The history of marijuana
History of marijuana
Have you ever thought about the origin of cannabis How long have people been using marijuana? For what purpose? Here you will find answers to the most pressing questions about the history of cannabis dating back to about 10,000 years ago.
Earliest references and use of cannabis in China
One of the first - if not the first - mention of weed appeared in China in 2900 BC. Around this time, the Chinese emperor Fu Hsi mentioned what is the Chinese term for cannabis. The emperor mentioned cannabis as a popular medicine that had both yin and yang.
Then, according to Chinese legend, Emperor Shen Nung was the first person to use marijuana as a medicine in 2700 BC. Nung, also known as Chen, is considered the father of Chinese medicine. According to legend, Nung also discovered ephedra and ginseng.
Archaeologists have unearthed remains from an ancient village in China that seem to confirm the earliest recorded use of marijuana. Among the remains found were small pots with cannabis (hemp) fiber adorning them, which are over 10,000 years old. Hemp has also been used to make items such as fishing nets, rope, clothing, and paper. It is believed that the Chinese invented hemp paper. Hemp seeds were used in China for food, as was hemp oil.
The Chinese have used cannabis as a medicine in various cases, believing that its properties will help to cope with problems such as gout, constipation, fatigue, and also as an anesthetic in surgical operations. However, not all Chinese people supported the use of marijuana, perhaps because it was considered to contain yin, and only things containing yang are viewed favorably.
Cannabis in Central Asia
Western historians often consider the Scythians in Siberia, northern Central Asia, to be the origins of cannabis around the 7th century BC. Marijuana was a key part of the Scythian cult of the dead, in which they paid homage to dead leaders by honoring their spirits and memory. Cannabis seeds were also widely used in the daily lives of Scythian men and women; weed was smoked for pleasure and used in religious rituals.
Distribution of cannabis in Europe and America
In 2000 BC, Korean farmers bought the cannabis plant from the people of ancient China, according to the book The Archeology of Korea. Weed seeds were planted throughout South Asia and marijuana began to be used in India. At this time, it also spread to Europe, the Middle East, Ukraine, and Southeast Russia.
Germanic tribes then apparently brought hemp to Germany, and the Anglo-Saxons brought it to Britain around 1200 AD. At the same time, cannabis was spreading through Africa and the Middle East, and then into South America and the Caribbean (around 1800 AD).
During the Mexican Revolution, marijuana seeds entered North America via Mexico. Mexican immigrants introduced Americans to the habit of using marijuana for recreational purposes rather than medical use, as was common around 1910 AD.
In 1753, the Swedish botanist Carolus Linnaeus cataloged two types of cannabis plants, sativa and indica. Throughout the 1800s in Brazil, marijuana was widely used by the poor for clothing, spices and energy, and for medicine. Later, in the 19th century, cannabis was banned in Rio de Janeiro.
In the mid-1800s, cannabis became more popular in Jamaica after Indian laborers came to the region and taught the black working class their knowledge of ganja or cannabis. The Rastafarian movement began to take shape in the early 1930s. Ganja became a symbol of this movement, and the use of the plant took on a religious context. Many Rastafarians still cultivate ganja today, and the ganja still symbolizes the group's ideology.
In the early 1970s, hemp cultivation in Afghanistan reached a massive scale. Huge fields were filled with plants grown from weed seeds. By 1972, local law enforcement officers began to take action against hashish.
Early history of cannabis in the US
In 1906, the Pure Food and Drugs Act went into effect in the United States, which regulated the labeling of cannabis, alcohol, opiates, cocaine, and other products. In 1916, scientists from the United States Department of Agriculture or USDA turned hemp pulp into paper, and scientists Jason Merrill and Lister Dewey concluded that the process was more favorable than pulp wood.
In 1915, Utah became the first state to ban cannabis for non-medical use. By 1941, 28 other American states followed suit. The US government appeared to be of the same mindset as the UK, where cannabis was banned for personal use in 1928.
In 1919, under the 18th Amendment to the US Constitution, the production, sale and transportation of alcohol was prohibited. As a result, marijuana use has become a popular alternative. That was until it was banned for recreational use in many states.
Cannabis bans also took place in Greece, where the ruler Ioannis Metaxas tightened the penalties for hashish smokers. The production of hashish was made illegal in Lebanon in 1926, and in 1935 the same activity was made illegal in Turkestan.
In 1936, the propaganda film Reefer's Folly was released in the United States. The film was intended to discourage young Americans from using marijuana. The following year, a marijuana tax law was passed, making weed illegal. Then, in 1941, hemp was removed from the US Pharmacopeia and stripped of its medicinal status. Penalties for drug use, including cannabis, increased nationwide in 1952 with the passing of the Boggs Act, which amended the Drug Control Act.
History of marijuana in the US: 1970s, 1980s and 1990s
In the early 70s, the first evidence appeared that cannabis helps patients with glaucoma. Shortly thereafter, the Schafer Commission, elected by the Nixon government, proposed the re-legalization of cannabis. This proposal was largely ignored. Proposition 19 in California, which called for the legalization of weed, did not win a majority.
By the late 1970s, U.S. President Carter advocated the decriminalization of marijuana for those found in possession of less than an ounce of the drug. When President Reagan took office, he signed the Drug Abuse Enforcement Act, tightening federal sanctions for possession and sale of drugs, contrary to what Carter wanted. This step by Reagan in 1986 was the beginning of the "war on drugs" in the United States.
Meanwhile, the 1980s were a busy time in Morocco, which was one of the largest producers and exporters of hashish. By 1987, the government of this country was fighting against the cultivation of hemp, especially in the Rif mountains. As for Amsterdam, in the mid-90s, equipment for local production of marijuana appeared there, and shortly after that, marijuana became a staple in coffee shops there.
In 1996, significant steps were taken in the United States towards the recognition of the medical properties of marijuana. This year, California became the first US state to re-legalize medical marijuana for patients with certain conditions, such as cancer and AIDS. Arizona followed suit that same year, and many other states passed similar laws, including Oregon, Washington, Colorado, New Mexico, and Vermont.
But a step back in the direction of leniency for marijuana use came when President Clinton took office and continued Reagan's "war on drugs." Many states, including California, have made arrests and sanctions against providers and patients of medical marijuana.
21st century and marijuana
In 2001, Canada's federal legislation changed to support medical marijuana. Within three years, Canada became the first country to approve medical marijuana nationwide. This activity was quite different in the United States, where President H.W. Bush waged a "war on drugs" in California, emphasizing doctors prescribing medical weed and patients receiving it.
Steps to finally end the US two-year war on drugs were taken by President Obama, who in 2009 declared that individual drug use was a public health issue, not the business of the US Department of Justice. When California Proposition 19 resurfaced in 2010, it was defeated by a much narrower margin than before, illustrating the changing attitudes of American voters towards marijuana use.
In 2012, cannabis became legal for recreational use in the states of Colorado and Washington, while the medical use of marijuana was also unaffected. In 2014, the first legal marijuana store opened in Seattle, selling over-the-counter marijuana for recreational use.
Since then, many US states have legalized recreational cannabis; the next two states to do so were Alaska and Oregon. However, the US federal government still classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, along with LSD and heroin, suggesting that it has a high risk of abuse and addiction, no recognized medical use, and no safe level of use.
The end of the history of cannabis
During its complex history, the cannabis plant has spread far and has influenced laws around the world. In pre-modern times, marijuana seeds were cultivated for their medicinal and spiritual properties. It was a legal and, moreover, a very important culture. As the study of world history shows, the concept of weed as an "evil" appeared relatively recently.