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88

English meadows and forests are and were full of psychoactive substances. They were used. Quite creatively. In what psychiatrists call polytoxicomania. In what aficionados call synergistic combinations. This answer defines 'drugs' as mind-altering substances. The psychoactives do not need to be on the level of effectiveness of Oktoberfest inebriation or ...


69

FC: What exactly is a 'stimulant'? We might follow some modern definition and arrive at a certain restricted subset of chemicals that includes meth and modafinil. But that excludes quite a bit of drugs used and disregards a lot of effects that derive from synergistic combinations, timing, dosage set and setting of using drugs. The question also leaves open ...


47

This is a quite convoluted story. But in short: the common story is a bit too short for correctness. The Versailles Treaty was quite bad on many accounts, but it was not really responsible alone for what happened to aspirin. The classical account is this: In 1915, Aspirin manufactured in tablet form became available without a prescription. As soon as the ...


44

Drugs are certainly not a new phenomenon. Two well-known examples are opiates and cannabis. A great deal has been written about the use of hashish by medieval Nizari Ismailis (which gave us the word "assassin", derived from the Arabic "Hashshashin"). When I was studying the archaeology of Cyprus at Birkbeck in the late 1990s I wrote a paper on opiate use in ...


35

Caffeine is a stimulant and it was heavily Used in the US Civil War. At the time, it was believed to “[give] a significant advantage”: Grinspan states that Union General Benjamin Butler was aware of the effect caffeine had on soldiers and ordered his men to carry coffee in their canteens. He planned his attacks, in part, when his men were most ...


18

KOLA NUTS In sub-Saharan Africa, kola nuts have long been used by soldiers. For example, in the Sudan, Military officials dispensed kola to their soldiers before battle. It was thought to make men brave, even eager for combat (‘Yana sa mutum ya yi yaki da yawa’), and it combated cowardice and the urge to flee on the battlefield because it made men ...


17

I think one of the largest problems you are going to have is the term "recreational drugs". That term is by and large a new term. People and civilizations from back then would not have categorized drug usage in that manner. Let me give you a good example, though much closer to modern day than you mean. Cocaine was a common pain reliever, sold over the ...


13

In medieval France at least, the occupation of apothecary was severely restricted by law and required a licence to be lawful (such licences appeared first in Montpellier in the 12th century, probably under the influence of the then famous academy of medicine established there then spread in the rest of France). These licences typically incorporated a ...


13

The number one recreational drug in history is ethanol. Commonly served as beer or fermented fruit juice. It is and was cheap and easy to make, and has destroyed lives in all of recorded history. It has also been seen as the very definition of a good party in most of recorded history. (E.g. the story in the Bible of turning water into wine)


11

The way that the question is framed is laced with quite modern conceptions of "abuse" and "drugs" that would be completely incomprehensible for earlier people. Yet the word 'drug' was not always so closely linked in the public mind with substance abuse. The definition of the noun drug in volume III (published in 1897) of original edition of the Oxford ...


11

There is no doubt that opium and tea formed a "commercial nexus" that became an essential element of the British imperial economy. Although the British government wasn't directly involved in the opium trade, import duties on tea provided 10% of British tax income. Sales of opium generated about one seventh of the revenues of the British East India Company in ...


10

Hashish was known in the West as early as 1596, when it was described by Jan Huyghen van Linschoten in a book describing his travels in Egypt and Turkey. But it wasn't until the 19th century that smoking cannabis became widely known in the West, through portrayals of oriental exoticism by writers such as Dumas. Hemp was grown in the British colonies ...


10

Contrary to popular myth, cannabis is not legal in the Netherlands. But the current de facto liberal policy dates to 1976. In 1976 the Netherlands adopted a formal written policy of non-enforcement for violations involving possession or sale of up to 30 grams of cannabis. [1] (emphasis mine) That study I cited is worth perusing if you're interested in ...


8

It would appear that some of the confusion about the fate of the Nemesis is due to the naval tradition of naming new vessels in honour of their famous predecessors. In this case, when the famous Nemesis was taken out of service at the end of February 1855, her engines were placed into the hull of a new troop boat which took her name too. The original ...


