[DrugWar] James Talmage's Hashish Experimints - 1884

Mycos mycos at shaw.ca
Wed Aug 12 20:50:06 EDT 2009

"Inner Dialogue: James Talmage's Choice of Science as a Career, 
1876-84," The Search for Harmony: Essays on Science and Mormonism, Gene 
A. Sessions and Craig J. Oberg, eds. Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 
1993. Online here.

Since Talmage was a student in a time and place when fully supplied 
laboratories were a luxury, he early developed the habit of supplying 
his own specimens. Perhaps the most telling example of the depth of his 
scientific curiosity and his commitment to experimentation occurred in 
the spring of 1884 while he was studying narcotics at Johns Hopkins. He 
recorded the following entries in his journal:

         March 17. I have been engaged some time in the study of the 
effects of Narcotics upon the system, i.e. studying the same 
theoretically only. Today I found a gentleman who works in the same 
Laboratory as I, and who has for 2 years been addicted to the habit of 
eating Haschich or extract of Cannabis Indica. He was very willing to 
give me any data from his own experience; and gave me such.

         March 18…Three of us in the University have entered upon the 
study of the Narcotics in use.

         March 21. The result of our work in research upon Narcotics has 
been tolerably satisfactory. We utilize my friend referred to above, 
with his Haschich eating experience — and find four or five others whom 
he knows have also an experience upon the subject. But the effects 
experienced by the different ones are so widely different that we can 
scarcely draw a conclusion. The opium habit is well explained by books, 
and the bad after effects of the same are sufficiently appalling to keep 
down experimentation upon the subject. But, the ill effects are reported 
very low in the Haschich or Hemp administration; and we have concluded 
to try effect of small dose upon ourselves.

         Of course, such a course is the proper one for the study of the 
effects of the drug, though I very much disliked the idea of doing 
[p.59] such a thing, for as yet I have never known what it is to be 
narcotized either by tobacco, alcohol, or any drug ….

         March 22. This being Saturday, was the day I selected to study 
practically the effects of Haschisch. This evening, after work and all 
was over, I took at 3 doses each an hour after the preceeding, 5 grains 
solid extract Cannabis Indica. At this writing — midnight — 5 hours 
since last dose, I have experienced no effect whatever. The effect is 
said to be widely different in different people.

         March 23. Sunday. Spent quietly. Have had no result to be noted 
of my physiological experiment yesterday ….

         April 5…Took in all 15 grains. No effects.

         April 6. Sunday…Continued my experiment by taking 20 grains 
Cannabis Indica and the effect was felt in a not very agreeable way.

Talmage would lecture to the Brigham Young Academy faculty in September 
1884 on "The Effects of the Narcotic Hashish on the Human System," but 
the Faculty Minute Book does not record whether he mentioned the source 
of his information.

Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » The Great Mormon Marijuana 
Myth (12 August 2009)

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