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Tracing Important Cannabis-Related Facts Throughout History

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Cannabis

Cannabis has a long history, but how far does its story go back to? Considered as a worldwide crop which is the oldest plant in the history of humanity, it is interesting to learn about the key events in the long history of the plant. Read on to find out the most important events in its story:

Hemp in the Ancient Times

If you think that marijuana only emerged in modern times, then think again. The plant has existed for thousands of years now. There were records of it being used in Ancient European, Asian and African civilizations, making it a truly global herb. Check out how it was used in ancient times.

Applications of Cannabis:

  • Spirituality and Religion

Perhaps one of the most primary uses of marijuana during this age is for spirituality and religion. Ancient texts bear witness to the religious purpose of cannabis. The Vedas of ancient India goes as far back as 2,000 BC, mentioning cannabis as one of the five sacred plants. Shinto and Buddhist literature also mentions the herb as an aid for meditation.

  • Healing

Aside from aiding in spiritual rites, cannabis was also used to treat all kinds of medical conditions. The Chinese people have a legendary leader who prescribed cannabis tea for a variety of medical conditions. This includes rheumatism, poor memory and gout.

There were also records of medical use in India, Egypt and Japan, which is implemented to treat cough, anxiety, inflammation and constipation. It was also used as an anesthetic.

As spirituality and healing are closely related in ancient times, it is important to mention that some studies assert that Jesus used hemp oil as an anointing oil to cure the sick. Researchers say that the Scriptures refers to it as keneh-bosem (or kaneh-bosm) in Aramaic.

  • Trade and Industry

In ancient times, the plant was not only consumed but also used for practical and industrial purposes. Hemp is a highly fibrous herb, making it a good crop for textiles, papers, ropes and many other industrial products.

Who Smoked the First Blunt?

This question pops up on every smoker’s mind. In fact, even non-smokers may be curious as to who discovered that this plant can be smoked and consumed. Cannabis legend and High Times editor-in-chief says that our ancestors from Bactria (now part of Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan) discovered the psychoactive properties of cannabis through burning the plant in caves and shelters. However, it is difficult to determine who exactly smoked the first blunt.

Earliest Evidence of Marijuana Use

Scientists believe that the crop came from Central Asia, which includes the modern-day countries that cover the ancient place that is Bactria. While Hager says that the herb came from what is now known as parts of Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, other scientists say that it emerged from what is now called Siberia (the southern part) and Mongolia.

Researchers say that the use of cannabis can be traced back to 12,000 years ago, making it one of the oldest crops in the world. The oldest texts that mention the consumption of the cannabis dates as far back as 4,000 B.C. in China.

However, it is only recently when experts discovered direct evidence of humans consuming marijuana. A 2,500-year-old burial site in Western China was found to have traces of the plant with high contents of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the mind-altering compound in cannabis. Theories say that it was used for ritualistic burials or for its psychoactive effects.

The Medieval Age and Cannabis

Also called post-classical age, the medieval times was another eventful time for cannabis. With the various imperialistic endeavors during this age, the world saw marijuana’s evolution in the medieval age.

Applications of Cannabis:

  • Alchemy and Herbalism

As a medieval forerunner of chemistry, alchemists experimented with what the plant has to offer. Alchemists (the medieval equivalent of modern-day scientists) used marijuana incense and other extracts from the plant for medicinal purposes. Some historians say that religious hospitals grew hemp for the same reason.

However, herbalist physicians warned people against the excessive use of the plant. These individuals believe that over consumption can lead to infertility and even serious medical conditions.

  • Creativity

A lot of writers and thinkers of the time have consumed marijuana. Even the prolific William Shakespeare was believed to have taken this herb, which may have resulted in his creative writing.

Worldwide Cannabis

The plant arrived at Eastern Africa when Arab traders came to the region in 1,300 BCE. They brought cannabis to treat various illnesses such as malaria, asthma and dysentery. Meanwhile, the Spanish Conquest in 1,500 BCE brought the plant to the Americas. The colonists used their hemp crops for industrial purposes, making ropes and textiles using its fibers.

Wine and ‘Hashish’

During medieval times, the wine was banned in the Middle East. This led the people to turn to hashish, allowing them to get intoxicated without breaking the law.

How the Modern World Perceives Cannabis

Now that we know how the herb was used in the ancient and medieval ages, we now come to our own time: the modern age. While you are familiar with how the public views marijuana today, there are several important events that can influence the future of the plant.

Applications of Cannabis:

With the debate going on regarding the usefulness of the plant, one of the first things you should know is that cannabis is used for:

  • Medical Treatments

Just like in the ancient and medieval ages, this herb is used today as an effective addition to medical treatments. However, it is essential to note that we now have a better understanding of the medicinal effects of the cannabis. We currently have deeper knowledge about the chemical compounds of hemp, especially cannabidiol (CBD), and its effects on the human body thanks to the endocannabinoid system.

With this, we know how and why the plant can reduce, alleviate, treat and prevent various medical conditions of the body. These include cancer, epilepsy, mental disorders, inflammation, pain and brain degeneration diseases, just to name a few.

  • Recreational

In the medieval age, humans used marijuana for leisure. The same is still true today, especially with the legalization of the crop in many parts of the world. Many individuals use the plant for its medicinal properties, but many others enjoy their psychoactive effects thanks to THC.

  • Lifestyle Aid

Aside from recreational usage, the herb is also popular as a lifestyle aid. The group of writers and thinkers called Le Club Des Haschischins (or the Hashish Club) in mid-19th century consumed the plant. While the medieval age has shown how it is well-used as a creativity aid through various works, it is generally used as a lifestyle aid in modern times. Many people now recognize the plant’s potential not only as medical, recreational and creative aid but also as a productivity aid and mood enhancer.

The popularity of CBD has enabled professionals, creatives and scholars the boost in energy, cognition and creativity they need to become more productive. In fact, it has the potential to greatly increase the quality of life of many working individuals.

  • Trade and Industry

The passing of Farm Bill 2018 in the United States signals the return of hemp as an industrial crop. This means that Americans will be able to enjoy hemp-derived products from oils, papers, textiles and many other industrial products.

Aside from this, there are speculations that marijuana can become an energy crop. Researchers are looking into its potential as a biodiesel source, especially as it produces a large amount. Compared to the current energy crop, soybeans, hemp can turn up to 4 times more oil per acre.

War on Drugs

One of the most important cannabis-related events in the globe is its inclusion in the war on drugs. There are drugs wars being waged across the world, aiming to eradicate the use of illicit substances including LSD, cocaine, fentanyl, and unfortunately, marijuana.

The U.S. is one of the countries that are waging these types of war. Since the enactment of the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, the country has federally banned the herb. Other countries that are executing the initiative includes Mexico, Bangladesh, the Philippines, China, Brunei, Malaysia and Singapore among others.

Cannabis Legalization

Only 2 countries have nationally legalized the herb for any use: Uruguay and Canada. However, there are a lot more others with favorable medical marijuana laws, including Thailand, Chile and Croatia. In the U.S., 33 states legalized medical marijuana, eleven of which including Washington, D.C. have legalized recreational use. Meanwhile, many parts of the world are looking into legalizing the herb, getting us nearer to worldwide legalization.

Today, cannabis is one of the most widely consumed and beloved natural crops. When combined with the mounting research pertaining to the medical attributes of the plant, even legal recreational use can become possible. With its legalization in some parts and its impending legalization in others, many places across the globe will once again be able to serve its people with the goodness that is marijuana and all its benefits.

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