About 150 years ago, a French psychiatrist, J. J. Moreau, conducted a novel clinicalEXPERIMENT in which he administered hashish to humans. His volunteers, including Moreau himself, experienced “occurrences of delirium or of actual madness. …” He concluded that “There is not a single, elementary manifestation of mental illness that cannot be found in the mental changes caused by hashish. …”1 In contrast, most marijuana users today will presumably state that their senses appear enhanced, concomitant with an increase in relaxation and euphoria; while forgetfulness is enhanced, their focus on their surroundings is augmented.2 These surprisingly contrastingEXPERIENCES are due to the ingestion or smoking of products of the same plant, and neither is inaccurate if one considers the difference in doses presumably taken, the presence in cannabis (a term that includes both marijuana and hashish preparations) of at least 2 compounds with opposite effects—δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component, and cannabidiol (CBD), a nonpsychoactive constituent—and the different users’ susceptibilities to the effects of the drug. It is also well known that the activity of THC is biphasic in many assays—low and high doses may cause opposite effects.3 Presumably the Moreau volunteers consumed (orally) huge amounts of North African hashish, which has a very high concentration of THC. However, North Americans and Europeans today generally smoke cannabis and can titrate (ie, finely adjust) the level of the psychotropic effects and thus do not typically reach the high psychotic state.
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