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"Give me Librium or give me Meth."

1960'sgratfito

Relatively speaking, pharmacology was born a split second after humanity was. Chances are the Serpent tried to sell some snake oil to Adam and Eve after he bollixed up Paradise and unleashed the ills of man. The dispensing of prescriptions is in fact mentioned in the Old Testament in Numbers, Leviticus and Ecclesiastes.

No one, of course, can pin down the year in which a primordial human first found relief through the chewing of roots or bark, but by 3000 B.C. the Egyptians had a directory of pharmaceuticals that described the preparation and specific applications of drugs. Most of the easiest psyehoacti ve drugs (exal udi ng the hall uci nogens used for magic and healing by shamans) were employed for calming and sleep-inducing, purposes. Many of today's sedatives, such as the opiates, alcohol, cannabis arid reserpine, have been mainstays of medicine for thousands of years.

The pain-killing and euphoric qualities of opium were probably first put to therapeutic use by the physicians of ancient Egypt, although the first undisputed written mention of the poppy was made by the Greek Theophrastus in the third century B.C. Opium was probably the most popular sedative in the history of formal and folk medicines, but its palliative applications arc today largely filled by derivatives and synthetics.

Alcoholic beverages, which remained in the Pharmacopoeia of the United States until the early 1900s, were being drunk by our predecessors as long as 8.000 years ago. Ancient Hindu physicians prescribed alcohol for calming and relief of tension, and according to the Babylonian Talmud (c.450 AD.), "Wine is at the bead of alii medicines; where wine is lacking, drugs are necessa ry."

An ancient Chinese pharmacopoeia, probably produced in the Han Dynasty (c. 200 AJ1). mentions the use of hemp seeds. This work is often attributed to Shen-Nung, described as the emperor of China around 3000 B.C., but this enlightened sovereign is now generally regarded as mythical. . Hua To the noted surgeon of the Han period, probably used cannabis for anesthesia.

Reserpine. one of the tranquilizers in popular use in modern mental hospitals, has been used for "moon disease" (lunacy) by the Hindus since before the birth of Christ. . Their knowledge of psychoactive drugs, while very extensive, was codified rather late, so it was not until the fifth century a.d. that Hindu physicians wrote of the depressant effects of cannabis and hyoscyarnus (henbane).

Emprrror Sben Nun/«

Claudius Ga/en

"A hundred doses of happiness are nol enough, send to Ihe drugstore far another bottle—and when thai is finished, for another."

Alduus Huxley

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