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In none of these or several other experiments was there the least indication of pain, or any degree of convulsive movement observed.
It seems needless to dwell on the details of each experiment; soffice it to say, that they led to one remarkable result—That while carnivorous animals and fish, dogs, cats, swine, vultures, crows, and adjutants, invariably and speedily exhibited the intoxicating influence of the drug, the graminivorous, such as the horse, deer, monkey, goat, sheep, and cow, experienced but trivial effects from any dose I administered.
Encouraged by these results, no hesitation could be felt as to the perfect safety of giving the resin of Hemp an extensive trial in the cases in which its apparent powers promised the greatest degree of utility.
Cases of Rheumatism treated by Hemp. The first cases selected were two of acute rheumatism, and one of that disease in the chronic form. In the two former but little relief had been derived from a fair trial of antiphlogistic measures, and Dover's powder with antimonials-In the last case, sarsaparilla at first, and subsequently the Hemidesmus Indicus with warm baths had been tried without advantage.
On the 6th November, 1838, one grain of the resin of Hemp was administered in solution, at 2 P. M. to each of these three patients.
At 4 P. m. it was reported that one was becoming very talkative, was singing songs, calling loudly for an extra supply of food, and declaring himself in perfect health. The other two patients remained unaffected.
At 6 P. M. I received a report to the same effect, but stating that the first patient was now falling asleep.
At 8 p. m. I was alarmed by an emergent note from Nobinchunder Mitter, the clinical clerk on duty, desiring my immediate attendance at the Hospital, as the patient's symptoms were very peculiar and formidable. I went to the Hospital without delay, and found him lying on his cot quite insensible, but breathing with perfect regularity, his pulse and skin natural, and the pupils freely contractile on the approach of light.
Alarmed and pained beyond description at such a state of things, I hurried to the other patients-found one asleep, the third awake, intelligent, and free from any symptoms of intoxication or alarm.
Returning then to the first, an emetic was directed to be prepared, and while waiting for it I chanced to lift up the patient's arm. The professional reader will judge of my astonishment, when I found that it remained in the posture in which I placed it. It
required but a very brief examination of the limbs to find that the patient had by the influence of this narcotic been thrown into that strange and most extraordinary of all nervous conditions, into that state which so few have seen, and the existence of which so many still discredit-the genuine catalepsy of the nosologist. *
It had been my good fortune years before to have witnessed two unequivocal cases of this disorder. One occurred in the female clinical ward in Edinburgh, under Dr. Duncan's treatment, and was reported by myself for the Lancet in 1828. The second took place in 1831, in a family with whom I resided in London. The case was witnessed by Dr. Silver, Mr. G. Mills, and several other profes.. sional friends. In both these cases the cataleptic state was established in full perfection, and in both the paroxysm ran on each occasion a regular course, and terminated suddenly without any evil consequence.
To return to our patient, we raised him to a sitting posture, and placed his arms and limbs in every imaginable attitude. A waxen figure could not be more pliant or more stationary in each position, no matter how contrary to the natural influence of gravity on the part.
To all impressions he was meanwhile almost insensible; he made no sign of understanding questions; could not be aroused. A sinapism to the episgastrium caused no sign of pain. The pharynx and its coadjutor muscles acted freely in the deglutition of the stimulant remedies which I thought it advisable to administer, although the manifest cataleptic state had freed me altogether of the anxiety under which I before laboured.
The second patient had meanwhile been roused by the noise in the ward, and seemed vastly amused at the strange aspect of the statuelike attitudes in which the first patient had been placed, when on a sudden he uttered a loud peal of laughter, and exclaimed that four spirits were springing with his bed into the air.
In vain we attempted to pacify him ; his laughter became momentarily more and more incontrolable. We now observed that the limbs were rather rigid, and in a few minutes more his arms or legs could be bent, and would remain in any desired position. A strong stimulant drink was immediately given, and a sinapism applied. Of the latter he made no complaint, but his intoxication led him to such noisy exclamations, that we had to remove him to a separate room ; here he soon became tranquil, his limbs
* The subject of the celebrated Article in Blackwood, the "Thunder-struck" of the Diary of a late Physician.
in less than an hour gained their natural condition, and in two hours he experienced himself perfectly well and excessively hungry.
The first patient continued cataleptic till I A. M., when consciousness and voluntary motion quickly returned, and by 2 A. M. he was exactly in the same state as the second patient.
The third man experienced no effect whatever, and on further inquiry, it was found that he was habituated to the use of Gunjah in the pipe.
On the following day it gave me much pleasure to find that both the individuals above mentioned were not only uninjured by the narcotic, but much relieved of their rheumatism; they were discharged quite cured in three days after.
The fourth case of trial was an old muscular cooly, a rheumatic malingerer, and to him half a grain of Hemp resin was given in a little spirit. The first day's report will suffice for all.-In two hours the old gentleman became talkative and musical, told several stories, and sang songs to a circle of highly delighted auditors, ate the dinners of two persons subscribed for him in the ward, sought also for other luxuries I can scarcely venture to allude to, and finally fell soundly asleep, and so continued till the following morning. On the noon-day visit, he expressed himself free from headache or any other unpleasant sequel, and begged hard for a repetition of the medicine, in which he was indulged for a few days, and then discharged.