7

This was studied in Germany. First it was expert testimonial by empirically experienced medics, then it was seen as results in the field and tested on regular soldiers, and finally on a lot of involuntary subjects from concentration camps. F. Eichholtz: "Die zentralen Stimulantia der Adrenalin‐Ephedrin‐Gruppe", Angewandte Chemie, 1940, DOI Hans-Diedrich ...


7

Smoking cocaine never became mainstream. It remained a part of drug sub-culture. It was propagated among cocaine users who were looking to get higher, and could afford to smoke obscene amounts of cocaine. It began in 1974. It was isolated to Southern California, in L.A. and especially Hollywood. The first related hospital case was in 1975. The greatest dope ...


6

There is solid evidence that Chinese Muslims who immigrated to Russia brought Opium there in the nineteenth century. From Svetlana Rimsky- Korsakoff Dyer article for the Australian National University entitled "Karakunuz: An Early Settlement of the Chinese Muslims in Russia" "The Dungans,the descendants of Chinese Muslims who migrated to Russia over a ...


6

It's probably alcohol, with tobacco (nicotine) and caffeine at distant second and third. These drugs don't directly enhance performance, but are great at maintaining morale. In the case of alcohol, although it impairs performance and is easily abused, can also increase courage - see the term Dutch Courage. Many historical militaries also practiced a "last ...


5

“The northern group of nationalities, especially the Itelmen of Kamchatka, had had another stimulant - wine from 'sweet herb'. The secret of its production passed from them to Russian Cossacks and sedentary Koryaks in the 16th and 17th centuries. For making wine Itelmens used the 'sweet herb' Heracleum dulce Fisch. sem. Umbelliferae). For making grass sugar ...


5

Looks like it's unlikely that anyone will provide a definite answer anytime soon so let this be a temporary answer. In the book "The substance abuse problems" by Sidney Cohen (as well as in some newspaper articles) the availability of drugs in West Berlin (mostly heroine and hashish) is explained by the trafficking done by guest workers from Turkey and ...


5

Two short answers: 1) By today's standards, "not a lot." 2) By the standards of the preceding decades, "a lot." That's because the 1950s represented the "dawn" of today's drug culture. "Conservative 1950s" describes only the adult culture of the time. That's because the adults had lived through the deprivations of the the Great Depression, and the ...


4

Mainly wine or fortified wines and beer. Other drugs did exist, but nowhere near what we have today. Distillation wasn't invented yet, so strong alcoholic beverages didn't exist. Fortified wines did, but that doesn't involve distillation. It's possible some (read: very few) people used herbs, mushrooms or even hemp, but not in great quantities. It wasn't ...


4

Not sure if you are asking solely about Europe and the classical world, but the New World people and empires used drugs in a sense that might today be called recreational, but probably more accurately should be called religious or religio-political. Consumption of hallucinogenic plants and animals were part of specific ceremonies, sometimes political rituals,...


3

Well, drugs and drug abuse has been around since the beginning of man, of that I am positive. In the Victorian era, for instance, addiction to laudanum was a major thing. Mary Todd Lincoln (the First Lady) was said to have been so addicted. As far as the American 50's, according to a blog I read the wide-spread drug abuse of the 60's was the direct result ...


3

The following may be a little late historically for OP's uses (though it's hard to know what precisely "medieval" means for a number of countries). But these bans all do precede the 18th century dates found in OP's original research. The 17th century saw a number of anti-tobacco laws (source): 1633: TURKEY: Sultan Murad IV orders tobacco users executed ...


3

I found some news reports from the 1970s saying that the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) had evidence that heroin was being smuggled into West Berlin, and that the smuggling was being done with the knowledge of the East Germans. The Senate investigation was prompted by reports that the heroin was being targeted at US military personnel in Germany. ...


2

Nemesis was sold in 1852, and I would presume (but can't confirm) that it was sold for scrap. I can't locate any indications that it was ever re-registered though. See Warships of the World to 1900 by Lincoln P. Paine, p 115-6


2

The natural drug epinephrine (adrenaline).


2

No. Although it is true that hemp was grown and harvested in Europe, ...is grown specifically for the industrial uses of its derived products. It is one of the fastest growing plants and was one of the first plants to be spun into usable fiber 10,000 years ago. its(hemp) use as a drug would have been minimal: Although cannabis as a drug and ...


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