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Newsweek, November 18,1946 page 70

MEDICINE -Marijuana and Mentality

Although only 700 to 800 persons are arrested each year in the United States for using Marijuana, the drug's reputation as a public menace has touched off a bitter medical controversy.

When a marijuana committee appointed by former Mayor Fiorello H. LaGuardia of New York city announced in 1945 that the drug's dangers were greatly overrated, the American Medical Association called the report "thoroughly unscientific" and charged it with doing "great damage." Acting as umpire, he Treasury's Bureau of Narcotics admitted that the use of marijuana had fallen off slightly since 1940 (18,500 marijuana reefers were confiscated in 1940, 17,000 in 1945), but warned that the drug was still "an important cause of crime."

Last summer, the United States Public Health Service decided to conduct its own marijuana experiment at the USPHS hospital at Lexington Ky. Six addicts, ranging in age from 24 to 33, were allowed to smoke a daily average of 17 reefers supplied by the Bureau of Narcotics for a period of 39 days.

At first, the marijuana smokers showed extreme exhilaration. They talked, laughed, and pranced about the room. Later they began to complain of headaches, dry mouths, irritated throats, and swollen eyelids. After a few days, they grew lethargic and careless about personal hygiene. None became violent, but most of them sulked when subjected to exhaustive mental and physical test.

From the USPHS experiment came these significant medical facts: (+) The senses of touch, smell, and sight were not affected by marijuana. (+) Body temperature and pulse rate decreased; weight increased slightly. (+) Although mental vigor increased, intelligence rating fell. (+) Musical ability was not improved, although most patients thought so while under the drug's influence. This confirms other medical opinions on the effect of marijuana on musical talent (NEWSWEEK, Oct. 28 1946). (+)After the first burst of exhilaration, patients lost interest in work and spent most of their time sleeping. (+) With prolonged usage of the drug patients developed a tolerance to it but gave no definite proof that it is habit-forming.

As for the relation of marijuana to crime and insanity, the Public Health Service officials pointed out last week to Newsweek; "Although the drug lessens inhibitions, it does not incite normally law-abiding people to crime. Most addicts are people with unstable backgrounds -poverty, broken homes, or criminal records - and for them, marijuana may increase the chance for crime. The drug is more harmful than habit-forming opium in inducing fits of temporary insanity, but it seldom leads to permanent derangement."

In the various studies, no definite conclusion seems to have been reached on the aphrodisiac qualities of marijuana. The general opinion indicates that the drug causes a release of all inhibitions, similar to that of alcohol through more intense. In other words, marijuana may not actually stimulate the sex centers. But it dulls the higher centers which control sexual behavior and in may cases, sex activity of a perverse nature results.

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