Cannabis and Its Journey Across the World

Cannabis and Its Journey across the World

Cannabis has been part of human record for over 10 000 years. Many cultures grew it. They ate its seeds, made rope, textiles, and other materials from its fibers, used its flowers for medicine, and even enjoyed its “high” for spiritual occasions. It was useful back then. People knew well its properties. Today, while we search Google for “cannabis delivery Los Angeles”, scientists are relearning them. 

Origins of Cannabis

It is likely that cannabis originated in Central Asia. Certainly, records show it in China, India, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Pakistan, and Russia. It was a staple crop already 6 000 years ago. As warm weather urged migration out of these areas, people took it with them, spreading its seeds wherever they went. From Central Asia, it went to the Middle East. It went to the African east coast. Southeast Asia too. 

Eventually, centuries later, cannabis would make its way into Europe and the Americas. As it spread, plants adapted to new soils, climates, and environments. As such, strains began to emerge in specific areas. Today, we call these landraces. Such strains include Hindu Kush, from the Kush Mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan, and Durban Poison, from Kwazulu-Natal in South Africa, to name a few. 

Old China and Medical Weed

Emperor Shen-Nung, called the “father of Chinese medicine”, recognized cannabis as effective treatment for over 100 health issues. His Pen-ts’ao Ching, the oldest medical text known, provides the earliest record of cannabis as medicine. It emphasizes the healing nature of ma-fen, or female flowers, as well as its safety for use. It was common remedy for innumerable health issues. 

Linguistic study even shows cannabis having a profound influence on language development in China. It was clearly part of daily life. Scientists found 2,500-year-old wooden devices in a cemetery back in 2019. Ten of them. Thought to be ancient bongs, they contained high traces of cannabinoids, along with residue, still charred, inside of them. Its history in China does not end there, however. 

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According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, documents from the Han Dynasty a few centuries later describe the work of renowned surgeon of the time, Hua Tuo. Tuo relied on the painkilling effects of cannabis to help him perform surgery. According to the texts, he infused oil with cannabis resin, wine, and datura to subdue patients effectively. 

Sacred Plant in India

Atharva Veda, an ancient Sanskrit text, features cannabis prominently. It considers cannabis sacred, along with four other plants. It was popular medicinally, ritually, and religiously, a source of joy, happiness, and bringer of freedom. Susrita Samhita, another Ayurvedic text, highlights the many healing properties of cannabis, noting its analgesic, anticonvulsant, anesthetic, antiparasitic, and other effects. 

Marijuana delivery was popular for making bhang, a warm drink made of cannabis, milk, spices, and nuts. It was a famous anxiolytic and a favorite food of the god Shiva. Smoking bud was another way they used it, but they made plenty of charas too, which are potent balls of hashish. Today, hash has revered status worldwide, mostly for its extreme potency. 

Respect in Egypt

We find the anti-inflammatory effects of cannabis mentioned on papyrus in Egypt four centuries ago, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. It was also a common aid for childbirth. They applied it to all orifices and called it shemshemet, the plant used for making both ropes and medicine. We also find it in generous quantities offered to pharaohs of old. It is in many of their tombs. 

Revered by Scythians

The Scythians, ancient nomads from Central Asia, loved weed. Herodotus, the Greek historian, described the first hotbox, with Scythians sat inside a tent vapored by heating cannabis with hot rocks. The Siberian Ice Maiden, a female mummy, had cannabis in a pouch with her. What is more, two gold bongs dated around 600 B.C. were Scythian. 

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Common in Greece and Rome

Cannabis was popular among Greeks and Romans for making ropes and sails. The earliest ever account of medical cannabis in Greece discusses its effectiveness in treating earache. Dioscorides, its author, provides a juicing recipe for it too. Pliny the Elder wrote about it later in Naturalis Historia, lauding it for gout, pain and burns. Famous physician Galen warned about eating too much of it at orgies. 

Arabs, Persians, and Hashish

Arab scholars’ al-Mayusi and al-Badri both credited cannabis for treating epilepsy effectively. In his famous Canon of Medicine, the Persian scholar Avicenna wrote of using it for pain, edema, gout, wounds, and inflammation. Persians seemed especially aware its biphasic effects at different dosages. What is more, the first edible fits into this period. Called mahjoun, it originated in Morocco. 

On Into Africa

Cannabis arrived in Africa with Arabic traders. Brazilian records discuss its part in enslaved African culture, particularly among those arriving from the area today called Angola, a country in West Africa. With the continent offering so much refuge for merchant ships from India and the Middle East, it makes sense for cannabis to feature prominently in this rich history.

Cannabis in Europe

It was likely the Scythians introducing cannabis to Europe, possibly via the Bronze Road, precursor to the Silk Road. Ancient Germanic peoples placed it in graves. Arabs also brought weed to Europe. They certainly spread it to North Africa and well into Spain. The Old English Herbarium is among the oldest records of it in Europe. Written in the 11th century, it advises weed for pain, anesthesia, and more. 

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The German scholar and physician Hildegard van Bingen wrote in his 12th century texts of cannabis. Another record appears in 1484, where Pope Innocent VIII condemned weed in a papal bull. Few listened, preferring to make sails and rope instead. It was a common medium for making canvas and paper during the Italian Renaissance. 

English medical texts from the 1500s discussed using hemp therapeutically. This was during Tudor reign. After Napoleon’s Egyptian campaign in 1798, it became popular for its psychoactive effects. French troops were using hashish and seemingly, everybody started smoking it around the time. Its use was widespread. Now, it is continental. You find weed enthusiasts across Europe. 

Finally, into America

The Spanish were first responsible for bringing cannabis to America. Hemp first made mention in the 1500s, when Spanish soldiers under Hernan Cortes invaded Mexico. A hemp business soon followed. However, because locals were buzzing instead of working, the Spanish governor there in 1550 restricted its production. Up north, in the 13 colonies, folks in Virginia were growing it for King James I of England. 

Hemp made clothes, rope, textiles, sails, and much else. It was valuable, and not just in North America, but in South America too. African slaves brought weed to Brazil, as mentioned. However, after slavery ended in 1834 in all British colonies, it was indentured servants from India who took it to the Caribbean. This is why ganja, an Indian word, remains in widespread use across Jamaica. 

Cannabis Today

Interest in cannabis has never been higher, among users searching Google for “cannabis delivery Los Angeles” and among the scientific, medical, and research communities. After decades-long prohibition, laws are relaxing. Today, one can order marijuana delivery easily in most states. It is popular both recreationally and medically, and interest in it continues to grow daily. 

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Comments (6)

  1. Avatar for Aubrey Aubrey April 2, 2022 / 9:35 am / Reply

    Very cool article! Enjoyed the read!

  2. Avatar for Griselda Griselda April 4, 2022 / 10:34 am / Reply

    Amazing read!

  3. Avatar for Ernestina Ernestina April 4, 2022 / 10:38 am / Reply

    I didn’t know about half of this, truly enlightening

  4. Avatar for Elida Elida April 5, 2022 / 9:53 am / Reply


  5. Avatar for Adrianne Adrianne April 6, 2022 / 10:55 pm / Reply


  6. Avatar for Delma Delma April 10, 2022 / 11:33 am / Reply


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