The “first” American “Stoned Age”

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David Gross sent me a note that I thought I’d share with you:

A lot of people don’t know that cannabis had a real rennaissance in the
United States before the sixties… the 1860s, I mean.

To American marijuana enthusiasts, Fitz Hugh Ludlow (1836-1870) is our
pioneer. He was the first to explore the cannabis high methodically and
adventurously and to come back to tell the tale. His book “The Hasheesh
Eater” is both thorough and thoroughly bizarre.

Terence McKenna called him “part genius, part madman,” and said of his
writing that “Ludlow lies halfway between Captain Ahab and P.T. Barnum, a
kind of Mark Twain on hashish.”

In recent years, biographers have learned more about Ludlow. One of the
songs he wrote is still sung today at graduation ceremonies as the Union
College alma mater. He worked for a time as a doctor, a lawyer, a teacher,
and an editor, as well as an author. He traveled across the continent as a
reporter on the American West, interviewing Brigham Young in Utah,
exploring Yosemite, and introducing East-coast readers to the young Mark
Twain. And he did all this before his thirtieth birthday. (So much for
“amotivational syndrome.”)

I’ve spent the last decade researching the life and works of this cannabis
pioneer, and I’ve recently put out a new edition of his master-work “The
Hasheesh Eater” (which had been out of print since the 1970s):

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