|Plants & Human Affairs (BIOL106) - Stephen G. Saupe, Ph.D.; Biology Department, College of St. Benedict/St. John's University, Collegeville, MN 56321; email@example.com; http://www.employees.csbsju.edu/ssaupe|
Plants that affect the central nervous system
II. Kinds of psychoactive plants/drugs
Lewin's classic text, Phantastica: Narcotic and Stimulating Drugs Their Use and Abuse, published in 1924 (German, 1931 English translation) classified psychoactive plants into five groups: Euphorica sedatives of mental activity (opium, cocaine); Phantastica hallucinations, illusions, visions; Inebrientia primary phase of excitation followed by depression (alcohol); Hypnotica induce sleep (kava); Excitantia increase excitation of brain without altering consciousness (coffee, tobacco, betel nuts, cola nuts). Here we will simplify this classification into three main groups:
III. Uses of psychoactive plants
IV. Neurobiology and Psychoactive Plants
V. Opium Poppy (Papaver somniferum)
VI. Marijuana (Cannabis sativa)
Cannabaceae- Hemp Family. Includes marijuana and hops. Many common names - reflects long intimate association. There are 1-3 species, depending upon which taxonomist you believe. Some say one species with three distinct races. Others say 3 species - C. sativa (temperate NA, "rest" of world, lower resin content), C. indica (C. Asian, Indian, strong narcotic properties) and C. ruderalis (Siberia, N. Europe, Siberia). In any case, this is a variable (polymorphic) species. Native to Central Asia/Near East
Grows in temperate areas; annual; up to 18 feet tall (4 ft avg.), palmately compound leaves; dioecious - males and females on separate plants; glandular hairs - found on leaves and female flowers especially; produce active ingredients. native to central Asia.
Cannabinoids found in the resins. These are the active ingredients. THC is the major one. Over 60 different ones. Content of a plant varies from 0.2 - 6%. The amount of resin varies with strain and environmental conditions.
- Smoked or ingested
- THC fat soluble, therefore no injection
- LD50 THC (10 gm/kg mice, orally; 100-299 mg/kg mice, IV)
- Effective dose - 200-250 ug/kg smoke; 300-480 ug/kg ingest
- Actions/Uses - used in treatment of glaucoma, anti-emetic for cancer patients in chemotherapy
E. Types of marijuana
- bhang - dried tops of plant; prepare drink or candy
- ganja - pistillate flowers, smoked
- Charas - hashish - purified resin.
- Sinsemilla - seedless, high yielding strain
F. Effects - may cause chromosomal damage, interfere with DNA synthesis; mimic hormones (i.e., female like breasts on males), lung damage, impairs learning, short term memory, and reaction time.
G. History - maybe one of first crops cultivated. It is a triple purpose crop: (a) hallucinogenic/medicinal effects; (b) fiber; (c) seed oil. Used for fiber and medicinal purposes ca. 5000 BC in China.
- Assassin - derived from 11th century Persian Al-Hasan, a leader of a Muslim sect. Swore to kill all enemies. Became known as hashishins. Presumably worked into a frenzy by Cannabis. made a beverage.
- Reached US around 1900, esp. among jazz musicians. By 1930's, government warning of uses (Reefer Madness). Resulted in the Federal Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 that controlled legal sale of plant and resulted in elimination from US pharmacopoeia.
VII. Cocaine (Erythroxylum sp.)
VIII. Peyote (Lophophora williamsii)
Last updated: 12/04/2008 / � Copyright by SG Saupe /