Cannabis Time Capsule: Swedish medical marijuana edible from 1897

Categories: Marijuana

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Despite the growing trend against cannabis use at the start of the last century, certain ethnic groups without any stigma were using cannabis as a medical herb. Among these early medical marijuana fans were the Swedes, of which there was a sizable Colorado population in the 1890s.

This find from an 1897 Svensk Amerkanska Western is technically an advertisement for the Svenska Mediciner pharmacy, but it is still worth pointing out.

The Svensk Amerkanska was the Swedish-language newspaper in Denver that ran until the early 1910s, covering all things Swedish in Colorado -- including their pharmacological needs.


We don't speak Swedish, but Google Translate does (sort of), and here's what the top of the advert says: "We have a large stock of sådara. Below is a list of some of them, who were sent to whom address anywhere, on receipt of price."

We're pretty sure something is lost in translation there. But what isn't confusing is the item seven lines down selling for $.75: Maltos Cannabis.

After some quick research, we found that Maltos Cannabis was a type of "medicine" sold as an edible cake by the Red Cross Chemical Works of Chicago (originally made in Stockholm, however). Although, according to the disclaimer on one of the original wrappers we dug up, the Maltos-Cannabis bar isn't meant to be a medicine.

Despite not being medicine, however, the bar is touted as helping with consumption, anemia, dyspepsia, indigestion and "scrofuls" -- a gnarly, flesh-eating side effect of tuberculosis infection. In addition to those claims, the bar was also reportedly good for "nervous persons," convalescents and "weak children."

The first two are both modern-day reasons to obtain medical cannabis. The latter we're not too sure about, but we assume that if you give any child some of this pot food, they'd probably liven up a little bit (or just pass out).

The final benefit is implied by the artwork of the bar -- i.e., it also will you turn away a skeletal Death figure and his sickle when you hold it up to a lighthouse beam on a deserted beach. No big deal.

Intrigued by this mystery bar, we also found an old medical text that reviewed the product and its composition. After testing 337 "grammes" of the stuff, researchers found that it mostly contained carbohydrates and fat and was completely fine for human consumption: "I consider Maltos Cannabis a highly nutritious and stimulating food remedy."
Now, keep in mind this doctor was part of the Illinois food inspection division and easily could have been paid off -- the 1890s being a time of outrageous political corruption, after all.

Finally, it is interesting that the manufacturers chose the term "cannabis," which at the time wasn't widely known as an alternate name for what was then called "Indian hemp" and "hasheesh." Not too far off from people today, who insist on distancing medical cannabis from "marijuana" and other stoner-stigma names.

For more vintage cannabis coverage, check out our Colorado Cannabis Time Capsule archive. And to catch up on all of your Colorado pot news, click over to our Marijuana news archive.

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Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

"the 1890s being a time of outrageous political corruption"

 When was the time not of outrageous political corruption?

DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Hey Puerile Pot Punks: Selling "Medical Marijuana" on Craigslist = Epic FAIL!

Despite the fact that Arizona has a medical-marijuana law, that law does not turn a neighborhood weed dealer into a bona fide medical-marijuana salesman.

This apparently comes as news to several Phoenix residents, as a New Times review of superior court filings shows that police have busted several dealers over the last few weeks, and were discovered by police because they offered "medical marijuana" for sale on Craigslist.

While there's certainly an argument that it's petty for cops to bust a transfer of marijuana between patients, it's not the brightest idea to make a Craigslist post highlighting that your "top shelf medicine" is $90 for a quarter-ounce, and $150 for a half-ounce. Of course, those are "donations," not "prices," the weed salesman will state in a losing argument with police.

Whether the "compassion club" model is legal -- in which donations to the club will get you "free" medicine -- still seems to be a gray area, as they're still being busted by some Valley police agencies here in 2013.

However, just acting as a regular weed dealer, but selling your "medical marijuana" for the price of "donations" probably won't keep you out of jail.

In one example, on June 5, officers contacted the poster of a Craigslist ad "advertising medical marijuana available for donation[s]," according to a court filing.

Through text messages, 34-year-old Phoenix resident Joshua Hulse and a police officer agreed to meet in the parking lot of a Walgreens at 35th Avenue and Union Hills, and exchange marijuana for money -- yeah, the "donation."

Police pulled him over after the transaction, and he admitted to meeting patients for these exchanges.

The report specifically states that what Hulse did was illegal due to the exchange of money for marijuana, but that's not the only problem police ended up finding. According to court filings, police found that Hulse had more than a pound of marijuana, and nearly $5,500 in cash. Additionally, police allege Hulse had a small bag of meth in his backpack.

Hulse was booked into jail on three felony drug charges.

Consider yourselves warned, weed salesmen (yes, you, saying you "don't negotiate" the prices of the donations).

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