Cannabis, one of humanity's first domesticated plants, has been utilized for spiritual, therapeutic, recreational and even punitive reasons for thousands of years. Humans have excellent practical knowledge of the uses of cannabis, yet limited understanding of its sociocultural consequences, past or present, due to its widespread prohibition.
In Cannabis Chris Duvall explores the cultural history and geography of humanity's most widely distributed crop, which supplies both hemp and marijuana. Cannabis focuses on the plant's currently most valuable product, the psychoactive drug marijuana, and at the same time provides a global view of the plant, with coverage of little-studied regions including Africa and Australia. Cannabis also covers the history of hemp and its use as a fibre source for ropes and textiles, as a source of edible hempseeds and as a source of industrial oil for paints and fuel.
Cannabis does not advocate either the prohibition or legalization of the drug but challenges received wisdom on both sides of the debate. Cannabis explores and analyses a wide range of sources to provide a better understanding of its current prohibition, as well as of the diversity of human-cannabis relationships across the globe. This, the author argues, is necessary to redress the oversimplistic portrayals of marijuana and hemp that have dominated discourse on the subject, and ultimately to improve how the crop is managed worldwide. This highly accessible, richly illustrated volume is an essential read given rapidly evolving debates about legality and in light of changes in the criminalization of marijuana in Uruguay, some U.S. states and other jurisdictions worldwide.
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Chris Duvall is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography, University of New Mexico.