The Cannabis plant has a long history which traces back as far as ancient Egypt. Archeologists found the evidence showing that people of ancient Egypt used this plant as a part of their rituals where marijuana seeds were burnt and inhaled. However, marijuana has been famous not only for its hallucinogenic properties but it was also appreciated as a medical plant with lots of useful qualities. People in the 1st century AD in China used cannabis as a treatment method for many diseases and it was one of the most common substances used at the time. Now, cannabis is spread all over the world and it has a wide range of other uses which includes medical and recreational use but also manufacturing. But where did the cannabis plant come from? Anthropologists say that cannabis was one of the first plants that we’ve ever cultivated on our planet.
The cannabis plant comes from Central Asia, most likely from South Siberian and Mongolian areas. When talking about cannabis, we should distinguish two subspecies of this plant, Cannabis sativa and Cannabis Sativa L. (hemp). The first one has psychoactive properties, but both of these were cultivated in ancient times. Archeologists discovered traces of cannabis in the period between 8,000 – 7,000 B.C.. At that time, the first woven manufactory made of hemp fibers was built.
As I mentioned above, cannabis use traces back to the ancient China (5,000 B.C.) and there are many pieces of evidence showing the use of hemp for making paper, clothes, and ropes. As we already know, cannabis is rich in nutritional values and ancient Chinese used its seeds to produce oil and food, too. When it comes to the medicinal use of cannabis plant, the history takes us back to 2,700 B.C. when the Chinese emperor Shen Nung discovered healing properties of marijuana. The Chinese started to use cannabis for treating gout and pain relief. The earliest written record of the medicinal properties of marijuana was discovered by archeologists and they were written by the Chinese Pharmacopeia in 1,500 B.C.
Chinese quickly appreciated the value of the cannabis plant and spread the word about its therapeutic potential. In 2,000 B.C, cannabis came to Korea and Egypt. Egyptians started to treat almost every disease with cannabis. Not only did they treat glaucoma, enemas, and inflammation with marijuana, but they also manufactured hemp cloth used for covering mummies.
In 1,000 B.C. Indian people started to prepare a mixture of cannabis and milk for an anesthetic and anti-phlegmatic use. The mixture was called bhang and was mentioned between the most essential of 10,000 medicinal herbs in one of the ancient texts of Persian religion.
Throughout years, the use of cannabis plant spread through the countries of Africa, Asia, and Europe. The medicinal, spiritual and practical cultivation of marijuana made it popular, but there are still many myths about this plant waiting to be debunked.
The first cannabis law was introduced to the people of America in 1607 (Virginia, James Town). You may be surprised, but this regulation was not about to ban the plant, but it made it obligatory for farmers to grow marijuana. In some states, farmers could be punished and put in jail if they didn’t grow the cannabis plant. The Indian hempseed was so much appreciated and cultivated in America that in the period between 1631 and 1800 people could pay taxes with hemp.
When did the peaceful era of cannabis use come to an end? America started the War on Drugs, tying the cannabis plant to criminal acts committed by illegal immigrants, mostly Hispanics. In 1915, cannabis was first made illegal by the state of Utah. This is how racism, propaganda, lobbying and misguided information spread by the enemies of marijuana have led to banning this plant in 29 states by 1931. Only 6 years later, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics in cooperation with Commissioner Harry Aslinger enforced the Marijuana Tax Act. However, they did not care that the hemp, unlike marijuana, is not psychoactive, so the law was the same for both. Moreover, hemp was an extremely competitive product for paper and fossil market, and many people believe that the propaganda and the war on marijuana were forced by powerful lobbyists. In 1971, Richard Nixon declared the War on Drugs and the cannabis prohibition started to shatter the ancient and beautiful culture of cannabis.
Source: Growing Marijuana Blog
Fortunately, we are now a part of another turning point in the history of cannabis. We already have the herb legal for medicinal use in 44 states, and there are some states that have legalized recreational use of this plant, too. Although legal regulations vary among different countries of the world, the cannabis plant is still considered illegal under federal law in U.S. and it is a Schedule I drug. However, the same plant in Canada is considered a Schedule II drug, which is legal and officially regulated for medicinal use. Yet, it is still forbidden to possess and distribute cannabis across Canada. Of course, we still need more research to conduct and more evidence of medicinal values of marijuana to discover, but there is a great chance that this amazing plant will find its way back in our lives again.
Millions of people around the globe have used cannabis at some point in their lives, yet the plant remains shrouded by mystery, misinformation, and propaganda. However, today cannabis has become a remarkable economic, social and even political resource with a wide range of opponents and advocates. Cannabis lovers are thankful for the way public policy toward this plant is changing and there is a lot more to accomplish when it comes to cannabis plants future place in our society.