Friday, May 29, 2009

The good old days of Medicine

Marijuana, Cocaine, Morphine, Heroin, Amphetamine and even LSD were once medically accepted and offered as miracle cures up until this past century. These same substances that are now illegal and stigmatized will send anyone in the possession of them to prison. During this period numerous pharmaceutical manufacturers proudly proclaimed that their products contained these and other drugs. Below are a some interesting examples of these medicines.

Cocaine based Medicine
Cocaine was sold over-the-counter until 1914. It was widely used in tonics, toothache cures, patent medicines, and chocolate cocaine tablets. Prospective buyers were advised (in the words of the pharmaceutical company Parke-Davis) that cocaine "could make the coward brave, the silent eloquent, and render the sufferer insensitive to pain".

Cocaine toothache drops (circa 1885) were popular for children.
Not only would the medicine numb the pain, but it could also put the user in a "better" mood.

Metcalf's Coca Wine was one of a large number of cocaine-containing wines available on the market. All claimed medicinal effects, although they were undoubtedly consumed for their "recreational" value as well.

Vin Mariani (Circa 1865) was the leading Coca Wine of its time. Pope Leo XIII reportedly carried a hipflask of Vin Mariani with him.
His Holiness even awarded a Vatican gold medal to its creator, Angelo Mariani.

This coca wine was made by the Maltine Manufacturing Company (New York). The dosage indicated on the back of the bottle reads: "A wine glass full with, or immediately after, meals. Children in proportion."

Cocaine-containing throat lozenges (circa 1900) were "indispensable for singers, teachers, and orators." In addition to quieting a sore throat, these lozenges undoubtedly provided the "pick-me-up" to keep these professionals performing at their peak.

A paperweight advertisement for C.F. Boehringer & Soehne (Mannheim, Germany), "largest makers in the world of quinine and cocaine." This chemical manufacturer was proud of its leading position in the world's cocaine market.

Opiate based Medicine
formulations containing Opiates were probably even more widely employed than those containing cocaine. Laudanum had been in use for over two centuries, and the isolation of morphine in the early 19th century and the later development of heroin were lauded as even more effective remedies.

Modern authors usually suggest that widespread opium use was a major health problem during the 19th century. However, the use of opiates must be kept in proper perspective with other contemporary health problems. Mortality from cholera, malaria, and dysentery was very high, and opiates provided some relief from these illnesses (Opiates remain the most effective treatment for dysentery.). Some authors have suggested that the easy availability of opiate-based medicines saved more lives than it took. As the deleterious effects of chronic opiate use became increasingly recognized during the late 19th century, several factors helped ease the need for opiates: the improvements in sanitation diminished cholera and dysentery, the drainage of swamp lands decreased malaria, and the introduction of acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin; 1899) provided an alternative medicine for moderate pain relief.

This bottle of Stickney and Poor's paregoric (mixture of opium and alcohol) was distributed much like the spices for which the company is better known. Doses for infants, children, and adults are given on the bottle. At 46% alcohol, this product is 92 proof which is pretty potent in itself.

Bayer Heroin bottle. Up until 1910 heroin was marketed as a non-addictive morphine substitute and cough medicine for children! Heroin became it illegal to manufacture in 1924.

This ad is for Glyco-Heroin manufactured by Martin H. Smith Company (New York). Heroin was widely used not only as an analgesic but also as a remedy for asthma, coughs, and pneumonia. Mixing heroin with glycerin (and often adding sugar or spices) made the bitter-tasting opiate more palatable for oral consumption.

This National Vaporizer Vapor-OL (opium) Treatment no. 6 for asthma may have provided a unique method of essentially "smoking" opium. The volatile liquid was placed in a pan that was heated by a small kerosene lamp (see below). Other substances were also used in these early (c. 1890) vaporizers, but this mixture probably ensured plenty of visitors for the spasmodically affected.

Tolu & Dovers cough syrup contained Cannabis and Opium as major constituents and was manufactured by Columbus Pharmacal Co.

Above is a photo of the original Medical Marijuana, which is finally being re-accepted as part of Western Medicines Pharmacopeia. This photo shows a bottle of Cannabis Indica Fluid Extract, manufactured by American Druggists Syndicate.

Medical LSD

Sandoz Delysid (LSD 25) D-lysergic acid diethylamide tartrate
Sugar-coated tablets containing 0.025 mg. (25 ug.)
Ampoules of 1 ml. containing 0.1 mg. for oral administration.
The solution may also be injected s.c. or i.v. The effect is identical with that of oral administration but sets in more rapidly.


a) Analytical psychotherapy, to elicit release of repressed material and provide mental relaxation, par- ticularly in anxiety states and obsessional neuroses. The initial dose is 25 ug. (1/4 of an ampoule or 1 tablet). This dose is increased at each treatment by 25 ug. until the optimum dose (usually between 50 and 200 ug.) is found. The individual treatments are best given at intervals of one week.

b) Experimental studies on the nature of psychoses: By taking Delysid himself, the psychiatrist is able to gain an insight in the world of ideas and sensations of mental patients. Delysid can also be used to induce model psychoses of short duration in normal subjects, thus facilitating studies on the pathogenesis of mental disease.

