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whole alimentary canal; it tends strongly to produce headache, vertigo and general discomfort after the cessation of its soporific effects; and these and other inconveniences are of frequent occurrence, and in many cases extremely difficult to obviate in any other way than by abandoning the medicine altogether.
The vast importance of quietude and sleep as restoratives in all grave diseases, whether acute or chronic; the frequent intolerance of opium in individual cases, especially in nervous females, and dyspeptic subjects of either sex; and the inexpediency of its use in a variety of circumstances where repose the most complete is desirable,--these considerations warrant the assertion, that the addi. tion to our materia medica, of any remedy possessing to any considerable extent the virtues without the defects of opium, would be an advantage not easily overrated. Now such an agent I suspect we possess in the Extract. Cannabis Indicæ. This agent seems, like opium, to have been known to the Orientals, and to have been in use as an article of voluptuous excitement amongst the Hindoos for a long series of ages. It was first scientifically tested, so far as I know, by Dr. O'Shaughnessy, of the Medical College, Calcutta ; that gentleman was also the first, I believe, to lay the results of accurate observation before the public. The churrus (or resinous extract of the gunjah or dried Indian hemp) was found by Dr.O'Shaughnessy to possess very striking powers as an antispasmodic, as a nervine stimulant, and as an anodyne and hypnotic, and in some respects to excel opium in virtue, especially as an antispasmodic in tetanus, &c. He also observed that it was wholly, or for the most part, free from the deranging action on the stomach and bowels that so limits the utility of opium. Mr. Ley has, I believe the first in this country, published several interesting facts confirmatory of the results of Dr. O'Shaughnessy's experiments and observations; and other gentlemen, possessed of the requisite opportunities, are very probably engaged in clinical investigation of the subject. My attention was called to it only within the last three months, during which I have taken advantage of numerous opportunities of testing the new remedy. The following cases are, I think, favourable, and yet fair, samples of my experience with it.
The first subject nearly on which I made trial of the new remedy was a medical man of forty-four; he has taken it on several occasions : on the first he had no other object than testing its physiological effects, and observing, as far as he could, its mode of operation. At bed-time, being in good health, he took 12 minims of Squire's tincture of Indian hemp, which are equivalent to 1 grain of the extract. In a few minutes he perceived that slight sense of confusion and fullness in the head, with some extra activity in the action of the carotid arteries, which diffusible narcotic stimuli usually produce; and in
half an hour or thereabout fell into a slumber which lasted, uninterruptedly, for about six hours. In the morning he observed none of the inconveniences which opium usually produces with him, no unpleasant taste nor dryness of the mouth; no want of usual appetite ; no derangement of bowels. Now, as this gentleman rarely sleeps more than three or four hours consecutively, except after much bodily exertion during the previous day, which he had not had on this occasion; and as opium, in most circumstances not involving acute pain, produces in him quiet sleeplessness and not sleep; and is next day followed by various inconveniences of acute indigestion,—this experiment may be considered successful.
The same individual took 20 minims of the same tincture on another occasion, to secure sleep under the following circumstances :-Being frequently incommoded by rheumatic irritation in the head, producing frightful dreams, troublesome nightmare, megrims, headaches, &c., he took 20 minims of the tincture of hemp, with 3ss. spir. ammon. arom. at bed time, and with effects similar in kind to those experienced on the former occasion. He has since taken zss. of the tincture, with ammonia, for a similar head affection, and with very satisfactory effect.
A patient of forty-four, admitted into the St. Marylebone Infirmary, in August 1842, for ovarian dropsy, suffered much from abdominal pains about the seat of the tumour principally, but also over the greater part of the same side of the abdomen. The pains seemed to be neuralgic, and referrible in part, at least, to pressure by the tumour on the neighbouring organs. She had been tapped many times since admission, to the amount of 12 or 15 pints each time of syrup-like fluid. It was likewise not impossible that malignant structure developed in the ovary might be the seat of much of the intense pain under which the patient laboured. This poor woman for a long time before her death, which occurred in February last, had taken morphia and Battley's solution daily in considerable quantities:viz. a strong opiate at night, and smaller doses occa. sionally ; and latterly, at least thrice during the day ; so that her daily allowance amounted to not much less than the equivalent of half an ounce of common laudanum. In December last, finding the bowels costive, and the stomach deranged, owing, as I conceived, very much to the use of opium, I substituted the hemp. I began with cautious doses, viz. . 15 or 20 drops, but soon by gradual additions attained to gifs for a night draught, with æther mixture, which latter she had previously taken with the opium. She took also VOL. XXVI.
as much as zils of the hemp tincture repeatedly throughout the day. Under such doses she had quiet nights, undisturbed materially by pain or by cough, which latter had for some time been very troublesome at night. Her bowels were easily regulated by small doses of the dilute aloes pill at night, and she was, for her hopeless condition, in a state of comparative comfort for many weeks. At length, towards the end of February, her powers became exhausted, and her frame to the last degree extenuated, and she gradually sank, and died on the 12th of March.
In this patient, the hemp seemed to have no other effect than as an anodyne and soporificit caused no indigestion that I could detect whatever.
About the same time, one of my nurses, long accustomed to drachm doses of Battley's solution at night, on account of asthmatic attacks, was persuaded by me to substitute the hemp in like quantity on two or three occasions, and the effects were reported similar and equal to those previously experienced from morphia and Battley, viz, good sleep without interruption by cough, dyspnoea, &c.
A lady, between thirty and forty, in carrying a glass vessel carelessly, fell on the stairs, and received a wound on the inside of the right carpus