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6. Apotheek W.H. van der Meulen

Geldersekade 84a

This is the only remaining 17th century shop in Amsterdam, and probably the Netherlands’ oldest pharmacy. Generations of pharmacists have practiced here consecutively since 1696. The small pharmacy room was simultaneously a shop and workshop.

Cannabis was essential for historical pharmacies. In 1839, the brilliant Irish scientist Dr. William Brooke O’Shaughnessy (1809-1889) introduced the Western world to the ancient medicinal uses of cannabis practiced in India. Consequently, cannabis extracts began to be added to tinctures (alcohol-based liquids) along with opiates and other herbal extracts – sometimes even cocaine.

Doctors prescribed them to young and old for the most diverse ailments: a few drops mixed with warm water was a good remedy for corns and bunions, menstrual complaints, and muscle spasms caused by epilepsy. After opiates, cannabis was the most commonly used ingredient in the medicines available in European and American pharmacies. In the mid-19th century, virtually every local pharmacy had its own tincture; by the end of the century, this role was taken over by pharmaceutical companies.

Read more about Medical Cannabis. 


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