Amphetamine Containing Products
Amphetamine was synthesized too late to have the widespread applications enjoyed decades earlier by cocaine and the opiates. It was, however, marketed in products commonly used to relieve head congestion and asthma. Amphetamine continued to be employed as a popular prescription diet-aid into the 1970s.

Benzedrine (racemic amphetamine) inhalers were available over-the-counter until the early 1950s. Some airlines even gave them out to passengers to minimize discomfort when the plane was landing and taking off. The Smith, Kline, and French advertisement proudly proclaims that over 10 million Benzedrine inhalers had been shipped by 1938, only 7 years after the product's introduction. This may have even outpaced McDonald's hamburger sales during their early expansion (Remember the "over x million hamburgers sold" signs?).

Recommended reading:

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Harvard economist: Prohibition creates violence, legalize all drugs!

Harvard economist: Prohibition creates violence, legalize all drugs!
Filed by David Edwards and Stephen C. Webster
The Raw Story

Because of his title as a Harvard economist, people tend to listen to Jeffrey Miron. And, if the old principle holds true and controversy always creates interest, expect a lot of people to be talking about Miron's latest volley into the mainstream media.

"Prohibition creates violence because it drives the drug market underground," he wrote in an essay published by CNN on Tuesday. "This means buyers and sellers cannot resolve their disputes with lawsuits, arbitration or advertising, so they resort to violence instead.

"Violence was common in the alcohol industry when it was banned during Prohibition, but not before or after."

Miron's proposed solution to ending the cartel war along the US-Mexico border is both simple and enormously complex.

"Violence is the norm in illicit gambling markets but not in legal ones. Violence is routine when prostitution is banned but not when it's permitted," he wrote. "Violence results from policies that create black markets, not from the characteristics of the good or activity in question.

"The only way to reduce violence, therefore, is to legalize drugs."

In 2005, Miron published a study titled, "The Budgetary Implications of Marijuana Prohibition" (PDF link), funded by the Marijuana Policy Project. Over 500 professional economists, including Milton Friedman, signed on to the report, which was sent to then-President George W. Bush.

Miron's report found that "marijuana legalization would save $7.7 billion per year in state and federal expenditures on prohibition enforcement and produce tax revenues of at least $2.4 billion annually if marijuana were taxed like most consumer goods."

He also discovered a potential for $6.2 billion or more, were marijuana taxed similarly to alcohol and tobacco.

However, during a CNN appearance on Tuesday, he took the anti-prohibition sentiment of his prior study on marijuana and applied it universally, telling anchor Kiran Chetry, "A lot of the violence we're seeing and a lot of the underground market is not related to marijuana but related to the other drugs.

"If we only did marijuana we would only have a small impact on the violence and corruption and disruption of other countries that is caused by U.S. prohibition of drugs and the U.S. forcing prohibition of drugs on other countries."

This video is from CNN's American Morning, broadcast Mar. 24, 2009.

Download video via

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Entheogen: Awakening the Divine Within

This full length documentary by Critical Mass Productions is now online for free viewing [Hopefully with appropriate permissions]. It may very well not be, so if you can not buy the DVD you may want to download this ASAP.

Stan Grof, Marilyn Schlitz, Ralph Metzner, Alex Grey, Terrence McKenna, John Markoff, Daniel Pinchbeck, and Kat Harrison among others, postulate how the disenchantment of the modern world may be remedied by summoning the courage to take the next leap in the evolution of planetary consciousness.

This film examines the re-emergence of archaic techniques of ecstacy in the modern world by weaving a synthesis of ecological and evolutionary awareness, electronic dance culture, and the current pharmacological re-evaluation of entheogenic compounds. Within a narrative framework that imagines consciousness itself to be evolving, Entheogen documents the emergence of techno-shamanism in the post-modern world that frames the following questions: How can a renewal of ancient initiatory rites of passage alleviate our ecological crisis? What do trance dancing and festivals celebrating unbridled artistic expression speak to in our collective psyche? How do we re-invent ourselves in a disenchanted world from which God has long ago withdrawn? Entheogen invites the viewer to consider that the answers to these questions lie within the consciousness of each and every human being, and are accessible if only we give ourselves permission to awaken to the divine within.

Buy Entheogen : Awakening the Divine Within on DVD

Friday, May 8, 2009

Flash Mob @ Antwerp Central Station

Ive just seen this flashmob video and had to share it here. For those unfamiliar with what a flashmob is, they are a large group of organized people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual action for a brief time and then quickly disperse. For example there is Worldwide Pillow Fight Day were massive pillow fights go down in public places. In the UK there was Mobile Silent Clubbing at various London Underground stations were thousands of people gathered with their ipods at a specific time and began dancing to their headphones as if on a dance floor. As a fully ordained Discordian Pope, it is solemn duty to encourage everyone to participate in Santarchy when the opportunity presents itself. If it does not present itself, please take some initiative and launch your own Santa rampage in the name of Eris!

Back to Central Station Antwerp in Belgium. There was a beautifully choreographed performance to the Sound of music at 8:00am, right in the middle of Central Station. Words can describe it, so just watch.