‹‹‹ prev (297) Page 263Page 263

(299) next ››› Page [265]Page [265]

264 REPORT OF THE INDIAN HEMP DRUGS COMMISSION, 1893-94. [CH. XIII.

should be associated directly with hemp drugs, it appears to be reasonably estab-
lished that the excessive use of these drugs does not cause asthma; that it may
indirectly cause dysentery by weakening the constitution as above indicated;
and that it may cause bronchitis mainly through the action of the inhaled smoke
on the bronchial tubes.

In respect to the alleged mental effects of the drugs, the Commission have
come to the conclusion that the moderate use of hemp drugs produces no inju-
rious effects on the mind. It may indeed be accepted that in the case of special-
ly marked neurotic diathesis, even the moderate use may produce mental
injury. For the slightest mental stimulation or excitement may have that
effect in such cases. But putting aside these quite exceptional cases, the moder-
ate use of these drugs produces no mental injury. It is otherwise with the
excessive use. Excessive use indicates and intensifies mental instability. It
tends to weaken the mind. It may even lead to insanity. It has been said by
Dr. Blanford that "two factors only are necessary for the causation of insanity,
which are complementary, heredity, and stress. Both enter into every case: the
stronger the influence of one factor, the less of the other factor is requisite to
produce the result. Insanity, therefore, needs for its production a certain insta-
bility of nerve tissue and the incidence of a certain disturbance." It appears
that the excessive use of hemp drugs may, especially in cases where there is
any weakness or hereditary predisposition, induce insanity. It has been shown
that the effect of hemp drugs in this respect has hitherto been greatly exag-
gerated, but that they do sometimes produce insanity seems beyond question.

In regard to the moral effects of the drugs, the Commission are of
opinion that their moderate use produces no moral injury whatever. There
is no adequate ground for believing that it injuriously affects the character of the
consumer. Excessive consumption, on the other hand, both indicates and inten-
sifies moral weakness or depravity. Manifest excess leads directly to loss of self-
respect, and thus to moral degradation. In respect to his relations with society,
however, even the excessive consumer of hemp drugs is ordinarily inoffensive.
His excesses may indeed bring him to degraded poverty which may lead him to
dishonest practices; and occasionally, but apparently very rarely indeed, exces-
sive indulgence in hemp drugs may lead to violent crime. But for all practical
purposes it may be laid down that there is little or no connection between the use
of hemp drugs and crime.

Viewing the subject generally, it may be added that the moderate use of
these drugs is the rule, and that the excessive use is comparatively exceptional.
The moderate use practically produces no ill effects. In all but the most excep-
tional cases, the injury from habitual moderate use is not appreciable. The
excessive use may certainly be accepted as very injurious, though it must be admit-
ted that in many excessive consumers the injury is not clearly marked. The
injury done by the excessive use is, however, confined almost exclusively to the
consumer himself; the effect on society is rarely appreciable. It has been the
most striking feature in this inquiry to find how little the effects of hemp drugs
have obtruded themselves on observation. The large number of witnesses of all
classes who professed never to have seen these effects, the vague statements
made by many who professed to have observed them, the very few witnesses who
could so recall a case as to give any definite account of it, and the manner in
which a large proportion of these cases broke down on the first attempt to
examine them, are facts which combine to show most clearly how little injury
society has hitherto sustained from hemp drugs.

Images and transcriptions on this page, including medium image downloads, may be used under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence unless otherwise stated. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence