also affect the output of its resin, which depends directly on the degree of temperature; on the dryness of the soil; and probably on the amount of sunshine encountered. In the annual report for Turkey for 1937, there is brought to the attention of the Committee data concerning a variety of Cannabis sativa having long stalks. It is grown for industrial purposes in various parts of Anatolia; the fibre is used for manufacturing ropes and sacks; and its resin content is so slight it could not be used for the extraction of a narcotic drug. That seems to be the answer to our prayers, if true. As to the psychical and psychopathic effects of Cannabis, the literature on this phase of the subject tends to confirm the analysis as to the psychic effects of hashish made as long ago as 1845 by Dr. Moreau de Tours in his book, which incidentally is still the standard work on the subject. Also, Dr. Brottaux in his book on Hashish published in 1934, which I think is considered a veritable ‘bible’ on the subject today, has followed up and in the main confirmed Dr. Moreau’s analysis. Then there was discussed the relation between Cannabis and insanity. There was reference to the work of Dhunsiboy, the Director of one of the Hospitals for Insane in India-in which he points out that the prolonged use of Indian hemp leads to insanity. The work of Dr. Bouquet was discussed; and also the work of the British Indian hemp Commission which carried out an inquiry in 1893 and 1894 into the relationship of Indian hemp and lunacy. Colonel Chopra did some work in India which was discussed. He found that in India a special form of mental disease classed as toxic insanity had direct relation to the excessive use of hemp drugs.
All of these experts laid stress on ‘excessive use.’ Then there was a proposal discussed to authorize the sale of ganja to the Indian population in Burma. As you probably know, in India. the Government maintains a Monopoly, and various narcotic products are sold across the counter tax- paid. The League of Nations wanted to point out to the Committee the various points that were raised in connection with the proposal to sell hemp. To meet the allegation concerning the increase in insanity due to the use of ganja, a table prepared by the Inspector General of Civil Hospitals in Burma has been added showing that as far as the mental hospital at Tagadale was concerned, the percentage of mental cases attributable to the use of ganja and its derivatives varied during the years between 1928 and 1937 from 0.87 to 4.35; and that in 1936, out of a total of 296 admissions there were ten such cases, the corresponding figures for 1937 being 356 and ten respectively. The Sub-Committee was urged to examine the still-controversial question of the relationship between addiction to hemp drugs and the spread of insanity. The work of Dr. Stringaris on Hashish was discussed. He is an authority on insanity due to the use of Hashish in Russia. He maintains that a further increase can be expected in the ravages caused by Hashish in Asiatic Russia. Then the question of the relationship between the abuse of narcotic drugs and alcoholism arose. It is still a mixed question, and considerable recommendations were furnished. In Algeria, Dr. Bouquet has noted that Heroin addicts were recruited from the Hashish addicts, and Dr. Stringaris in Asiatic Russia has found that to be the case there also. In conclusion the Secretariat pointed out that, as a result of concurrent investigations, progress has been made on chemical studies and research, while fresh information has been gathered in other spheres; at the same time, certain points still require clarification, especially in connection with the physiological, psychological, and psychopathic effects of Cannabis and with the relationships between Hashish-addiction and insanity, and between Cannabis-addiction and crime. After considering all of the recommendations furnished by the League of Nations, the Sub-Committee then made the following report, which is very pertinent in the light of the points we want to discuss here.
“In discussion of the matter before it, the Sub-Committee divided consideration of the subject as follows:
(1) Commercial uses of Cannabis
(2) Medical uses of Cannabis
(3) Effects of the abuse of Cannabis
(4) Methods of detecting the presence of Cannabis
(5) Legal definition of the term ‘Cannabis.’
The discussions developed the fact that the Committee still lacks complete information concerning the commercial uses of Cannabis. The Sub-Committee would welcome further information concerning the physiological, psychological and psychopathic effects of abusive use of Cannabis and the relation between Cannabis-addiction and crime. Dr. Bouquet pointed out that percentages of resin content in the hemp plant raised in different countries should be ascertained with a view to deciding whether it is necessary to prohibit or merely to control the cultivation of Cannabis for industrial purposes. The value of the Beam test for detecting the presence of Cannabis appears to have been confirmed by a further series of experiments, the results of which are before the Committee, including those attained by the employment of several different modifications of that text. Dr. de Myttenaere said that his experience enabled him to state that the Beam alkaline reaction and its modifications indicated the chief element in the various components of Cannabis resin which was the cause of Hashish addiction, i.e.the alcoholic group. Dr. Bouquet informed the Sub-Committee that a test based upon new principles had recently been devised which will form the subject of a thesis to be presented by Messrs. Duquenois and Hassan Negm Mustapha at the University of Strasbourg in July, 1938, a brief description of which will be circulated to the Opium Advisory Committee. The question of modifying the incomplete definition of Indian hemp in the Geneva Convention of 1925 was discussed, but no definite conclusion was arrived at. It appeared upon examination that such modification would affect not only Article 1 of the Convention, but also Articles 4 and 11 and would necessarily involve complicated adjustments in the Convention itself. It was therefore decided to postpone further consideration of this matter until the next session of this Sub-Committee when it is hoped that more time will be available for the work. Up to the present time, the work of the Sub-Committee has consisted almost entirely of collecting information in regard to the various phases of the Cannabis problem, and, until the Sub-Committee has before it more data than it has at present, it would scarcely be considered advisable to undertake definite recommendations.”
We would like to take inventory of our research and see what is needed. The Federal Government did not get into this picture until after all 48 states had adopted legislation controlling Marihuana in greater or less degree. The Marihuana Tax Act went into effect a little over a year ago, and since that time we have destroyed some 16,000 acres of the plant throughout the various States; most of it in the Middle West. About l,000 violators have been arrested by the Federal Government. I am not trying to sell this book, but I want to call your attention to the work on “Marihuana’a written by Dr. Robert P. Walton, Professor of Chemistry, University of Mississippi, with a foreword by Dr. Geller who is a distinguished pharmacologist connected with the University of Chicago. I would like to start with the agricultural phases of this problem, which will also include the industrial and economic phases. I am therefore going to call on Dr. Wright of the University of Wisconsin and ask him to discuss some of the questions that seem to be troubling us.
STATEMENT OF DR. A. H. WRIGHT Professor of Agronomy University of Wisconsin
DR. WRIGHT: Gentlemen, let me say to you in the first place that while I am connected with the University of Wisconsin, so far as the hemp work is concerned, the hemp being Marihuana, I am working as an agent and in cooperation with the Bureau of Plant Industry here in Washington. I had better assume that you are about the agricultural side like I am about chemistry, that you do not know very much about it. Therefore, suppose I sketch briefly the practical every day procedure by which hemp is handled in the United States and Canada, not mentioning anything about the European situation, and as Dr. Robinson is going to review something about the history of hemp, I will leave that out entirely. In the United States hemp is an annual crop produced from seed planted each year, planted in the Spring the same as small grains are planted, the same as corn is planted. It has been grown during recent years almost exclusively in very few sections; Kentucky, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota. It is planted en masse thickly as small grain, in other words, it is drilled in. It is planted on very good soil in order to be a profitable production. It is a crop limited to good soil for profitable production most every where in the world, and it is seeded about a bushel to the acre on soil, prepared as for small grain. After it is planted, there is nothing left to be done except to wait for it to be harvested, and it is harvested in the latter part of August, throughout September, and sometimes extending into October depending on the section of the United States or Canada. The seed is usually produced in Kentucky, and in the North American Continent, very rarely any other place. In the sections where it is grown for fibre or industrial uses, seed is not produced. The usual, or arbitrary way of determining when to harvest a crop is when it is well in blossom, we will say rather late blossom when the pollen is being fairly cleared, depending from that time on how circumstances work out, but that is when it is begun. It is generally harvested now by special machinery which has been developed during the last few years. It is cut and spread in swaths of even length. It is left in the stuble, spread out for retting. Now, the exact procedure varies in different sections of the country. This retting period, that is the period when the so-called fibre portion of the stem is released from the woody portion, varies from two weeks to, in certain cases, two months. After it has reached that stage where the fibre can be removed from the straw by being dressed, it is gathered and bound in bundles and shocked. Then it is put in stacks, usually in hemp mills or processing plants. From these stacks it is sent to the dryer, and dried to what is commonly called in the trade bone-dry condition and which would mean 8 or 9 or 10% moisture. Then it is crushed by the breaking process, that is the fiber is separated by the usual process called scutching, and it is divided into two kinds of fibre, one the long stretch, and the other tangled, and then it is inserted in bales. That, I believe, is the agricultural procedure of the handling of the hemp. There is a little variation in Kentucky because of the weather conditions. It is not retted immediately, but shocked until later in the season when the retting conditioning can be done. In the northern part of the country, it is spread on the ground and the retting is done immediately. Now, I want to avoid going into the acreage and that phase of the work for Dr. Robinson is going to cover that.
I would like to inject this thought here for I am sure it will do no harm, and that is that hemp has been an American industry ever since Colonial times It is not a large industry. It has had its ups and downs, but it has been an American industry since Colonial times, and it is one of the oldest crops that we have in the United States. It is used, as you know, from an industrial stand-point for textile purposes, and to a minor extent for other purposes and Dr. Robinson will develop that. Now, there might be perhaps some questions right now. One or two other items I want to take up before I am through.
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: Go right ahead.
DR. WRIGHT: You know I might not have another chance to say anything
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: You will be given a chance. Go right ahead, Dr. Wright.
DR. WRIGHT: I was just wanted to throw this into the pot, and that is, of course, that we who work with the commercial producers, and the industry naturally collectively, and I suppose we are justifiable in that, our prejudices are on that side. I do not think we would be human if we were not, and I do not claim to be other than human. We have a small industry in the United States that has had its ups and downs over a long period of time. We still produce commercial hemp and fibre. Those in the industry are naturally concerned. They have a stake in that they have what little they have invested in the business. They are not concerned about this last law because I believe they were given a very square deal in the national legislation on the matter. What they are concerned about is the public position, that indefinite intangible thing, public feeling about growing hemp at all. They have already been subjected to some rather embarrassing situations. Now, just suppose that as a result of the agitation, warranted or not, and there are probably two views on that, and I am open to both views, the extensive publicity that has been given in the hemp states, particularly Wisconsin where there is much agitation, that some kind of a legislation will come up to put out or eradicate the production of hemp under the Weed Control Department or the Legislature appropriating money to do it. I will not bother you long on that, but I just want to mention that and show what problem we will be called on to face. Those men have managed to keep their mouths shut and have expressed no views concerning Marihuana in public, for we feel we are not in a position to do so, and we would like to be sure of our ground before doing it. Of course, having worked with eradication procedures and eradication programs, unless you would convince us otherwise we would oppose the eradication program in Wisconsin as we see it now with the immense cost and the things of that sort. Now comes the other phase of it. We have been trying, in cooperation with the Bureau of Plant Industry, and Dr. Robinson and the Division of Pharmacy of the University of Wisconsin and Dr. Link who is head of the Bio-Chemistry Department of the University of Wisconsin to begin a study of Cannabis in relation to hemp as a crop. Without going into details, I think I have told you my story for the present.
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: We thank you very much, Doctor. Before we go on to Dr. Robinson, I think there were various points brought up that our conferees would like to discuss. There is one point about commercial hemp. We did not make a survey in your State, but we did make a survey in the State of Minnesota, and some of the hemp that was harvested in 1934 is still on the ground.
DR. WRIGHT: That is right.
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: It is giving us a great deal of difficulty. The farmers up in Minnesota in some of the sections have been subjected to various promotion schemes. Due to the existence of stacks of the old 1934 and 1935 crop of harvested hemp in Southern Minnesota, which is a menace to society in that it has been used by traffickers, we have arrested a gang who took a truck load of this Marihuana into New York. I will say that the farmers up there have been cooperating with us 100%. If they see anybody around that section who looks like a trafficker, they bring out their old shot guns, and he is soon disposed of. We have very little trouble from the farmers up there. It is said that every stack contains a plentiful supply for smoking purposes. Allegations have been made that if it was on the ground three years there would not be any resin left. Mr. Wollner can tell you how much resin some of the experts reported after Marihuana had been lying on the ground three years. It seems that the traffickers can find it. Our own chemists have found it. We feel that the farmer is entitled to a reasonable return for these old crops. He planted the crop in goodfaith; he has no desire to violate the law, and we have been assured that the removal of the harvested crops is very desirable. It is a very difficult situation. Have you any observations to make, or any discussion on the question?
DR. ROBINSON: As to the commercial procedure, the plant is spread out on the land, and left there until the stalks are retted, and some of the leaves are gone. It is shocked and taken into the hemp mill. The grower is uncertain as to where he stands, and whether the leaves that are associated with the straw are in the legal sense Marihuana, referring, of course, to that particular clause in the law which refers to dry stalks. Now this is done as follows: the straw is left on the land in the stubble for varying times, as I say, from two weeks or longer during this retting process. It is subject to the action of rains and bleaching and decomposition with the various effects of bacteria and fungi, but when it is taken in, it still retains a trace of the leaves. That is what affects the folks up there in Minnesota.
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: I notice the term ‘hurds’ referred to.
DR. WRIGHT: That is the non-fibrous material crushed and taken away from the fibrous. It is the residue. It would be the same as shives in flax.
MR. WOLLNER: I am afraid to say that the experiment with Minnesota hemp is rather inconclusive. As I understand it the hemp was bundled before it had been permitted to ret for an extended period of time. It may be we will find that if the hemp is permitted to ret before it is stacked, a further decomposition of the drug will ensue. However, we do know that the Minnesota hemp of 1934 is active.
DR. WRIGHT: It would be active.
MR. WOLLNER. It is active but whether the activity was retained by improper handling of the hemp, I don’t know. As I understand it they were advised to bunch their hemp before it was retted.
DR. WRIGHT: It was never rotted or retted. The plan of handling in Minnesota was unauthorized. In other words, it was contrary to the usual procedure. They put the green hemp or the semi-green hemp in a bundle, and at a later stage it would be known in the trade as green hemp. That was never used for textile purposes. It was not suitable for textile purposes.
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: Then, Dr. Wright, your opinion is that if harvested properly most of the leaves avould remain on the ground and not adhere to the stalks?
DR. WRIGHT: I will be perfectly frank in telling you that will vary in seasonal conditions, and so we are much concerned about that. There are leaves left. As to the condition of those leaves, we don’t know. They are left, and there is no use in denying that. There are considerable left on the straw. There are not a great deal, but there are leaves left.
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: Then prompt harvesting would reduce this danger we are now confronted with?
DR. WRIGHT: It would.
DR. MATCHETT: What about the hemp stacked green in Kentucky; doesn’t that mold more than that left on the ground?
DR. WRIGHT: Hemp is left in the shock in Kentucky. You will correct me Dr. Robinson, if I’m wrong, because it has been fifteen years since I was down there, but it is my impression that it is shocked. It is first spread and allowed to wilt on the ground.
DR. MATCHETT: Then there is no molding?
DR. WRIGHT: If properly handled there will be no molding.
MR. WOLLNER: From our point of view that would be improper handling; there would be no decomposition of the resin.
DR. WRIGHT: The general weathering we would get would be during the curing stage.
MR. WOLLNER: How long, about, does that take?
DR. WRIGHT: Now, after it is shocked, cured and stacked, later it is spread on the land again and retted.
DR. MATCHETT: But, during this period, of course, it would be in excellent condition for smoking, – that is, relatively dry in the stack.
DR. WRIGHT: From the time it is cut until it is rotted, whatever leaves there are should be suitable for Marihuana.
MR. SMITH: While we have not found in New York State a large agricultural growth, we do find that the largest part of our growth, instead of being on good soil, is on poor soil. For the past two years when I have been looking for wild growth, I have found it in dumps or soil that has a high content of ashes or cinders, and I have found it trying to grow it in my own garden but the growth does not begin to compare with that of the cinder growth, and as a matter of fact we have found that most recently the wild growth seeks that kind of soil. That does not prove anything, of course, except we have probably most of our wild growth coming from ashes and cinders and public dumps. This did strike me very forcibly, and what struck me more forcibly was that we had some of the biggest growths in Brooklyn where it was almost a clear cinder dump. Our experience in New York State so far has not produced anyone who desired to be licensed as a cultivator. I think some of that might be offset if the public was assured that the cultivator would have to be licensed, after proper investigation, and that definite qualifications exist to establish control.
DR. WRIGHT: As to your first statement about hemp growing on cinder beds, wild hemp, – it is not a fibrous hemp. As all of you who are familiar with the middle west know, you will find blocks that were formerly even cinder beds, but fibrous hemp will not grow there.
MR. SMITH: The point I was chiefly interested in was the public interest, where it was grown, whether being produced by chance or design.
DR. WRIGHT: We are hopeful we can clarify this situation. Since legislation may be introduced to eradicate or to bring pressure upon the legitimate producer, I appreciate your suggestion. I think it is a good one.
MR. SMITH: We have also in New York State given some consideration to definite measures for removal, but so far we have operated under difficulties acting under nuisance laws. Under the Public Health laws in New York, we can fix a penalty for maintaining a public nuisance. We have in a few instances removed Marihuana from private property where the owner wouldn’t undertake it himself, and then assessed a lien against the property within the Public Health law on the ground that we have removed a public nuisance.
DR. WRIGHT: It might be construed to apply to Marihuana under our Public Health regulations in Wisconsin. I do not know whether it has been discussed or not.
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: Dr. Robinson, we would like to hear from you.
STATEMENT OF DR. B. B. ROBINSON BUREAU OF PLANT INDUSTRY DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE.
