Chapter

History

Les Iversen

in Drugs

Second edition

Published in print June 2016 | ISBN: 9780198745792
Published online June 2016 | e-ISBN: 9780191808210 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/actrade/9780198745792.003.0001

Series: Very Short Introductions

History

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‘History’ outlines the knowledge and use of drugs through the ages. Early written records of medicinal drugs are known to have existed in a range of ancient cultures, including the Greek, Egyptian, Indian, and Chinese civilizations. In the medieval world, both Arabic and European countries studied drugs. Scientific investigation came about with the Renaissance, but medicine did not become truly scientific until the 19th century, when antiseptics, vaccines, and anaesthetics were discovered and produced. Drugs have also been used recreationally and ceremonially for millennia, whether naturally occurring (cannabis or opium), or artificially synthesized (LSD or ecstasy). Both medicinal and recreational drugs have become major, worldwide industries.

Keywords: alcohol; cannabis; Paul Ehrlich; infectious diseases; laudanum; medicine; mescaline; opium; pain; smoking; tetrahydrocannabinol

Chapter.  3882 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medicine and Health ; Pharmacology

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