“W.B. O’Shaughnessy and the Introduction of Cannabis to Modern Western Medicine,” an essay published in the Public Domain Review in April 2017, has just come to our attention.  Sujaan Mukherjee writes about our namesake with the utmost respect:

“The colonial peripheries had no shortage of impressive polymaths, but what sets O’Shaughnessy apart is the manner in which, while conducting research in his many areas of interest, he not only tapped into elaborate local knowledge networks and structures, but also rigorously documented them, thoroughly crediting his sources both bibliographic and human. O’Shaughnessy also stands out on account of what was, arguably, his most significant contribution to medicine: the claim that cannabis could be used as a medicinal drug. As an intoxicant cannabis was fairly common in India, as O’Shaughnessy noted, but he demonstrated its potential use in a medical context, particularly as an anaesthetic. The papers on his experiments with the plant were published in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal in late 1839 — and were also read in front of the Medical and Physical Society of Calcutta in October of that year. In them we find detailed records of his prescient experiments and a fine example of his unique style of research…”