TIL During prohibition, people used to get prescriptions for ‘medical’ wine and alcohol, just like today with weed.


TIL During prohibition, people used to get prescriptions for ‘medical’ wine and alcohol, just like today with weed.



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  • I understand the Walgreens chain was built during this period. When they were licensed to dispense alcohol, they expanded from a few stores to hundreds of locations in a short period of time.

  • Buffalo Trace and Four Roses survived prohibition even though they weren’t allowed to distill more alcohol, only sell what had already been distilled and was in the process of barrel aging. Yeungling sent the President a truckload of free beer the day prohibition ended. It takes 3 weeks to make Yeungling.

  • IIRC, Winston Churchill visited the US during prohibition and was prescribed not less than a pint of whisky per day. What a great man.

  • There were also dried grape bricks sold with clear instructions how to mix it with water and NOT let it ferment for 21 days in a cool dark place.

  • This was for established alcoholics who would otherwise go into DTs, seeing elephants and other shit.

  • I took a few bourbon tours in Kentucky and one place mentioned that they wrote something like 3 prescriptions a month for every man, woman and child in the state. Crazy how everybody got so sick all at the same time.

  • This happens today in Gujarat state in India. They are a dry state, but you can get a beer prescription in certain cases. For example flushing Kidney stones. My uncles been flushing them for years.

  • I’m waiting for a state to legalize medical MDMA.

  • I think a lot of folks misunderstand prohibition and think it was an all out ban on alcohol, when in fact it was a ban on the production (for sale), transportation, and selling of alcohol. If you had alcohol on you, you could drink it. If you made your own for personal use, you could drink it, you just couldn’t make money off of it. So in my opinion it was very different from the “prohibition” of marijuana.

  • Huh… maybe we could learn from the past and use it to influence our decisions in the present?

  • This is how Armand Hammer made his first fortune. Selling tincture of ginger in drug stores–80% alcohol–makes a great drink mixed with ginger ale. He made his second fortune by having a monopoly on wood pencils in the Soviet Union.

  • And now a prescription is needed for pseudoephedrine.

  • I have a bottle of gin, still sealed, in its original cardboard “box”/wrapper. Printed across the label it reads “For medicinal use only”.

    Sadly, the bottle has a paper seal so the gin has all evaporated, dropping the value to only a few dollars. Dammit.

  • I found an old bottle under my 100 year old home. I need to post a pic one day. Its medicinal spirits.

  • TIL people still compare weed with alcohol.

  • You can still have a doctor order a certain amount of alcohol to a nursing homes patient’s daily diet.

  • I believe medical alcohol is still prescribed in certain cases such as weaning alcoholics off the stuff.

  • I always knew that about alcohol, but I never made the connection with medical marijuana.

  • Well in hospitals patients can still get orders from docs (sort of a prescription I suppose) for alcohol, as alcohol withdrawal can be lethal if extreme long term binge drinking and tolerance preceded. I work in a hospital and our nursing floors keep 6 packs of budweiser in the medication refrigerators for this purpose.

  • Except weed actually has medical benefits. And it’s now legal recreationally many places.

  • Except weed has medicinal properties….

  • This is why “medical marijuana” is such a hard concept for a lot of people. I know too many people who have a green card just because they convinced a doctor to sign off on it, and now they can get high legally. Yes, I know there is a TINY percentage of people with an actual medical need, but the vast majority of “medical” users are just getting high. Source: I have a friend who works in dispensary.

    EDIT: Let the down votes begin.

  • Don’t besmirch my drug by comparing it to that other drug.

  • I would like to recommend Ken Burns’ series “Prohibition” on PBS.
    He touches on the subject of this TIL along with dozens of other pieces surrounding saloon culture, bootlegging and personal freedom in the US.
    Great music too!

  • If you actually look at the ingredients for many older medicines it’s all made of alcohol, cocaine, or opium. Learned this at the museum of surgical science in Chicago.

  • Here’s some interesting tidbits. One of the only scotches allowed to be imported during Prohibition was Laphroaig. It’s a heavily peated Isaly single malt that was said to be “so harsh” that no one would drink it unless they had to. It’s personally my favorite scotch of all.

    You can still buy old “dusty” bottles of whiskey labeled as medicinal. r/bourbon has a few reviews of these. The whiskey was generally aged for a long time (some bottles will say “aged for 16 summers” or something to that effect) because, though whiskey wasn’t aged for that long on a regular basis, all the per-prohibition whiskey was still in barrels. Some of it aged a lot longer than normally as a sales dropped due to only selling medicinal whisky.

    Some states remained dry after Prohibition. Some were dry before. Jack Daniel’s was made in Kentucky for a while due to Tennessee being a dry state. Today, Tennessee has dry counties, including Moore County where Lynchburg, where Jack Daniel’s is made, is located, and moist counties, where liquor can be served by the drink if a restaurant has a high enough seating capacity. Lynchburg boasts a population of around 1,500, though the Jack Daniel’s label says otherwise. This allowed because the label is a trademark.

    If you want cheap and affordable bourbon, just buy Wild Turkey 101. It will never fail you.

  • My great grandfather was a doctor in the town I grew up in. I still have his license to prescribe alcohol.

  • You mean to say “today people get prescriptions for weed just like they did during the prohibition for wine and alcohol.” we didn’t come first

  • They used to give intravenous drips of vodka to women who were in premature labor. Kept them from giving birth too soon.

  • i think this is why, in indiana, grocery stores can’t sell liquor unless the chain also has a pharmacy.
    http://www.indystar.com/story/money/2017/05/01/marsh-holding-huge-liquor-sale-because-obscure-indiana-alcohol-law/101165236/

  • Laphroaig, an expensive single malt Islay scotch that is rich in smoke and peat flavours, was one of the brands that was granted a rare import permit as a “medicinal spirit”, because those in charge couldn’t conceive of anyone actually *wanting* to drink it, unless they were desperately ill and ordered to by a doctor …

  • …for medicinal purposes.

  • Anyone else feel a pattern?

  • HA, The NAVY does not allow alcohol aboard Ships either. However we had to back a destroyer out of the harbor in the Azores in a storm one time and the entire group of line handling crews was later summoned cold and soaking wet to the mess decks where we administered “Medicinal” Brandy.

  • You can buy original prescriptions for medicinal alcohol on eBay (they had to file duplicates, so there’s a lot of them out there). They’re not expensive and they make great gifts.

  • So medical marijuana is a sham like medicinal alcohol was. Got it

  • Except that cannabis has *actual* medical uses, unlike alcohol.

    Edit: I am aware that ethanol is a topical antiseptic. Which is not a purpose for which it would be prescribed.

  • Except weed actually has applicable medical uses. But yeah.

  • Except alcohol kills people

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