H. K. Mulford Co. Tincture of Cannabis Indica

Initially, it was difficult for pharmaceutical companies to create tinctures with consistent strength, as is clear from the following quote from Journal of the American Medical Association, Volume 14 in 1890:

A third subject, the importance of which can hardly be estimated, is the necessity of devising some plan, for securing uniformity in strength as represented by the active principle of many preparations, as tinctures and fluid extracts. For example, such crude drugs as aconite root, belladonna leaves and digitalis leaves vary greatly in their strength, even though the best care is exercised in their selection. By the present system of making preparations the latter necessarily must vary in like proportion, and this is undoubtedly the cause of many disappointments in therapeutic effects. With tincture of digitalis and tincture of cannabis indica it is necessary, in individual cases, to begin with the minimum dose and gradually increase the dose until the desired effect is obtained. The remedy for this condition of affairs is obvious. A standard strength of the active principles should be fixed upon, and the value in active principle be determined by assay. This, if honestly carried out, would be a great improvement upon the present system. It would entail more labor and greater care on the manufacturing pharmacists, but it would be to their interest to carry out faithfully such requirements, for physicians would not be slow to discover whose preparations were most reliable.

Laboratories around the world experimented with different tinctures and extracts of cannabis searching for a standard preparation with an established dose-response curve. Problems with the variable potency of such preparations led to the inclusion of cannabis itself - "The flowering tops of the female plant of C. Sativa" - in medical practice. The U.S. Dispensatory of 1899 finally noticed that when ganja is cultivated in India, "The utmost care is taken to prevent fertilization, it being affirmed that a single male plant will spoil a whole field" (Wood, Remington, and Sadtler, 1899). This forced American pharmaceutical companies to learn what is now called sensimilla cultivation, removing male from female plants before seeds are set, and by 1918 it was shown that American grown cannabis and its extracts were as fully reliable as those from India. By the 1930s both Eli Lilly and Parke Davis were marketing cannabis extracts and tinctures that were uniformly effective at dose levels of 10 mg (Mikuriya and Aldrich, 1988).

From: Cannabis in medical practice: a legal, historical, and pharmacological overview of the therapeutic use of marijuana." (M. L. Mathre, Ed., 1997, p. 46)

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