HEMP: The Authorative Historical Digital Record

Chapter 12

Chapter 12: Cannabis Drug use in 19th Century America

illustration © Stephen Saunders

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Chapter Twelve:    CANNABIS DRUG USE IN 19TH CENTURY AMERICA

    Although by 1839, cannabis hemp products for fiber, paper, nautical use, lamp oil, food, etc., were possibly the largest agricultural and industrial business in the world and America, the hundreds of medical uses of cannabis (known for thousands of years in the Orient and Middle East) were almost entirely unknown in Western Europe and America because of the earlier Medieval Catholic Church’s suppression.

    However, the 19th Century saw a dramatic re-discovery of the benefits of cannabis drugs, which were the number-one medicine in America prior to 1863. It was replaced by morphine when the new injectable needle became the rage, but not before cannabis brought with it healthful elixirs and patent medicines, luxuriant Turkish Smoking Parlors, and with them a fountain of literary creativity. Cannabis remained the number-two medicine until 1901 when it was replaced by aspirin.


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Chapter 12

Chapter 12: Cannabis Drug use in 19th Century America

Chapter 12

text from “The Emperor Wears No Clothes” © Jack Herer
CD-ROM and web presentation © Milo and MichaelM


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