“Roger Adams’ political views aren’t discussed much,” opened Bryan W. Brickner, publisher of The Cannabis Papers: A citizen’s guide to cannabinoids (2011): “that’s not because he wasn’t political; it’s because of the politics in his science.”
Roger Adams (1889-1971), was head of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) from 1926-54. He’s credited with the Adams’ catalyst (platinum dioxide), developing local anesthetics, the synthesis of naturally occurring anthraquinones (dyes, papermaking and medicine), and the structure of gossypol (a natural phenol with pro-apoptotic properties). Adams is also credited with the 1940 discovery of the herbal cannabinoid Cannabidiol (CBD).
In a new post on The Compassion Chronicles, “What if he’d had the Good Stuff? Adams, Prohibition and Political Cannabinoid Science,” Brickner discusses Adams’ 1942 Harvey Lecture, Marihuana.
“Adams was not only a famed chemist,” explained Brickner, “he lived the political nature of scientific research by publicly speaking about marihuana in 1942 – five years after it had been federally banned.”
Brickner continued: “Adams discovered CBD from Minnesota wild hemp, which means there wasn’t much (if any) THC in his research material supplied by the government. While writing The Cannabis Papers we wondered – What if the famed chemist had been given cannabis with THC in it? Would he have found it 24 years earlier than it was?”
“It’s an open question,” Brickner noted, “though illustrative – it shows the cost of keeping ‘the good stuff’ from a chemist like Adams.”
Brickner graduated from the University of Illinois in 1988 and has a 1997 political science doctorate from Purdue University. The Compassion Chronicles is an online destination for news, opinion, resources and networking.