Rathge, Adam R. “Cannabis Cures”, Boston College, 2017. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/bc-ir:107531.
This dissertation charts the medicalization and criminalization of the drug now widely known as marijuana. Almost no one in the United States used that word, however, until it was introduced from Mexico in the early twentieth century. Prior to that, Americans often called it hemp or hashish, and generally knew it as Cannabis - the scientific name given to a genus of plants by Carl Linnaeus. That transition in terminology from cannabis to marijuana serves as the crux of this project: It begins in 1840 with the formal introduction of cannabis into American medicine and ends in 1937 with the federal prohibition of marijuana. In between, it charts nearly a century of medical discourse, social concern, and legislative restrictions surrounding the drug – demonstrating that the origins of our nation’s war on weed are much older and more complicated than previous studies have suggested. In short, marijuana prohibition in the United States was not a swift or sudden byproduct of racism and xenophobia toward Mexican immigrants, but instead, the culmination of broad evolutions in public health and drug regulation coupled with a sustained concern about the potential dangers of cannabis use dating to the mid-nineteenth century.