Medication, Taxation, Intoxication, and Oblivion, c. 1839–1955
This chapter looks at cannabis products and their history in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In part this story is about the entry of preparations of the plant into Western medical knowledge and practice. However, the chapter also demonstrates that cannabis was not simply constructed as a medicine in Western circles in this period. The ways in which competing understandings emerged of the plant and the substances that could be manufactured from it is also explored. The purpose of doing this is twofold. In the first instance the chapter begins to provide some answers to the question of ‘what is medical about colonial medicine’. In addressing this question the chapter also addresses a second concern, which is to put plants back into the picture of the history of medicine in the colonial period.
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