Cannabis in the history. From the ancient times till today.
A hemp rope dating back to 26,900 BC was found in Czech Republic, making it the oldest known object to be associated with cannabis. Cannabis has always played an important role in humanity’s development. And not only development In terms of economy. Religion, fun and economy were clearly influenced by this versatile plant. Everything! During thousands of years marijuana was not only legal, but an important crop among cultures throughout history, and held commercial, medicinal, and spiritual value. From the steppes of Asia to the south of India. From north to south and east to west. Every ancient culture used cannabis for many different purposes.
The cultivation of cannabis has been traced back, at least 12000 years. Cannabis is probably the oldest cultivated plant in the history. The earliest evidence of Cannabis comes from the oldest known Neolithic culture in China, the Yangshao, who appeared along the Yellow River valley. The economy of these people based mostly in cannabis. This happened between 5,000 and 3,000 B.C
The Yangshaps used hemp to produce clothes, ropes and even pottery. Shen NUng was the first Chinese emperor who used marijuana for medical purposes in 2737 BC. But Chinese people didn’t use marijuana for medical purposes only. They knew about its recreational possibilities. Both hemp and psychoactive marijuana were widely used in ancient China. They used the different parts of the plant for several purposes. The root for medicine; the stem for textiles, rope and paper making; the leaves and flowers for getting “high” and medicine; and the seeds for food and oil.
The first recorded use of marijuana as a medicinal drug occurred in 2737 BC by the Chinese emperor Shen Nung. He clearly documented effectiveness of the plant to treat the pains of rheumatism and gout. Both hemp and psychoactive marijuana were widely used in ancient China.
From China, some farmers took marijuana to Korea around 2000 B.C. It reached India between 2000 B.C. and 1000 B.C. ,at the same time that India was invaded by the Aryans, These new invaders called cannabis “bhang.” In India, the Aryan religion grew through oral tradition and was recorded in the four books called “The Four Vedas Books”. They were writtinmgs about knowledge compiled between 1400 and 1000 B.C. The Arians worshipped the spirits of plants and animals, and marijuana was one of the most important drugs to contact God. Like the Chinese, Indians have a long tradition of using hemp for clothes and spiritual reasons.
Cannabis use in ancient Egypt has been recorded since 2,000 B.C. Egyptian women used cannabis as a medication to relieve sorrow and bad humor. In 1213 B.C. Cannabis pollen was found on the mummy of Rameses II.
Marijuana was introduced to the Middle East between 2000 B.C. and 1400 B.C., where it was used by the Scythians, a nomadic Indo-European group. The medical use of the plant in the middle east is recorded in 700 B.C. in the Venidad, an ancient Persian religious book written by Zoroaster.
The Scythians brought Cannabis to Europe from the Altai Mountains to Germany around 2,800 years ago.
The Greeks used it for earache, edema, and inflammation in 200 B.C. And it was used for spiritual purposes too. Greece is the cradle of philosophy and this discipline is closely related to the communication with God and the opening of the doors of perception. Obviously, such a plant had a very important role in this sense.
First Christians (according to the Gnostic scriptures) used cannabis to get in contact with Jehowa. Romans also imported the use of cannabis from the Greeks. They used it for all kind of purposes.
From there marijuana went to Britain during the 5th century Anglo-Saxon invasions.
The Spanish brought marijuana to the Americas in the mid-1500s and the English introduced it at Jamestown in 1611, where it became a popular commercial crop alongside tobacco.
In 1799, Napoleon brought marijuana back to France from Egypt where it was investigated for its pain relieving and sedative qualities. However, this moment represents the inflection point for a different use of cannabis. During the invasion of Egypt, Napoleon used to give his soldiers brandy and wine to encourage them for the battle. However, in certain occasion they were out of alcohol. Napoleon knew the natives used cannabis resin with apparently good results in their mood. Then he started to distribute it among the troops. But the result was a disaster. Hashish was not the perfect drug to increase aggressiveness. It produced the opposite effect. When the Emperor came to know it, hashish was banned. But it already was too popular among poets, writers and all kind of artists in France. And from France it spread to the rest of the world.
During the 19th century cannabis was widely accepted. But in the XX century the subject became controversial. For many years it was banned and the situation continued like this until recently, when the US started to discover the enormous medical and economic impact of the drug. Once they realized it could bring money and create employment and realized cannabis wasn’t a dangerous drug, they began a war against the conservative who wanted continuing the ban on cannabis.
Fortunately, the American point of view is gaining positions in the world and most probably, this “sacred” plant will recover its dignity and no more people will be fined or put in jail for it.
We are living a new era where cannabis will be researched and rediscovered.