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Further reading and study for those interested. This section is still very much a work in progress.  


Scientific Studies






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Scientific Studies/Papers


This section is divided into the following categories:






Geographies of Knowing, Geographies of Ignorance: Jumping Scale in Southeast Asia

Willem van schendel (2005)


'Area studies' use a geographical metaphor to visualise and naturalise particular social spaces as well as a particular scale of analysis. They produce specific geographies of knowing but also create geographies of ignorance. Taking Southeast Asia as an example, in this paper I explore how areas are imagined and how area knowledge is structured to construct area 'heartlands' as well as area 'borderlands'. This is illustrated by considering a large region of Asia (here named Zomia) that did not make it as a world area in the area dispensation after World War 2 because it lacked strong centres of state formation, was politically ambiguous, and did not command sufficient scholarly clout. As Zomia was quartered and rendered peripheral by the emergence of strong communities of area specialists of East, Southeast, South, and Central Asia, the production of knowledge about it slowed down. I suggest that we need to examine more closely the academic politics of scale that create and sustain area studies, at a time when the spatialisation of social theory enters a new, uncharted terrain. The heuristic impulse behind imagining areas, and the high-quality, contextualised knowledge that area studies produce, may be harnessed to imagine other spatial configurations, such as 'crosscutting' areas, the worldwide honeycomb of borderlands, or the process geographies of transnational flows. Scholars of all conventional areas can be involved in this project to 'jump scale' and to develop new concepts of regional space.

Are the Central Himalayas in Zomia? 

Sara Shneiderman (2010)


This article examines the applicability of the Zomia concept for social scientific studies of the Himalayan region, with a focus on the Central Himalayas. While for both empirical and political reasons the term Zomia itself may not be entirely appropriate to the Himalayan Massif, the analytical imperatives that underlie James C. Scott particularly the emphasis on the ethnic, national, and religious fluidity of highland communities, and their intentionality and agency vis- can be of great utility to those working in the Himalayan region. Through a historical review of the area tradition of , as well as an ethnographic sketch of the cross-border Thangmi community of Nepal, India, and China traditional nation-state rubrics.


Across Zomia with merchants, monks, and musk: Process geographies, trade networks, and the Inner-East-Southeast Asian borderlands

C. Patterson Giersch (2010)


For several decades, theorists have challenged notions of geographical space as fixed, instead arguing that spatial scales and regional configurations respond to transformations in politics and economies. This has raised questions about permanent regional studies configurations (such as Southeast Asia), sparking the proposal of, an alternative region focusing on Asia process geography's Kham, East Asia's Sichuan and Yunnan Provinces, and Southeast Asia. In doing so, it reveals who traded commodities, on what scales they operated, and how their increasingly complex networks were imbricated with state and local power. These networks linked Zomian communities to Chinese and global transformations and influenced local cultural and political changes, suggesting that studies of mobility can uncover hidden geographies of social, political, and cultural change.



A Systematic Investigation of Cannabis

Karl Higgins (2005)


Botanists disagree whether Cannabis (Cannabaceae) is a monotypic or polytypic genus. A systematic investigation was undertaken to elucidate underlying evolutionary and taxonomic relationships within the genus. Genetic, morphological, and chemotaxonomic analyses were conducted on 157 Cannabis accessions of known geographic origin. Sample populations of each accession were surveyed for allozyme variation at 17 gene loci. Principal component (PC) analysis of the allozyme allele frequencies revealed that most accessions were derived from two major gene pools corresponding to C. sativa L., and C. indica Lam. A third putative gene pool corresponds to C. ruderalis Janisch. Previous taxonomic treatments were tested for goodness of fit to the pattern of genetic variation. Based on these results, a working hypothesis for a taxonomic circumscription of Cannabis was proposed that is a synthesis of previous polytypic concepts. Putative infraspecific taxa were assigned to “biotypes” pending formal taxonomic revision. Genetic variation was highest in the hemp and feral biotypes and least in the drug biotypes. Morphometric traits were analyzed by PC and canonical variates (CV) analysis. PC analysis failed to differentiate the putative species, but provided objective support for recognition of infraspecific taxa of C. sativa and C. indica. CV analysis resulted in a high degree of discrimination of the putative species and infraspecific taxa. Variation in qualitative and quantitative levels of cannabidiol (CBD), tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and other cannabinoids was determined, as were frequencies of alleles that control CBD and THC biosynthesis. The patterns of variation support a two-species concept, but not recognition of C. ruderalis as a separate species from C. sativa. PC analysis of terpenoid variation showed that the wide-leaflet drug (WLD) biotype of C. indica produced enhanced mean levels of guaiol and isomers of eudesmol, and is distinct from the other putative taxa. In summary, the results of this investigation show that a taxonomic revision of Cannabis is warranted. However, additional studies of putative wild populations are needed to further substantiate the proposed taxonomic treatment.

