Synthetic pot and the 1960s military

In the 1960s, retired US Army colonel James S. Ketchum led efforts to develop a nonlethal incapacitating agent as a weapon for a "war without death." Along with LSD, they experimented with synthetic cannabis, apparently similar in effect to hash oil but much stronger. Alternet published a great profile of Ketchum who paints a vivid picture of those strange daze with the Us Army Chemical Corp. From Alternet:
In an interview videotaped seven hours after he had been given EA 2233, one soldier described feeling numb in his arms and unable to raise them, precluding any possibility that he could defend himself if attacked. "Everything seems comical," he told his interlocutor.

Q: How are you?

A: Pretty good, I guess. ...

Q: You've got a big grin on your face.

A: Yeah. I don't know what I'm grinning about, either.

Q: Do things seem funny, or is that just something you can't help?

A: I don't -- I don't know. I just -- I just feel like laughing. ...

Q: Does the time seem to pass slower or faster or any different than usual?

A: No different than usual. Just -- just that I mostly lose track of it. I don't know if it's early or late.

Q: Do you find yourself doing any daydreaming?

A: Yeah. I'm daydreaming all kinds of things. ...

Q: Suppose you have to get up and go to work now. How would you do?

A: I don't think I'd even care.

Q: Well, suppose the place were on fire?

A: It would seem funny.
Synthetic Pot As A Military Weapon? (AlterNet)

Previously on BB:
Secret history of psychedelic tests at Army Chemical Center


  1. “Today, Ketchum steadfastly maintains that cannabis and LSD are safe drugs compared to many legal substances. This is what the Edgewood experiments and other studies have shown, he contends. Given his status as a retired army officer who had extensive, hands-on experience testing psychoactive compounds, he speaks with a certain authority that most medical and recreational drug users cannot claim.”

  2. EA2233 sounds like some good shit…

    Certainly confirms Bill Hick’s hypothesis about the impossibility of violence while under the influence.

  3. so the moral is, get both sides in a war stoned and they’ll forget what they’re fighting about. Sounds like a plan.

    Just keep them the hell away from me, I hate trying to talk to stoners.

  4. so who is prosecuting the war against American users by keeping them supplied with tons of rendition-jet cocaine and newly blossomed Taleban heroin?

  5. Why is it that we can’t agree to stop using land mines and yet getting your opponents comically stoned is considered a controversial military strategy?

  6. read “Acid Dreams” a history of l.s.d. and the c.i.a. it was written a while ago but i just saw some new additions and some odd films. our (u.s.) govt. is the largest spewer of hypocracy on the planet. as big now as the soviet or chinese govt. ever was. we are trillions of dollars in the hole, but we always seem to have just enough to raid a dispensary in ca. or a native american farmer growing industrial hemp on his own land on his own frikkin reservation that is supposedly ‘sovereign land’. oy. i wonder how much the defense dept spent on these studies…

  7. Reaper2k, that’s exactly what I was thinking.

    Offtopic: I really, really want to watch Batman (1989) and The Dark Knight (2008) back to back. I think it’d make for an interesting double header.

  8. #1 – I love that statement – you get authority if you put on a uniform before you get high!

  9. I think if he were in fact high, instead of saying “It would seem funny,” he would have laughed.

  10. If the army had indeed created some kind of weaponized cannabis, how long before their own troops were sneaking doses for themselves?

    That would indeed be a good way to end war.

  11. Clearly having soldiers sitting in their bunkrooms mesmerised by mirrors is a good thing because they can’t fight but the last thing you want is a heavily armed soldier having a freakout or becoming paranoid.

    It’s all funny until the guy in charge of the nuclear arsenal decides that the president told him to launch.

  12. Nur “the last thing you want is a heavily armed soldier having a freakout or becoming paranoid.”
    I can see the headline now…

    Large man goes crazy, strums acoustic guitar, hugs twelve

    …and in other news…

    Unmasked robbers hold up PX. Clerks fine, Cheetos not so much

    All the stoners I’ve ever known have been the opposite of violent. A little paranoid, perhaps, but that’s only because everyone is out to get them.

Comments are closed.