DR. ROBINSON: If fibres produced from plants were ranked in accordance with their world production in tonnage, hemp would occupy a position of probably third or fourth. It would be surpassed by cotton and jute produced in India, and in some years by flax. That gives you some idea of where it stands in relative importance. Dr. Wright mentioned a matter that many of you are familiar with, the fact of the importance that hemp played in our earlier Colonial days before the introduction of the cotton gin. The culture of hemp in the United States, I might ay has decreased because of the cheap competitive fibres which are produced by cheap labor in foreign countries, and it is because of this cheapness that they are substituted for hemp in many cases, and not because of the fact that they have characteristics that are better than hemp for cordage or textile purposes. The average world production between the years 1930 and 1954 for hemp was about 750,000 tons. And now, during that same period in the United States in this small industry we have produced about 500 tons. The world production was produced mainly by Russia where I think 56% of the fibre is produced, followed by Italy, Yugoslavia, Rumania as other producing countries, During the past year or two we imported for domestic consumption about 700 to 800 tons a year, so our total consumption, including domestically produced fibre, and imported fibre runs about from 1500 to 2000 tons. Now, many of you here may wonder why such a small industry as that should be favored to continue on, particularly in the light of the detrimental character of certain parts of the plant used illegally. In the first place the United States is dependent upon the foreign production of fibres other than cotton. The United States imports annually about 300,000 tons of fibre used for cordage and textile purposes. The estimated value last year was about $35,000,000. That does not include some importations of India twine. I do not mean to infer that if hemp were grown in this country, it could substitute for all of this 300,000 tons imported, but it is the principal fibre which we can get in the United atates, which could be substituted in many cases if conditions arose to make it necessary. The United States, is very thoroughly taken care of at present in reference to supplying our own needs on this cordage fibre. Another argument for the hemp industry is the adaptability of the hemp plant to various regions of the country and because of suitability for mechanical handling, and these are some of the reasons why the office with which I am connected in the Department of Agriculture is interested in seeing this small nucleus of hemp industry continued each year until it is capable of supporting itself under economic conditions. I am speaking more of the industry in Wisconsin rather than the promotional attempts to grow hemp in Minnesota which one might speak of an unorthodox processing. But this industry we have is capable at the present time of supporting itself if public opinion does not force it to be shut doan, or additional restrictions hamper it. So, this industry could be benefited we naturally think, if this Marihuana stigma could be removed. However, the Wisconsin operators are not opposed to adjust themselves to the conditions and are very much interested in trying to overcome this drug problem. A couple of years ago when this problem was brought to the front more vividly than in the past, the Department of Agriculture was naturally interested in it, and the main way we could see to combat it was as to how to get around it [sic]. Naturally there might be less restriction on the production of hemp in this country if we could prove that in certain sections of the country, because of climatic conditions, the drug was not active, or if we could possibly get plants of varieties that lack the drug, which is probably an Utopian view, or that had it in low concentration. As a result we cooperated with the Bureau of Narcotics, in setting up some experiments. The Bureau of Narcotics has conducted all of the chemical work, and Dr. Marchett later on will speak of these tests. I do not want to go too much into his field. But, we have attempted under this cooperative work to remove or reduce the resinous substance from commercial hemp. You gentlemen who are chemists and pharmacologists can assist the Agricultural program by furnishing the Agriculture Department some working tools or some tests by which we can tell the presence or absence of this drug, or its activity. It may be said that I am throwing it all on the chemists. I am not trying to do that, but we do need something to work with. So far we naturally have resorted to the Beam tests, the significance of which we do not know with certainty, but in the work we undertook last year, it was the only simple tool which we could work with. Now last summer out at Arlington farm close by, we planted a field in which there were 98 small plots of hemp that were set up in conformity with the statistical method of analysis of variances by a man named Fisher. We obtained statistically significant differences between the varieties using the alkaline but did not obtain it using the acid test. The question may arise, then, as to which is the most accurate of the tests in measuring the presence or absence of the drug. In reference to that, the question of the region of the hemp may play some importance. The native home of hemp is supposedly in central Asia, -and the hemp of Chinese origin which has been distributed throughout the world has practically always been used for fibre purposes. The hemp that has come from India has been of the narcotic type and has not been cultivated generally for fibre. It has been cultivated for the drug. I wish I knew the history of this a little better, but from what I have been able to learn from others, hemp does not appear to constitute a narcotic problem in China. That is of a fibrous variety, and there is a great difference between that hemp and the hemp that came from India. With reference to our test at Arlington, the narcotic chemists selected samples at three different periods for the acid and alkaline test. We got a difference, mathematically significant between those tests. That is, the first sampling which I think was in the early part of June, was different from the later two samplings in that it was lower in that characteristic of activity, the numbers they gave on the Beam test. Actually, the last test was a little lower than the middle test, but it was not significantly lower. We arranged 8 different fertilizer treatments for the various plots and found that the fertilizer used had no effect on the strength or incidence either the acid or alkaline test. Because of the fertilizer result it would appear that soil vs. variations that occurred probably did not produce any differences or that the soil does not play a part. With reference to climate, so far we have not made a test for we have only had the work at Arlington. But we plan next summer, if things go well at Arlington, to conduct a test in Wisconsin. We have some cooperative agents in Mississippi and we thought we could get a test farm there. It has been suggested that we try to get one other region, Arizona or New Mexico, or out in that section. So far, we have not made arrangements, but, if we could get these various locations in the United States, then we could have a set-up whereby we could evolute [sic] climatic conditions in reference to certain tests, the Beam test or some other one if you can furnish it. These are the results which we have obtained so far in the agricultural program to get away from this drug. There have been several reasons I have not brought out as to why we thought we could get somewhere. We know by handling the plants that some of them are very resinous, and some are not. So, we are receptive to the work you men will do to give us some means of testing our plants so as to allow us to produce agriculturally some results which we hope will help the industry.
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: Thank you very muck, Dr. Robinson. You recall what I said about the Turkish annual report for the year 1937 in which it is said that Cannabis sativa with long stalks is grown for industrial purposes in various parts of Anatolia; that the fibre is used for the manufacture of ropes and sacks, and its resin content is so slight that it could not be used for the extraction of a narcotic drug. It might be interesting to get some Turkish seed.
MR. WOLLNER: We have not had a great deal of success as regards those statements. We obtained some seed submitted by Dr. Bouquet and I believe Dr. Robinson planted some of them, without any success.
DR. ROBINSON: We planted them under favorable conditions last spring. Roughly we may have gotten in the field 200 or 300 plants, and after our first Beam test it was estimated we had about 100 left. About the first of August, I came back from a trip to the west, and we el- iminated about two-thirds of the remainder leaving only about 40. I have harvested about 20 of these one-half were males, and we sent 10 from that collection over to Dr. Matchett to run an alkaline Beam test on. I was able to obtain out of that .about one-third negative and the rest positive.
MR. WOLLNER: Was the amount of resin in these plants comparable to that in other plants?
DR. ROBINSON: In harvesting these plants, we merely stripped the seed in the field to keep the birds from getting it and I would say that the African plant was more resinous than the Manchurian plant. It may be that the African plant was later in maturing, but still, by comparison with the Manchurian plant, it had more resin. My hand was simply caked with resin in stripping the plant for the seed.
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: The Indian Government report for 1934 shows that where they did not have this type of hemp all of the resin was imported from Central Asia. It is stated that the hemp cultivated in Europe does not carry the intoxicating properties of Indian hemp. While it is believed that the European hemp does not contain as much resin as is to be found in hemp usually produced in Asia, the production of the active resin is particularly variable, and there are some times great differences in quantity depending on the altitude of the place of cultivation. Are there any questions that you care to ask, Dr. Robinson?
DR. HIBBEN: I would like to ask if you made any experiments artificially in the new varieties by radiation?
DR. ROBINSON: We had a program for a number of years on hemp, and my predecessor, Mr. Dewey, who unfortunately could not be here this morning, reached retirement age three years ago, and our hemp program was interrupted. So far we have not gone into that, but to some extent we have considered it. These other methods we have approached seemed to have possibilities of results if the tests mean anything. I think this next spring, we should be able to plant these negative seeds we have, and those which have tested negative three different times and have been pollinated by plants in three different tests, and we should be able to give the chemists something definite to test.
DR. MUNCH: It is my recollection, when Mr. Dewey made a test of the original plants growing in Arlington back in 1922, we found different physiological portents in the male and the female but, at that time, Mr. Dewey had seed he had obtained from various parts of the world, and it is my impression that after about three years of cultivation at Arlington, the growth characteristics of all of these plants tended to the same type. In other words, they all tended to hemp of a certain height, -as I say that occurred after three years of cultivation.
DR. ROBINSON: I think that more or less that result is obtained. Professor Wright who may have had a little closer touch with the problem could answer you better. Wouldn’t that be your opinion, Professor Wright?
DR. WRIGHT: Yes, under the method used of applying open pollinating, that was the tendency as far as our observation went,-that they were more or less alike.
DR. ROBINSON: In reference to that, these stalks of hemp we obtained last year from these various sources, have all been isolated, so they have not been cross pollinated.
DR. MUNCH I do not know where Mr. Young of Florence, South Carolina, got his idea for the raising of Cannabis for a medicinal purpose -
DR. ROBINSON: He got it from Mr. Dewey.
DR. MUNCH: There was a material decrease in the material before he finally abandoned that project.
DR. ROBINSON: I do not know how he obtained it all, or that he obtained it all from Mr. Dewey, but as I recall, he did.
DR. MUNCH: There is one other question, and that is as to the method by which the seeds themselves were obtained,-is that of any interest to you?
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: Yes, Dr. Wright, can you give us something on the that?
DR. WRIGHT: Commercial seed used for commercial planting?
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: Yes.
DR. WRIGHT: I do not have any notes on that. The seed are grown from plants cultivated principally for seed; I mean the ordinary hemp which has been planted for seed similar to corn. It is planted in rows, all harvested by hand, and put in large shocks like those in Kentucky. It is harvested in the latter part of September or the first of October in the section in which it is grown. Then the shocks are dumped over on large canvasses, smoothed out on the ground, and the stubble removed and beat out with sticks in the old fashioned method. This is the only place in the United States producing this commercially.
DR. MATCHETT: Isn’t most of the seed planted here produced in foreign countries?
DR. WRIGHT: I do not get the question.
DR. MATCHETT: Aren’t most of the seeds produced in foreign countries?
DR. WRIGHT: Most of the seed produced for Commercial purposes originated in China, central China or towards the south part of China and was carried here for cultivation.
MR. WOLLNER: I believe what Dr. Matchett means is the commercial crop that is grown for instance in Wisconsin, does that originate from seed grown in Kentucky, or the Far East?
DR. WRIGHT: All of the hemp planted in the United States for commercial purposes comes from Kentucky. That is, all of the legitimate hemp comes from seed grown in Kentucky. Does that answer the question?
DR. MATCHETT: Yes.
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: Dr. Matchett, you have been collaborating with Dr. Robinson in these experiments at Arlington. Can you tell us what results you obtained? Dr. Robinson has told us quite a lot about the results, but I think you can probably elaborate upon them.
DR. MATCHETT: First of all I might state we made these tests in the manner that was published by us last year, and in the treatment we divided the tests into six categories, according to the depth of color that we obtained, beginning with zero for negative plants. These plants which, gave us only traces of color, which we felt should not be overlooked, but which we also felt would not constitute wholly satisfactory identification of the plant, were designated number one.
Those plants characterized as 2, gave strong responses, definitely positive, and those as 3, 4, and 5 responded with increasing intensity in that order.
Briefly we found on variety No. 1, a Rumanian variety 97.5% of the plants tested would have been satisfactorily identified by the Beam test. That is assuming for the moment the single test would be sufficient, which I believe is generally understood not to be so.
Variety No. 2, another Rumanian variety, gave us 100%.
Variety No. 3, the third Rumanian variety, 87% of satisfactory
Variety No. 5, Manchuria, 22.9% satisfactory response.
Variety No. 6, Chinese, 13.8% satisfactory.
Variety No. 9, Italian, 98.1%
There is a very decided difference between the Chinese, and Manchurian varieties on the one hand and the Rumanian and Italian varieties on the other.
Now there were some very interesting things in reference to the differences between the three test periods.
It is true that there was one rather decided change, particularly in the second test, but there was not as significant difference between the number of negative plants, nor was the difference worked with reference to category No. l.
The interesting thing was where we had many in category 2 in the first testing, in the next testing a considerable increase appeared in category 4, with a corresponding decrease in category 2.
The actual number of negative plants was not significantly different. I believe the first test gave us 36, the second test 32, and the third test 40.
During the course of our activities we found that molding had no apparent effect on one alkaline test response of either negative or positive plants. We permitted them to mold in a. very moist place for a period of five weeks. There was no change in the Beam test.
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: I want to ask Dr. Wright a question. In harvesting the plant, Doctor, we understand that the farmer usually harvests it before the resin reaches its highest stage. Is that true?
DR. WRIGHT: I will say yes, not knowing when the highest stage of the resin is reached myself, but from what I could gather from talking to Mr. Wollner and Dr. Link and those most familiar with the subject. It is cut in the mid-blossom stage, and from what I understand the plants are usually expected to have a high content of resin at that time.
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: In our eradication program, 16,000 acres have been gone over, and as I understand it we will also have to go over that same acreage during the coming year, and probably the third year. Do you know how long that seed will remain dormant in the soil?
DR. WRIGHT: I can only give you some guess on that. It is quite variable, and how long the seed will remain in the soil is simply my guess. If it is harvested the first year, before pollination occurs I would expect that to handle the situation under most circumstances. I am basing that on practical observation and experience, but if there is a repetition and the plant does become a volunteer plant, if the same process as followed for two years we could expect almost complete eradication.
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: What seed could replace the hemp seed as bird food? There is a lot of growth throughout the country due to the casting about of bird seed. Now, however we require sterilization of hemp seed. We have not reached the 100% point in sterilization but the seed people tell us they should sell the seed in 5% mixtures; but even 5%, mixtures if the seed is not properly sterilized, might produce some wild growth. Have you any suggestions on that?
DR. WRIGHT: I believe that these gentlemen here from the animal biology department might be better able to judge of that than I am.
DR., COUCH: As a matter of fact, I do not know anything on that point, and we have not gone into it at all. I am extremely interested however.
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: I think there should be some discussion as to the relative activities between the male and the female plants.
DR. BLATT: May I ask a question of Dr. Robinson? As I understand it, the average production is about 500 tons a year. Is that 500 tons of fibre?
DR. ROBINSON: Yes. This past summer, we had 1300 acres of hemp produced commercially in this country, and it has been running about that acreage with the exception that in 1934 and 1935 this acreage appeared in Minnesota, and in 1936 and 1937 we had a big acreages in Illinois, but those were acreages planted, you might say, for other purposes than the ordinary use, for there was an idea of producing fibre as a substitute for a wool and various things of that nature. Those industries that attempted to do that, for one reason or another, have dropped by the wayside, and 1000 to 1500 acres is the normal hemp production each year in the United States.
MR. WOLLNER: Professor Wright, you heard Commissioner Anslinger’s question for information on the relationship between male and female plants. You are undoubtedly aware of most of the discussions in the past years on the subject of Marihuana, and that it has centered around the female plant. As a matter of fact, I believe the United States Pharmacopoeia refers to the flowering type of the female plant, and it is stated that Marihuana comes mostly from the female plant. I wonder whether historically that might not have arisen from the fact that possibly the male plant flowered at an earlier period than the female plant in the growth of the plant itself, and at the time of harvesting by force of circumstance they were limited to harvesting female tops.
DR. WRIGHT: Not actually knowing it, I could not say, of course, but I am sure that is the answer. In the male plant the leaves drop off long before, the female plant, and when the traffickers have reached the plant the leaves have practically all gone from the male, but the females are luxuriant.
MR. LEVINE: Is there any distinction between the fiber of males and females?
DR. WRIGHT: You see, in fibre, they are cut at an early stage when the female plants are just forming the bud, and the male plants just shedding the pollen.
MR. WOLLNER: Then the male plant would grow as tall as the female plant.
DR. WRIGHT: Yes, they do usually reach the same height.
MR. WOLLNER. When produced for fibre, the plant does not reach the height we experienced in Arlington.
DR. WRIGHT: It has reached its full height when cut for fibre. You planted it in rows, too, which would add to the height.
MR. HERWICK: I should like to ask Professor Wright a question as to whether or not there was any quantity of Cannabis raised in this country for commercial drug purposes.
DR. WRIGHT: I cannot answer that question.
DR. ROBINSON: Undoubtedly there are others here who could furnish that information. I do not know of a single case where any of it has been furnished companies for that purpose, but I think there are companies that get it for that purpose.
MR. SMITH: There was a concern that grew it in Indianapolis several years ago for their own purposes.
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: Most of the pharmaceutical houses before enactment of Federal Marihuana Legislation obtained their Cannabis supply from the Middle West. There was relatively little importation of Cannabis for medical purposes.
DR. COUCH: In the Food and Drug Administration, we occasionally see a questionnaire sent to the importers more or less of the patent medicine type, and also some well known pharmaceutical houses where cannabis is still found in the formula for certain products. Under the Pure Food and Drug Act, we have some requirements on that, and we are informed what the source of it is, whether gotten in this country or through importation.
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: I think the stocks of some of the larger houses who are still putting this out are sufficient to carry them over for a considerable period of time. Some of the firms transferred or sold their product to other houses, but I know of a number of occasions where raw material was obtained in this country for the local trade.
DR. WRIGHT: I have been informed by Doctors that they did get a considerable amount of their prepared processed material from Mexico. I was wondering if there was any processing plant in Mexico.
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: I did not know they imported it for medical uses from Mexico.
DR. MUNCH: Many of the commercial manufacturers have grown it, but because of the extreme variability of the potency of the material they were growing themselves, they attempted to import it from Madras or Bombay. But the material imported was often weaker than that grown in this country. So the next step was to purchase from Mr. Young at Charleston, South Carolina, or the general neighborhood of Lexington, Kentucky, or Nantou, Illinois. But, those sources folded up within the last ten years and there has not been any substantial production of material in the United States since then. I tested most of the material grown in this country that has been offered.
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: I suppose that seed came from Kentucky, which in turn came from China.
DR. MUNCH: That is true, but I have tested material grown in the United States commercially that was more potent in its physiological aspects than that imported from India.
MR. FULLER: I think that came about as a result of the interest that developed in the production of it during the war, or just before we got into the war, because at that time I was in the field myself and grew it commercially for four or five years in Virginia from that same stock of seed that Young used in South Carolina, and which was obtained from the Bureau of Plant Industry. I do not know whether he got it from Dewey or not.
The plan we adopted was to cull out as much as possible the tall plants for purely commercial reasons. We could not get so much material from the tall plants. In other words, bushy plants grew up six and seven feet high, giving much more drug than those that grew up taller but not so bushy, When we considered it the proper time, you would grab hold of it. It felt like a sponge. We collected enough material then to produce a drug very much more potent than any imported material that came into the country.
It was our experience that it really did not make much difference where the hemp came from, after it had been grown here and become acclimated to our conditions you could select bushy plants from it, and it was just as potent. It did not make any difference where it came from. We used to cull our plants, particularly the male plants. I used to think it did not have much effect, but be that as it may, that was what we did. I do not think we could have ever used the male plants anyway for, in stripping, the amount of material obtained was so small.
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: How did you strip the plant?
MR. FULLER: It was a very easy process. It was done by women, and they used gloves. In all of the years we were producing that material as far as we knew, there never was a case of where anybody used it for illegitimate purposes. In fact at that time, I do not think there was any Marihuana used. But, it did not pay us to go on.
I think a great deal of the Cannabis sold in the drug trade came from the wild materials that grew in the Middle West and one of the largest dealers in drugs handled that crop. I knew him very well, and he told me at the time.
DR. BROMBERG: What further preparation was there after stripping for medicinal purposes?
MR. FULLER: We just baled it and sold it.
DR. BROMBERG: Any other processing necessary?
MR. FULLER: In the manufacturing of medicinals, it has to be extracted usually with alcohol end concentrated down to a solid extract. There was no attempt, and I do not think there has been any attempt made, to separate for commercial purposes the active principle, for even with all of the work done, we do not know what it is.
MR. WOLLNER: Did you find, Mr. Fuller, in your growth of the plant commercially, that arid seasons or drier seasons would increase, or produce an increased quantity of resin?
MR. FULLER: I do not think we noticed any difference. Now, I was in that portion of Virginia very near to Washington on the first plateau, six or eight miles out, and some of those summers were very dry. We would get sometimes six weeks without rain, and it did not seem to affect the yield at all. One season, I recall particularly, there was a great deal of rain, and the crop was just about the same.