Cannabis Domestication, Breeding History, Present-day Genetic Diversity, and Future Prospects

Robert Clarke, Mark Merlin (2016)


Humans and the Cannabis plant share an intimate history spanning millennia. Humans spread Cannabis from its Eurasian homelands throughout much of the world, and, in concert with local climatic and human cultural parameters, created traditional landrace varieties (cultivars resulting from a combination of natural and farmer selection) with few apparent signs of domestication. Cannabis breeders combined populations from widely divergent geographical regions and gene pools to develop economically valuable fiber, seed, and drug cultivars, and several approaches were used with varying results. The widespread use of single plant selections in cultivar breeding, inbreeding, and the adoption of asexual reproduction for commercial drug production, reduced genetic diversity and made many present-day cultivars susceptible to pathogens and pests. The great majority of drug Cannabis cultivars are now completely domesticated, and thus are entirely dependent on humans for their survival. Future ramifications remain to be realized.

Identification of Phenotypic Characteristics in Three Chemotype Categories in the Genus Cannabis

Dan Jin, Phillip Henry (2021)


Modern Cannabis cultivars are morphologically distinguished by their leaflet shapes (wide for “Indica” and narrow for “Sativa”) by users and breeders. However, there are no scientific bases or references for determining the shape of these leaflets. In addition, these two categories contained mostly THC dominant (high THC) cultivars while excluded CBD dominant (high CBD) and intermediate (intermediate level of both THC and CBD) cultivars. This study investigated the phenotypic variation in 21 Cannabis cultivars covering three chemical phenotypes, referred to as chemotypes, grown in a commercial greenhouse. Thirty morphological traits were measured in the vegetative, flowering, and harvest stages on live plants and harvested inflorescences. The collected data were subjected to correlation analysis, hierarchical clustering, principal component analysis, and canonical correlation analysis with preassigned chemotypes. Canonical correlation analysis assigned individual plants to their chemotypes with 92.9% accuracy. Significant morphological differences were identified. Traits usable as phenotype markers for CBD dominant cultivars included light-green and narrow leaflets, a greater number of primary and secondary serrations, loose inflorescences, dense and resinous trichomes, and Botrytis cinerea resistance. Traits for intermediate cultivars included deep-green and medium-wide leaflets, more primary and secondary serrations, medium compact inflorescences, trichomes that are less dense and less resinous, and Botrytis cinerea resistance. Traits for THC dominant cultivars included deep-green and wide leaflets, large and compact inflorescences, dense and resinous trichomes, and Botrytis cinerea susceptibility. The results of this study provide a comprehensive profile of morphological traits of modern Cannabis cultivars and provides the first such profile for CBD dominant and intermediate cultivars. Additionally, this study included the traits of inflorescences, which have not been compared between three chemotypes in the literature. Phenotype markers identified in this study can facilitate preliminary cultivar identification and selection on live plants before or as a supplement to chemical and genetic analysis.

A classification of endangered high-THC cannabis domesticates and their wild relatives

John McPartland, Ernest Small (2020)


Two kinds of drug-type Cannabis gained layman’s terms in the 1980s. “Sativa” had origins in South Asia (India), with early historical dissemination to Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Americas. “Indica” had origins in Central Asia (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkestan). We have assigned unambiguous taxonomic names to these varieties, after examining morphological characters in 1100 herbarium specimens, and analyzing phytochemical and genetic data from the literature in a meta-analysis. “Sativa” and “Indica” are recognized as C. sativa subsp. indica var. indica and C. sativa subsp. indica var. afghanica, respectively. Their wild-growing relatives are C. sativa subsp. indica var. himalayensis (in South Asia), and C. sativa subsp. indica var. asperrima (in Central Asia). Natural selection initiated divergence, driven by climatic conditions in South and Central Asia. Subsequent domestication drove further phytochemical divergence. South and Central Asian domesticates can be distinguished by tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol content (THC/CBD ratios, ≥7 or <7, respectively), terpenoid profiles (absence or presence of sesquiterpene alcohols), and a suite of morphological characters. The two domesticates have undergone widespread introgressive hybridization in the past 50 years. This has obliterated differences between hybridized “Sativa” and “Indica” currently available. “Strains” alleged to represent “Sativa” and “Indica” are usually based on THC/CBD ratios of plants with undocumented hybrid backgrounds (with so-called “Indicas” often delimited simply on possession of more CBD than “Sativas”). The classification presented here circumscribes and names four taxa of Cannabis that represent critically endangered reservoirs of germplasm from which modern cannabinoid strains originated, and which are in urgent need of conservation.



