Remembering an African American Medical Cannabis Pioneer – Dr. Paschal Beverly Randolph

Cannabis Culture

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“The medicinal properties of this remarkable plant are… the keystone of the arch of health, social, moral, mental, and physical; and from its study, naught but manly, womanly, holy and serene purity, good, and excellence can come.” (Randolph, 1860)

Randolph, and his first wife, a native American healer named, Mary-Jane Randolph, patented a variety of cannabis based aphrodisiacs and medicines, such as phymylle and amylle, and the differences he attributes to its effects, leaves one wondering if he had stumbled upon the opposing effects of CBD and THC.“He touted the first as especially suited for nervous exhaustion and the second as a panacea for ‘passional excess, onanism, etc’. Together they were the best ‘aphrodision” in the world’” (Deveney, 1997). He saw cannabis as the Grand Secret of medicine. 

ORIENTAL HEMP – THE GRAND SECRET (1860) by Dr. Paschal Beverly Randolph

“Oriental Hemp- An extract of which I imported and keep on hand. 48 grains thereof, mixed with 100 of sugar of milk, ·divided· into 128 equal parts, one to be taken every six hours, will cure the most inveterate STRICTURE, PILES, PROSTATIC and FEMALE DIFFICULTY. I have made arrangements with an importer to furnish me the very best Oriental Hemp, upon whose genuineness my correspondents may place implicit reliance. Persons who use this herb in medicated baths, as a poultice, or in any way, should beware of the miserable trash usually sold under its name. Above all, should they avoid the so-called “Extracts.”

“The medicinal properties of this remarkable plant are absolutely destroyed by heat and Alcohol. They are literally worthless, for they are all prepared by heat. Procure the French or Egyptian extracts. I am the only person in this country possessed of the Egyptian formula for the extraction of the medicinal properties of this plant, and I will impart it to those who want it, if paid for my time in writing it out.

While investigating, and searching for a cure for the diseases named above, I also searched for their causes, and the means of their prevention. I found both ; and also made what I believe to be the most important discovery of the last 25 years, in a physiological point of view; I have caused this to be printed in a form compact and simple. No man, no woman, whether married or single, young or old, who values health, strength,beauty and long life, should be without that, which, from its peculiar nature, and inestimable value, is called “The Grand Secret.”

“Here let it be distinctly and forever understood; that the information alluded to, and constituting it, is of a high, a noble, pure and philanthropic, as well as a medicinal and physiological character. It is sacred, and will yet save millions from misery, early death, and ruin. There is nothing morbid about it, nor is it intended to gratify-but it is intended to cure those who are. Why ? Because it is the keystone of the arch of health, social, moral, mental, and physical; and from its study, naught but manly, womanly, holy and serene purity, good, and excellence can come. Its cost is one dollar, and 3 red stamps, -a trifle,-while the secrets disclosed are well worth thousands to any sensible human being- and to such only will it knowingly, be sent.”(Randolph, 1860)

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