MR. WOLLNER: I would like to offer this thought to the Department of Agriculture. The statement is invariably made by people in Europe and the Far East and Near East that the amount of resin produced by a plant is in a measure proportionate to the rainfall, and the less rainfall the more resin. I wonder whether we are actually dealing with the question of the variation in the amount of resin produced as against the amount of resin exuded. That is to say, isn’t it possible as a result of a condition, all that happens is the plant structure, so to speak, shrinks to evaporation and greater amount of resin appears on the surface, but the absolute quantity contained by the flowering tops and the leaves is the same?
DR. ROBINSON: I think your point is well taken, and it was my intention to go into some of those points in those tests throughout the United States. We collected material over at Arlington Farm last summer at various stages for the purpose of making a microtome test of these little pockets. So far we have not had time to do very much on that, and there are gentlemen here who have done more. We actually found those pockets present in pants two weeks old and on varying specimens which we have in our office. We want back to plants that were less [than] three weeks old and we found there hashish material. Now in older plants in some of the specimens we have of Indian hemp, it seemed to be exuded from the cells all over the surface, and I imagine in such plants as that, if it exuded if you touched it, much more would come off than if it had not exuded. Is that what you mean, certain climatic conditions would cause cells to erupt, and the viscosity of the exudate would be such that it would spread.
MR. WOLLNER: I am thinking in terms of opium or the poppy. You can get opium from the pod without scarifying, and the thought struck me, in the case of Cannabis, since the leaf is always extracted in this country, and since in the past the process has been of rubbing it from the outside, in the East, they get more resin than we do, due to the fact that more has exuded but not more produced.
DR. HIBBEN: There is another factor involved in the question about rainfall, and the formation of resin, and that is perhaps the production of resin would depend upon the amount of sunshine, and the more rainfall, the less sunshine. In tomato plants for example, the Department of Agriculture has done a great deal of experimentation as to foliage, and [it] has been shown that the quantity of foliage depends greatly upon the duration of sunshine the plant has received.
MR. WOLLNER: I had not thought of that.
DR. HIBBEN: Some plants require a great deal of sunshine.
DR. WRIGHT: May I ask you this question, – I was interested in the fact that you selected the bushy plant believing it more profitable to do that.
MR. FULLER: Yes.
DR. WRIGHT: Did you have any observations at all to indicate they were more potent or more satisfactory to the purchaser than the more slender plants; have you any reason to believe there is a difference between the two?
MR. FULLER: No, I do not think there is any difference, for the green leaf from the male plant yields resin, and as far as we could determine, the resin was just as potent as the female. You do not get so much per plant. That was what we were interested in, but, as far as quality is concerned, I do not think there was any difference.
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: And now, Gentlemen, if we have no more questions on the agricultural phase of the problem we will proceed to a little more controversial subject. The pharmacological phase. I would like to have Dr. Munch give us a little history of the pharmacology of Marihuana.
STATEMENT OF DR. JAMES C. MUNCH PROFESSOR OF PHARMACOLOGY TEMPLE UNIVERSITY
DR. MUNCH: So far as the external effects are concerned of the fluid extract of Cannabis, the effects are hyperesthesia, fomication, and cold extremities. These cause increase in intensity. It is not local.
So far as the gastro-intestinal tract is concerned, there is no effect upon the taste. There is a tendency towards an increase in thirst and appetite, and large doses will cause nausea, emesis, vomiting, and the drugs produced diarrhea or constipation. So far as the effect on the brain, I am only going into that to this extent, to say that in connection with USPVIII which was thirty years ago we were interested in knowing whether the American grown plant could be used as well as that which had been imported from India. The study made by the American Drug Manufacturers Association and by others at that time led the USP official Committee to the stand that either the Indian or the American grown material would be comparable for medicinal purposes so long as it was tested and found to have a certain physiological effect, and from a number of bio-tests that were made in which the material was administered to dogs, there were three different effects produced, one effect being to cause the dog to sway from side to side, and back and forth, and finally not to be able to stand erect at all. It was then that satisfactory material was produced which would produce such a response. When it became necessary to prepare revised standards for world use of the Cannabis, we standardized the standards. First, we obtained material from various manufacturers in this country representing the ordinary strength or potency of the product and then many of these manufacturers told me of the material of ten or twenty or thirty years before, and they gave me the products or materials which were of the same commercial strength as they have always been marketing.
Then through various means, we obtained drugs and standardized those products, that is thirteen different products of this series of drugs. Those products were then mixed, and constituted the USP fluid extract of Cannabis, which was officially recognized in USP X.
Then as to the method of bio-assay. Contrary to much of the published literature we find that dogs vary as greatly in their response as do humans. On. some 500 dogs I have used, fully one-half were very insensitive, and were discarded immediately. The nervous type or short- haired dog is usually a satisfactory animal but not necessarily the best.
Going back to the pharmacological action, so far as the causes, and effect on circulation, a small dose causes rapid beating of the heart which may be followed by less than normal. The blood pressure is usually unchanged, or there is a slight fall.
So far as the blood is concerned, there is a definite increase in the hypoglycemiacal content. At the same time, there is a definite increase in the blood sugar. Enormous doses have produced death by cardiac failure, but the doses were 100 to 200 times doses, which produced a tremendous physiological effect.
If smoked, there is a tendency to choking or coughing, and all doses tend to decrease the respiratory needs.
So far as the muscles are concerned, the muscles show a definite confusion, and with very large doses there are shown flexor spasms. But not with a therapeutic dose.
So far as the pupils of the eyes themselves, there is a very definite contraction of the conjunctiva, and usually but not always a dilation of the pupil.
So far as the effect on the glands, there is probably a double diuretical effect. There is a question, and the production of the diuretic effect is unsettled.
It has been reported there is a sexually stimulating effect. Some say it does and some say it does not exist.
So far as antidotes are concerned the thought is, if it has been swallowed, the administration of an emetic, caffeine or acid drinks in general.
So far as the habituation is concerned, it has been claimed and denied, and so far as elimination is concerned, I have not been able to detect it in the urine. So, I do not believe the active principle is eliminated by urine.
In the general pharmacopoeia developed by O’Shaunessy in 1843, which reached its peak ten or fifteen years later, it was clinically recommended for all sorts of diseases and later found worthless.
There is a definite decrease in the central Indian drug which stimulated further work done by Casparis and others, after which it appears to have gone into innocuous desuetude until it began to be criminally exploited, which led to the present burst of study.
Pharmacology is right I think, when it is said it does not have the same effect, or one effect on the brain, and I may be sticking my head out when I make a suggested answer that the cause of the awful intoxication is largely due to the difference in the rate of absorption, whether the material is smoked or given by solution or in capsules and taken into the stomach, or given rectally, and also the susceptibility on the brain, because in many instances we have given the same material to humans or dogs. Some of the animals it has shown no effect upon, others it has shown an enormous effect with the same dose. So far as animals are concerned, we have made a comparative study and find that dogs and rabbits have proven most suitable for quantitative assays but none can be relied on for qualitative accuracy, that is 10 to 12%. That is a complete change from what I said in my book,1 but it is possible, by running from 14 to 20 bio-assay, to obtain results accurate within plus or minus 11 to 20%. But, it never has been done commercially and can only be done in connection with research.
Through what channels does the active principle find its way into the nerve centers? I should say through the blood. So far as the effect on the blood pressure, I have attempted to cover those reflex changes. It has been stated and denied that there are significant lesions in the brain of humans. Dogs I have used for some years, in some instances showed certain types of brain changes. Whether those are connected with Cannabis, I do not know. I am trying to complete that now and perhaps within the next five years I can answer the question. Regarding the other questions, I would rather refer those to Dr. Bromberg.
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: Before we enter into a general discussion, I would like to call on Dr. Loewe of Cornell University to give us a statement on the bio-assay method.
STATEMENT OF DR. S. LOEWE PHARMACOLOGIST CORNELL UNIVERSITY MEDICAL COLLEGE
DR. LOEWE: The bio-assay, in my opinion, is the point where the pharmacologist has to enter this manifold picture at which we arrive in this conference for a very significant reason.
The reason is that all the manifold aspects of Marihuana are focused around and makes the existence of an active principle in this drug, active principles which are chemically not known, and as long as an active principle is not chemically known, it can only be determined from its action, that is, biologically, which can only be by bio-assay.
Dr. Munch has thoroughly depicted the many aspects of the pharmacological action of Marihuana. That is what we can call the pharmacological spectrum of this drug, But it must be emphasized, that the spectrum of the drug as such and not on one certain active principle necessarily, for nobody knows the active principle, and nobody ever knows whether there is only one active principle or more than one active principle.
It can be assumed from the beginning that there is more than one active principle but this must not necessarily concern the Marihuana interests, because the problem is narrowed to that active principle among possibly many active principles which produces the narcotic or ‘dope’ action in humans.
Even with respect to this point, of course, we are not one hundred percent sure that this is the action of one principle or more than one.
Quantitative bio-assay of the active principle of Marihuana, of course, tends or aims to determine that one active principle or a complex of active principles, which is interesting from the human point of view, the narcotic principle. May I mention right here that as long as we do not know how many active principles there are, we have to assume primarily that every action is carried by a separate active principle, and with this assumption, may I speak for the definite ataxia principle, which is the principle which can be bio-assayed in the drug which produces the main action stored in the dog. There is another action in the drug, which I may call the depressant action, the cataleptic action, and then there is the anesthetic principle which can be studied in the rabbit, using the depression of the corneal reflex. The depressant action in the mouse, manifested by prolonging the hypnotic action, is an action which I have observed and used to bio-assay this one active principle.
Now, bio-assay has to start, therefore, with this, which one of these actions is preferable for the Marihuana problem for studying the narcotic principle, important for humans?
We have much evidence that the ataxia action is fairly well related to the narcotic action.
In detail, there is not much to say. Walton has elaborated the previous effects and experiences of the bio-assay of the drug in a fairly good manner. There are details, and certainly it is necessary to bio-assay a large number of animals due to the individual natures and non- susceptibility which complicates the actions, and action can only be compared in one and the same animal, and only for comparison in a single animal, and the consequence is that a large group of animals has to be used.
The mode of administration has been emphasized by Dr. Munch. I would prefer and do prefer, for bio-assay, intravenous administration because the Marihuana action has a very long period of latency without the means of elimination from the system, so that the results seem to be fairly well comparable.
Now, I am of the opinion, just like Dr. Munch has emphasized, that the bio-assay method of the drug is not definitely eliminated. I have the impression that the method will result in fairly good accuracy, but it is an accuracy of plus or minus 15 or 20%, and which will suffice, I suppose, for the period in which bio-assay is necessary.
It is the unfortunate situation of the pharmacologist that in certain periods of development of active principles he is available for the purpose, and in a certain sense he is the man charged with the entire problem. But, his unfortunate situation is that just when he has developed this method and applied it, it is always finally inherent that he is out of the picture for, as soon as the chemist comes into the picture, and the bio-assay is not any more necessary, the pharmacologist can be dropped. If I may mention this at random, all of these points of view are true also as to the chemical test. Before the chemist has developed the active principle, the chemical method of identification of much or great importance to the country, and they may be of much or less importance for identifying the active principles than are the bio-assay methods, but only after the discovery of the active principle and its chemical properties, the problem of the chemical test, the importance of the Beam test can become clear. I know of another example where a greater activity of a certain drug was found, and the drug was not white but yellow, and this, of course, introduced many beliefs that yellow colors and opticals would be an easy expedient for getting a quantitative activity. So, there was developed a number of tests for this drug, going into this problem, but finally it turned out what general color of the narcotic or commodity was and the reason for the high activity of the drug.
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: Well, Doctor, we are going to have the chemists confer among themselves, and they will then give us some of their views. I think we can reserve the general discussion for the afternoon.
We will now hear from Dr. Walter Bromberg, Senior Psychiatrist of the Department of Hospitals, City of New York.
STATEMENT OF DR. WALTER BROMBERG SENIOR PSYCHIATRIST DEPARTMENT OF HOSPITALS, CITY OF NEW YORK.
DR. BROMBERG: To start with, my interest in this Marihuana problem began in 1933 when I reported at Bellevue Hospital a group of 11 cases of mental reactions induced by smoking Marihuana and I reviewed the literature and medical knowledge at that time. Also, the experience which I obtained was at the Psychiatric Clinic of the Court of General Sessions over a period of six years. Persons showing overt mental symptoms were brought to the hospital by interested relatives and occasionally on a magistrate’s order. For that reason, the vast majority of Marihuana smokers did not reach the hospital. Cases which came before the Clinic had passed through the Court of General Sessions and had been arraigned, indicted and convicted of a felony.
There has been considerable literature on the intoxication and insanity-producing effect of Cannabis, in papers from Asia, Europe, and the United States. To sum up this material concisely, it can be said that the several types of syndromes recognized fall into three groups: (a) intoxication, (b) toxic psychosis with or without admixture of other types of mental reactions (schizophrenia, manic-depressive) and (c) according to Eastern European and Asiatic observers, chronic dementia and deterioration following prolonged use of the drug. Apparently this latter type of deteriorating process has not been observed in American clinics.
Our experience with mental conditions following Marihuana indicate to us that there are two categories of mental reaction. The following classification is suggested:
Acute intoxication (Marihuana Psychosis) Containing sensory, motor and subjective elements, lasting hours to several days, often with anxiety or hysterical reactions, and panic states and depressions of transient nature. Toxic Psychoses (a) in which there are many admixtures of disturbed sensorlum, delusional and emotional reactions amounting to psychosis, but with the common characteristic toxic signs and (b) functional psychoses of a typical variety, initiated by Marihuana or colored by Marihuana in their symptomatology, but which continue in the form of the underlying psychosis. In these cases Marihuana represents an incipient stage in the psychosis, apparently.
There were 14 cases of Acute Intoxication and 17 of Toxic psychosis.
The point at which the line is drawn between acute intoxicating due to Marihuana and psychosis due to Marihuana depends on the degree and severity of the symptoms. Acute intoxications, induced by smoking one to four cigarettes, bring about after an interval varying from one-half to five hours in the individual one or all of the following symptoms: an increase in motor activity, a feeling of excitement, mental confusion, disorientation, crowding of perception, elementary visual illusions and hallucinations, euphoria and talkativeness. In addition to these symptoms, numerous subjective experiences occur, such as increased speed of thought processes, a feeling of intellectual brilliance, change in time perception, various somatic feelings, dizziness, hunger, a feeling of swelling of the head, lightness of the extremities, a sensation of walking on air, lengthening of the limbs and sexual illusions. More often sex excitement consists in the fact that the possible sexual objects in his environment become extraordinarily desirable. There is abundant evidence in our clinical and experimental material to show that the stimulus for sexual interest and activity derives from the aesthetic enhancement of objects in the environment. It is not so much a matter of increased potency on the part of the user as increased reaction to sexual fantasies and illusions. One of our patients said: “I saw black and white women lying in bed with legs separated, as if expecting men . . . some women in the park with nothing on, doing nasty dances, moving their hips. I chased after them.” Others state women appear amazingly beautiful. Another patient said: “In the subway I felt very sexy. I wanted to touch every woman that passed.”
The speeded-up physical motility has its counterpart in rapid speech. There is a feeling on the part of the individual that he is witty, even brilliant; his ideas flow quickly and words come readily to the tongue. Conclusions and answers seem to come to mind ready-formed and surprisingly clear, without the effort of thinking. This feelings of clarity is, of course, spurious. Actually the productions of the intoxicant are hard to follow, for when he wishes to explain what he has thought there is only confusion. The rapid flow of ideas gives a subjective impression of brilliance of thought and observation. The sense of increased speed of thinking apparently has an effect on memory – hence the confusion that appears on trying to recall what was thought during the intoxication.
The smoker finds it pleasant to be with others and to impart his experiences to them. This is reflected in the fact that Marihuana is ordinarily smoked at parties or in groups. It is felt that this need for a social setting is a reaction to an inner anxiety arising from the threat of bodily destruction implied in somatic illusions induced by Marihuana In the ordinary case of smoking Marihuana, especially with one who is used to the drug, this threat becomes converted to euphoria which develops to uncontrollable fits of laughter. Nevertheless inquiry shows that almost every smoker is aware of definite uneasiness at the outset of the intoxication. The description from smokers in Harlem and from experimental subjects agrees on this point. In the words of a user of two years’ standing, initiates “shrink together, feel tight inside and get frightened.” After they smoke it more than once, the reality of these frightening somatic illusions becomes less. In occasional instances, and these are the cases which are apt to come to medical attention, the fear of death, of insanity, of bodily deformity and of bodily dissolution are startling. These patients are tense, nervous, frightened, they may develop a state of panic. Often suicide or assaultive acts are the result of these emotional states. The anxiety state is so common in patients admitted to the hospital for uncomplicated Marihuana psychosis, that it can be considered part of the intoxication syndrome.
Notes taken on experimental subjects who were psychologically trained illustrate these points:
Subject l. Two cigarettes were smoked within 40 minutes. Immediately after the second a feeling of lightness in vertex of head was felt. Head was expanding; there was a feeling of mild excitement. Now the head felt heavy and there was a definite feeling of lengthening in the legs and a tension in the back muscles of the thigh. Head felt alternately light and heavy. There was a sensation as though the top of the head were lifted with about four inch increase in height, accompanied by optic images of skulls and skeletons. Feeling of the arms rising up in the air. Subject was aware of a feeling of confusion. Suddenly he saw images of legs and arms in a dissecting room which were terrifying. Subject 2. “I felt a little euphoric at first, but with the first draw my heart feels faster, my eyes a little heavier. I feel myself perspiring all over, and shaking. I can feel a slight dizziness. I feel weak; the dizziness has left and I am perspiring (Asked to walk around the room. Refuses to do so and becomes negativistic). On looking back I remembered that I had sexual thoughts during the time of the experiment. Time seems to pass in a peculiar way, there being a combination of fastness and slowness. I took my first inhalation a few minutes after 9 and when I looked at the clock and saw it was 10 after 9. I was very much surprised because it seemed like hours. The whole experiment seems now as if it lasted much longer than it did. Walking home I walked slowly in front of oncoming cars and felt a sense of recklessness connected with not being able to walk faster and not caring.”
It is remarkable how much anxiety is developed when one looks for experimental subjects among laymen. The drug is popularly supposed to release aggressive and sexual impulses beyond the point of control; it is also regarded as being habit-forming. The legendary history and social connotation of hashish smoking may help to develop in those who have had no experience with the drug, a series of anxieties masking sexual fantasies and aggressive impulses. This has come almost to the point of mass hysteria. Some public officials are unwilling to allow the use of Marihuana cigarettes for experimentation purposes, on the ground that it may be ‘immoral,’ tending to foster the development of drug addiction among the public. This frequent anxiety concerning Cannabis may have as its source the feeling of dissolution and other somatic changes induced in smokers which is communicated somehow to the non-smoking public.