Extinction by Hybridization and Introgression

Judith Rhymer, Daniel Simberloff (1996)


Nonindigenous species can bring about a form of extinction of native flora and fauna by hybridization and introgression either through purposeful introduction by humans or through habitat modification, bringing previously isolated species into contact. These phenomena can be especially problematic for rare species coming into contact with more abundant ones. Increased use of molecular techniques focuses attention on the extent of this underappreciated problem that is not always apparent from morphological observations alone. Some degree of gene flow is a normal, evolutionarily constructive process, and all constellations of genes and genotypes cannot be preserved. However, hybridization with or without introgression may, nevertheless, threaten a rare species' existence.



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Cannabis: A complete guide

Ernest Small (2017)

Cannabis sativa is best known as the source of marijuana, the world’s most widely consumed illicit recreational drug. However, the plant is also extremely useful as a source of stem fiber, edible seed oil, and medicinal compounds, all of which are undergoing extremely promising research, technological applications, and business investment. Indeed, despite its capacity for harm as a recreational drug, cannabis has phenomenal potential for providing new products to benefit society and for generating extensive employment and huge profits. Misguided policies, until recently, have prevented legitimate research on the beneficial properties of cannabis, but there is now an explosion of societal, scientific, and political support to reappraise and remove some of the barriers to usage. Unfortunately, there is also a corresponding dearth of objective analysis. Towards redressing the limitation of information, Cannabis: A Complete Guide is a comprehensive reference summarizing botanical, business, chemical, ecological, genetic, historical, horticultural, legal, and medical considerations that are critical for the wise advancement and management of cannabis in its various forms.

This book documents both the risks and benefits of what is indisputably one of the world’s most important species. The conflicting claims for medicinal virtues and toxicological vices are examined, based mainly on the most recent authoritative scientific reviews. The attempt is made consistently to reflect majority scientific opinion, although many aspects of cannabis are controversial. Aside from the relevance to specialists, the general public should find the presentation attractive because of the huge interest today in marijuana. Unfortunately, society has become so specialized and compartmentalized that most people have limited appreciation of the importance of science to their lives, except when a topic like marijuana becomes sensationalized. This review of cannabis can serve as a vehicle for public education in the realm of science and technology. Indeed, towards the goal of disseminating the important information in this book to a wide audience, the presentation is user-friendly, concise, and well-illustrated in the hope that non-specialists will find the topics both informative and entertaining.

Cannabis & Ethnobotany

Robert C. Clarke, Mark D. Merlin (2013)

Nonindigenous species can bring about a form of extinction of native flora and fauna by hybridization and introgression either through purposeful introduction by humans or through habitat modification, bringing previously isolated species into contact. These phenomena can be especially problematic for rare species coming into contact with more abundant ones. Increased use of molecular techniques focuses attention on the extent of this underappreciated problem that is not always apparent from morphological observations alone. Some degree of gene flow is a normal, evolutionarily constructive process, and all constellations of genes and genotypes cannot be preserved. However, hybridization with or without introgression may, nevertheless, threaten a rare species' existence.

Marijuana Botany - An Advanced Study: The Propagation and Breeding of Distinctive Cannabis

Robert C. Clarke (1981)

Marijuana Botany presents the scientific knowledge and propagation techniques used to preserve and multiply vanishing Cannabis strains. Also included is information concerning Cannabis genetics and breeding used to begin plant improvement programs. The book presents scientific and horticultural principles, along with their practical applications, necessary for the breeding and propagation of Cannabis and in particular, marijuana. It will appeal not only to the professional researcher, but to the marijuana enthusiast or anyone with an eye to the future of Cannabis products

Phytocannabinoids: Unraveling the Complex Chemistry and Pharmacology of Cannabis sativa

A. Douglas Kinghorn, Heinz Falk, Simon Gibbons, Jun'ichi Kobayashi (2018)

The book presents the current state of the art on phytocannnabinoid chemistry and pharmacology and will be of much use to those wishing to understand the current landscape of the exciting and intriguing phytocannabinoid science. The focus is on natural product cannabinoids which have been demonstrated to act at specific receptor targets in the CNS.

