1972's Galaxy "light whiskey" was a low-point in American spirits.
Ben Marks of Collectors Weekly says: "Hunter Oatman-Stanford just interviewed Noah Rothbaum about his new book, The Art of American Whiskey. In their conversation, Rothbaum explains (among other things) how whiskey was sold during Prohibition, much like medical marijuana is in some states today."
I had known medicinal whiskeys were available at this time, but I assumed they came in nondescript bottles, like rubbing alcohol or aspirin. But of course, they didn't. They were packaged in these beautiful, engaging, and highly illustrated boxes and bottles, which shows that, in fact, the whole medicinal whiskey business was not about "medicine" but about letting people continue to drink whiskey.
Before Prohibition, whiskey was prescribed for a range of real symptoms and illnesses, but after alcohol was outlawed, I think it was prescribed for things like the common cold or stress or anxiety as a way to get around the law. I imagine a lot of prescriptions were for subjective conditions. I think it's an accurate parallel to some of the marijuana clinics today, with prescriptions ranging from the legitimate to the recreational.