In clinical material as indicated, Marihuana effects may range from mild intoxications to transitory psychoses which require psychiatric aid. The effects vary and not all the symptoms occur in every case. Illustrative of the Marihuana psychosis with anxiety reactions, and somatic sensory distortions: A 31 year old white man, admitted March 27, 1934, with a history of having smoked just one cigarette. On admission the patient was depressed, retarded, apprehensive. He admitted smoking Marihuana. Was oriented and memory showed no defects. Physical examination was negative. The patient states, “My hand began to feel blue all of a sudden. I felt like laughing and I felt funny in my head. it was the queerest feeling I ever had. I felt like I was kind of fainting away like. I sweat and then I’d get kind of chilly. I got the scare of my life. I thought I was going to die and everything else. I knew what was happening all the time. I thought my hands were beginning to get blue. My throat began to get kind of dry. It was a little better than getting drunk. I did not want to step down from the curb-it seemed to be so high. I was sitting down and was afraid to get up.” Patient improved and on the second day was less apprehensive, was pleasant and cheerful. He was discharged as recovered, after two days.
This case demonstrates visual illusions, which recall the megalopsia (perceiving objects larger than they are), and more common micropsia, which has been reported experimentally and clinically. It is this type of illusion, induced by hashish, that may have been the basis for the story of Aladdin who saw the tremendous genie emerge from his lamp spout in the Arabian Nights’ tale.
A 32 year old Irish-American, admitted September 17, 1937, with a history of smoking Marihuana cigarettes two hours prior to admission. He felt dizzy, wanted to commit suicide by jumping out of windows, bumping head on the wall, floor, etc. On admission was uneasy, apprehensive, impulsive. Said, “I feel sick. I’m going through hell. I saw trucks coming at me getting larger and I wanted to open the door of the cab and jump out.” He was discharged as improved in his own custody about 12 hours after admission.
A common type of intoxication is indicated in the following case:
A 38 year old Negro, admitted April 13, 1934, with history that he had run out of the house poorly clad and that he had smoked ‘artificial’ cigarettes. He was confused on admission, was dazed in appearance and disoriented. He described a lightness of the head, dizziness and seeing star-shaped figures before his eyes after smoking a ‘doped’ cigarette. He was apprehensive on examination. On the second or third day after admission, apprehension had disappeared and he was discharged as recovered, being clear, composed, but unable to account for his earlier excitement.
It is not uncommon to find the history of admixture of other drugs or alcohol in Cannabis intoxication. Frequently alcohol intensifies the Cannabis symptomatology.
A 27 year old man of old American stock, admitted on June 18, 1933, at his own request. He had been a chronic alcoholic and displayed definite evidences of psychopathic makeup; had marked inferiority because of his eyes and body structure. On admission he appeared to be apprehensive, a little excited, spoke coherently and relevantly. His experiences were rather clearly set forth–“I was down on the water-front. A fellow gave me an Egyptian cigarette to smoke . . . it was hashish. About an hour afterwards I began to see things. I’d see things flying in the air. This made me laugh and I’d laugh at things not worth laughing at. Then I began to see green and other colors flowing before my eyes. Then things got black. I imagined people were following me and I screamed in my hotel and got kicked out. I still see red lines in front of my eyes and other different colors all stuck together. Then I began to hear bells that would get fainter and fainter and then start again. Imagined someone was after me all evening. I thought I heard footsteps and saw people ducking in and out of doorways behind. me. At the time I said to myself maybe it all affect my eyes. I seen a big splotch in front of me – it was scarlet- very bright, exceptionally bright. It contracted, then faded away. I knew all the time it was due to hashish.”
The second group comprises cases of toxic psychosis due to or initiated by Cannabis. There may be other toxic agents present, as alcohol, other drugs, infective or other endogenous elements. Disordered sensorium, excitement and agitation, retardation, blocking with emotional rigidity, hallucinations, sensations of somatic change, delusional experiences may appear in the toxic psychosis. The psychosis lasts from weeks to months. Often the mental picture crystallizes out into a schizophrenic or manic depressive psychosis after several weeks or months (see paradigm). At the onset .of the illness what can be considered characteristic Cannabis symptom- atology is discernible. As the underlying functional psychosis develops, the toxic elements recede.
A boy of 16, admitted February 27, 1934, with statement from the family that for two months he had been depressed, apprehensive, worried, scratching his hands in a nervous manner, prayed constantly. He complained that somebody read his thoughts. On admission was well developed and showed no physical signs. Patient was agitated, depressed, talked constantly in a bizarre manner about the devil influencing him, etc. Said: “I felt lightly when I was walking – as if I weighed only 10 pounds. I felt like running my whole body was light. I felt like jumping. As if I was walking on air. I felt happy. Then I saw yellow lights all around me. I saw blue and green too. The colors were more bright than usual. There are just masses of colors – sometimes I see a black cross with everything red behind it. That means there is a God. He is helping me. The devil knows the evil thoughts in me.” This agitated condition improved and patient was discharged about 3 weeks after admission as a psychosis due to drugs; acute hallucinatory episode.
Patient was readmitted August 1st of that year with a picture of a depression with schizoid features. On this admission there were no evidences whatever of the sensory illusions and somatic feelings that he had previously when he smoked Marihuana. He was transferred to the state hospital, where he remained four years, being diagnosed as Paranoid Schizophrenia with Catatonic Features. There he was restless and overactive. He had a marked push of speech, expressed ideas of reference and religious delusions and was manneristic. Said: “I figured the devil was trying to pull me away from God so I cut a cross on my arm. Physically I am the same, but mentally I am another person. …I feel that people influence me by touching me – like injecting dope.” Later he was manneristic, grimaced, was untidy, repeated practically all questions asked, answered briefly and usually vaguely and would say, “I don’ know exactly,” or “I don’t know.” He remained dull, apathetic, indifferent and mute until the present time.
The personality factor is of undoubted importance in this group of individuals. After the toxic state passed off in these patients in whom the intoxication reaches deeply enough into the personality, a basic psy-chotic state developed. At times, the toxic features are in the background, the personality reactions being pre-dominant. What the inner relationship is between Cannabis and the onset of a functional psychotic state is not always clear. From our observation, the inner reaction to somatic sensation seems to be vital. Such reactions consisted of panic states which disappeared as soon as the stimulus (effects of the drug) faded. It is generally known in psychopathology that when the perception of our own bodily sensations is disturbed we are liable to be profoundly affected psychologically. Disturbances in perception of the body-model (Korperschema), which is built up of kinesthetic, tactile, visual and other stimuli, and integrated into the core of the personality, elicit some type of reaction. Such disturbances act as a blow to the ego, invoking defensive reactions of anxiety, apprehension, projection, etc., which approach or are schizophrenic in their clinical manifestations. The following case illustrates these points:
A 20 year-old colored man admitted February 22, 1936. He is said by his mother to have been ‘nervous’ for some time, said he wanted to die, wanted to kill himself. Prior to admission his mother caught him with a bottle of lysol. He had been depressed and despondent. He was a boy of superior intelligence as measured by the Army Alpha test. On admission he stated that he used Marihuana for several months and during this time he had heard people talking about him They said’ “Oh, what an ugly boy. How mean-looking he is.” For four months, August to October, 1935, he smoked three to four cigarettes a day until he began to feel ill. At first Marihuana made him happy. Then he felt that he made a peculiar noise in his throat; ate once a day; was unable to sleep; and experienced auditory hallucinations. The hallucinations started four months ago and increased gradually. He thought his face was changing. He looked thin, mean, and ugly; he became self-conscious. He felt that every-one in the neighborhood knew it. He stated at times he seemed speeded up, but his mind was keenly alert with the development of the ideas of reference, he became self- reproachful, apprehensive and fearful.
He was then transferred to a state hospital on March 13, 1936, where he stated his hallucinations had disappeared and his emotional reaction improved. After three months he was discharged to his home; within five months he was readmitted to Bellevue Hospital, where he had gone in a state of panic, and from where he was re-committed to a state hospital. He was tense, uneasy, still retained ideas of reference, acted oddly at home apparently in response to his delusions. Diagnosis on second admission to State Hospital was Dementia Praecox Paranoid Type, which was made about two years after the onset of the original illness.
Some cases showed the manic-depressive reactions, but these were in the minority. It is perhaps to be expected that schizophrenic-like psychoses are more common because individuals who take to drugs have some deep inadequacy to start with. The cyclothymic personality is less prone to require the drug.
A man of 28 who was brought to the hospital by his mother on February 13, 1938, with the history that he had been smoking reefers for some time. A year ago he had an episode, was not hospitalized and improved from it. On admission patient was confused, restless, apprehen- sive. He engaged in violent daydreamings. At times he appeared to be reacting to hallucinations. He said he “had a big head.” He became talkative, euphoric, elated and overactive after a day or so. He said: “The best thing for me to do is. . . you look fine. I’ve got to look like you . I know what it is . . . when a Buick and a Packard get together.” His speech was distinctly flighty, his behavior panicky; was constantly restless. Would cry, sing, talk.
He was transferred to a state hospital on February 24, 1938. There his condition persisted and he became somewhat depressed, but showed promise of recovery a few months after admission. Diagnosis at State Hospital was Manic Depressive Psychosis, Manic Type.
Mixed reactions merge with the toxic psychoses. These reactions vary clinically, some occurring in chronic alcoholics, some in schizophrenics and some in psychopathic personalities, and in all of them Marihuana usage was a factor. It can be clearly seen that aside from the direct toxic effect of the drug, the personality of the patient plays a tremendous role in psychotic states following Marihuana usage.
A Cuban, age 34, who was admitted on March 6, 1938, to Bellevue Hospital. He had been taking Marihuana for one and a half years. He had jumped in front of a south-bound subway train without injury. He was very depressed, dull, lackadaisical, despondent in attitude.
He was definitely under productive but still strongly suicidal. He described taking one cigarette every day of Marihuana for a year and a half because it took his worries away. For some time he had been conscious that people were looking at him He feels that his body is heavy all the time. Sometimes he hears deceased persons talking to him. He sees lights at times. At times he sees a photograph of a strange person.
His friend corroborated the history, stating that he had been in this depressed condition for 3-4 years. He had a work-house sentence for 2-3 months for Marihuana. He was transferred to a state hospital March 18, 1938. At that time he was dull, preoccupied, but lost his hallucinatory and delusional trends. The State Hospital diagnosed him as Schizophrenia, Hebephrenic Type (?) and he was released after two months.
In some cases the drug makes relatively little difference in the content of the psychosis. It is for the clinician to determine how much Marihuana influences the clinical picture. In South Africa, where dagga (equivalent of Marihuana) smoking is very widespread, a diagnosis of Marihuana psychosis is made in any “toxic psychosis where there are very good grounds for assuming addiction to dagga smoking.” It is felt that there should be more exact criteria, as we outlined above, for a diagnosis of Marihuana psychosis, by which we mean the presence of disordered sensorium, characteristic colored visual hallucinations, time changes, subjective and somatic feelings. One is apt to over-estimate the place of Marihuana in the causation of a psychotic picture.
A white man of 28, admitted January 23, 1938, to Bellevue Hospital with a history that he was in a state hospital in Arizona for 3 months about two years ago and one in Indiana for 9 months four years ago. “I was smoking this Marihuana weed (at time of admission to State Hospital in Arizona). I ran around the desert for a time, ran out nights and one day knocked on a door and told a woman I was Dillinger. I tried to see how much water I could walk in. I was just like hypnotized and walking in my sleep. Sometimes I feel like something’s controlling me. Sometimes I feel just like I’m talking to somebody with my mouth closed. I just ask them a question with my brain and they answer. Sometimes it’s a man, sometimes it’s a woman’s voice; it just works in my temple. I think it’s imagination. It’s just like a dream. People stare at me. Sometimes I see different colors. I had that years ago – just like a light coming towards me; it’s not a light, it’s an arc.
His effect was flat and he was dejected and slow-speaking. Showed blocking and evasiveness on. sex experiences. Had ideas of reference and persecutory ideas.
He was transferred to a state hospital, where he was noted as being preoccupied, under productive and somewhat dissociated. He stated that he had some sort of seizures that were not really fits, but that when he had them if he had a sword he would not mind cutting everybody’s head off. He also believed if anybody got killed near the place where he worked he would be blamed for it. Said that when he looks in bright lights he sees visions like all sorts of different colors, blues, whites, and these seem to blind him. A diagnosis was made of Dementia Praecox, Paranoid Type, and he was still in State Hospital after five months.
In psychopathic personalities, those with deep inferiorities, use of drugs is a method of supporting the ego. In these cases Marihuana does not always produce the desirable effect. Apparently it is not strong enough to affect the problems which have involved deeper layers of the personality. Such individuals adopt heroin or morphine very soon after a short experience with Marihuana. The experience of drug addicts seen at the Court of General Sessions confirms this. Persons addicted to heroin, morphine, cocaine or opium never return to Cannabis. Such individuals are admittedly psychopathic in that they need an increment of drug to make their lives tolerable, In the next case, the use of Cannabis represented the attempt of the patient to overcome his sexual inadequacy. In this respect the social psychology of the drug is a factor, since Marihuana is popularly supposed to free sexual inhibitions.
A white man, age 23, admitted to Bellevue Hospital on March 31, 1938, with a history that he felt unworthy and thought he had a venereal disease. He held ideas of infidelity against his wife and was assaultive. Threw a four month old baby across a room. He turned gas jets on. On admission he was rambling, talkative, evasive, depressed, self-absorbed and had somatic complaints.
He said: ’I was sentenced to the Workhouse for 4 months for smoking Marihuana. I knew then I was not satisfying my wife and I thought it might help. A year ago some friends gave me the weed, I smoked several. I felt calm and liked to listen to music – very happy – exhilarating feeling – that’s all.”
In the hospital he was talkative, discussed his problem in detail and showed some depression, which improved. The infidelity ideas and his sexual inadequacies concerned him most. He was transferred to a state hospital with a diagnosis of Psychosis with Psychopathic Personality; Cannabis usage a factor.
Often Cannabis intoxication represents a stage in the incipiency of a psychosis. The patient who is developing a functional psychosis strives in the incipient stage to overcome the unconsciously perceived difficulties. In this sense Marihuana usage represents a healthy reaction tendency, even though the mechanism may be unknown to the patient. The next case illustrated this problem. A boy who had made a successful adjustment on a moderate level of social attainment began to show schizoid behavior shortly after the usage of Marihuana. The process continued to a psychotic state. What role did the drug play? Could the psychosis have begun without the drug? Was the use of Cannabis the patient’s attempt to cure his developing psychosis? These are problems needing careful judgment and study and wide clinical experience.
A young Negro, 20, admitted October 2, 1936 to Bellevue Hospital with a history of having been dull, indifferent for some time. Insisted upon keeping the windows closed, would not leave the house, but denied he heard voices. Would masturbate openly and made sign with fingers, and actions were decidedly peculiar. Mother states she caught him. smoking a sweet-smelling cigarette with a white man and soon after got a history from his playmates that he had been smoking Marihuana cigarettes for a long time.
Observation in the hospital confirmed his withdrawn, retarded attitude. Psychometric gave an IQ. of 75 with rating of Borderline to Dull Normal Intelligence. Was pre-occupied on ward; difficult to obtain his attention; evasive; offered many excuses for closing window and putting out lights. About 10 days after admission he appeared a little more alert and cheerful. He was discharged in custody of mother as Incipient Schizophrenia (?) or Psychoneurosis, Reactive State, on October 13, 1936.
He was readmitted a year later, October 15, 1937. At that time mother gave a statement that for past year, since he left hospital, he had been dull, staying in the house in a ‘deep study.’ He seems to listen; does not say anything’. At one time he beat up an old man in the house who, he said, called him names. Prior to admission he had attacked a woman for no apparent reason. Sleeps day and night. Often looks as if he is in a dream, Changed personality reactions for more than a year. For two weeks distinctly worse.
On admission he was sluggish, dull and lethargic, spoke in a quiet, low voice, showed empty affect, but was intact in intellectual functions, memory, comprehension, orientation. He was transferred to the State Hospital on October 20, 1937, where he was evasive and dull. He showed no interest in the surroundings and did not mingle with the other patients. He expressed mild ideas of persecution and of electricity, was evasive and suspicious. He said some people called him bad names across the street. Believes that an attempt was made to harm him. “I sometimes have a funny feeling in my legs (electricity).” Their diagnostic impression included the possibility of Dementias-Praecox, Paranoid Type.
Gradually he acquired an interest and socialized with other patients. At all times he was neat and tidy in personal appearance and habits. He improved after five months and was ready for parole.
Now, so much for the psychopathic. We now come to the criminology.
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: I thought we would cover that in another subject.
We will now adjourn for lunch and come back at 1:30.
(Thereupon at 12:20 o’clock p.m., a recess was declared, the conference to resume discussions at 1:30 p.m.)
The conference was resumed at 1:30 o’clock p.m., pursuant to the taking of a recess at noon.
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: Gentlemen, the Conference will be in order. We may very well start with the general discussion on the pharmacological phases of the problem, and you can direct your questions to Dr. Munch, Dr. Loewe, or Dr. Bromberg.
MR. WOLLNER: Dr. Munch, I would like to ask you, in respect to the statement made by Dr. Walton that Cannabis has been used as a relief during labor in the Far East, are you familiar with that general picture?
DR. MUNCH: Yes. I think that the product that is actually used there is not Cannabis itself, but one of these peculiar mixtures of datura and opium and hashish and other things.
Some of the reports refer to the women smoking the cigarettes for a period in labor, but they are not in agreement with the information I have gotten from the Mexicans or out in Nevada, for example, where they have tried it and found it of no value.
On the isolated tissues the solutions of the drug have no effect, or have a very mild, quieting action.
If I remove the alcohol, they have little effect, which means that the active principle is not sufficiently soluble in water to produce an action. So that I do not believe the action is very definitely therapeutic. It is more psychological, I believe, than it is physiological.
MR. WOLLNER: Who is Willis? One of them refers to the fact that Willis recommends its use in tedious labor where the patient is restless.
DR. MUNCH: Let me look at my copy of this book.
MR. WOLLNER: It is on page 156.
DR. MUNCH: Did you say “Willis”, Mr. Wollner?
MR. WOLLNER: Yes. On page 156, “EFFECTS DURING LABOR”. It starts out, “Willis recommended”.
DR. MUNCH: Willis has written a book on obstetrics and gynecology, but I cannot give you the reference to it right now.
MR. WOLLNER: All right.
DR. MUNCH: But he is one of the authors in that field. However, the work I was referring to more particularly was done by Watt (?) and Breyer-Brandwijh, which [sic] I believe is the co-author of the publication on poisonous plants in South Africa. I have had correspondence with Watt along that line. He refers to it in the last paragraph there after South Africa.
MR. WOLLNER: The reason I ask you that question is because of Dr. Bromberg’s remarks, which I interpreted as being indicative of the production of a hypersensitivity. Am I wrong in that, Dr. Bromberg?
DR. BROMBERG: A hypersensitivity?
MR. WOLLNER: On the part of an individual who uses Marihuana; that is, an increased agility.
DR. BROMBERG: The effects I refer to are on a motor activity. You refer to those, I presume?
MR. WOLLNER: Yes.
DR. BROMBERG: By which we mean the promptness to move either aimlessly or purposefully; that is, in acute intoxication the smoker is apt to dance around and move or wave his arms, or go through movements that are more rapid than he would move ordinarily; move his chair, knock it across the room, talk to people, show a general output of activity.
