Bruce G. Baldwin is Curator of the Jepson Herbarium and Professor of Integrative Biology at the University of California, Berkeley. Douglas H. Goldman is Herbarium Associate at the Harvard University Herbaria. David J. Keil is Professor Emeritus and Director of the Robert F. Hoover Herbarium at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.Robert W. Patterson is Professor of Biology at San Francisco State University. Thomas J. Rosatti is Specialist at the University and Jepson Herbaria, University of California, Berkeley. Dieter H. Wilken is Director of Conservation at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden.
Cannabis sativa L. (Family: Cannabaceae) is one of the oldest sources of fiber, food and medicine. This plant has been of interest to researchers, general public and media not only due to its medicinal properties but also the controversy surrounding its illicit use. Cannabis has a long history of medicinal use in the Middle East and Asia, being first introduced as a medicine in Western Europe in the early 19th century. Due to its numerous natural constituents, Cannabis is considered a chemically complex species. It contains a unique class of terpeno-phenolic compounds (cannabinoids or phytocannabinoids), which have been extensively studied since the discovery of the chemical structure of tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC), commonly known as THC, the main constituent responsible for the plant’s psychoactive effects. An additionally important cannabinoid of current interest is Cannabidiol (CBD). There has been a significant interest in CBD and CBD oil (extract of CBD rich Cannabis) over the last few years because of its reported activity as an antiepileptic agent, particularly its potential use in the treatment of intractable epilepsy in children.
Of all the extraordinary and obscure plants that have been fermented and distilled, a few are dangerous, some are downright bizarre, and one is as ancient as dinosaurs—but each represents a unique cultural contribution to our global drinking traditions and our history.
This fascinating concoction of biology, chemistry, history, etymology, and mixology—with more than fifty drink recipes and growing tips for gardeners—will make you the most popular guest at any cocktail party.