Cannabis sativa L. - Botany and Biotechnology

Suman Chandra, Hemant Lata, Mahmoud A. El Sohly (2017)

This book highlights current Cannabis research: its botany, authentication, biotechnology, in vitro propagation, chemistry, cannabinoids biosynthesis, metabolomics, genomics, biomass production, quality control, and pharmacology.
Cannabis sativa L. (Family: Cannabaceae) is one of the oldest sources of fiber, food and medicine. This plant has been of interest to researchers, general public and media not only due to its medicinal properties but also the controversy surrounding its illicit use. Cannabis has a long history of medicinal use in the Middle East and Asia, being first introduced as a medicine in Western Europe in the early 19th century. Due to its numerous natural constituents, Cannabis is considered a chemically complex species. It contains a unique class of terpeno-phenolic compounds (cannabinoids or phytocannabinoids), which have been extensively studied since the discovery of the chemical structure of tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC), commonly known as THC, the main constituent responsible for the plant’s psychoactive effects. An additionally important cannabinoid of current interest is Cannabidiol (CBD). There has been a significant interest in CBD and CBD oil (extract of CBD rich Cannabis) over the last few years because of its reported activity as an antiepileptic agent, particularly its potential use in the treatment of intractable epilepsy in children.


Taming Cannabis: Drugs and Empire in Nineteenth-Century France

David A. Guba (2020)

Despite having the highest rates of cannabis use in the continent, France enforces the most repressive laws against the drug in all of Europe. Perhaps surprisingly, France was once the epicentre of a global movement to medicalize cannabis, specifically hashish, in the treatment of disease. In Taming Cannabis David Guba examines how nineteenth-century French authorities routinely blamed hashish consumption, especially among Muslim North Africans, for behaviour deemed violent and threatening to the social order. This association of hashish with violence became the primary impetus for French pharmacists and physicians to tame the drug and deploy it in the homeopathic treatment of mental illness and epidemic disease during the 1830s and 1840s. Initially heralded as a wonder drug capable of curing insanity, cholera, and the plague, hashish was deemed ineffective against these diseases and fell out of repute by the middle 1850s. The association between hashish and Muslim violence, however, remained and became codified in French colonial medicine and law by the 1860s: authorities framed hashish as a significant cause of mental illness, violence, and anti-state resistance among indigenous Algerians. As the French government looks to reform the nation's drug laws to address the rise in drug-related incarceration and the growing popular demand for cannabis legalization, Taming Cannabis provides a timely and fascinating exploration of the largely untold and living history of cannabis in colonial France. 

Commodifying Cannabis: A Cultural History of a Complex Plant in the Atlantic World

Bradley J. Borougerdi (2018)

Cannabis is a genetically diverse plant that has been commodified for a variety of different purposes by many cultures throughout world history. For thousands of years, people have used its fiber, seed, and flowers to make rope and cloth, rig ships, feed people and livestock, concoct medicines, and alter states of consciousness. Until the nineteenth century, though, most Europeans and Americans were unaware of drug varieties of cannabis. The British encountered them in India and created western-style medicines that sold throughout the Atlantic world by the 1840s, but negative associations with Oriental intoxication and degeneracy sullied the plant's reputation as a viable commodity. Now, after decades of transatlantic criminalization policies against cannabis in the twentieth century, it is making a comeback. In Commodifying Cannabis, Bradley J. Borougerdi traces the tangled histories of its use for fiber, medicine, and altered states of consciousness across the Atlantic world, focusing on the dynamic interplay between these three different cultural applications to explain why the plant has transformed so many times throughout history. The historical journey spans a vast geographical landscape and includes over three centuries of source material to illuminate the cultural foundations behind the myriad transformations cannabis has endured as a commodity in the Atlantic world.


The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia

JJames C. Scott (2009)