Many of those prisoners whom I have contacted state that they rather slow up or would rather be quiet during this period. There are two effects, in other words.
The hyperactivity is not universal. The great, extreme activity results in assault, throwing people around. This is similar to what you see in certain types of alcohol intoxication, so-called pathological intoxication, where a few drinks set a man off into a rampage, breaking things, throwing things around, and fighting. I think maybe men come in on that more than women because of the basic physiological pattern. They are more active anyhow. This refers to women, does it not?
MR. WOLLNER: Yes, sir.
DR. BROMBERG: Certainly the effects are not uniform and cannot be counterbalanced.
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: Doctor, regarding these 31 admissions out of 100,000, I think it would be interesting to know just what period they cover. Are they of recent origin, or are they scattered pretty well throughout the years? The reason that I bring that up is that the mental hospital at Burma showed, with the increased illicit traffic in Marihuana, the total admissions of insanity cases rose from .87 to 4.35%. I am wondering whether we can expect an increase in such cases, and also whether these 31 cases are more or less of recent origin.
DR. BROMBERG: I can answer that by saying that the admissions already in the past four years of this type of Marihuana insanity is almost twice that which it was during the first four years of our observation, that is, three years of our observation period. Of course, you can realize that many other cases go to private hospitals which pass off without regulatory medical treatment, and there are other factors so great that I would not put much reliance on these figures. I merely give them to you as true data so far as we have available.
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: We have been getting some reports from various sections of the country showing cases of alleged insanity due to Marihuana which have been brought to light. For instance, there were interesting developments in a case in Findlay, Ohio, concerning a fifteen-year-old boy who showed signs of being insane. When asked about his condition he made statements that he had been smoking cigarettes, and an investigation developed the information that there were two defendants, who were brothers, who were in charge of a playground, and they had been selling drugs that is, Marihuana cigarettes, to boys around there; and we found about sixteen pounds concealed above a garage owned by them. These fellows had stopped selling the drug, because they noticed signs of the boys acting queer, and they became frightened. They were particularly alarmed because of what they thought was an unusual appetite for the drug. We have a questionnaire whereby we ask Marihuana users involved in our cases, all sorts of questions. As a matter of fact, I would like now to revise that questionnaire, after what I have heard here. One-fourth of those users when asked what effect the drug has on them, say, “It gives me a good appetite.” “The first cigarette makes me feel hungry.” They become hungry after they smoke, have a heavy and exceptionally good appetite. That is their answer without prompting. Yet that question does not appear in the questionnaire. We ask them — of course, we have to take their word for what they say — whether they notice any permanent physical or mental effects, and they make statements which confirm the opinions of Dr. Munch and Dr. Bromberg. The answers are: “I believe it has affected my nerves.” “I can not keep my mind on one thing long enough to think clearly.” “Loss of memory”; “Very bad on nerves”; “Produces twisted thoughts”; “Affects my brain”; “Dulls my head.”
“Causes me to become deaf”. “I think I’m more intelligent.” “Makes me tired”. “Hard to think” “Headache and weakness”. “Seemingly dulls senses”; and so on. Then the question is asked: “What effects do you obtain from smoking Marihuana?” I think most of the answers confirm what has been said about the distortion of space, time, vision and hearing. The auditory sensibilities are affected. We are running into a great deal of cases which have to do with illicit traffic among musicians. The next question is, “Have you acquired tolerance?” Quite a number of the users have developed a craving for Marihuana. Some of them stop after smoking few cigarettes, and there is no sign here that they increase the number that they smoke in a day. Some of them vary between one cigarette and twenty cigarettes a day. Others have smoked it once; some have smoked it for ten years.
MR. WOLLNER: I was wondering whether it would not be better, unless there are other specific questions, to postpone this portion of the Conference, which relates to bio-assay, which pertains to a chemist, because all of those questions are related, and go on with the rest of the program.
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: All right, unless there are questions.
MR. WOLLNER: Dr. Loewe, do you wish to say some thing?
DR. LOEWE: Among other things, I have tried Marihuana’s action on a monkey, and I went to it with great hopes because I thought really that the psychic action would come out in this patient. The observations were that the monkey reacts like the dog, and is one more of the few laboratory species which really show the ataxia action. The other observation was that the monkey required higher doses per kilogram body weight than the dog, which was somewhat unexpected, and that all of the lower doses to which I have climbed up through the ratio of higher doses did not show anything which indicated a psychic action. The monkeys do not show this type of abnormality which occurs in Dr. Bromberg’s material. MR. WOLLNER: What is the relation in the dosage per kilogram of weight of dog and human being?
DR. LOEWE: The dog dosage per kilogram of weight and the human being per kilogram of weight, are fairly close. The higher doses used in humans are capable of showing the slightest ataxia symptoms, which would point to the fact that the dosage is almost the same.
DR. MATCHETT: This ataxia is never apparent in humans at all?
DR. LOEWE: I have no experience; I never saw it.
DR. BROMBERG: I never saw it either.
MR. WOLLNER: Have you any observations about ataxia symptoms comparable to those in dogs as to humans?
DR. BROMBERG: No; but I have never seen a large enough quantity, certainly not the tincture or the fluid extract.
Dr. Munch can perhaps answer that.
DR. MUNCH: I have given doses up to twice that re-cognized, but I have not noticed ataxia in students.
DR. LOEWE: There is one factor which, of course, is important, and it is a fact which we notice from tobacco smoking, and that is that the dosage in the form of the cigarette is probably high enough to produce great ataxic symptoms in humans by way of the administration of inhala- tion.
DR. HERWICK: I should like to ask Dr. Bromberg, clinically, whether there is a direct physiological addiction to this; that is, are withdrawal symptoms produced or do you think it is purely a psychic addiction?
DR. BROMBERG: My idea of habituation on this matter is different, and there happen to be several, and we should have the thing clarified. Habituation must rest on three cases, two of them being habit forming. The first are the symptoms appearing of withdrawal of the habit forming drug. The second is that the patient develops tolerance. The third is that because he needs more drug he gets the pleasure of addiction, and all medicine agrees that there must be withdrawal. A morphine addict becomes intolerant of withdrawal. He has abdominal pains and various symptoms. When morphine is given he feels better. And that is the basis of a well known treatment. Secondly, there are the people who take increasing doses to feel well. Those two are well acknowledged criteria. In the New York County jail, the physician in charge thinks he sees withdrawal symptoms, but the offenders are not allowed to discuss the offense with anyone except counsel. They say they did smoke it, or they did not. You do not know whether the symptoms are tied up with the drug.
So, I dare say that there are no clear withdrawal symptoms. The thing is not settled. Patients come in after being cut off without the drug. The third is addiction of pleasure-loving, and in that category comes smoking and colorful music and things of that nature. You can say that one has to have pleasure after he becomes addicted to luxury, and that can be looked upon as a valid psychiatric observation. So I would stop there and say that we can say that in the absence of other evidence, that it is essentially hedonistic addiction.
MR. WOLLNER: Dr. Loewe, you mentioned in your experiment on dogs that you had injected some of these extracts, but, nevertheless, in most of the experiments that had been previously done, I gather, the drug had been taken orally. Of course, we know the stuff is smoked. Your introduction of injection as a method of administration raises the question in my mind as to whether we might, at some future date, anticipate the use of that on humans, in this way? Is there any possibility of this sort? Similar to that which obtains in heroin, for example?
DR. LOEWE: Only after the isolation in pure form I would say, because, at the present time, by use. of the extracts it will not be an element in the whole picture to introduce it by intravenous injection. It has to be injected in alcohol solution, and a slight injection introduces a bad local infection, pain, and so on.
MR. WOLLNER: Why were you impelled to use it as an injection as a method of administration, rather than giving it to your dogs orally, Dr. Loewe?
DR. LOEWE: It goes faster. In view of the long period of latency, it is much more convenient to use it intravenously injected, because the peak of the curve is reached sooner.
MR. WOLLNER: Would you conclude from that that on dogs, for example, as a medium for standardization, that they are not as radically different when the stuff is in-jected as compared to when it is administered orally?
DR. LOEWE: Probably that is true, but only to an inconsiderable extent. In a slighter extent the variations have been reported by various examinators [sic] after oral administration.
MR. WOLLNER: Will you recommend it as the preferred procedure for bio-assay.
DR. LOEWE: I am not sure that I should give the preference to the intravenous way. I have to collect more experiences.
DR. MATCHETT: Are the effects otherwise identical?
DR. LOEWE: Identical.
MR. WOLLNER: The curve is more rapid; I mean you achieve the peak of the curve more rapidly.
DR. LOEWE: Comparatively more rapidly. Beginning after only twenty minutes, and reaching the peak after half an hour or an hour.
MR. WOLLNER: Your experiments with mice were continued under the same circumstances?
DR. LOEWE: No. As to mice, they were injected orally only.
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: We can now go on to the sociological phases. In 88 users there were 86 males and only 2 females. I do not know if that holds true generally. We might have got off the rails on the selection, but that is what those figures show. There were 47 white, 20 colored, 15 Latin Americans. The age, of course, is much younger than among opium users. Most of the users were between 17 and 35. The greatest number was between 21 and 25. I believe that was true of a survey made in New York City of the users.
MR. SMITH: We had 100 arrests there between January 1st and October 1st that ran: 99 Negro, 60 white, and 1 yellow; and the nativity, (and this nativity includes New York City and up-state New York:) 5 Mexican, 1 Chinese, 32 Puerto Rican, 2 Greek:, some from South America, Cuba, Panama, and other places with 130 native born. Then, in addition, I have 12 other cases, which to me were more interesting, because those persons who were held for crimes other than possession, and they ran such as unlawful entry, 3 for grand larceny, in addition to their possession; 1 for grand larceny, who admits he is a user. Of course, the other possessor cases probably were users, but they are charged with possession. One with felonious assault with a pistol and possession; One, exposure of person; one felonious assault, both users; and another, felonious assault with possession; and one a wayward minor who admits, in addition to using Marihuana, that he is using heroin; one with assault and robbery, and one who was a policy peddler. They were held on other charges, rather than on mere possession charges.
MR. WOLLNER: What is the distribution in sexes, there, Mr. Smith?
MR. SMITH: I have not the age nor sex distribution on those. In at least four cases up-state we can show a definite connection with prostitution. In one we had a good report, not proven, but a good report that the Negro who was in possession was also running a school, teaching youngsters how to smoke Marihuana. Actually, we are not certain about the facts as to that, but that is the report that has been current with that individual.
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: Do you have anything on occupations of the users? MR. SMITH: We have four as musicians, two as farmers, and those two farmers were actually growing Marihuana on their farms. Many of them state “unemployed”. But where most of those that report unemployed are laborers, they usually are associated with prostitution, policy, and some of the allied types of minor grade crimes. Prostitution, to me, seemed the most evident connection.
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: In our 88, the occupation runs anywhere from bartender to unemployed. There are probably 50 different occupations, musicians are second to laborers,-of the 88.
The rest were distributed throughout the various occupations.
MR. SMITH: I can give you a breakdown on that section. I have it here in another portion of my data. There were 5 women arrested as sellers, and 8 women arrested for possession, and 147 males arrested for possession, and 7 for selling.
MR. WOLLNER: About 10 per cent.
MR. SMITH: Yes, sir.
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: In our geographical distribution, we show the larger number of these around New York; a few in the New England areas; a few in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, several in the Middle Atlantic States, about 5 in the South, Kentucky and Tennessee, four; Michigan-Ohio, 13, Michigan-Ohio is second to New York. And then they string out through the rest of the States, with California probably third.
MR. SMITH: In States with equal population ratios, as to the metropolitan district, as against up-state New York, our arrests for Marihuana violations in the State, excluding New York City, are about 10 per cent; 15 cases, actually, against 160. They probably will vary, though, as to the development of prosecution and apprehension, as in the various up-state cities they are just beginning to realize in the last year that Marihuana is a problem, and the figures for 1938 will be higher than 1937. I expect 1939 will again be higher in up-state New York, so that that ratio of about 10 percent should rise.
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: Dr. Bromberg, you were about to start on the sociological phases. Will you give us the benefit of your views on that?
DR. BROMBERG: The material that I have collected comes from the Court of General Sessions. This is the criminal court of New York City. Our material is limited to New York County, although it must be remembered that the courts clientele comes from many sections of the country. We must also note that there are many racial types in our material. This is important, because the British investigators have noted in India that Cannabis does not bring out the motor excitement or hysterical symptoms among Anglo-Saxon users that occurs among natives. There are several other difficulties in selecting reliable material, one being the dependence on statements from prisoners without opportunity for objective tests or other corroborative checks, as in the case of other drugs, e.g., heroin or morphine. During the routine interviews of some 17,000 offenders during six and a half years, we have come across several hundred who have had direct experience with Cannabis. Their testimony checks with experimental results and clinical experiences in regard to symptomatology of intoxication, the absence of true addiction, and the negative connection with major crime. Especially is this noteworthy among sexual offenders, and in cases of assault or murder. The extravagant claims of defense attorneys and the press, that crime is caused by Marihuana addiction, demand careful scrutiny. The cases analyzed in this study cover a period of more than six years, from 1932 to 1938. Out of over 16,000 prisoners in this six-year period, 200 offenders were convicted of drug charges or found to be users of drugs, although convicted of other charges, in the Court of General Sessions. Cases of possession for sale are handled in the Court of General Sessions which has jurisdiction over felonies. There is no distinction made in the indictment in the Court of General Sessions as to the nature of the drug sold.
Of this group of 200 drug offenders, 67 were indicated to be users of Marihuana in any degree and for any duration of time whether convicted of the crime of selling Marihuana or another crime.
The remaining 133 offenders were morphine or heroin users. It is important to note that the only measure of Marihuana usage is the statement of the offender. Since statements of use are conceived by them to be prejudicial to their interests in court, we meet evasion and denial fairly consistently. Our most reliable source of information is from those not arrested for traffic in drugs and questioned in the routine course of psychiatric study. Now, this leaves out thousands of smokers who were never arrested, people who were never arrested, and people that we deal with who were arrested for major crimes, including the one of selling drugs. Those people were all questioned about Marihuana. Those who were arrested for selling drugs, specifically Marihuana, were questioned as to the use of it. Some of those admitted using it, and some did not. All the criminological material that we have has to be taken with a very large dose of salt, and they are either convicted by the time we see them, or about to be, and are still frightened, and want to keep their fair records clean. The only useful record which we have in which we can throw out and include material as it sounds reasonable to us, and it is checked, so far as the use of the sociological aspects of it, and the effect of it, and so forth, so that in the General Sessions of Criminal Court the 87 cases of Marihuana users consisted of 21 whites (native born and European extraction), 23 Negroes, 20 Puerto Ricans (some of whom are considered to be racial mixtures), 2 Mexicans, and one Negro and Indian mixture. Of the 67 studied, 46 were convicted of possession and sale of drugs, and 21 other charges. Among the 21 cases convicted of crimes other than the possession of and sale of drugs, were eight charges of burglary, five of grand larceny, three of robbery, two of assault, one each of petit larceny, forgery, and first degree murder, and none of sexual offenses. Burglary, grand larceny, and robbery, then, account for 16 of the 21 cases. There were but two sex cases of any description in the history of the Marihuana cases, in both of which sodomy occurred as previous offenses. In three cases, the individuals were what might be called constant users of Marihuana. One of these had commenced to use the Marihuana three years previous to the current conviction; another, with a sixteen year record, indicated Marihuana, had been used for fifteen years; the third referred to his use of Marihuana as “several years” duration. None of the offenders reported any lasting effects from Marihuana. Interrogations as to the habit-forming nature of Marihuana were all answered in the negative by the prisoners. So that in the General Sessions of Criminal Court the 67 people who were offenders were involved in selling Marihuana or gave some history of using it. Most of those people had previous charges, not including drugs, as to being criminals of other types. The largest proportion were not drug users. The next largest number had no previous connection with the 67. Fifty had never been arrested for taking any drugs. This was their first contact with the court. These were all special cases in the Special Sessions Court, which deals with misdemeanors and other cases. Here, there were 202 cases. Thirteen were there on the first charge of any kind, that being a Marihuana charge. Those things do not mean very much to me, as they simply give a certain picture, a picture of people being picked up and brought in for using Marihuana, and there is not a very heavy weighted criminal record behind them. Drug users are not Marihuana users in the main. In the Court of Special Sessions in the same picture, in the same six-year period, of approximately 75,000 indictments for all crimes, there were 6,000 convictions for possession and use of drugs. Since neither the law, the district attorney, nor the police department make any distinction between the several kinds of narcotics, their arraignments or indictments, in Special Sessions as well as General Sessions, there were no figures from which to estimate the number of Marihuana users as distinguished from the number of users of other drugs. We therefore adopted a system of sampling the 6,000 cases in order to arrive at an approximate estimation of the total number of Marihuana users who came into conflict with the law. In this sampling, we examined the records of l,500 cases, or 25 per cent of the total of 6,000. Of these, 135 were Marihuana charges. From this, it was estimated that about 540 cases, or 9 per cent of all drug cases coming to Special Sessions over a period of six years, were users of Marihuana. Analyzing this sample of 135 cases, it was found that 93 had no previous record; 8 had a previous drug charge or charges, only; 5 had previous charges, including drugs; and 29 had records not including drug charges. Among those with longer records, that is, from four to seven previous arrests, none showed progression in crime from drugs to other crimes.
In considering all the Marihuana cases in both General Sessions and Special Sessions Courts, a total of 202 convictions, it is an impressive fact that only 30 offenders had been arrested before for drug charges. This does not argue very strongly for Marihuana as a drug that initiates criminal careers. Where there is a series of crimes committed by one individual, our records show that he passes from other forms of crime to the use of drugs. Thus, in only three cases out of our series of 67, in which an arrest associated with Marihuana was recorded, did the criminal career start with the use of Marihuana, and in 7 cases out of 67 criminal activity started with other drugs. Ninety per cent of the group is accounted for by those who (1) have no criminal record except as drug users, and (2) have a previous record from which they turned to drugs This leaves a small minority of offenders whose criminal careers started with drugs and went on to other crimes like larceny, assault, and so on. As measured by the succession of arrests and convictions in the General Sessions cases (our only method of estimation), it can be said that drugs generally do not initiate criminal careers. Similarly, in Special Sessions, only 8 had previous charges of drugs, and 3.7 per cent has previous charges of drugs and other petty crimes. In the vast majority of cases in this group of 135, then, earlier usage did not apparently predispose these offenders to crime, even that of drug usage. Whether the first offender Marihuana cases go on to major crime can only be ascertained by referring to the findings of the General Sessions Courts. The expectancy of major crimes following the use of Cannabis, then, is small, according to our experiences The problem of habituation of Cannabis is one of grave importance According to the statements of confirmed heroin or morphine addicts, Marihuana is not a habit-forming drug. Naturally, where it is used in conjunction with heroin, morphine or cocaine another problem presents itself. Occasionally, an astute drug peddler will adulterate Marihuana cigarettes with morphine or heroin in order to retain his clientele. Care must be exercised in evaluating the question of Marihuana habituation, so that we are not dealing with this type of adulterated Cannabis.
