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Cannabis Indica Poisoning

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Believing an experience I once had with cannabis indica to
be of interest to some of the readers of the Plexus, will be my
apology for contributing this article.
It has never been the inclination of the writer to indulge
the feeling of egotism; and as the pronoun "I" may appear
frequently, you will please bear in mind my desire of accurately
and truthfully recounting the event as it actually
Some few years prior to my taking up the study of medicine,
I was employed in northwestern Pennsylvania as locomotive
engineer on the Bradford, Bordell & Kinzua Railway.
My run was to double the road with the way freight.
One day I pulled into Bradford suffering with an attack of
acute bronchitis, and, having a few minutes to spare, ran over
to a corner drugstore to consult the clerk about my cough.
He recommended Piso's Cure for Consumption, and I bought
a bottle and returned to my engine.
Taking a mouthful of the cure I completed the shifting of
the freight cars in the yard and made up my train for the trip
out. This consumed about one-half hour. Before leaving the
yard the conductor (George Caswell) came to the engine
telling me we had two car loads of cinders in our train and
instructed me to stop at "Hard Scrable" that the Italian
section hands might unload the cinders.
My cough was very distressing, and so, as we sped along, I
made frequent requisition on the bottle. The more I partook
the more I had need to partake.
We had covered about seven miles of the road when I
suddenly became aware that I had been dreaming, and that I
had forgotten that the responsibility for the safety of the
engine and the train rested on my shoulders. The realization
of this responsibility shocked me, but did not dispel an illusion
that one of my legs was larger than the top of the
smoke-stack, my arms like ponderous levers and my hands
capable of encircling a flour barrel.
Just then my fireman yelled, "O'Day, what is the matter
with you?" and the conductor came clambering over the
tender, calling to me to know why I had not stopped at Hard
Scrable to allow the unloading of the cinders. About this
time I began to realize that I had been imbibing too freely of
Piso's Cure, and made a desperate effort to concentrate my
mind on my work. I reversed my engine and backed away
toward the dumping spot. Looking back I was astonished to
find that my train appeared to be more than a mile long, and
that the Italian shovelers on the loads of cinders were
expanding into enormous misty phantoms.
The sight unnerved me, and I again forgot to stop at Hard
Scrable. So wrapped up in the novelty of my new surroundings
was I that I forgot my place at the lever until the
conductor came forward the second time and told the fireman
I must be going crazy. This sobered me somewhat and
the ashes were at last dumped at the desired place.
Before starting again I began to wander away into a land of
giants and monsters, and fearing that some erratic impulse
might seize me I told the fireman to watch me closely and to
take charge of the engine if he saw anything wrong with me.
As I responded to the signal to go ahead, I noticed the
great length of my engine. The telegraph poles shot upward
until their cross arms pierced the blue vault above. Dogs as
large as Durham bulls ran out and barked at us as we passed.
Flocks of English sparrows with spread of wing greater than
the condor rose from the road-bed and flew away. I had run
over the road day and night for some years, until I knew
every whistling post, but things did not have the old familiar
look, and I could not tell whether I was running up grade or
down, and was curious to see what the next curve would
reveal. The cab grew to enormous proportions, and the fireman
stood at his post more than one hundred feet away.
After what seemed to be days of running, and when we
had covered what seemed hundreds of miles of track, I began
to realize that we were nearing Kinzua Junction, and I slowed
The effects of the drug were wearing away and were soon
gone, so that I knew how to handle my engine, and persons
and objects shrank down to their old proportions.
The intoxication did not last more than three-quarters of
an hour.
When a student of medicine in Baltimore, I ran across Prof.
H. C. Wood's classic description of cannabis indica intoxication,
as experienced by himself, and immediately attributed
my peculiar sensations and illusions to hemp in the Cure for
A medical journal published in India has recently made
very free use of Dr. Wood's article in describing the effects of
the drug on its habitues, who, it claims, are becoming very
numerous in that country.

Source: Cannabis Indica Poisoning
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