For two thousand years the disparate groups that now reside in Zomia (a mountainous region the size of Europe that consists of portions of seven Asian countries) have fled the projects of the organized state societies that surround them—slavery, conscription, taxes, corv?e labor, epidemics, and warfare. This book, essentially an “anarchist history,” is the first-ever examination of the huge literature on state-making whose author evaluates why people would deliberately and reactively remain stateless. Among the strategies employed by the people of Zomia to remain stateless are physical dispersion in rugged terrain; agricultural practices that enhance mobility; pliable ethnic identities; devotion to prophetic, millenarian leaders; and maintenance of a largely oral culture that allows them to reinvent their histories and genealogies as they move between and around states. In accessible language, James Scott, recognized worldwide as an eminent authority in Southeast Asian, peasant, and agrarian studies, tells the story of the peoples of Zomia and their unlikely odyssey in search of self-determination. He redefines our views on Asian politics, history, demographics, and even our fundamental ideas about what constitutes civilization, and challenges us with a radically different approach to history that presents events from the perspective of stateless peoples and redefines state-making as a form of “internal colonialism.” This new perspective requires a radical reevaluation of the civilizational narratives of the lowland states. Scott’s work on Zomia represents a new way to think of area studies that will be applicable to other runaway, fugitive, and marooned communities, be they Gypsies, Cossacks, tribes fleeing slave raiders, Marsh Arabs, or San-Bushmen. 

Historical Dictionary of the Peoples of the Southeast Asian Massif (Historical Dictionaries of Peoples and Cultures)

Jean Michaud (2006) [1st Edition]

Dwelling in the highland areas of Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Burma (Myanmar) and southwest China are hundreds of ethnic groups known as 'tribes' in popular literature. Some groups number barely more than one hundred, others millions. Together their population adds up to 80 million, more than any of the countries (bar China) they inhabit, yet in each they are designated and treated as "minorities." They have been forced to dwell in the highlands while their enemies have occupied the more fertile lowlands. This, coupled with the fact that they are so little known abroad and even at home, has caused their way of life and cultural distinctions to come in jeopardy.This book offers hundreds of cross-referenced dictionary entries on about 200 groups, the six countries they live in, some of their leaders, and their political, economic, social, cultural and religious aspects. The chronology covers important events. The introduction discusses both the diversities and similarities of the groups' ethnicities, languages, religious practices, and customs. And the bibliography supplements the dictionary entries.

The Camera as Witness: A Social History of Mizoram, Northeast India

Joy L. K. Pachuau, Willem van Schendel (2015)

The Camera as Witness lifts the veil off the little known world of Mizoram and challenges - through unpublished photographs -core assumptions in the writing of India's national history. The pictures in the book establish the transformation of this society and the many forms of modernity that have emerged in it. It emphasises how 'indigenous people' in Mizoram used cameras to produce distinct modern identities and represent themselves to themselves, consistently contesting outsiders' imaginations of them as isolated, backward and in need of upliftment. The authors demonstrate how mostly amateur photographers used visual images to document a historical trajectory of heady change and continual reinvention, producing distinct modern identities. By virtue of its use of visual sources and its engagement with a wide range of important discourses, this book is relevant for students, historians, social scientists, political activists and general readers looking for a fresh approach to Northeast India.

The Chittagong Hill Tracts: living in a borderland

Willem van Schendel, Wolfgang Mey, Aditya Kumar Dewan (2002)

The Chittagong Hill Tracts: Living in a Borderland examines the borderland between Burma, India and Bangladesh, inhabited by twelve distinct ethnic groups with strong cultural and linguistic links with South East Asia. The three specialist authors of this unique book assembled more than 400 mostly unpublished photographs, many in colour, from over 50 private collections. The book introduces the reader to the remarkable cultural variety and modern transformations of this virtually unknown region bridging South East Asia and South Asia. At the same time it explores how, from the 1860s to the late twentieth century, photographers have portrayed the Chittagong Hill Tracts and their inhabitants. These photographers were both outsiders (travelers, officials, missionaries, anthropologists, development workers) and local people capturing their own world as they saw it. The 20 carefully documented chapters include: Creating a Colonial Aristocracy, The Public Display of Power, Images of Nature and Destruction, Religions of the Hills, Bodies and Costumes, Developing the Hills, and Lifestyles. The Chittagong Hill Tracts is the first comprehensive work on this complex region of Asia.


Illicit Flows And Criminal Things: States, Borders, And the Other Side of Globalization (Tracking Globalization)

Edited by Willem van Schendel and Itty Abraham (2005) 

Illicit Flows and Criminal Things offers a new perspective on illegal transnational linkages, international relations, and the transnational. The contributors argue for a nuanced approach that recognizes the difference between "organized" crime and the thousands of illicit acts that take place across national borders every day. They distinguish between the illegal (prohibited by law) and the illicit (socially perceived as unacceptable), which are historically changeable and contested. Detailed case studies of arms smuggling, illegal transnational migration, the global diamond trade, borderland practices, and the transnational consumption of drugs take us to Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe, and North America. They allow us to understand how states, borders, and the language of law enforcement produce criminality, and how people and goods which are labeled "illegal" move across regulatory spaces.