As Robert Clarke, a cannabis researcher, and Mark Merlin, a professor of Botany at the University of Hawaii at Manoa explain in their comprehensive guide, Cannabis: Evolution and Ethnobotany, cannabis concoctions aided women in what is now Uzbekistan on their wedding night, easing pain and promoting relaxation before the supposed loss of virginity. To help brides cope, hashish was mixed with lambs fat “before defloration.”
The book is a comprehensive, interdisciplinary exploration of the natural origins and early evolution of this famous plant, highlighting its historic role in the development of human societies. Cannabis has long been prized for the strong and durable fiber in its stalks, its edible and oil-rich seeds, and the psychoactive and medicinal compounds produced by its female flowers.
The culturally valuable and often irreplaceable goods derived from cannabis deeply influenced the commercial, medical, ritual, and religious practices of cultures throughout the ages, and human desire for these commodities directed the evolution of the plant toward its contemporary varieties. As interest in cannabis grows and public debate over its many uses rises, this book will help us understand why humanity continues to rely on this plant and adapts it to suit our needs.
One reviewer wrote, "This may be the most important book ever published on the subject. Absolutely insightful writing and clearly focussed tables allow the reader to share the authors' zeal for the topics explored. This should be on the bookshelf of everyone interested in cannabis as well as those who appreciate the role of humans on the cultural evolution of medicinal plants."