The medical diagnosis of habituation depends on the accepted criteria of acquired tolerance and after-effect upon withdrawal of the drug. Regarding the subject of tolerance, users of Marihuana examined in the clinic universally state that an increase in dosage is not necessary to achieve the desired effect as time goes on. The increase in cigarette consumption, sometimes noted, is simply related to how often and how long the smoker wants to experience these effects. As to the question of withdrawal symptoms, cases have never, to the knowledge of the writer, been observed systematically in an environment where control of the drug can be exercised. Although of secondary value in deciding the problem of habituation, it should be noticed that experience with experimental subjects indicates that after usage of the drug and its cessation no withdrawal symptoms are reported.
It has not been possible to observe satisfactorily Marihuana users upon their entrance into custody to establish their behavior after cessation of usage. For one thing, the law does not allow questioning of a defendant prior to trial regarding his charge. The history of the offense cannot be discussed except with counsel, but an offender can be questioned in the course of medical treatment. The fact that Marihuana cases do not request medical treatment upon their incarceration argues for the absence of withdrawal symptoms. As is well known, morphine, opium, etc., users become violently ill upon being taken in custody, away from the source of their drug, and are vociferous in their demands for treatment. Nevertheless, the wide discrepancies between the reports of other jurisdictions and ours in the question of addiction to Cannabis demands a serious attempt to establish the facts in the case. Up to March 26, 1938, Cannabis was classed as a habit-forming drug in Section 1751 of the Penal Code, based on Public Health Law, Article 22, Uniform Narcotic Drug Act. Due to difficulty in this Court in proving it to be a habit-forming drug (case of People vs. Williams), the Law Revision Commission, appointed by the New York State Legislature, was requested to amend the Penal Code to read “narcotic” rather than “habit-forming” drug. From a legal point of view, therefore, the problem of whether it is habit-forming or not is not vital in this and many other States, since its use as a narcotic by un-authorized persons is an offense. The writer believes it highly desirable and important that a Commission be appointed to examine the matter scientifically as was done in the case of narcosan and other reputed drug cures in 1921 at the Bellevue Psychopathic Hospital under Commissioner Patterson of the Department of Correction.
The most that one can say on the basis of ascertainable facts is that prolonged Marihuana usage constitutes a “sensual” addiction, in that the user wishes to experience again and again the ecstatic sensations and feelings which the drug produces. Unlike morphine addiction, which is biochemically as well as psychologically determined, prolonged Marihuana usage is essentially in the services of the hedonistic elements of the personality. Those are the main conclusions I have developed from that. Then we took the cases of the Marihuana users and tried to break those down. It indicates that no murderers were found among this group of 67, not one murder committed in these six or seven years by a Marihuana user. There were no sex cases among these 67. We have, however, seven hundred odd sex cases, from first degree rape down to exhibitionism, and in the course of the six or seven years not one of them was a Marihuana user, according to history or physical examination. At the time of our examination, two of them had sex cases in their history some years before. One was sodomy, and the other some other type of offense. Of all of these people, only three called themselves constant users. One for three years and twelve months, and the others nine months. There is one other point which I would like to mention and that is the case of a man named Joseph Ogden who is reported among others in Mr. Merrill’s paper as having been an addict. I saw him and spent some time with him. He was a psychopathic individual. I think he had been in the State hospital at Lexington, and had had several other arrests. But nothing in his history indicated Marihuana. In other words, the newspaper accounts must be discounted. The fact of the matter was that he had not even been a drug addict, but was a homosexualist. The offender was murdered by him and shoved into a trunk. I do not know whether he disarticulated his arms or not, but he sent the trunk to the express station, and they saw blood oozing out of it, and picked him up. He told the story rather frankly. It was a horrible crime. I think Marihuana was innocent of that. I am sure of that, because I have been able to check that very carefully.
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: We have observed two cases of sex crimes where we have been able to prove the connection with Marihuana.
A boy named Perez, in Baltimore raped a ten-year-old girl, and of course he blamed it on Marihuana. It so happened that, just a year before that, Perez had been picked up by the Baltimore police for the sale of 2,500 grains of Cannabis, and got three months in jail. This sex offense happened the following year. And there is another case down in Corpus Christi that we have been able to establish, where an oil worker with a good reputation, obtained and smoked a cigarette, after which he raped his young daughter. Those are two cases that I know of in which we have proof. In the case of Perez, we do not know what else might have been wrong with him, but he was definitely a user and a seller of Marihuana. I believe that Mr. Smith has had a great deal of experience up through New York State.
MR. SMITH: We have had one case in the last two or three months, which has been of great interest to the Motor Vehicle Department. A youngster in Mount Kisco, close to New York City, was involved in an automobile accident in that village by hitting three parked cars during the evening. When he was apprehended by the police, he literally tore the officer’s blouse from his shoulder, and he had great difficulty in subduing him. During the evening, they first thought it was alcohol, but later the youngster admitted having used a “reefer”. From the information we obtained from him, we apprehended an individual who was growing it, and I think we picked up about six pounds. We had another case farther up-state, not as well established, but apparently pretty well shown, of the inability of the automobile driver to perceive distance and speed. So that factor will be of considerable interest to those interested in traffic control. Because of that recent case in White Plains, we have had some inquiry from the State Motor Vehicle Department, and they arc considering, I believe, the advisability of revoking the licenses of operators who can be shown to be users of Marihuana, in the same fashion that we are now able to do after showing evidence of narcotism.
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: Is that in your State law now?
MR. SMITH: No, sir, it is not in our State law now. In fact, I do not know if it was decided that we could get away with it, but through the Motor Vehicle Department we could, as one of the requirements in the matter of ability on the questionnaire in New York up-state you have to state whether or not you use narcotic drugs.
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: Marihuana users, when arrested, want to fight. Their motor impulses seem to be working It takes, sometimes, four or five officers to subdue a man, and they sometimes wreck the living quarters in doing so. We do not have anything like that in arresting opium users. The agents proceed very cautiously when arresting a Marihuana user.
MR. SMITH: It conflicts with alcohol which seem to be the worst cases yet, and we have had a few cases who used both. Those are perhaps the few that you have run across. Then, of course, we have those who have just been on the reefer alone.
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER, I have noticed a tendency towards more gunplay among Marihuana users than among opium users.
MR. SMITH: Than among opium users?
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: Yes. And there has been some gun play. The first case that we arrested under the Marihuana Act, (I happened to have been present in the Denver court when they brought this fellow up before the judge.) had been a user for a number of years. He was only 23 years old, but many of his arrests were for assault. I have noticed that many of these violators have a record of assault. In Wilmington, Delaware, there was the case of John Rhodes, who attacked an officer with a knife and was shot and killed resisting arrest.
MR. SMITH: I have four out of twelve in one city where the charges, in addition to possession, are assault.
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: In many cases, particularly around Ohio, the officers are called in cases of disturbance and they find a Marihuana user with some stuff on him.
DR. MUNCH: A chap I talked to told me that the use of gin came in very particularly with the use of a reefer. Is that true with opium? Do Marihuana users tend to take gin along with smoking of the reefer?
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: I do not know about that. We have not run into that.
DR. MUNCH: The point I am asking could be that the alcohol there would tend to increase the solubility of any material that has been swallowed, and, therefore, they would get greater effect under such conditions than if they. had not taken the alcohol.
DR. MATCHETT One of the Internal Revenue officials, formerly in Texas, has told us that down there persons use alcohol and Marihuana together, and where they were very wild it took four or five officers to bring a man in. He attributed that to the combined effect rather than the effect of either one.
MR. SMITH: Still, there is a good deal of fancy on the part of some officers, whose experience with Marihuana is new. I have had some experience with one or two sheriffs. I know of one who recently employed the services of two other sheriffs and four deputy sheriffs to secure the arrest of a farmer on a farm where the material was growing. Any youngster, 18 or 19 years old, could have gone there and done it alone. This was because of the first experience of those officers with it. I think the men were anxious to capitalize on the possible publicity which might attend the arrest. So that sometimes you run up against that problem, where they report that it is necessary for a number of them to subdue an individual. That may be an effort to make it appear a more serious type of crime. So that I think we have to put our tongues in our cheeks as to this, also.
DR. MATCHETT: This story came from Deputy Commissioner Berkshire, of the Alcohol Tax Unit.
MR. SMITH: We did have in White Plains this additional situation: The fact appeared there that with children of high school age with good financial and social background, that two of those individuals, who were in difficulties there, stated that the smoking of reefers had become a part of the initiation in certain clubs or school fraternities.
That probably is a little bit unusual, as an incident, but that has been definitely reported in that vicinity.
DR. WRIGHT: Where was that?
MR. SMITH: That was in White Plains, New York.
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: Did you not arrest a youngster sixteen years old for selling?
Mr.. SMITH: Yes, sir. There were two youngsters of excellent background, and fine social connections. That was probably a larger factor, as compared to anything else, I think, and that was that they probably had too much financial and social backing. That may be more true in that particular county than in other counties in that State.
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: You mentioned a case of a young man using Marihuana and heroin.
MR. WITH: Yes, sir. That was in New York City. COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: What had he used first, do you know?
MR. SMITH: I do not know. That, I extracted from the Police Department records last Tuesday, but I did .not have time to go back and get the individual cards, and I doubt very much whether the information which appears in the police cards will show that.
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: We have not run into many peddlers of heroin who also handle Marihuana, and we have not run into many users of Marihuana who are also heroin users. However, as Dr. Bouquet points out, in Tunis there is a tendency to switch from Marihuana to heroin. Have you run into any cases like that, Doctor?
DR. BROMBERG: I have seen many drug addicts, who have, once or twice, they say, tried Marihuana, and have dropped it, because it was not strong enough. Most true addicts start with heroin or opium.
MR. SMITH: Do you not think that that might be more the association with individuals than the association with the drug?
DR. BROMBERG: Perhaps. And there is one other fact, and that is that alcohol and Marihuana have a more potent effect than alcohol alone. I had a case where a man started smoking Marihuana. The seller introduced heroin, he noticed the effect, and he became a user, but, of course, that was not through any choice.
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: As to this question of using alcohol with Marihuana, I recall a case in Indiana where a man was arrested who had an infusion of the drug in alcohol. How do they do that? Drink it and smoke a cigarette?
DR. BROMBERG: No. I think it is a sociological matter. He uses the gin with it, or otherwise, and it depends on the amount of money and the locality, and they smoke, and it represents having some fun, the effect which they look for.
MR. WOLLNER: I wonder how much can be deduced from the present figures in the matter of crime, in view of the fact that these figures represent a static picture whereas the entire Marihuana picture, so far as I know, is on an up-curve. Have you noticed any tendencies that are not static over a period of years Dr. Bromberg?
DR. BROMBERG: That is a very good question, because the alcohol thing depends on the relationship between the two. But I have been in contact with the court for about five years, and the number of Marihuana peddlers has not increased, but the number of Marihuana users we do not know about.
MR. WOLLNER: In what order, would you say?
DR. BROMBERG: It is impossible to say. These are only approximations, I admit. It all depends on the police activities. They make a drive, and the figures go up. They forget about it, and there are no figures.
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: Are there any questions as to this phase of the problem? I must say that we are still sort of groping as to a lot of those questions.
DR. MUNCH: May I intrude there, just as a matter of difference in mind, as to any sort of figure representing the total number of users of Marihuana? I mean, has anybody said anything as to the number of heroine users being the same as the opium addicts, or less or more, or as to the Marihuana?
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: It is impossible to say. The eradication of 16,000 acres of Marihuana during the past year means nothing as to numbers of users. We are sure it was never meant for the illicit traffic. Probably 15,000 of the 16,000 acres was wild growth.
DR. BROMBERG: You mean additional acreage than that which had humans on it?
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: We have arrested over 1,000. The Bureau of Prisons is a little concerned about that, because it is causing a definite increase in their jails. Puerto Rico is starting to send a lot of these sellers and users to jail, which they did not do before. There has been a tremendous up-grade in apprehensions. I do not recall just what the arrests have been by states throughout the country. These are Federal arrests. State arrests are probably over that figure. I should say that the 16,000 acres represent only a drop in the bucket, because I know in one State there are 300,000 acres of the wild growth. We have a job here on eradication that is just stupendous. Fortunately, a lot of this acreage that is discovered we hear about through people who do not tell anybody else about it. The illicit trafficker is looking for growth. I cannot understand why the New York trafficker had to go out to Minnesota and strip some of those hemp fields.
MR. SMITH: We had two instances where the material was either reported to be, or actually was, of western growth, and they were getting a higher price than was paid apparently for New York grown. Whether that was bona fide, as to the material from New York State, or as to the material from Minnesota, I do not know, or whether it was a question of price boosting as to the New York sales prices, we still do not know.
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: I think within a couple of blocks from where Dr. Munch lives you can walk into as much [as] fifty acres that has not been destroyed.
DR. MUNCH: They went over about 300 acres of that this year and ran out of C.C.C. men and then stopped.
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: That is a tremendous problem with us. We have used many of the agencies of the Government, the W.P.A. has helped, and other agencies. We have discouraged all of these well-meaning people throughout the country who want to use Boy Scouts in the removal of’ Marihuana.
DR. MUNCH: We have had considerable cooperation through Admiral Foote, and the Automobile Vehicle Department of our State.
DR. WRIGHT: May I ask Dr. Bromberg whether or not his contacts with these patients show whether or not there is any indication of whether these cigarettes used were tobacco which had been adulterated with Marihuana?
DR. BROMBERG: My source of information is the Police Department, and the cigarettes that they have gathered up are filled definitely with Marihuana, and no other compound.
MR. SMITH: I would like to ask Dr. Bromberg, or anybody else who has had experience as to the likelihood of development of perversion. Has anybody had any experience on that?
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: Dr. Kolb, have you run into anything on that?
DR. KOLB: No, sir.
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: How many of these users have you in Lexington?
DR. KOLB: There are about one hundred patients who have used it occasionally, but they are mostly opium and heroin users. About twenty-five have used nothing but Marihuana alone. But, just as Dr. Bromberg has stated they use it occasionally, just to see if it is another drug that they need.
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: Are these Marihuana users, as such, a younger group than your opium smokers?
DR. KOLB: Most of the time. For instance, we had a man from Puerto Rico, about fifty years old, who had been a judge, and who said it was a political plot that he should get four years. I do not know how politics came into it. He said, “Well, they are trying to get rid of me.”
He never had any criminal record. That seemed to be a rather strong sentence for users.
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: We have noticed the tendency in Puerto Rico, even with heroin users, to give them five years for use only.
DR. KOLB: Yes, they give them a very severe sentence. The district attorney wrote me and wanted to take it up with judge Cooper. I told him that, from the stand-point of rehabilitation, it was a rather harmful matter to put a man in prison for four years. He is liable to learn a lot of things in prison and then go out and hate society and use them against society. It is my idea that users should get one year, and especially the fellow who does not have a criminal record.
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: I do not think the courts here are being too severe.
DR. KOLB’ No, they are not.
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: They are giving the seller a great deal more than the user, on the average.
DR. KOLB: Of course.
MR. WOLLNER: What does your investigation represent as to these twenty-five users of Marihuana alone, as compared to those who use other drugs other than Marihuana?
DR. KOLB: Of course, we get them after they have stopped using the drug, and after they have escaped the acute effects of the drugs, There is only one psychiatric case, which we are not quite sure of, that has been due to using the Marihuana drug.
MR. WOLLNER: I am going to ask an awfully unfair question. What percentage of these people would have been in jail if they had not smoked Marihuana?
DR. KOLB: Well, very few of them.
MR. WOLLNER: They would hot have been in jail?
DR. KOLB: That applies to a great many users of drugs. A great many of them have done other things, particularly thievery, or other slippery types of work.
MR. WOLLNER: Are they slightly impaired?
DR. KOLB: They are slightly impaired, partly due to the psychiatric condition, and to the distress of needing the drug. There are very few violent types of crime with the opium addict. Our experience with the Marihuana addicts is not enough to give an answer. I rather think that with the alcoholic-Marihuana user, that he would become a type of drug addict that would cause many crimes.
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: There was a case in Canada, Mr. Lancaster, there a Marihuana user had withdrawal symptoms similar to those of an opium user.
MR. LANCASTER: Yes, sir. That was the boy who was picked up and had used Marihuana for a long time. He was out of work, had no continual employment. He tried to smoke Marihuana, rather liked it, and after several months of usage, he was jailed, and kept there for about a week. His case was remanded, and he reported feeling tingling pains and needles in the hands and feet, and he was greatly upset and pleaded for a narcotic again. He was suffering with an imparity of that order. I do not think it was tried to see whether giving him Marihuana should relieve that case or not. The general impression is that there is no great suffering, and if they are relieved from it after the first five days, naturally they want it again, but they do not break down if they do not get it.
MR. WOLLNER: Dr. Bromberg, have you come across any occasion of drinking Marihuana in the form of tea extract, or something of that sort?
DR. BROMBERG: No.
MR. SMITH: Is there any evidence of it being used in Canada? On any convictions, have you had any evidence of it ?
MR. LANCASTER: Not there, no. No, sir, so far there have been no samples submitted to us as yet.
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: None that I know of. But I understand they do mix them, mix it with sweets, in northern Africa.
MR. SMITH: There have been one or two reports that they do mix it in California.
MR. WOLLNER: For your ears, I can tell you, Mr. Smith, that all of the chemists are sitting on the edge of their seats, worrying about that happening
MR. SMITH: And there is a question as to the toxic effects which could be present.
MR. WOLLNER: And there may not be any way in which we can examine it. We are hoping that they do not guess that gasoline will extract it.
DR. MATCHETT: Is it true that that is a common form in the Far East?
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: No, not in The Far East, but in the Near East.
DR. MATCHETT: In the Near East, yes.
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: We seem to have covered the sociological phases, so far as we are able to and I am going to turn the choir over, at this point, to Dr. Wollner, who will proceed with the chemical phases. This is where most of the spade work has got to be done, anyway.
STATEMENT OF MR.. H. J. WOLLNER, CONSULTING CHEMIST, TREASURY DEPARTMENT
MR. WOLLNER: The problem is not yet resolved. We are not yet in a position to know exactly what it is we are looking for, and, within four walls, I am perfectly frank to admit that al]. the chemists I have met, who are interested in this field, are at a complete loss when asked to prophesy the character of the narcotic principle, which we are going to eventually disclose. The situation is as bad in the chemical literature as it is in all of the other phrases. I should certainly be within the reasonable bounds of correctness when I say that ninety percent of the stuff that has been written on the chemical end of Cannabis is absolutely wrong, and, of the other ten percent, at least two-thirds of it is of no consequence. That ninety per cent has had, however, to be dealt with, and chemists all over the world have been interested in Cannabis, and in the past few years have spent a goodly portion of their time upsetting a lot of this shibboleth and tradition which has been set up, probably a thousand years, so as to clear the ground and to be able to proceed in a more orderly fashion.
In this work the evidence, by force of circumstance, compels us to turn to the pharmacologist for guidance.
As Dr. Loewe ably expressed before, since we have no test in the chemical laboratories for indicating the presence or absence of the narcotic principle, every bit of the exploratory work of consequence that has been engaged upon had to be paralleled with work in the field of bio-assay.
The chemical problem is so obvious that it does not require much delineation.
