Cannabis Americana

Celebrate history with this print featuring apothecary bottles from an obscure, yet increasingly relevant era.


created by

Don Wirtshafter and Paul MacFarland

read more about the maker

Natural History

Up until its prohibition in 1937, Cannabis was the third most used compound in medicine for sixty years running. Indica, a strain imported from India, was thought to be the superior medicinal option but inconsistent supply required the U.S. to develop its own strain. After a collaboration between pharmaceutical companies Eli Lilly & Co and Parke-Davis & Co in the 1890's, an improved variety called Cannabis Americana came on the market in the form of herbal materials and tinctures-liquid extracts that kept cannabinoids in their raw, physiologically inactive state.

The glass apothecary bottles themselves were something of a work of art-hand-lettered labels reverse painted and affixed to a recessed panel using yellow wax and rosin. Made in Millville, New Jersey, this flint glass bottle was designed for frequent use and stands 12.25" tall, including the blown glass stopper. This particular bottle shows its longevity with the careful repair of a small crack in the letter C on its left side.

Industry pioneer Don Wirtshafter was inspired to collect the remaining historical evidence of the use of Cannabis as a medicine. Eager to curate and present images of this obscure, yet increasingly relevant era, he teamed with historian and paper and textile preservationist Paul MacFarland. The two then partnered with to bring the bottles and their medicinal use back into the limelight—the result is a piece of history that continues to gain relevance and importance today.

Here, a part of their collection is photographed in stunning detail by Ohio-based photographer David Hooker. Set against a backdrop of a 13-star, colonial-style flag made in the early 20th century, this image serves as both an educational and intriguing touch of history for your home. Made in Oregon.

Click here to see Cannabis Apothecary Jars and Cannabis Tincture Jars.

Ohio lawyer and cannabis industry pioneer Don Wirtshafter has long felt that the whole history of cannabis has not yet been told. Intrigued by its multi-layered story, he began collecting antique cannabis apothecary jars—direct and quickly vanishing links to cannabis’s medicinal past. Don was inspired to curate and present the beautifully crafted relics and so teamed up with Paul MacFarland, a paper and textile preservationist. Throughout his career, Paul has worked within the fine arts industries promoting the archival and environmental plant-based papers—and until the prohibition of cannabis in 1937, many of the apothecary jars were labeled using hemp-based paper. Paul and Don’s partnership led them to team up with to create a collection that tells the important, and often misaligned, story of the plant and its many beneficial derivatives.

Only at UncommonGoods Made in the USA
Made from
Hahnemuhle Photo Rag Paper, Solid Maple Frame, Made in America, Artique, FSC certified mat
Framed 21" H x 17.25" W
Item ID

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also by Don Wirtshafter and Paul MacFarland


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