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16191.  Thu Mar 17, 2005 6:29 am Reply with quote

There are (almost certainly!) more names for cannabis than for any other substance on earth. Here are some of many hundreds - thousands, possibly: Marijuana, weed, hash, dope, grass, pot, ganja, bud, green, hemp, herb, puff, blow, gear, whizz, sensi, shit, skunk, reefer, gauge, smoke...

"The principle motive of the coloured man in smoking help is to stimulate sexual desire in innocent white girls." (The Times, 1957)

In a 1928 League or Nations report on drugs, there were apparently only 620 addicts in Britain, 320 of whom were women.

Howard Marks, an Oxford philosophy graduate, made a very good living selling cannabis, smuggling it across in rock band equipment. At one point, a shipment he received could have got every single person in the UK high at the same time.

Marks was eventually framed by Lord Moynehan (Tory Colin's half-brother), with whom he'd talked about setting up a cannabis plantation in the Philippines where Moynehan was working as a corporate pimp running massage parlours. The American DEA convinced him to tape-record conversations with Marks, and they were able to nab him on this evidence. He was sentences to 25 years in a jail in Indiana, although only served seven, during which time he taught philosophy to the inmates - mafiosi and Colombian cartel members.

Some history (from the very reliable and apparently heavily researched

Early Sumeria: K(a)N(a)B(a), the early Sumerian/Babylonian word for cannabis hemp, enters the Indo-Semitic-European language family base, making it one of humankind's longest surviving root words.

Hemp fibre was used by the chinese for rope and clothing from 8,000 years ago, as its imprints are found on clay vessels.

2700 BC: First written record of cannabis use, in the pharmacopoeia of Shen Nung, one of the fathers of Chinese medicine.

550 BC: The Persian prophet Zoroaster gives hemp first place in the sacred text, the Zend-Avesta, which lists over 10,000 medicinal plants.

425 BC: Its intoxicating properties have been known since the days of Herodotus. Histories iv:
Hemp grows in Scythia: it is very like flax; only that it is a much coarser and taller plant: some grows wild about the country, some is produced by cultivation: the Thracians make garments of it which closely resemble linen; so much so, indeed, that if a person has never seen hemp he is sure to think they are linen, and if he has, unless he is very experienced in such matters, he will not know of which material they are.

The Scythians, as I said, take some of this hemp-seed, and, creeping under the felt coverings, throw it upon the red-hot stones; immediately it smokes, and gives out such a vapour as no Grecian vapour-bath can exceed; the Scyths, delighted, shout for joy, and this vapour serves them instead of a water-bath; for they never by any chance wash their bodies with water.

Much paper made from hemp (Chinese in 100BC, then Germans and Franks 600AD)

1563: Queen Elizabeth I decrees that land owners with 60 acres or more must grow Cannabis else face a £5 fine. This was the same year, note, that she 'gave away' Kenilworth House to her favourite suitor, Robert Dudley...

'Hemel Hempstead' got its name because of its history of rope-making from hemp.

Hemp was taken to the Americas by King Philip of Spain ("to be grown across the whole empire', 1564), and by the British to Virginia. There was mandatory growth on plantations.

1776: Declaration of Independence drafted on Cannabis paper.

1845: Parisian notables Dr. Jacques-Joseph Moreau and writer Theophile Gautier established the Club de Hashishins, dedicated to exploring the non-medicinal value of cannabis. Arthur Rimbaud, Paul Verlaine and Charles Baudelaire were among those drawn to the circle's bohemian battle cry of "art for art's sake."

From Gautier's short story The Hashishins' Club, in which he describes attempting to descend a staircase:
" stairs appeared unceasingly before my resigned steps, while those that I had passed resumed their place in front of me. These proceedings took a thousand years, as I calculate it."

And from Baudelaire's Poeme du Hachich (1860):
"a new stream of ideas carries you away: it will hurl you along in its living vortex for a further minute; and this minute, too, will be an eternity, for the normal relation between time and the individual has been completely upset by the multitude and intensity of sensations and ideas. You seem to live several men's lives in the space of an hour."

(This page lists about famous people who have reported on Cannabis' effects, including Carl Sagan!)

1890: Queen Victoria's personal physician, Sir Russell Reynolds, prescribes Cannabis for menstrual cramps. He claims in the first issue of The Lancet, that Cannabis "When pure and administered carefully, is one of the of the most valuable medicines we possess"

1967: In July over 3,000 people hold a mass 'smoke-in' in Hyde Park in London. The same month, The Times carries a pro-legalisation advertisement which declares that "the laws against Marijuana are immoral in principle and unworkable in Practice. The signatories include David Dimbleby, Bernard Levin, and the Beatles.

