History of Legal and Illegal Drugs from 1800 to 1850 A.D.

About the history of legal and illegal drugs from 1800 to 1850 A.D. in particular Napoleon and marijuana, introduction of morphine and cocaine, First Opium War and founding of American Medical Association.

A Synoptic History of the Promotion and Prohibition of Drugs

1800 Napoleon's army, returning from Egypt, introduces cannabis (hashish, marijuana) into France. Avant-garde artists and writers in Paris develop their own cannabis ritual, leading, in 1844, to the establishment of Le Club des Haschischins.

1801 On Jefferson's recommendation, the Federal duty on liquor is abolished.

1804 Thomas Trotter, an Edinburgh physician, publishes An Essay, Medical, Philosophical, and Chemical, on Drunkenness and Its Effects on the Human Body: "In medical language, I consider drunkenness, strictly speaking, to be a disease, produced by a remote cause, and giving birth to actions and movements in the living body that disorder the functions of health . . . The habit of drunkenness is a disease of the mind."

1805 Friedrich Wilhelm Adam Serturner, a German chemist, isolates and describes morphine.

1822 Thomas De Quincey's Confessions of an English Opium Eater is published. He notes that the opium habit, like any other habit, must be learned: "Making allowance for constitutional differences, I should say that in less than 120 days no habit of opium-eating could be formed strong enough to call for any extraordinary self-conquest in renouncing it, and even suddenly renouncing it. On Saturday you are an opium-eater, on Sunday no longer such."

1826 The American Society for the Promotion of Temperance is founded in Boston. By 1833, there are 6,000 local temperance societies, with more than one million members.

1839-1842 The First Opium War. The British force upon China the trade in opium, a trade the Chinese had declared illegal.

1840 Benjamin Parsons, an English clergyman, declares: ". . . alcohol stands preeminent as a destroyer . . . I never knew a person become insane who was not in the habit of taking a portion of alcohol every day." Parsons lists 42 distinct diseases caused by alcohol, among them inflammation of the brain, scrofula, mania, dropsy, nephritis, and gout.

1841 Dr. Jacques Joseph Moreau uses hashish in treating mental patients at the Bicetre.

1842 Abraham Lincoln: "In my judgment, such of us as have never fallen victims, have been spared more from the absence of appetite, than from any mental or moral superiority over those who have. Indeed, I believe, if we take habitual drunkards as a class, their heads and their hearts will bear an advantageous comparison with those of any other class."

1844 Cocaine is isolated in pure form.

1845 A law prohibiting the public sale of liquor is enacted in New York State. It is repealed in 1847.

1847 The American Medical Association is founded.

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