"Endorsed by Tibetan Monks and Jamaican Fishermen!"

Ephidrina's drug of choice. A mild psychedelic, cannabis is enjoyed daily by millions, at work and at play. It has been used as a medicine and mind-enhancer for over four thousand years and is an integral part of the daily lives of millions of people worldwide.

Recreational use of cannabis has been outlawed in the West for more than sixty years.

If you're lucky... within a few moments of inhaling you will feel mildly euphoric. Further ingestion results in a heightening of the five senses - in particular vision, taste and hearing. Now is a good time to listen to music, make love, or eat cold pizza.

The experience can be very stimulating artistically, but don't embark on any major tasks because you will very quickly forget what it was you were doing. Holding a conversation can be difficult for the same reason, but that won't matter, because jokes that were previously funny only to you will now entertain your most despised enemies.

If you're unlucky... you will like it enough to become entrenched in a soul-destroying habit, during which you will never leave the house except to buy dope. In spite of being not in the least addictive, cannabis is nice enough to be strongly habit-forming for some people. Alternatively, you may experience paranoia, which in a small minority can induce psychosis and other mental health problems.

And if you are very unlucky indeed, it will do absolutely nothing for you.

The early history of cannabis tells us that it was first used as a drug in ancient China and Asia. Although its psychoactive properties were well known, its principal functions were therapeutic. Cannabis was widely prescribed by pre-Christian quacks for ailments as diverse as venereal disease and leprosy. Throughout the centuries, hemp has been grown for its fibre all over the world, but the low resin content of the European weed meant that its medicinal qualities were virtually unknown in the West until it was "discovered" in the nineteenth century by European doctors working in North Africa and Asia.

Hemp fibre production was a multi-million dollar industry in the U.S. in the nineteen thirties. But in 1937, an outrageous piece of protectionist legislation called the Marijuana Tax Act redefined all cannabis products as contraband, and hemp farmers were driven out of business. Although the act was dressed up as a piece of anti-narcotics legislation, it was designed to benefit the paper and synthetic fibre industries.

Since then, a combination of muddled public opinion and the vested interests of various industries have conspired to keep cannabis criminal. This reached its height in the nineteen eighties, the era of Ronald Reagan's War on Drugs. As more and more evidence surfaced that a huge percentage of prescription drugs could be replaced by a herb people could grow at home, the politicians and the pharmaceutical companies closed ranks, and a huge public disinformation campaign was launched.

Because of the governmental whitewash, or maybe the lack of recent research, many people still believe that cannabis is a dangerous drug. However, studies suggest that pot's effects on health are not negative, and as a medicine, it's as useful as many modern pharmaceuticals. As the millenium turns, the weight of popular opinion is more than ever in favour of legalization of cannabis for medicinal purposes, and Ephidrina is hopeful that this abundantly useful plant will again become one of our major resources in the new century.



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