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. This book 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.
This book 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.
‘A helpful and insightful analysis about the plant . . . Duvall makes the case that Cannabis is a powerful plant and one that needs to be better understood. He clarifies the confusion over its various names and roles while lending needed ballast to the current conversation. The book brings light to what Duvall calls the shades of meaning in “the human-Cannabis relationship which has unfolded through vast sweeps of space and time.”’ – Publishers Weekly
‘A useful and delightful addition to the world’s library on cannabis. Given that cannabis legalization has emerged as a civil rights issue in our time, I highly recommend it to anyone concerned about the social and political debates concerning this drug today.’ – AAG Review of Books
‘Clearly written, comprehensive, and rigorously researched, Chris Duvall’s Cannabis is a superb, easily digestable crash course on the history of the remarkably diverse human–Cannabis relationship. As one of the few true scholarly histories of the cannabis plant produced in the last decade, Cannabis clarifies or refutes many of the widely accepted claims about the plant’s origins, dispersal, and history found in a wealth of semi-scholarly works . . . brief and highly readable . . . Duvall’s book moves at a brisk and steady pace, riddled with vibrant illustrations and peppered with historical anecdotes integrated so seamlessly that they bely what was surely an excruciating research process . . . Cannabis is perhaps the most important scholarly work on the plant to date.’ – Hempirical Evidence
Chris Duvall is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography, University of New Mexico.