Today, in contrast to yesterday's serious outcry against the tyranny of our politicians and public officials, I have chosen to step back and compile a fun list of facts about our beloved plant - cannabis...
From 1850 to 1942, marijuana was listed in the United States Pharmacopoeia as a useful medicine for nausea, rheumatism, and labor pains and was easily obtained at the local general store or pharmacy. (1)
The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 made it illegal to possess, use, buy, sell, or cultivate marijuana in the United States. The law classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, meaning it has a high potential for abuse and no acceptable medical use. (2)
The first recorded use of marijuana as a medicinal drug occurred in 2737 B.C. by Chinese emperor Shen Nung. The emperor documented the drug’s effectiveness in treating the pains of rheumatism and gout. (3)
The first law in the American colonies regarding marijuana was a 1619 law that actually required farmers to grow the hemp plant. Once harvested, hemp was useful for clothing, sails, and rope. (1)
According to one report, it would take 800 joints to kill a person—but the cause of death would be carbon monoxide poisoning. (1)
Prior to its ban, hemp was a staple cash crop of the family farm in early America. The first two drafts of the United States Declaration of Independence were written on paper made from hemp. (4)
The December, 1941 edition of Popular Mechanics Magazine (Vol 76. No. 6) reported that the Ford Motor Company had completed 12 years of research and has assembled a prototype plastic body car made from 70 percent fiber (wheat straw, hemp) and 30 percent resin. The plastic panels could withstand a blow 10 times greater than steel without denting; the car weighed 1000 lbs less.
In early 1942, Japan cut off our supplies of vital hemp and fibers. Marijuana, which had been outlawed in the United States as the "Assassin of Youth" just five years earlier, was suddenly "safe enough" for our government to ask the kids in the Kentucky 4-H clubs to grow the nation's 1943 seed supply. It is estimated that the U.S. Government distributed 400,000 pounds of cannabis Sativa seeds to American farmers in 1942 to aid the World War II war effort.
You could pay your taxes in this country with hemp until the early 1800's.
President Abraham Lincoln's wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, was prescribed cannabis for her nerves following his assassination.
1. Booth, Martin. 2003. Cannabis: A History. London, England: Doubleday.
2. U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy. “Marijuana Facts & Figures.” 2009
3. Abel, Ernest L. 1980. Marihuana: The First Twelve Thousand Years. New York, NY: Plenum Press.
4. Robinson, Rowan. 1996. The Great Book of Hemp: The Complete Guide to the Environmental, Commercial, and Medicinal Uses of the World’s Most Extraordinary Plant. Rochester, VT: Park Street Press.
I hope you enjoyed these bits of trivia. Have a great day!