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Drugs and ThugsThe History and Future of America's War on Drugs$
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Russell Crandall

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780300240344

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300240344.001.0001

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(p.66) 5 Cannabis
Drugs and Thugs

Russell Crandall

Yale University Press

This chapter considers psychoactive cannabis as the most popular illicit drug in the United States. It explains how the consumption of cannabis has become a prevalent, mainstream practice that users are apt to forget they are committing a criminal act every time they smoke a joint. It also points out that cannabis is a resilient and adaptable botanical that thrives in all sorts of climates, sprouting serrated, diagonally veined leaves that spread like the fingers of an open hand. The chapter clarifies cannabis as one of humanity's most ancient crops that is native to Central Asia as it has been cultivated by humans since the “dawn of agriculture” some ten thousand years ago. It talks about the first medicinal application of cannabis that dated as far back as 4500 B.C.E. in China and the first written reference to medicinal cannabis that was recorded in the Pen Ts'ao Ching, the pharmacopeia of Emperor Shen Nung in 2700 B.C.E.

Keywords:   psychoactive cannabis, illicit drug, Central Asia, medicinal cannabis, pharmacopeia

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