2004: January: The long awaited reclassification (class B to class C) finally happened, but the law relating to Class C drugs was changed so as to make most of the changes meaningless. The government spends 1 million pounds on an advertising campaign to tell people nothing had changed and Cannabis is still illegal.

Shakespeare may have have smoked it according to traces of cannabis found in pipes dug up from his garden. (Note the hilarious response at the end of that article!)

Clinton may not to have smoked it...

16220.  Thu Mar 17, 2005 9:18 pm Reply with quote

I like that
Queen Elizabeth I decrees that land owners with 60 acres or more must grow Cannabis else face a £5 fine.

Do we know why?

16237.  Fri Mar 18, 2005 7:02 am Reply with quote

Henry VIII fostered the cultivation of Hemp in England. The maritime supremacy of England during Elizabethan times greatly increased the demand. Hemp cultivation began in the British colonies in the New World: first in Canada in 1606, then in Virginia in 1611; the Pilgrims took the crop to New England in 1632. In pre-Revolutionary North America, Hemp was employed even for making work clothes. Hemp was introduced quite independently into Spanish colonies in America: Chile, 1545; Peru, 1554.


This seems the likeliest explanation to me.

I like this other snippet from the same website:

Tradition in India maintains that the gods sent man the Hemp plant so that he might attain delight, courage, and have heightened sexual desires. When nectar or Amrita dropped down from heaven, Cannabis sprouted from it. Another story tells how, when the gods, helped by demons, churned the milk ocean to obtain Amrita, one of the resulting nectars was Cannabis. It was consecrated to Shiva and was [the goddess] Indra’s favourite drink. After the churning of the ocean, demons attempted to gain control of Amrita, but the gods were able to prevent this seizure, giving Cannabis the name Vijaya (“victory”) to commemorate their success. Ever since, this plant of the gods has been held in India to bestow supernatural powers on its users.

16238.  Fri Mar 18, 2005 7:05 am Reply with quote

Botanists have not agreed on the family to which Cannabis belongs; early investigators put it in the Nettle family (Urticaceae); later it was accommodated in the Fig family (Moraceae); the general trend today is to assign it to a special family, Cannabaceae, in which only Cannabis and Humulus, the genus of Hops, are members.

There has even been disagreement as to how many species of Cannabis exist: whether the genus comprises one highly variable species or several distinct species. Evidence now strongly indicates that three species can be recognised: C. indica, C. ruderalia, and C. sativa. These species are distinguished by different growth habits, characters of the akenes, and especially by major differences in structure of the wood. Although all species possess cannabinols; there may possible be significant chemical differences, but the evidence is not yet available.

The above is also from the same rather useful website (along with other info - it's worth a look) and this nice snippet, which could form the basis of a question:

The spectrum of medicinal uses in India covered control of dandruff and relief of headache, mania, insomnia, venereal disease, whooping cough, earaches, and tuberculosis!

20417.  Tue May 17, 2005 3:11 pm Reply with quote

Interesting to ponder why all illegal drugs are called “narcotics,” despite the fact that many of them (cocaine, for instance) are anything but. Here’s Chambers’ definition of narcotic: “Producing torpor, sleep, or deadness [deadness??]: affecting the central nervous system so as to produce dizziness, euphoria, loss of memory and of neuromuscular co-ordination, and eventually unconsciousness.”

Fair description of cider, certainly, and dope arguably, but does anyone know when and why narcotic came to mean simply any drug which gives unearned pleasure to people younger than oneself?

20512.  Thu May 19, 2005 8:58 am Reply with quote

We all know that in Victorian Britain opium was as easily available, and probably more widely used, than tobacco is today. But an article in the Independent on Sunday (21 October 2001) by Matthew Sweet also mentions other popular drugs of the time.

“A brand of hashish-centred chocolate was marketed for some time in the US.”

“In 1863, Pope Leo XII awarded a medal to Angelo Mariani, the formulator of Vin Mariani, a wine fortified with cocaine, which was used by millions across the world. Celebrity consumers included Thomas Edison, Sarah Bernhardt, Jules Verne and Henrik Ibsen. Non-alcoholic versions marketed under brand names such as Coca-Cola and Dope were also popular.”

“For most of the 19th century, there was less concern about the perils of taking cocaine than there was about the side effects of drinking green tea.” Today, green tea is a fashionable cure-all and prevent-all, but back then says Sweet it was considered terribly injurious to health, so much so that in Le Fanu’s ‘In a glass darkly’ it has the significant side-effect of “breaking the barriers between our own universe and one populated by hideous Swedenborgian demons.”

Overindulgence in green tea was known to cause symptoms of “anaemia, suffocation and hallucinations” and convulsions.


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