Cannabis Time Capsule, 1893: Horses Thrive on Weed

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Willie Nelson says he gives his horses beer, but according to this 1893 article in the Leadville Herald-Democrat, he should be using weed.

Yes, the cure for a worn-down horse is good-old THC.

See also: "Medical Marijuana Dispensary Review: Five Years Later at Walking Raven in Denver"

The article, found buried deep in the coverage of the Grover Cleveland inauguration, talks about how zee Germans and Austrians would need something to get their horses through the high-speed run from Berlin to Vienna -- presumably to refill their beer steins and cheese stashes. They came up with "devices and nostrums" to get the jaded horses and cattle through the drive.

The "orientals" had the best solution, according to one American correspondent. Using their skills with medications, they found that "gunjah" worked best to turn around a jaded horse (much like today with jaded hipsters). And these dudes grew some serious buds, too. Two feet long and three inches wide, according to the report.

And these super buds saved the day all the time, apparently. Take this wild tale:

"A very arduous and difficult march was being performed on an unfinished road through a mountainous country. The oxen had a long spell of continuous work and the road was precipitous and foothold was so difficult to get that the cattle became exhausted and totter about helplessly unable to proceed. There could be no halt, for tigers and bears were all around. In this emergency the ever ready and resourcesful drivers, producing their stock of "gunjah" pound up a handful for each bullock, mixed with sugar. The effect was almost instantaneous. The cattle picked up a fresh heart and energy, and trotting on cheerfully soon reached the encampment."

They weren't just giving it to the horses and cows, either: "It is used by smokers, who derive intense enjoyment from its narcotic fumes."

Willie would be proud.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.