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Marijuana History 101

Hooked: Illegal Drugs and How they Got that Way

History Channel 2007

There has been a “drug culture” since the dawn of civilization. Sumerian cuneiform tablets from 3000 BC show a poppy harvest, as do ancient Egyptian scripts and Greek statues adorned with poppy crowns. Far more recently, Freud sung the praises of cocaine, which was included in the original recipe for Coca-Cola. But since the industrial revolution, drug use has changed dramatically, and society’s response to this–particularly in America–has been to demonize users and make drugs illegal.

HOOKED explores the world of illegal drugs, meeting with pharmacologists and scientists to learn exactly what effect they have on us and exploring the social and legislative changes that have transformed (and, some would argue, created) the drug culture of the 20th century. Outspoken advocates on both sides of the “war on drugs” illuminate this polarizing issue, and fascinating accounts and artifacts illustrate the role of drugs throughout history.

Marijuana and Methamphetamine

In a series investigating the history of drug use, we begin our trip tracing the rise of marijuana and synthetic amphetamines.

Marijuana, from the Indian hemp plant, has been used worldwide as a source of rope, cloth, and paper; its medicinal qualities were first documented 4,000 years ago in China. But it’s best known as the drug of choice of the 1960s. During WWII, US troops were given an estimated 200 million amphetamines to fight drowsiness and battle fatigue, and they’re still used to fight depression.
This History Channel program is quite an eye opener that may change one’s perceptions about “good” and “bad” (or legal/illegal). We all share social beliefs based on the laws and legacy of our country. Yet, how were such beliefs formed to become a part of who we are today?

Since the mid-19th Century, America has waged a “war on drugs.” These 2-DVDs examine the history, effect and status of specific illegal drugs.

Disc One examines Marijuana, Methamphetamine, Opium, Morphine and Heroin, and Disc Two examines Cocaine, LSD, Ecstasy, and Raves. This program guides us through the uncertain landscapes, explaining the chemistry of certain drugs, their effects on our body/mind/emotions, their history of use and illegality, and their current status. I found it especially interesting to hear experts on both sides of the “war on drugs” exploring the social and legislative changes that have created our drug culture. This is a very informative well shaped program, anyone should see it.

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