CBD and History: ever heard of the Club des Hashischins?

Back when Balzac, Flaubert and Hugo hung out at Club des Hashischins

What if we told you that the greatest French artists of the 19th century had been members of the Club des Hashischins, a society dedicated to hasch consumption? After telling you about the origins of 420 and the reasons behind the prohibition of cannabis, we’re coming back with a new article mixing CBD and History to make you discover this unusual aspect of Parisian history, and to tell you more about this astonishing product...

The origins of the Club des Hashischins

What’s hasch?

Before we tell you about the Club des Hashischins, let's start with the basics. Often called hash, hashish is the name given to cannabis resin. It is made from the trichomes of the Cannabis plant. This is where the terpenes and cannabinoids are found, and thus most of the effects. These trichomes are then compressed into a solid paste. 

If you want to know more about the trichomes and the different parts of the CBD flower, don't hesitate to consult our guide on how to check the quality of a flower.

Because it is made out of trichomes, Hash is much more concentrated in cannabinoids and therefore in CBD. If you look for something more powerful than a flower, do not hesitate to turn to our Black Afghan Gold and its intense stimulating and relaxing effects.

A substance that intrigues French intellectuals

Already consumed in antiquity, Hash is part of the traditions of numerous countries of Asia and Maghreb. Though it makes its appearance in Europe in the XVIIIth century, it is considered that it is Napoleonic soldiers who would have made known the Hashish by bringing it back from the Egyptian campaigns.

Little by little, the substance arouses the curiosity of the scientific and literary circles, which are interested in its effects as in its recreational dimension, and its consumption begins to spread. 

Among these curious people was the psychiatrist Jacques-Joseph Moreau, better known as Moreau de Tours. Specialized in mental diseases, he undertook a trip to the East between 1836 and 1840. He discovers hashish there, and is immediately intrigued by its effects, which according to him, are close to the symptoms of madness, which he considers as a delirium identical to the dream.

As one is never as well served as by oneself, he starts to consume it on his return from Cairo and describes its effects with precision in a treaty, Du hachisch et de l’aliénation mentale (Of hashish and mental insanity), published in 1845. Little by little, he develops a theory: if consuming hashish produces such effects on sane people, perhaps he could treat evil by evil, and bring back his patients to their normal state? A philosophy that will be adopted by many psychiatrists, who will not hesitate to test cocaine, amphetamines and other substances on their patients.


An institution at the very heart of Île Saint-Louis

The place to be for Parisian artists

It is the links which Doctor Moreau maintains with the Parisian intelligentsia which will really make the reputation of Hash. 

He will notably introduce Cannabis to the poet Théophile Gautier, to whom the plant makes a strong impression. He then came up with the idea of bringing together artists and intellectuals to study and explore the effects of hashish and other substances together. This is how the Club des Hashischins was born in 1844. 

Installed in an apartment of the Hôtel de Lauzin - also called Hôtel de Pimodan - on the Île Saint-Louis, the club held monthly meetings. In Le Club des Hashischins, a short story published in February 1846 in La Revue des Deux Mondes, Théophile Gautier recounts his first experiences in the club. 

He describes a lounge arranged "in the oriental style", with a very refined decoration, made of paintings, statues, and even frescos on the ceiling. The guests gathered around a table, where they were served dawamesc, a kind of greenish jam made of hashish, spices and pistachios, served in delicate porcelain saucers. An atmosphere very far from seventies smoking sessions…


Hash, a substance that stimulates senses and creativity

In Le Club des Hashischins, Théophile Gautier describes the effects of this mixture

With it, the sensations are multiplied tenfold, bringing more flavors to the dishes: "I had, for my part, experienced a complete transposition of taste. The water I drank seemed to have the flavor of the most exquisite wine, the meat changed in my mouth into raspberry, and vice versa". He summarizes this new perception by saying: "The place where I was was indeed the same, but with the difference between a sketch and a painting; everything was bigger, richer, more splendid". 

The poet also speaks about the relaxing and euphoric effects of cannabis: "To the slightly convulsive gaiety of the beginning had succeeded an indefinable well-being, a calm without limits".

With its stimulating and euphoric effects, Hashish was an inescapable resource to water the imagination and the creativity of the artists, the visits to the Hotel of Lauzin inspiring even to Baudelaire his Artificial Paradises.

If you also wish to have a glimpse of these effects, do not hesitate to try the Black Afghan Gold, a much safer and legal alternative, since CBD does not produce psychoactive effects... a product which could have interested dear Théophile, who described us very colorful hallucinations, like this character with "a nose curved in bird's beak, green eyes surrounded by three brown circles, which he frequently wiped with a huge handkerchief.”

Until its closure in 1849, many personalities passed through the Club des Hashichins, among them painters Honoré Daumier and Eugène Delacroix or writers Gustave Flaubert, Alexandre Dumas and Honoré de Balzac, and even Victor Hugo!

And now you have the perfect anecdote for your next party! On our side, we hope you liked this article, don't hesitate to share it and follow us on instagram for even more content related to CBD!  

Cake it easy,