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did thomas jefferson grow weed

Did thomas jefferson grow weed

James Madison once remarked that had it not been for hemp, he would not have had the insights he had in the work of creating a new and democratic nation.

George Washington
Thomas Jefferson
James Madison
James Monroe
Andrew Jackson
Zachary Taylor
Franklin Pierce

Prior to the Civil War, pot was a very successful drug when used to cure insomnia and impotence. It was used primarily to reduce tension.

George Washington, James Madison, and Thomas Jefferson all cultivated weed on their plantations. George Washington is said to have preferred a good pipeful of the “leaves of hemp” to any alcoholic drink.

James Monroe, creator of the Monroe Doctrine, smoked both grass and hashish. Madison brought back the habit of smoking hashish from France and continued smoking till he was 73.

Thomas Jefferson and George Washington often corresponded about the virtues of smoking hemp and are said to have traded parcels of it as gestures of friendship.

Marijuana smoking is quite popular in the U.S. today, but few people realize that grass was once so popular in the country that 7 U.S. presidents used it.

Weed was common among tobacco growers, for when it was mixed with tobacco, it gave a mild intoxicating effect. The leaves and resins (hashish) were used to season food and as medicine.

Dr. Burke, president of the American Historical Reference Society and consultant for the Smithsonian Institute, included the following U. S. presidents as marijuana users:

Did thomas jefferson grow weed

Cannabis was not widely used recreationally in the United States until the 20 th century, but in the 1800s it was used as a medicine. In the 1830s, an Irish doctor in India found that cannabis extracts (not the smoked kind) could lessen the terrible vomiting of people suffering from the often fatal disease cholera. His discovery spread, and by the late 1800s, cannabis extracts were commonly sold by American druggists (pharmacists) for ailments, including stomach problems.

Using cannabis extracts to treat digestive symptoms makes some sense, scientifically. We now know that THC is able to lessen nausea, as well as promote hunger, by interacting with areas of the brain that regulate those functions, like the brainstem and hypothalamus. Today, two FDA- approved THC-based drugs taken as pills are prescribed to treat the nausea caused by cancer chemotherapy and the loss of appetite that causes “wasting syndrome” in AIDS patients.

This was still before modern medicine, when lots of herbal products (and even animal products like oil made from rattlesnakes) were sold as “cures” for every disease under the sun. These products were usually ineffective, occasionally harmful, and frequently (as with cannabis and opium extracts) even abused.

But 19 th -century doctors and druggists also touted cannabis extracts as beneficial for a long list of other problems, ranging from cough, fever, rheumatism, asthma, and diabetes to venereal (sexually transmitted) diseases, like gonorrhea.

Jefferson, along with George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, did grow hemp on their farms, as did most people who owned land, but there’s no direct evidence they ever smoked it. The amount of the psychoactive (mind-altering) chemical THC in most hemp at the time was probably too low anyway to become intoxicated from it. When Colonial Americans smoked anything, it was mainly tobacco—the drug that was also a big part of America’s economy during those times.

In 1906, Congress passed the Pure Food and Drug Act, requiring that cannabis and other herbal products be accurately labeled. This was the beginning of laws regulating the sale of cannabis. In later years, some states passed more restrictive laws on cannabis-based medicines as more and more people realized that they could be habit-forming.

Cannabis From the Druggist