Commodifying Cannabis : A Cultural History of a Complex Plant in the Atlantic World

Commodifying Cannabis : A Cultural History of a Complex Plant in the Atlantic World

by Bradley J. Borougerdi
English | 2018 | ISBN: 1498586376 | 202 Pages | PDF | 2.18 MB

Cannabis is a genetically diverse plant that has been commodified for a variety of different purposes by many cultures throughout world history. For thousands of years, people have used its fiber, seed, and flowers to make rope and cloth, rig ships, feed people and livestock, concoct medicines, and alter states of consciousness. Until the nineteenth century, though, most Europeans and Americans were unaware of drug varieties of cannabis. The British encountered them in India and created western-style medicines that sold throughout the Atlantic world by the 1840s, but negative associations with Oriental intoxication and degeneracy sullied the plant's reputation as a viable commodity.

Now, after decades of transatlantic criminalization policies against cannabis in the twentieth century, it is making a comeback. In Commodifying Cannabis, Bradley J. Borougerdi traces the tangled histories of its use for fiber, medicine, and altered states of consciousness across the Atlantic world, focusing on the dynamic interplay between these three different cultural applications to explain why the plant has transformed so many times throughout history. The historical journey spans a vast geographical landscape and includes over three centuries of source material to illuminate the cultural foundations behind the myriad transformations cannabis has endured as a commodity in the Atlantic world.

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