Chemists, enforcement administrative chemists, are interested in two things. First, and immediately, they want to know how to find and detect the presence of Cannabis sativa, or any of its products that are narcotic in character.
In other words, most enforcement officers will make a seizure in some form, solid or liquid, and the question asked is, “Is this Marihuana?” And no satisfactory technique for answering such a question obtains today. That does not say that in most of the cases that come before the chemists they are not in a definite position to make a definite statement, that before them the substance is definitely Cannabis sativa, but they can not do it as definitely as in the case of morphine, opium, and heroin. The second question they would like answered is, “What is the narcotic principle, or what are the narcotic principles present?” That question is not one of enforcement so much as of general administration. The Commissioner of Narcotics has the problem of deciding, at times, what regulations shall be invoked in respect to an industry or an agricultural phase of this problem. The question arises, how long shall we have to wait before the resin is decomposed, during the rotting process, for example, and the only way I would know how to answer that question is to know how long that principle will exist during that rotting exhibition. Of course, we do not know. We can not answer that question. The question arises, can recommendations be made to exempt the use of certain portions of the plant and certain industrial directions, as far as governmental regulation is concerned, be given by virtue of the fact that they are harmless. No statement can he made on that score. So, it becomes important, from an administrative point of view, for administrative chemists, associated with the carrying out of the Marihuana Act, to have a more competent picture of the drug, as competent as obtains at the present time in respect to the poppy and its secretion, opium, and its products, morphine, heroin, codeine, and so on. This drug, peculiarly enough, has withstood competent attack for an extensive period of time. Before the laws were passed controlling the opium picture, chemists were able to supply a fairly excellent background, against which such legislation and regulations might have been and were in fact predicated. But, in the case of Marihuana, there is no such background. It is just a fog; without question the psychiatrists and bioassayists and agricultural people know far more about Cannabis than do the chemists. So far as knowing anything about the plant, today, is concerned, all they can tell you is that such and such a product is not a narcotic, such and such a product is non-narcotic, and they are trying to shrink the residue further and further, but they have not touched it. Of great assistance in clarifying the issue has been the work undertaken by Dr. Blatt, in reviewing the literature. Dr. Blatt has prepared a paper consisting of a critical review of the literature on narcotics, published in the journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences on the 15th of November. I have a number of copies of the paper here, and also a chart setting forth the general character of the critique, so that a person who is a technical man can get a picture of the thing. I am going to ask that only these people who have a working knowledge of chemical symbology receive them, and we will try to get enough copies to mail them out to you later. I am going to ask Dr. Blatt if he will be so kind as to offer a picture of his survey as to the chemical constituents of Cannabis Sativa.
STATEMENT OF DR. A. H. BLATT, HOWARD UNIVERSITY.
DR. BLATT: That will not take very long, because as Mr. Wollner has said, we are only dealing with two-thirds of ten percent of the material. Very briefly, the story is, you can take Cannabis and extract it with one of several solvents, or combinations of solvents and obtain a physiologically active extract. The only successful technique that has been applied to that so far has been a distillation process, and through the distillation you can get out of it three substances, which I will simply name and pass on. One of them is a paraffin hydrocarbon known as nonacosane, that is, physiologically, inactive. If you do a distillation, you get a definite distillate, and all chemists who have worked with Cannabis know it as red oil. Unfortunately, it also was known as Cannabinol, and that has been the cause of much trouble. This red oil looks a good bit like a lubricating oil of a rather poor quality, a semi-solid material at room temperature. That material we will simply call narcotic-active by a physiological test. The real nasty principle about the situation is that that material behaves as if it were a chemical substance, and there have been three different formulas proposed for it. One of the formulas has Cot so far as two individuals having agreed upon it. Then the hitch comes. In about forty years, three English workers succeeded in preparing and isolating one pure chemical substance from this red oil. They called that Cannabinol, and the one individual substance derived from it is also called Cannabinol. For thirty years, nobody following them was ever able to get this pure Cannabinol. So, we went ahead and worked with Cannabinol, and assumed that we were working with the pure substance Then, roughly about eight years ago, the pure chemical individual, pure Cannabinol, again was secured for the second time, and apparently it can be repeated. Pure Cannabinol is the fourth chemical substance to be gotten out of Cannabis, and it is the fourth one to be lacking in narcotic activity. It is toxic, however, and it is quite possible that some of the .activity of Canna- binol, some of this complex activity that has been referred to during the morning, is due to pure Cannabinol as a chemical individual. The chemical structure of pure Cannabinol has been fairly well worked out. It is not definitely settled. We do not need to go into that There is one more thing that should be pointed out, and that is the fact that for thirty years perfectly competent chemists have taken this red oil, distilled, and worked with it as if a pure chemical. It not only gives analytical values of resin, but they are even more complex. You can carry out the chemical reactions with this. So, let us refer to red oil as the crude Cannabinol; and the chemical individual as pure Cannabinol. You can run chemical reactions. You can reduce an acetylate and the products you get out are still analyzable for the proper derivatives of crude Cannabinol. That is, where everybody has gone haywire. There is one ray of hope, and a pretty definite one, as to the confusion of a mixture which was taken to be a definite chemical substance, and that is why progress has been so slow, and that is the fact that we have no way quantitatively of following the definite reaction of the chemical principle.. The one ray of hope I mention is the fact that you can take red oil, crude Cannabinol, remove one-fourth, which is inactive as pure Cannabinol, and the residual three-fourths still retains chemical activity. There is where the work begins. That is as far as has been gotten chemically. There is just one more point here. As far as I have been able to find, and I received corroboration at noon, there not only is no correlation, or no correlation has been made, so far as I can find. out, between the various color reactions for Cannabis and the narcotic activity, and I was told at noon that, not only had there been none made, but it was because there definitely is none. So we can not fail to follow the activity as to this color test. I may be getting off in deep water, but that is the apparent final analysis. There is one more thing, and that will finish it up. I hope not many people will be misled by the principle that the active principle of Cannabis is Cannabinol. You will find it even there. The active fraction which you will find, which is more or less of a mixture, is called Cannabinol. You can find a chemical substance which is not active. I think that covers it.
MR. WOLLNER: I think that adds oils to the fire.
DR. MUNCH: Is there an active substance there?
MR. WOLLNER: I will take your word for it, and Bromberg’s on the basis of his research in New York It leads us pretty much to where we started. I think if all the research work done so far were dumped together by a group of chemists, or if they started out today on this investigation, that they would be exactly the same as they are now inside of six months; that is, all of the information which we have, which is very little, could be accumulated in six months. Recognizing that situation, the Treasury two years ago undertook to lay the basis for a competent attack on the problem. We did not know what that would consist of, but we knew sound, fundamental, reproducible information and data had to be obtained. The first thing we did was to contact the Department of Agriculture, and with their cooperation, there was planted a plot at Arlington Farms over here, last summer, and the summer before, where the plant was observed in its various stages of growth, and which furnished us all of the criteria the literature offered us in the past. As I mentioned earlier, about ninety percent of all of it was thrown out. The report of the first year’s investigation was published in the journal of the American Pharmaceutical Association. I have a number of copies here, if there are any technical men who have not soon that report. An equivalent report is being prepared at the present time on the basis of this summer’s work. We have obtained several tons of Marihuana. We have extracted or are extracting huge quantities of that material, in an effort to provide a satisfactory amount on the basis of which a broad attack on the problem may be predicated. Dr. Matchett is in charge of the Treasury’s own immediate attack on the problem, and I believe he has some information which he can lay before you this afternoon. Is that correct, Dr. Matchett?
STATEMENT OF DR. JOHN R. MATCHETT, TREASURY DEPARTMENT.
DR. MATCHETT: The problem is clarified a little bit by recognizing that there are two distinct phases involved, the first of which must be pretty well finished before the second can begin. First of all, there is the separation of the active principle from other material, and second, the characterization of it. Before a competent separation can be undertaken, we must be in possession of suitable assay methods. We, of course, are interested in those manifestations of Marihuana that lead to the effects, which have led in turn, to the passage of the Act We are not sure, I take it, whether the substance produces ataxia in the dog, or sleep in the mouse, or corneal(?) anesthesia in the rabbit is the same as the one in which we are interested.
Nevertheless, something must be adopted, and by common consent, a dog assay, with all its faults, has been the method of choice. It seems obvious that these various principles, if more than one exists, will be each characterized on its own merits. In considering this phase of it, also, it must not be forgotten that any one of the effects may be combinations, and any of the effects that we are able to measure may possibly be combined effects, of which the bad effect of the drug itself may be only one. With that so disposed of, it is possible to recognize that certain characteristics of the so-called resin are fairly well defined already, although I think we must recognize that the resin itself is variable, and to what extent, we are not yet able to say very definitely. As Dr. Blatt said, there have been certain individuals isolated in pure form, of which the most important are Cannabinol and the hydrocarbon nonacosame. There is also present definitely in the resin a substance that responds to the alkaline Beam test. There are still other substances among all those responsible for the psychological and physiological activity; of such there may be one or more.
And finally, there are those volatile oils, in which there is no tremendous interest other than to dispose of them before being able to isolate the drug. Now, little or nothing is known of the nature of the active substance. All attacks on the problem have, thus far, broadly speaking, produced negative results. The thing, in any event, is not an alkaloid, because we are not able to extract it into acid solutions from solvents, nor does it contain any nitrogen. It is not an acid, since it does not extract into alkaline solution. And it has not been shown to contain any carbonyl groups because it does not form any derivatives with the common reagents for such.
There is evidence on the other hand that it forms esters and that it is an aromatic substance, the latter from the refractive index of the most active fraction. From that it would appear to be a phenolic compound. The substance is thermostable under rather rigorous conditions, but it is quickly destroyed in the presence of oxygen. It is also quite likely that it is unsaturated since reduction by hydrogen is possible. But all those, unfortunately, are properties of the active mixtures that Dr. Blatt referred to, rather than of any chemical individual. They are all of some assistance though, in considering methods by which the problem may be attacked. Now, only distillation in a rather high vacuum has been of any assistance thus far in fractionating the mixture, known as Cannabis resin. The volatile oils are so separated with relative ease. The substance responsible for the acid Beam test, whatever it may be, is removed, the acid test no longer appearing in the distillate. The hydrocarbon which does appear in the distillate can be removed by crystallization from alcohol or some other solvent, and pure Cannabinol can be removed as a crystalline acetate or paranitry benzoate. As Dr. Blatt pointed out, this point is where the trail ends at present, with the exception of a brief note indicating that it is definitely possible to find physiological effects in the material remaining after Cannabinol has been removed. It is at that point that we purpose ultimately to actually begin. The former distillation has been carried out at pressures anywhere from atmospheric down to a reported pressure of about five-one thousandths of a millimeter. From the character of the work in which this was reported it would appear that the reported pressures must be taken with a grain of salt. No essential difference however has appeared in the products of fractionation. The material, as you may be aware, is an exceedingly difficult material to work with, a heavy tar-like oil, and it does not lend itself readily to distillation by any means. We have considered that at this point it might be preferable to resort to molecular distillation in an effort to obtain a more competent separation. If this hope be realized, a number of avenues of attack are opened or re-opened. That is, among other things the action of solvents may be reinvestigated, and of particular interest will be the action of solvents at low temperatures. Then there are possibilities of preferential adsorption, and also it may be possible to prepare crystalline derivatives. They fail to appear from treatment of the present mixtures. Now, the molecular distillation outfit that we have chosen for this work is of the static type, rather than the cyclic still with which you are probably more familiar, because the higher boiling fractions of this material are so viscous that they probably would not cycle with in that still without special precautions to maintain a high temperature.
The original material has been distilled before passing it into the molecular still in a flash apparatus that operates under a good vacuum. This is necessary since the crude oil is particularly prone to spit in the molecular still and ruin the distillation. More specifically, the process that we are following is extraction from the plant material with cold alcohol, alcohol being chosen as a solvent rather than petroleum ether, on account of fire hazard. This process is followed by a liquid extraction from the alcohol by pentane, which does away with a lot of water soluble material, and tarry material of a nondescript character. We have not yet thoroughly satisfied ourselves that all of the active material is extracted by pentane, but we believe we have every reason to think it is. Then the pentane, which incidentally, extracts quite a little alcohol, is removed, and the alcohol is also removed. The material is then passed through the flash process that I referred to a moment ago, and the distillate from here is placed in the molecular still. That is the point which the investigation has reached at this particular moment. Now, it is expected to divide the oil into about ten fractions in the stills, then to remove Cannabinol as the acetate and the hydrocarbon by precipitation from a suitable solvent, and then to refractions, to the remaining material. The work from that point, of course, all depend upon the results of the fractionations, and can not be very definitely foreseen, other than that those processes, to which I referred a moment ago, will be applied. Now, it would have been possible to have attacked certain phases of the problem along a number of other lines, a few of which I will suggest in conclusion. The first would be a characterization of those volatile oils, which have been referred to, and which would be of interest from a purely chemical point of view. They are separated with relative ease, by steam distillation, for example. No one, of course, has been very much interested in them, and that line of attack has not been followed. Again, someone might become interested in the substance which responds to the acid Beam test. It can be removed from a solution in petroleum either by means of alkali, and presumably would be isolated with relatively little difficulty, but experience shows that resins so prepared are not physiologically active, hence little interest is attached to that substance. A third possible line of attack would have been in connection with the Beam test itself. The development of the color is due to a product resulting from oxidation of some substance which is present In the resin. This substance is soluble in aqueous alkali, and is precipitated by acid. It can be readily extracted from acid solution. It, of course, is not actually the substance which responds to the alkaline Beam test, but it would be of great interest from the purely scientific point of view.
MR. WOLLNER: I would like to make a couple of announcements. Those of you who are not particularly interested in the chemical attack here may find this part of the program a little arduous, and I want you to understand that you are at liberty to leave and interrupt if you want to, as I think this part of the program might be a little obtuse at certain points. Dr. Blatt has just indicated that there are some errors in the material which he distributed on the critical review. Do you want to indicate those?
DR. BLATT: There is one error in the literature, for example on page 469 in the middle of the page are three formulas, just one the paragraph beginning in the middle of those formulas. There is a carbon atom, a ‘C’, a single line to an oxygen ‘0’, and that should be a double line to make it conform to the other two. Then, on that flow sheet, on the left-hand half of the page, the second of those errors reads “dihydrogenation with sulphur,” and that should be ‘dehydrogenation’, and not ‘dihydrogenation’.
MR. WOLLNER: As you gathered, Dr. Matchett’s attack there is directed at the heart of the problem; that is to say, the isolation and characterization of the extreme number of active principles. I indicated at the beginning that there is another phase of the problem, and that was identification. We at this time do not know whether the chemical attack is destined to determine the active principle in one year or sixty years. The Treasury has issued a little manual of identification, consisting largely of photographs, and it is being distributed. In this country we are mostly dealing with the drug in its plant form, and in this manual they are showing the separate parts of plants, and so on, and it is helpful in that direction. I am going to ask Mr. Levine to give us a picture of the Beam test.
STATEMENT OF MR. LEVINE, CHEMIST, BUREAU OF NARCOTICS.
MR. LEVINE: The Beam test seems to be the most widely used chemical test for the identification of Marihuana, and was first introduced by Dr. W. Beam, of the Wellcome Tropical Research Laboratory, of Khartoum. The alkaline test in 1911 and the acid Beam test in 1915 have come to be accepted as specific for Marihuana, although a lot of samples have failed to respond. Workers in Europe and north Africa have used it and tried it on a large number of plant materials. In general it is agreed that no other material responds characteristically to the test. It has been attacked by some chemists, notably Trolle and Rende, who said they obtained the Beam test on a mixture of drugs consisting of ginger, coriander, licorice, nutmeg, and several other things. Other workers, notably Fahamy and Keiy in Egypt, and Papavassiliou and Liberato, in Greece, applied the test to these materials, both individually and in the mixture, and failed to get a positive response to any of them. As I stated before, a large number of authentic samples of Marihuana failed to respond to the Beam test, or gave a very slightly dirty purple color, which might be mistaken for just a dirty color. So a number of modifications of the Beam test have been introduced to try to improve the results obtained in the test. One of the steps taken to improve the test was the use of adsorbent charcoal to remove chlorophyll from the solution of the resin. This was reported independently by Fahamy and Keiy, Bouquet, and by the Bureau of Narcotics Laboratory. One of the tests developed in the Bureau of Narcotics Laboratory is the ethyl acetate test. Ethyl acetate is used as a solvent, because it is a good solvent for the resin, it has a low boiling point, hence is easily evaporated and it can be treated with activated charcoal, which removes most of the chlorophyll, and other substances, which would interfere with color development, but takes out very little of the material responsible for the Beam test. In carrying out the test, a sample of Marihuana is extracted with a portion of ethyl acetate. The solvent is treated for a few seconds with darco or norite and filtered. The filtrate is divided between two porcelain dishes and evaporated on a steam bath before a fan. To one of the dishes is added several drops of the alkaline Beam reagent, and to the other, several drops of the acid Beam reagent. In a large number of tests, no samples which were negative to this modification were found to be positive by the original Beam test, or any of a number of other modifications. It seems, therefore, that this is the most satisfactory modification of the Beam test. Dr. Bouquet, in Tunis, has developed two amyl alcohol tests, one of which uses charcoal, and the other does not. His test consists of grinding a sample of Marihuana with potassium Hydroxide, and then adding a portion of alcohol, mixing thoroughly, and filtering, whereupon a purple color appears in the filtrate. Then, to a portion of this filtrate he adds about a ten-fold volume of water, and extracts with one cc. of amyl alcohol. The purple color is extracted into the amyl alcohol. In his test involving the use of charcoal, he adds a small amount of animal charcoal to the mixture of the alcohol, KOH, and Marihuana, presumably to remove chlorophyll, and then lets it stand for two hours before filtering.
The resultant filtrate is free of chlorophyll, and the tests obtained are better. We have found that his test, involving the use of charcoal, works better with activated charcoal, such as norit or Darco than with the animal charcoal prescribed. Also, we find that we get results by filtering immediately after the addition of charcoal, instead of letting the mixture stand for two hours. We have not found any case of failure to respond upon immediate filtration, which would respond after standing. Another modification which we have developed in our laboratory, and which may be considered a modification of the Bouquet test, is probably most convenient of the modifications to run, because it involves the least manipulation. It consists merely of shaking for a few seconds the sample of Marihuana with a two percent alcoholic solution of potassium hydroxide. Add to this is an amount of activated charcoal equal in weight to the Marihuana. The mixture is shaken for a few seconds, and filtered immediately. The filtrate is purple and on dilution with water, the purple colored substance may be extracted by amyl alcohol. Other modifications of the technique have been proposed by Dr. Myttanaere, Viehoever, Placencias and others.
As I said before, a large number of plants fail to respond to any of these modifications of the Beam tests. We have followed the appearance of the Beam test in plants with regard to age, parts of plant, and variety. In regard to age, some plants three inches tall have been found to respond to the Beam test. Some plants, at all states of growth, up to their decadence, respond. Many male plants, which are all withered, and consist of nothing but a skeleton with a few dried flowers sticking to the top still respond to the alkaline Beam test. As far as an individual plant goes, the order of response is best in the top, both with the male and female plants, followed by the upper leaves, lower leaves, upper twigs, upper stalk, lower twigs, and lower stalk. In other words, as you go up towards the top of the plant you get the best response. Where the top responds very strongly, you generally get a weak response in the skin of the lower stalk. If the tops respond very weakly, the upper leaves will probably be negative, or just give a trace of response. We have never been able to get any response at all from the pith or roots of the plant.
