Jacques-Joseph Moreau  

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"To understand an ordinary depression it is necessary to have experienced one; to comprehend the ravings of a madman, it is necessary to have raved oneself but without losing the awareness of one's madness, without having lost the power to evaluate the psychic changes occurring in the mind." -- Hashish and Mental Alienation

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Dr. Jacques-Joseph Moreau (1804–1884), nicknamed "Moreau de Tours", was a French psychiatrist and founding member of the Club des Hashischins. Moreau was the first physician to do systematic work on drugs' effects on the central nervous system, and to catalogue, analyze, and record his observations. He is the author of Hashish and Mental Alienation (1845).

Works

After a long trip (1836–1840) in the Orient, he discovered the effect of marijuana. He studied it in order to understand the relation between madness and dreams, which are similar deliriums, according to Moreau.

His 1845 book, Hashish and Mental Illness, is still applicable today. In 1843 with Jules Baillarger (1809–1890), François Achille Longet (1811–1871) and Laurent Alexis Philibert Cerise (1807–1869), he founded the psychiatric journal Annales médico-psychologiques.

He was the first doctor to publish a work about a drug and its effect on the central nervous system. His first publication was the 1845 "Du Hachisch et de l'aliénation mentale" ("Hashish and insanity").

"Psychologist Jacques-Joseph Moreau de Tours took an interest in the mental effects of hashish in an era which finally viewed the human psyche in a natural humanist terms rather than as the uncontrollable supernatural domain of demons and angels. Through careful observation of people's reactions, including his own, to hashish-particularly their openness to suggestions and willingness to consider new possibilities- Moreau theorized that psychoactive substances could treat or replicate mental illness in a way to help cure patients. His 1845 studies on dhatura and hashish were prepared as a treatise that documented both physical and mental benefits, and ultimately led to modern psychopharmacology and the use of numerous psychotomimetic drug treatments." ("Hemp for Health" Chris Conrad p 20)

Pierre Janet identified him as one of his predecessors who had recognized "the pathological role played by grief and emotion" in creating vulnerability to psychological problems.

Bibliography

Nota : La liste des œuvres de Moreau de Tours inclut parfois par erreur l'ouvrage Histoire naturelle de la Femme, suivie d'un Traité d'hygiène qui est de Jacques Moreau de la Sarthe (1803).

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