Godfather of the Hashischins

After 4 years of touring, Dr. Jacques-Joseph Moreau arrived again residence to Paris in 1840 believing he might have discovered the key to his analysis. Stashed deep in his baggage he carried a brand new device for exploring the thoughts — cannabis!

 Portrait of Moreau in 1845, by N.E. Maurin

While attending medical faculty, Moreau studied underneath Dr. Jean-Étienne Dominique Esquirol, a French psychiatrist thought-about to be the father of organized French psychiatry, and shared his fascination with the thoughts with him. Dr. Esquirol provided Moreau work escorting Esquirol’s rich sufferers on prescribed therapeutic journeys by way of the Middle East and Italy. Fresh out of faculty, Moreau jumped at the alternative to review in the area.

During these travels, Moreau learn a paper by Louis Rémy Aubert-Roche claiming the therapeutic results of cannabis on illnesses similar to typhoid fever and the plague.*1 Intrigued by the stories, he tried cannabis whereas in Syria. Placing some of the edible combination into his hand, he swallowed the new substance and was stunned by the outcomes. In “Hashish and Mental Illness*2, Moreau is overwhelmed by the expertise, writing “I cannot describe the thousand fantastic ideas that passed through my brain during the three hours that I was under the influence of the hashish.”

Realizing cannabis’s potential, he later wrote, “I saw in hashish, or rather in its effect upon the mental faculties, a significant means of exploring the genesis of mental illness. I was convinced that it could solve the enigma of mental illness and lead to the hidden source of the mysterious disorder that we call ‘madness’.”

To discover this insanity, he got here up with a brand new means of perceive the complicated sickness, or, as he writes it, “to comprehend the ravings of a madman, it is necessary to have raved oneself, but without having lost awareness of one’s madness, without having lost the power to evaluate the psychic changes occurring in the mind.” Needing to “rave” himself, Moreau believed cannabis might create this short-term insanity whereas staying sane, theorizing that “hashish gives to whoever submits to its influence the power to study in himself the mental disorders that characterize insanity.”


Sketch of Jacques-Joseph Moreau de Tours enjoying the piano in Turkish gown. Drawn by Theophile Gautier underneath the affect of cannabis in 1845.

Intrigued by his preliminary findings, he continued to experiment with cannabis with none help, however quickly realized with a drug that would distort impressions, he would wish assist expressing its results and prospects.

In 1840, Moreau returned house to work and proceed his research at the Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris, the place he additionally introduced his cannabis. He started to work with a number of medicine, researching the results on the central nervous system. He first studied one other historic drug, Datura stramonium, or jimsonweed, believing the medicine results additionally mirrored that of madness. In 1841, Moreau revealed his findings on Datura in the Gazette Medicale de Paris titled “In Memory Of Treatment For Hallucinations Datura Stramonium,” turning into one of the first psychiatrists to make use of natural pharmacology to deal with psychological sickness.

But cannabis stayed on his thoughts. He paperwork that “after my trip to the East, the effects of hashish have been a serious and persevering object of study for me. As far as I have been able, and with all the means at my disposal, I have tried to spread this knowledge among the medical public”.*three

Following his work with datura, Moreau expanded his research to incorporate cannabis and recruited individuals who might describe the ideas and emotions throughout the trials. This newly shaped group of the inventive elite would turn into generally known as the Club De Hashischins.

Moreau was nicknamed “Dr. X” for supplying the Hashischins together with his cannabis combination referred to as dawamesk, a candy edible combination referred to as comprised of cannabis, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, pistachio, sugar, orange juice, butter, and cantharides, or Spanish fly.

In 1845, Dr. Moreau revealed his ebook “Hashish and Mental Illness.” In his research, Moreau believed cannabis to be an efficient device in treating a spread illnesses related to psychological sickness, together with melancholy. He wrote, “One of the effects of hashish that struck me most forcefully and which generally gets the most attention is that manic excitement always accompanied by a feeling of gaiety and joy inconceivable to those who have never experienced it. I saw in it a mean of effectively combating the fixed ideas of depressives, disrupting the chain of their ideas, of unfocusing their attention on such and such a subject.”*2

Photograph of Jacques-Joseph Moreau

Moreau would proceed to make use of and research cannabis on himself and his sufferers his whole life. He even grew hashish himself from seeds he obtained from Italy.*three He remained dedicated to his perception that cannabis had the potential to assist psychological sicknesses and regularly inspired individuals to attempt it, as he wrote in “Hashish and Mental Illness,” “To those who, after having read my words, still have considerable doubt, I can only repeat: I understand your doubts because, in the case of psychological matters, I know it is impossible to understand what you have not experienced. With illusions and hallucinations … I can say one thing, and you will be convinced if you follow it. Do what I did: take hashish, experiment on yourself, and see for yourself.”*2

‘Hysterics of the Charite on the Service of Dr. Luys’ picture by Jacques-Joseph Moreau de Tours 1887

Historical quotation

*1 – Rémy Aubert Roche, “De la peste, ou Typhus d’Orient,” Paris, 1840.

*2 – “Hashish and Mental Illness” by Jacques-Joseph Moreau, 1845.

*three – “Traitement des hallucinations par le datura stramonium” by Jacques-Joseph Moreau in the Gazette Medicale de Paris, October 1841.

*four – Edmond Decourtive’s thesis on cannabis, 1848.


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