In several cases of acute and chronic rheumatism admitted about this time, half-grain doses of the resin were given, with closely analogous effects ;-alleviation of pain in most-remarkable increase of appetite in all-unequivocal aphrodisia, and great mental cheerful
In no one case did these effects proceed to delirium, or was there any tendency to quarrelling. The disposition developed was uniform in all, and in none was headache or sickness of stomach a sequel of the excitement.
Case of Hydrophobia. A case now occurred in which the influence of a narcotic, capable either of cheering or of inducing harmless insensibility, would be fraught with blessings to the wretched patient.
On the 22nd November at 8 A. M. a note in English was handed to me by my servant, entreating my assistance for the Hakim Abdullah, then at my gate, who had been bitten by a rabid dog three weeks before, and who feared that the miserable consequences of the bite al
ready had commenced. I found the poor man in a carriage; he was perfectly composed, though quite convinced of the desperate nature of his case. He told me that the evening before, on passing near a tank he started in alarm, and since then was unable to swallow liquid. His eye was restless, suspicious, and wild, his features anxious, his pulse 125, his skin bedewed with cold moisture; he stated nevertheless that he wished for food and felt well ;-a small red and painful cicatrix existed on the left fore-arm.
He was immediately removed to the Hospital, where I accompanied him. By his own desire water was brought in a metallic vessel, which he grasped and brought near his lips ;--never can I forget the indescribable horrors of the paroxysm which ensued. It abated in about three minutes, and morbid thirst still goading the unhappy man, he besought his servant to apply a moistened cloth to his lips. Intelligent and brave, he determinately awaited the contact of the cloth, and for a few seconds, though in appalling agony, permitted some drops to trickle on his tongue,—but then ensued a second struggle, which, with a due share of the callousness of my profession, I could not stand by to contemplate.
Two grains of Hemp resin in a soft pillular mass were ordered every hour; after the third dose he stated that he felt commencing intoxication-he now chatted cheerfully on his case, and displayed great intelligence and experience in the treatment of the very disease with which he was visited. He talked calmly of drinking, but said it was in vain to try—but he could suck an orange ; this was brought to him, and he succeeded in swallowing the juice without any difficulty.
The Hemp was continued till the sixth dose, when he fell asleep, and had some hours rest. Early the ensuing morning, however, Mr. Siddons, my assistant, was called up to him, and found him in a state of tumultuous agony and excitement ; tortured by thirst he attempted to drink,—but I will spare the reader the details of the horrors which ensued.
The Hemp was again repeated, and again by the third dose the cheering alleviation of the previous day was witnessed. He ate a piece of sugar-cane, and again swallowed the juice-he partook freely of some moistened rice, and permitted other necessary remedies to be used. His pulse was nearly natural, the skin natural in every respect. His countenance was happy. On one subject only was he incoherent, and even here was manifested the powerful and peculiar influence of the narcotic. He spoke in raptures of the inmates of his zenana, and his anxiety to be with them. We ascertained however that he had no such establishment.
Four days thus passed away, the doses of Hemp being continued. When he fell asleep on waking the paroxysms returned, but were again almost immediately assuaged as at first. Meanwhile purgative enemata were employed, and he partook freely of solid food, and once drank water without the least suffering. But about 3 P. M. of the fifth day he sunk into profound stupor, the breathing slightly stertorous ; in this state he continued, and without further struggle death terminated his sufferings at 4 a. M., on the 27th November.
Reviewing the preceding summary of this interesting case, it seems evident that at least one advantage was gained from the use of the remedy-the awful malady was stripped of its horrors ;-if not less fatal than before, it was reduced to less than the scale of suffering which precedes death from most ordinary diseases. It must be remembered too that in this the first case ever so treated, I possessed no data to guide me as to the dose or manner of administration of the drug. The remarkable cases of tetanus detailed in the sequel, throw light on these important points, and will lead in future cases to the unhesitating administration of much larger quantities than at first I ventured to employ. I am not however rash enough to indulge the hope which involuntarily forces itself upon me, that we will ever from this narcotic derive an effectual remedy, for even a solitary case of this disease—but next to cure, the physician will perhaps esteem the means which enable him “to strew the path to the tomb with Aowers," and to divest of its specific terrors the most dreadful malady to which mankind is exposed.
While the preceding case was under treatment, and exciting the utmost interest in the school, several pupils commenced experiments on themselves, to ascertain the effects of the drug. In all, the state of the pulse was noted before taking a dose, and subsequently the effects were observed by two pupils of much intelligence. The result of several trials was, that in as small doses as the quarter of a grain, the pulse was increased in fulness and frequency; the surface of the body glowed ; the appetite became extraordinary; vivid ideas crowded the mind; unusual loquacity occurred; and with scarcely any exception, great aphrodisia was experienced.
In one pupil, Dinonath Dhur, a retiring lad of excellent habits, ten drops of the tincture, equal to a quarter of a grain of the resin, induced in twenty minutes the most amusing effects I ever witnessed. A shout of laughter ushered in the symptoms, and a transitory state of