Drugs and Narcotics (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
Drugs are articles that are intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease in humans or animals, and any articles other than food, water, or oxygen that are intended to affect the mental or body function of humans or animals. Narcotics are any drugs that dull the senses and commonly become addictive after prolonged use.
In the scientific community, drugs are defined as substances that can affect a human's or animal's biological and neurological states. They may be organic, such as the chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which occurs naturally in marijuana; or synthetic, such as amphetamines or sedatives, which are manufactured in laboratories. Drugs can be swallowed, inhaled through the nostrils, injected with a needle, applied to the skin, taken as a suppository, or smoked. Scientists categorize drugs according to their effects. Among their categories are analgesics, which kill pain, and psychoactive drugs, which alter the mind or behavior. Some psychoactive substances produce psychological highs or lows according to whether they are stimulants or depressants, respectively. Others, called hallucinogens, produce psychedelic states of consciousness; lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and mescaline are examples of such drugs. Marijuana is placed in its own category.
U.S. law categorizes these substances differently....
(The entire section is 4962 words.)
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