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J Cannabis Ther 2001(2):01-2



E. Russo

The first article of our second issue brings to us a voice that will be new to many, that of Farid Alakbarov, a scientist/scholar from the newly emerging republic of Azerbaijan. We are extremely pleased that the Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics can serve as a conduit through which international knowledge may be broadened. We welcome Dr. Alakbarov's important contribution to the literature.

Father David Deakle was essentially drafted into service as the editor sought a Greek scholar to investigate the meaning of a short passage from antiquity in that language gleaned from a 150 year old text. Simeon Seth's writings on cannabis were among the first in a Western language since the classic era. We are thankful for this first rendering of this significant work in the English language.

The next article is probably among the longest ever submitted to a medical periodical. Certain more cynical readers may wish to speculate that the editor founded this journal merely as a mouthpiece for his own contributions, but this would be inaccurate. Hemp for Headache represents an accumulation of material gathered over a period of almost 4 years, designed to provide a reference source that no one individual would likely have the same opportunity to amass. Should other contributors plan similar examinations of cannabis subjects in similar depth, they will be welcomed in this journal.

Our final article pertains to an area of cannabis usage that the required number of editorial reviewers accepted as ''therapeutic,'' that is its relation to music, its appreciation and performance, as rendered by Peter Webster. Unusual cannabis-musical interactions were noted from an early date. In 1845, the famed French psychiatrist Jacques- Joseph Moreau de Tours observed (Moreau 1973, p. 38): This excessive development of the sense of hearing must be attributed, at least in part, to the powerful influence that music exerts on those who take hashish. Words fail to portray the variety of emotions that harmony can produce. The crudest music, the simple vibrations of the strings of a harp or guitar, rouse you to a point of delirium or plunge you into a sweet melancholy. So strongly did Moreau believe in the therapeutic properties of cannabis and music that patients receiving it therapeutically were regularly treated to live music concerts at the Hospice de Bicètre.

Almost a century later, Walter Straub, a pharmacology professor from Munich commented on the augmentation of musical appreciation under the influence of hashish (Straub 1931, p. 17), ''For the musical person, the noise of a poorly lubricated machine in the laboratory was music;'' This would seem to suggest the aural equivalent of producing a silk purse from a sow's ear. Nevertheless, as was noted (Congreve 1697, Act I, Scene I), ''Music has charms to soothe the savage breast, To soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak.'' The editorial staff agrees, and now others may have the opportunity to judge for themselves.

Ethan Russo, MD



Congreve, William. 1697. The mourning bride. London: Printed for Jacob Tonson. Moreau, Jacques Joseph. 1973. Hashish and mental illness. New York: Raven Press.

Straub, Walther. 1931. Intoxicating drugs. In Lane Lectures on Pharmacology, edited by W. Straub. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

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