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The first public demonstration of ether

Some of the other substances isolated in the early nineteenth century were strychnine (1818), iodine and quinine (1820), but it was in the middle of the century that psychoactive drugdom experienced one of its finest hours-when cocaine was isolated from the coca leaf in 1855. One of the first studies on cocaine was done by J,A.. Hammond, the first surgeon general of the U.S. Army, hi 1883, a German physician named Theodore Ascbenbrandt obtained a quantity of pure coke from the Merck company in New Jersey and issued it to a group of Bavarian soldiers. Studying troop maneuvers, Aschenbrandt concluded that cocaine was an extremely valuable an tifatigue agent. . The substance's stimulating properties made .it very interesting to young Sigmund Freud, who suffered fix? m depression.

Concurrent with the research into alkaloids during this period was the widespread investigation of anesthetics and the birth of psychopharmaeology. Following Davy's experiences with laughing gas at

James Simpson's dmner-party experiment with ehJoro/orrn

The first public demonstration of ether the turn of the century, the desensitizing properties of ether were detected by Michael Faraday in 1818. and in 1847 Sir James Simpson introduced the use of chloroform as a pain blocker, as Oscar Liebrich did with chloral hydrate in 1869. Something of a lonely pioneer, Jacques J. Moreau de Tours began modem psychopharmaeology in the eaily 1840s when he treated mental patients at Bicetrc Hospital in Paris with hashish and datura. He also conducted experiments in which he used hash to induce temporary psychoses in research subjects.

The net result of these and further historical clturnings is the modern psychoactive pharmacopoeia, drugs made for medicine but often used for pleasure. Most psychoactive drugs can be toxic if used improperly. and while advice on their use is often unattainable from physicians, no drugs should be taken blindly. Aside from literature accompanying some prescription drugs or pharmaceutical magazines, a good source of

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Anxiety and Depression 101

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