Cannabis and the Politics of Intoxication

Cannabis and the Politics of Intoxication

1. The global use of cannabis  The cannabis plant probably first disseminated before the last Ice Age (c.13000 BCE) in at least two regions, China and Eastern Europe. As mentioned in a previous blog, the earliest extant evidence of humans using cannabis comes from recent research at the Okinoshima (on the Boso peninsular) site in Japan, which indicates the use of cannabis (adhering to the pottery of the Jomon culture) in 8200 BCE. Cultivation of the plant appears to begin in the Copper Age (c.3500–2300 BCE), increasing in the Bronze Age (c.3500–1600 BCE) (Samorini 2018:64; 2019:68; Sherratt 1991). By around 1500 CE the cannabis plant had spread to all continents of the world (Merlin and Clarke 2013:128).  In the global cannabis debate that has been going on for the last fifty years or so, despite the hundreds of peer-reviewed scientific reports that have been published on cannabis since the 1830s, some scientists are still saying that more clinical trials need be conducted before any change in the law on the recreational consumption of cannabis might be considered. It could make one wonder if 10,000 years of trials is long enough.  Cannabis is the most widely used illicit drug in the world (Morrison et al. 2016:661). It has been estimated that it is currently consumed globally by around 183 million people, which translates as about 3.8% of the world’s population. Consumption varies by country: cannabis is used by around 7.5% of the population of the USA (aged between 15 and 64); consumption ranges from around 4% to 12% in European populations; and in England and Wales it is currently around 6.5% of the population (UNODC 2017:41–43).  It is well known that cannabis is an extraordinarily useful plant…

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Source : seedman
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