Thanks Buck. Makes sense. This is a fascinating topic. The following is from my lecture notes: Opium had been the scourge since Gold Rush days but by the 1890s cocaine had become the choice of drugs.
Cocaine was a powerful stimulant bringing excitement and feelings of pleasure. It was unique in that it was powerfully addicting. It came from the leaf of the coca plant and had been used since ancient times both for pleasure and to overcome fatigue. The leaf was a herbal stimulant. People took “coca breaks” like one would take a coffee break today.
In 1860 in Germany the leaf collided with chemistry as a Dr. Albert Niemann unwittingly created the monster. He named it cocaine. In a generation it was just behind alcohol and opium as the world’s great scourges.
Cocaine mixed with alcohol yielded a further potency.
In 1863 cocaine arrived in the U.S. in a wine, Von Mariana, that quickly became very popular. Three thousand physicians endorsed as did Pope Leo and Mark Twain, who gave it to former President U.S. Grant, who was suffering from throat cancer. It was considered a wonder drug and a good surface anesthetic to numb a specific area to pain such as toothache and eye surgery.
Cocaine became a bonanza drug.
In Atlanta, druggist John Pemberton suffered from morphine addiction so he created a medicinal tonic laced with cocaine thinking it would cure his addiction. That recipe was bought up in 1886 by Coca Cola
Coca Cola was originally a mix of cocaine and wine. After Georgia went dry in 1888, Doc Pemberton switched from wine to cola, a plant from which came caffeine. It was advertised as a tonic for when you were tired and also when you needed a lift.
By 1890 cocaine was used everywhere. Ballplayers loaded up on it and dock workers were given it to increase work effort. Sherlock Holms was a user. There was much morphine addiction among Civil War veterans so cocaine was thought to halt that addiction.
Sigmund Freud believed it made one more “normal.” He experimented by using it on himself and also used it to help him write amorous love letters to his fiancé. He wrote a paper saying was the answer to people’s problems but later studies would prove it to be a scourge. Freud quit using it. Cocaine medicines made preposterous claims and would cause much addiction among Americans.
The 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act didn’t outlaw Cocaine, morphine or opium. One could buy cocaine over the counter until 1916. It was both a work pill and a pep pill. Alcohol had been banned so blacks began using cocaine. About that time is was said cocaine caused violence against whites by blacks and this would lead to laws against its use. So it was racial fears rather than health that led to laws against its use. Cocaine was the “new Southern menace.”
Scandalous sex was added. Blacks would rape white women was the claim. It was a repeat of the racial claims against the Chinese in the 1850s.
3) Where did the word `marijuana' come from?
The word `marijuana' is a Mexican slang term which became popular in the late 1930's in America, during a series of media and government programs which we now refer to as the `Reefer Madness Movement.' It refers specifically to the medicine part of cannabis, which Mexican soldiers used to smoke.
I think the editors will stick to just the marijuana part. They ought to consider an article on "Drugs on the Frontier." I don't think most people realize how prevelant they were. They were easy to get and many suffered from painful injuries such as old war wounds, wagon and horse accidents, mining accidents and general aches and pains.
In the 1890s you could actually buy laudanum by mail from the Sears, Roebuck catalog--10¢ per 2-oz. bottle, $1 for a box of 12 bottles. Laudanum was also a popular way for women to commit suicide at the time.