Five female authors who enjoyed cannabis

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There was a time when people weren’t afraid to admit their cannabis use

Women are already pioneering the legal cannabis industry. Some studies show that it could become the first billion-dollar industry that is dominated primarily by women and participation by individuals such as Dr. Lakisha Jenkins and Jane West has already set the industry along that path. What may surprise some is that women have always been at the forefront of cannabis and a number of female writers throughout history have broached the subject – some even before Columbus landed in the New World.

Hildegard von Bingen, who lived from 1098-1179, was a nun, composer and writer. She often wrote about consuming cannabis and touted its benefits in alleviating pain and treating wounds.

Harriet Martineau was an English author who is also an ancestor of Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge. She lived from 1802-1876 and published, among other things, “The Crofton Boys” in 1841. In her memoirs, “Eastern Life Present and Past,” she recalls her experiences with cannabis while traveling in the Middle East.

The author of “Little Women,” Louisa May Alcott, wrote several short stories about cannabis. In one story, “Perilous Play,” she writes about the surreal sensation provided by cannabis and ends the story with, “Heaven bless hashish, if its dreams end like this!”

In 1954, Alice B. Toklas published “The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook.” In it, a recipe for a Moroccan cannabis confection made with dried fruit, nuts and spices can be found. That dish was Moroccan Hashish Fudge and, perhaps, was the precursor to marijuana brownies.

The movie Out of Africa was based on the memoir written by author Karen Blixen, aka Isak Dinesen. Under her nom de plume, she wrote a number of short stories, but her memoir recalls her time on the plantations of Kenya, where she “liked to experiment with the sensations hashish, opium, or miraa could give them.”

It wasn’t until last century that cannabis suddenly was rebuffed by society, for reasons that possibly are known only to a small handful of individuals. Prior to that, it was accepted and a normal part of everyday life in many cultures and in many circles.