The Origins of Marijuana

ancient china cannabis origins

The exact origin of marijuana is disputed. There is evidence that the ancient Greeks and Romans both had knowledge of marijuana. The Chinese Emperor Shen Nung seems to be the earliest recorded marijuana user, dating back to 2727 B.C.

Shen Nung is considered an important figure in early Chinese medicine, if not the most important figure in Chinese medicine. He specifically used marijuana for its medicinal properties, often in a manner that was similar to his use of ginseng and ephedra. As such, while a lot of people think that the medical use of marijuana is very recent, the medical use of marijuana actually goes back right to the origin of the herb.

Marijuana use seems to have been pronounced throughout the world of the Middle East, which was a massive trading center where knowledge of almost all valuable crops traveled quickly. Marijuana had a presence all throughout North Africa and the Islamic Empire.

 

Spread to the Western World

Things began to change all throughout the world in the Age of Exploration. The Spaniards imported cannabis to Chile in order to use it as fiber. The use of cannabis throughout the rest of the Western world was going to be almost inevitable by that point in time. Cannabis was primarily used as hemp in North America during this time period. It was grown on plantations to be used as paper, rope, and clothing.

 

Different Uses for Marijuana

The medical use of marijuana goes back to the origin of the herb, and it has been pronounced throughout the history of marijuana. In 1213, the Egyptians used marijuana in the treatment of glaucoma, in the fight against inflammation, and in the use of enemas.

The medical use of marijuana in China goes back to the history of the practice, of course. In the year 1 AD, medical marijuana was actually recommended for the treatment of around one hundred different ailments in a Chinese medicinal text.

Hemp was widely used throughout the Middle Ages in various ways. It was used medicinally while also being used as a material. The naturalist William Turner applauded marijuana in his publication New Herball in 1538. The medical use of marijuana continued all throughout Western history. Marijuana officially became used in mainstream medicine in the West in the 1840’s. It was featured in the US Pharmacopeia in 1850. Queen Victoria’s personal physician praised cannabis extensively.

Marijuana was certainly used in a recreational manner throughout history as well. Some people talked about the manner in which marijuana stimulated the proverbial creative juices. Artists use marijuana today for inspiration, and this seems to have been the case historically.

 

Growing Marijuana

Marijuana has been primarily grown in the more humid and tropical parts of the world. It’s an extremely versatile plant, since its seeds have been used as animal feed, its fibers have been used in early material science as hemp, and its oils have been used in a wide range of different products. Its leaves have been primarily used medicinally. Its leaves have certainly been rolled up and smoked for centuries.

 

The Backlash Against Marijuana

The idea that marijuana is horribly unhealthy is a fairly recent notion that dates back to the early twentieth century. The original bans on marijuana were an outgrowth of the failed Temperance Movement. Marijuana was banned along with a large portion of other drugs during this time period.

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