The History of Cannabis through the Ages
Cannabis has a very old history starting some 10.000 years ago. When one investigates a bit it will soon become evident that one can find the use of this plant in about all cultures worldwide.
Hemp cords were used in making pottery. There was a find of this type of pottery discovered in an ancient village dating back some 10.000 years. It seems that hemp was the first crop grown by men. Before humans were hunter-gatherers, eating meat, different kinds of berries, and tubers.
Starting agriculture was the beginning of civilization and one could also say the beginning of upcoming illnesses unknown till then to the human race.
Cannabis seeds and also its oil was used for food in China already 6000BC and there is evidence that the hemp fiber was used for making fabric some 4000 years ago.
The Emperor Shen Nung
The Red Emperor of China Shen Nung who lived from 2838 till 2698 BC, that is an impressive 140 years, wrote the first pharmacological book “The Herbal” sadly lost in history. This legend tells us that he wrote this book with divine inspiration.
Myth or not, even nowadays this knowledge is still used by practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine. The oldest existing copy is from the year 50 AD even if its source is accepted to be of a much earlier age.
190 AD lived Hua Tue considered in China “The God of Surgery” He was a pioneer in surgical anesthesia known today as “ma-fei-san. The word ma means Cannabis and most historical scholars agree that in that first anesthetic brew for sure Cannabis was used. Mr. Hua Tuo found a sad ending as he was sentenced to death by an angry ruler.
Many famous historical figures have mentioned the use of cannabis, here are a few examples
In The Histories from 439 BC, Herodotus writes about the use of Cannabis by the Scythians, be it for ritual purposes or recreation.
Pliny the Elder, 23-79 AD, mentions in his The Natural History the use of Hemp rope and the analgesic effects of marijuana.
Then there is Dioscorides, 70 AD, who was a physician in Nero’s army. In his Pharmacopoeia he listed marijuana.
Between 900-1000 AD Scholars were debating the pros and cons of eating hashish and its use spread throughout Arabia.
King Henry VIII
With a big jump forward we arrive at 1533 where King Henry VIII fined his farmers if they disobeyed the order to plant hemp in their fields for industrial use.
Egypt as the supplier of Indian Hemp
“Egypt surpasses all the other nations in the variety of compounds into which this fascinating drug enters, and will one day supply the western world with Indian Hemp when its solid merits are duly appreciated. At present, in Europe, it is chiefly confined to the apothecary’s shelves” This is a quote from the book Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to el-Medinah and Meccah by Richard Francis Burton who lived from 1821 to 1890. He was a British orientalist, soldier, spy, and diplomat.
There are much more examples but that would take too long.
Cannabis in Modern Times
Much later in history, it became a crime to have Cannabis plants and people ended up in jail.
The sad thing is that the authorities forgot completely the medicinal use of this powerful plant. They only concentrated on its hallucinogenic effects. Nature provides us with food and cures but we humans often think we can do it better and that ends up in disaster.
Many people object to this plant because of its negative recent history. On the other hand, one should not forget that this plant forms part of Creation so even Christians have come to accept this. The benefits of Cannabis is being studied again and many people with severe ailments have found relief and often a cure. As one cannot patent something from nature Big Pharma opposes Cannabis. They prefer to sell their treatments and pills which have side effects. Be informed and choose what is best for you.
I have a page on the Health Benefits of Cannabis, please visit it.
Photo Source: Pixabay
Perhaps you are interested to also read the following post.