This last summer we tested six varieties of hemp, as Dr. Robinson indicated this morning. Three of them were Roumanian varieties; one of them was Italian, one, Manchurian; and one of Chinese origin. Of the three Roumanian varieties, about a percent could be positively identified by the alkaline Beam test, as Dr. Natchett pointed out this morning. The other three gave a trace of response to the test. The Italian variety was very close to this, having about 98 percent attainable by the Beam test. Of the Manchurian and Chinese, only about 20 to 50 percent could be positively identified, and of these, practically none of the tests were as strong as the tests obtained from the Roumanian and Italian varieties. The largest number of the plants were absolutely negative, or showed merely faint trances of response, which we would not consider to be suitable for identification if the plants were unknown. We studied the effect of heating the plants towards response to the alkaline Beam test. We found that heating parts of the plant at 100 degrees with air blowing over them for up to five hours did not have any harmful effects on the material response for the alkaline Beam test. In fact, some of the plants showed better response after heating than before. Although some workers in Europe say in no case should the extract be heated. over 50 degrees Centigrade. However, heating the plant at 150 degrees under the same conditions did prove to have a deleterious effect. Another treatment we tried was permitting the plant to mold. We subjected the tops of some of the plants, both negative and positive, to molding, in a very moist atmosphere, for a period of about five weeks. After this period, the whole plant was covered with slimy mold. Response to the alkaline Beam test was as good as it was originally. Some negative plants which were molded remained negative after the molding period. Oxidization is an essential part of the Beam test. Beam, in his original article, pointed out that if the tests be applied in the absence of air, a dirty brown color will result instead of the purple color. We have taken up some of the resin in alcohol, and added an equal volume of 2 per cent alcoholic KOH solution. The resultant solution was colorless, but on passing oxygen through it, the characteristic purple color developed. Shaking the solution with charcoal had the same effect. Presumably this is because oxidization is effected by the oxygen adsorbed on the charcoal. Oxidation must be done in alkaline solution. Charcoal plays a dual role in the test. In the case of the ethyl acetate test the effect is merely to remove extraneous matter, since no oxidation is effected in this solution. In certain solvents, such as petroleum ether, the activated charcoal will entirely remove from solution the material responsible for the Beam test, while animal charcoal does this to a much smaller extent. In fact, animal charcoal may be used in petroleum ether, although its effect as a cleaning agent is not very large. The second role of charcoal is that of an oxidizing agent. The oxygen adsorbed on activated charcoal is effective in producing the necessary oxidation of the material responsible for the alkaline Beam test. Animal charcoal is effective to a very much smaller extent, and is therefore unsatisfactory for use in this process.
MR. WOLLNER: I think we will have a recess now for about five minutes before we resume.
(A short recess was taken, after which the proceedings were resumed as follows:)
MR. WOLLNER: Now, after that rather exhaustive treatise on the Beam test, I would like to have Mr. Benjamin tell us something about this so-called Duquenois test. The reason time is being given on these tests is this: Every so often a new test is obtained, and this is the experience in every phase of chemical activity, and until several months or years have been put in on it, everyone gets highly enthusiastic about it. Efforts are made to introduce it as witness material in court, and the first thing you know you run into a situation where you are yourself out on a peninsula and you can not possibly get back. We have asked the Treasury Department not to employ any tests unless they are absolutely tests on a theory of so-called triangulation, so that when our men go to court to testify on a seizure that their evidence is sound.
Mr. Benjamin, will you tell us briefly about the Duquenois test and what our experience has been with that.
MR. BENJAMIN: I think this was proposed in the early part of 1938. Reagent number 1 is an alcoholic solution with vanillin and acetaldehyde. The second reagent is concentrated hydrochloric acid; The technique consists of extracting hemp with petroleum ether and driving off the solvent by heat. One then takes one cc. of the alcoholic reagent, adds it to the residue, and into the solution thus prepared, puts two c.c.’s of concentrated hydrochloric acid. There is a change in color from green to slate blue to violet blue. Now, since we have had this, we have tested approximately 165 substances, including some of the alkaloids, the essential oils, C. D. alcohols, everything I could get my hands on that might show up with this reagent. So far, not one sample of hemp has failed to respond to this test. When I say “hemp” I am referring to solid extracts, fluid extracts, and ether available preparations. They all show positive. Certain essential oils when treated by the test procedure ran through the same changes as the hemp, namely, oil of bay, geranyl acetate, rhodinyl acetate, and one or two others. There was also a compound known as Denol, that gave practically the same reaction as hemp. That is used in C. D. alcohols. I do not know exactly what it is composed of, but I think a mixture of higher alcohols and ketones.
MR. SCHICKTANZ: Yes, higher alcohols.
MR. BENJAMIN: I must emphasize the fact that not one sample of Cannabis or fluid extract of Cannabis or solid extract has failed so far.
MR. WOLLNER: Would you recommend the test as an eliminative test for hemp; that is to say, hemp would have to give a positive test of the Duquenois agent in order to be considered hemp, and then proceed?
MR. BENJAMIN: Yes.
MR. WOLLNER: To apply another test to see whether it is another substance?
MR. BENJAMIN: I think the fact that ia the Duquenois test for Cannabis fails to respond, then one should hesitate to call the sample Cannabis.
MR. WOLLNER: That is predicated—
MR. BENJAMIN: (Interposing) On the 165.
MR. WOLLNER: Dr. Munch, you have had some experience with some other tests, which we do not think very much of.
DR. MUNCH: That is fine.
MR. WOLLNER: What is your experience with that test?
DR. MUNCH: I started about three or four years ago with the method developed by an official in the British pharmacopoeia for ergot, using paradimethyl amino benzaldehyde. The results I obtained I then dropped, because I got busy on something else, but I have had occasion this last spring to review and finish up that work, which was reported at Madison and the American Pharmaceutical Association. The manuscript is in the hands of the editor of the American Pharmaceutical Association, and ought to be out next month. In it I tried various modifications and found the 2-1/2 per cent solution of paradimethyl amino benzaldehyde in 65 per cent sulphuric acid, or in 65 per cent phosphoric acid, which is my principal reagent. The material to be tested is shaken with 10 parts, or approximately 10 parts, of low boiling petroleum ether, (below 40 degrees Centigrade) which has been redistilled and a half part of Merck’s activated charcoal or norit, or any other U. S. P., activated carbon for five or ten minutes, then filtered. The filtrate is evaporated, and the reagent applied to the residue. The direct application of the reagent causes charring, or does not cause anything, according to how much material has been removed. But on the addition of a drop of water there is an immediate development of a blue color, shifting toward the violet end of the spectrum, and disappearing within two seconds or two hours, depending on how much material is present. Ergot gives a blue color similar to that of Cannabis, but the color shift is toward the red. The red is much slower than with that of Cannabis, and it persists for several days. I went to two neighborhood drug stores, and got ten or eleven materials out of their prescription department, and sent them through the same tests. Many of them gave no color. Others gave colors of some sort. But, to make a long story short, none of them gave the same type of color as the blue shift that I obtained with Cannabis. I have tried about 50 samples of Cannabis, so far, and every one of those gave the same reaction. While my eye is not too good, still there is a symmetric trend between the potency on dogs and the degree of color developed here. By degree I mean intensity and duration, considering them together. But a product stronger on the dog has given me a stronger color.
MR. WOLLNER: Dr. Matchett, what is your experience with that Ghamrawy test?
DR. MATCHETT: We found too many other substances, which we regard as giving colors too similar to that given to Cannabis, to have any value in the hands [of] anyone not very definitely expert in the use of it. Even in such hands it is our judgment that colors given tobacco and certain other substances were still too near the color given by Cannabis for use in the case of extracts. Of course, where we have a plant to look at, we realize a different situation exists.
DR. MUNCH: Even with tobacco?
DR. MATCHETT: Tobacco was very close.
DR. MUNCH: Is that right?
DR. MATCHETT: This was not used with charcoal.
DR. MUNCH: If I do not use charcoal, I get inconclusive results along that line.
DR. MATCHETT: I am coming ’to that. It was our experience that the U.S.P. activated charcoal would remove either the hemp or tobacco test substance from petroleum ether. The result being that the test in hemp was about the same as it was in tobacco. I will ask Mr. Benjamin if that is a correct statement.
MR. BENJAMIN: That is correct.
MR. WOLLNER: Dr. Lancaster, have you had any experience with these tests in Canada?
MR. LANCASTER: Yes, Dr. [sic] Wollner. Some years ago our interest was aroused as to whether or not Canadian Cannabis would be at all active. As some of you know, the plant thrives in all climates. We have it in all altitudes. There are no cultivated plants. But some years ago we wanted to satisfy ourselves about the activity of the Canadian produced Cannabis. Some was grown in western Canada for windbreak purposes, that is the only economic function it had with us. After applying the alkaline Beam test, as put out from Geneva we obtained positive reactions, and the pharmacologists tried it on dogs and we found it responded, so we concluded that some of the Canadian Cannabis was active. From the standpoint of the administration of the Narcotic Act, our interest is entirely limited to the illicit traffic, and it is confined to the reefer or cigarette, where we have the advantage of a physical. diagnosis, rather than chemical. The chemical work on this we intend to follow up as of extreme importance, because it is difficult to predict to what extent the extracts may come into use. There is a possibility of developing a non-reactive type of plant, but it is not of an immediate concern, although there again conditions of world trade and combined complications might become such that Canada might be asked to take up that problem again. Who knows? So we can not afford to lose interest in these chemical phases of the testing.
Our experience with the Beam test has been that it is somewhat erratic, and does not always give the equivalent results in the hands of different operators, for some reason. Of course, there again, we have run some of our tests on plants where we know we have had them in storage for some years. It is rather puzzling there is no reaction there.
MR. WOLLNER: No reaction?
MR. LANCASTER: On prolonged storage.
MR. WOLLNER: Under what conditions was that hemp stored?
MR. LANCASTER: In a large glass stopped bottle. However, we have to check that again, because of the results of this vegetation which remained an open field, which is another puzzle.
MR. WOLLNER: That is where we all find ourselves at the moment. What I would like to hear from the group is something in the way of suggestions as to how this problem can be most competently attacked. What is to be done? The problem is not a simple one, although there is no indication as to its complexity. I say it is not a simple problem, because if material has not been advanced after several thousand years of experience there must be some barrier there. Is there any technique which should be considered which has not been considered? Dr. Hibben, have you any suggestions along this line?
DR. HIBBEN: That is rather a difficult question. I think we are proceeding correctly. I think the first thing that has to be done is developing an adequate method for determining the content of the active principle, and until such a method is developed, there is not going to be very much room for improvement.
MR. WOLLNER: The only difficulty has been that this problem has been very much the problem of peeling an onion–the more you peel, apparently the more peels you can take off, until you peel away the onion and then there is nothing left.
DR. HIBBEN: That is quite true. But I do not think there has been any comprehensive, systematic work done on the problem, by an adequate chemical staff, under adequate direction.
MR. WOLLNER: The first thing seems to be to find the active principle. That is a different proposition.
DR. MUNCH: Has any work been done on the chlorophyl of the leaf?
DR. MATCHETT: All the work we know of is what you have done.
DR. MUNCH: The only thought I have is, if the chlorophyll of Marihuana happens to be different from all other chlorophylls in the universe, it can be identified microscopically.
MR. WOLLNER: Dr. Hibben, you have run some microscopic tests on Cannabis direct for the chlorophyll.
DR. HIBBEN: I did not look for chlorophyll. I say that is very desirable, but I say they would be very doubtful on the chlorophyll alone.
DR. MATCHETT: Of course, there are some points about that.
MR. VALAER: The chemistry of opium was very uncertain for a long, long time. We had a crude mass to work with, and gradually they pulled out one hundred pieces or more. I believe, after all, we have not been interested in this more than about two years. I believe the chemical crude resin Marihuana will work out in the same way. We have two stills upstairs. We have a good many people working on it in extracts and various ways, even now in this brief time.
MR. WOLLNER: Dr. Couch, do you have anything to offer?
DR. COUCH: I would like to say that this problem is in no more desperate condition than a great many other problems in which a solution has not been reached. They all present this picture before the real work is done in solving it which makes it all seem extremely baffling. It is very curious that by plugging along and keeping infernally at it, that one of these days the problem is solved almost before it is realized, and it seems to me that the lines that have been projected here and the lines that have been followed are exactly those that should be followed, and will, in the course of time, lead to the solution of the problem; I mean the information that you desire to have. There is one thing that occurs to me that has not been mentioned, and that is if any work has been done upon the smoke from Marihuana, as the smoke is physiologically active.
It may be different from the resin taken by mouth or injected into the veins. That is another matter. But it seems to me that there is something there that might be developed as a test for identity.
MR. SMITH: I think Dr. Hershfield did something on that chlorophyll work which he did two years ago.
DR. COUCH: Of course, along that line is also the possibility of reaction from the protein. It simply rests on the possibility and probability that that is, of course, the leafy tissue, and the extract probably would not serve. The leafy portion would contain some propein. That with a water extract or salt extract of the plant itself, in a very short time would get positive results, one away or the other. The difficulty there is there may be present some protein that is also present in another plant. That difficulty arises, but the precipitation reactions are amazingly specific and amazingly direct. When one goes from one animal tissue to another he has to wash his hands extremely carefully as he changes over from one to another, so as not to spoil the test in the next tissue. There is that sort of delicacy. I simply offer that as a test. I presume there has already been a lot of thought discounted on that subject.
MR. WOLLNER: I do not know of that test. Dr. Loewe?
DR. LOEWE: If I may bring up the encroachment which is in doubt, it has been known thousands and thousands of years that sex cells contain an active principle. However, it has taken up to this century to get hold of those active principles, and the reason was not the difficulty with respect to chemistry, but the difficulty was that there was no test for the active principle only as an active principle, and no chemical tests were given. This is the same situation in Cannabis with one exception, and we know the physiological test for the active principle is given. It is much more easily accessible. This biological test is much more easily accessible, so there is a test, and the thing which has not yet been done, at least not yet systematically enough, is to dovetail the identification of the active principle by its active nature by a biological test. I think this specific picture of the dovetail work gives immediately the solution, unless somebody is inclined to drop the whole thing. But I again remember that same situation in the female hormone and the male hormone, which involves just this one property to give a beautiful color reaction. However, it did not take more than five years after finding the right test and using the right test in the right way from the first isolation of the principle. I think this is the way prescribed.
MR. WOLLNER: Do you know of any experiments, Dr. Loewe, that have been performed on the smoke itself?
DR. LOEWE: No.
DR. BLATT: I know of where they took the Marihuana smoke and passed it through solvents.
DR. LOEWE: Through chloroform?
DR. BLATT: No, through water.
DR. LOEWE Water, rather than chloroform?
DR. BLATT: Yes.
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: There is a great deal of work being done at the present time with respect to the use of opium smoke. A paper has just been prepared by someone in a laboratory in London, which has just been issued. Are you familiar with Dr. Nicholls?
MR. LANCASTER: Yes, Dr. Nicholls was mentioned in connection with the research today.
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: Is that the same Nicholls who is on the Opium Assay Committee?
DR. BLATT: I was going to say very much the same thing as Dr. Loewe said; that is, that I can not see any reason for being discouraged as far as chemistry is concerned. Now, you have got a perfectly good point of attack. The amazing thing about this whole problem is that nothing has been done with the exception of this one matter in 1932, when it was established that crude Cannabinol behaves like a pure substance, and the customary high vacuum distillation technique fails to separate it into its constituents. The work has been apparently dropped from that time on. The surprising thing is that someone has not jumped into that.
MR. WOLLNER: Of course, there has been no commercial demand in that respect, .and that is one of the reasons for that.
DR. BLATT: It is difficult to get hold of the material.
DR. HIBBEN: If you want to get something on spectroscopic methods, when these chemists leave the point where there are spectroscopic methods for determination and for determining the structure, they would aid greatly in facilitating this problem.
MR. WOLLNER: It would aid greatly.
DR. MATCHETT: We would like to ask Dr. Hlbben if there are not some such methods which may be correlated to the bioassay? The essential or volatile oils come out of this material very readily. It can be narrowed down to relatively few compounds. If we knew, separately, the spectra of these various materials, would it not help to follow the separations at that stage of operations?
DR. HIBBEN: Yes, I think it would. You can start in by that procedure on hormones.
DR. MATCHETT: And I believe also carotenoids.
DR. HIBBEN: Yes.
DR. MATCHETT: As the fractionation goes further and further, the number of bioassays increases almost without limit, and that is one reason we were particularly interested in it. Also, the quantitative phase has to be considered.
DR. LOEWE: But, as an economic matter, and the rational method is to proceed in an economical way, which can be done by carefully choosing fractions to test.
DR. MATCHETT: I do not believe we could quarrel about that.
DR. MUNCH: Doctor, there is the other thought, and that is that we have not been picking on any of the prisoners lately.
COMMISSIONER ANSLINGER: Doctor, we are not dealing with the same problem as opium, where we can take the addict to a hospital at Lexington and go through all of the experiments. There is a little danger that this drug might affect a man permanently. He might do something which we may be sorry for later. I think that must be given serious thought.
DR. WRIGHT: Dr. Wollner, I will not be very long now, but I just want to clarify a point, and it would seem from reports and other information that the tests are rather indicative of hemp rather than of the active principle.
I am saying that for this reason: We would like to be in a position to approach the development of strains that were free from the active principle, Now, until we have a test it seems to be that we can not do anything.
MR. WOLLNER: Yes, and no.
DR. WRIGHT: I will say it is possible that one of these tests may be useful from a breeding standpoint, but it seems to me it is working entirely on a guess, It would seem to me that any approach would be resolving the strains in pure breeding alone. In other words, approach the inbreeding situation in a hybrid manner; that is the approach we want, but it would seem to me that all we could do at this state would be to develop those lines at random.
In other words, set up as many facilities as we could for pure breeding lines. Any individual plant that would be tested would be very indefinite as to what its progeny would be, and it would seem to me that that is more or less a blind approach; shall I say a lick in the dark; and we would have to develop as many as we could. We can do that, develop as many lines as possible, like in Prussic acid in Sudan grass. My point is, and I am mentioning it to you chemists, that we can get nowhere without a test of consequence. We might be lucky. About ten thousand chances to one, we might be lucky until we have a test.
MR. WOLLNER: In the last analysis, you are unquestionably correct about that. Really, before significant progress can be made by the agricultural people, we will have to provide you with a formula. Before we adjourn, I would like to invite any of the visiting friends present to come upstairs for a few minutes and see our laboratory set-up for tackling this job, the molecular stills, and extraction equipment, and I am quite sure you will enjoy it. And I want to really express my appreciation and thanks for your kind cooperation in helping to clarify these issues.
(Whereupon, at 5:10 o’clock p.m., the Conference was adjourned sine die.)