Cannabis Time Capsule, 1877: Amateur Philly pharmacist gives away "hasheesh" treatments

Here's an old Cannabis Time Capsule we've dug up from nearly 136 years.

It appeared in the now-defunct Colorado Banner newspaper out of Boulder.

This December 13, 1877 brief details the schemes of a Philadelphia snake-oil salesman hooking unsuspecting victims on the opium-like wonders of hashish!

Cue scary music.

Apparently this wily S.O.B. and his assistants were scamming people through the mail by placing ads in newspapers promising a free remedy for people with consumption -- an old-timey word for tuberculosis. The only catch was that you couldn't find out what was in the tincture unless you sent $3 -- equal to about $60 by today's standards.

The article says the man's office was littered with letters full of money, adding that he was paying two women to stuff envelopes for him. Crafty.

But the real wickedness, according to the author, involved what was being sent out of the office: "hasheesh"!

Clearly, cannabis use is nothing close to opium addiction -- but did the home chemist in Philly maybe have something to his medicine?

Some studies have shown that cannabis extracts can be used to fight off drug-resistant bacteria and was studied as recently as the 1950s as a TB treatment. With what little science we have about it now, there's likely no way that the "swindler" would have had any proof of his claims, but he could have truly been onto something even if his motives were less-than-pure.

More from our Colorado Cannabis Time Capsule archive: "1922: Montrose cops destroy "peculiar" man's crops" and "1905: Mad scientist doctor will kill you with hash."

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William Breathes
Contact: William Breathes

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