This presentation will focus on the confluence of religious and medical uses of cannabis in ancient India, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. The use of cannabis to heal both body and soul goes back to the oldest religious texts in the world and was pursued deeply in Tantric practices in medieval India. It continues steadily up to modern times in a variety of cultural contexts. Historical examples of religious/magical/medical cannabis spirituality will be cited to show that this powerful stream has survived despite often being persecuted by government authorities.
Michael R. Aldrich, Ph.D., is the author of the first doctoral dissertation on cannabis in the United States, “Marijuana Myths & Folklore,” 1970; editor of the first pot’zine, The Marijuana Review, 1968-1973; co-founder, Amorphia, The Cannabis Cooperative, 1969-1973; organizer, California Marijuana Initiative, 1972; curator, Fitz Hugh Ludlow Memorial Library, 1974-2002 and The Aldrich Archives, 1974-present; program coordinator, Institute for Community Health Outreach (California statewide AIDS outreach worker training program), 1989-2001; executive director, CHAMP medical marijuana community center, San Francisco, 2001-2002.