Ethnobotany is the study of the relationship of plants and people across cultures and time. Cannabis has been in cultivation for millennia and used as a medicine, food, and for hemp fiber. This program will look at the historical uses of cannabis and how we might explore those uses in future research.
Thomas J. Carlson, MD / MS in Botany is Teaching Professor in the Department of Integrative Biology and Curator of Ethnobotany in the Jepson and University Herbaria at UC Berkeley. Tom has conducted research with, and provided medical care for, forty different ethno-linguistic groups in fifteen different countries in Africa, Asia, Pacific Islands, South America, and North America. He has collaborated with indigenous/local people to learn about their ethnoempirical and ethnotheoretical perspectives on medical and nutritional ethnobotany, ethnotaxonomy, ethnoecology, and ethnoepidemiology. His research integrates this ethnobiological information into western empirical and theoretical frameworks to generate hypotheses and design and conduct experimental studies on the pharmacology, nutrition, and ecology of medicinal and food plant species.