If you had been one of the first cannabis farmers, you might have gone out to your crop one morning to find a herd of Woolly Mammoths grazing in it. That’s right, the plant that we now grow in carefully maintained environments was first cultivated during the most recent Ice Age,where it fended off glaciers and flourished in the nutrient-rich dump sites of prehistoric hunters. In fact, humans were using cannabis thousands of years before they started growing wheat, which makes pot a lot older than the world’s most important staple food.
WHERE IT ALL BEGAN
It is thought that cannabis evolved on the steppes of Central Asia. Archaeologists believe that the ancient Chinese were the first to harvest the hardy plant, using its strong fiber to make textiles and rope. In 2500 B.C., the tombs of noble people buried in China were found to
contain mummified psychoactive cannabis. And if you lived in ancient China and needed surgery? Pot was your anesthetic.
Around 2000 B.C., Chinese farmers began to share marijuana with the Koreans. And it was there that an Indo-European group called the Scythians got their hands on it. Cannabis became so important to the Scythians that they used it to honor their dead leaders. When a Scythian
king died, the Scythians would purify themselves by placing hemp seeds on hot stones and inhaling the strong fumes.
The Scythians were expert horsemen who used horse-drawn wagons to carry hemp all over Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. In India, where cannabis was called ganjha (twisted rope), the plant was prescribed for anxiety and was used extensively for recreational purposes. The ancient Greeks and Romans also became familiar with the intoxicating qualities of cannabis.
And in Judea, marijuana was used in holy incense and anointing oil. In fact, if you ever need a recipe for making a holy anointing oil, look no further than Exodus 30:23, where God instructs Moses to make the oil using myrrh, cinnamon, and Kaneh-bosem – otherwise known as cannabis.
ACROSS THE POND
After hemp arrived in Germany with the Germanic tribes, and in Britain during the Anglo-Saxon invasions, it began to spread like wildfire all over the world. By the 19th century, it was in South America and making its way north, eventually reaching the United States via Mexico amidst the Mexican Revolution.
Many in the U.S. weren’t so welcoming of marijuana. Pot was seen as a drug beloved by the Mexicans, at a time when racial tension between Americans and Mexican immigrants was high. In the 1930’s, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics fought to ensure the criminalization of marijuana in all states, and that is exactly what happened in 1937 when the Marijuana Tax Act was born. For the next several decades, marijuana was persona non grata in the U.S. In 1952, the Boggs Act ushered in mandatory minimum sentences for marijuana related offenses. And in 1970, as part of Nixon’s war on drugs, the Controlled Substances Act deemed marijuana to be equal to heroin and LSD in its perceived potential for harm and abuse.
Not so today! As public opinion of marijuana has become more and more positive over the years, legislation has changed in its favor. Canna4Life’s own state of Washington became one of two states to legalize recreational marijuana in 2012. Since then, seven more states have done the same, and medical marijuana is legal in another 29 states.
In 2017, public support for the legalization of recreational marijuana reached a new high (no pun intended). According to a Gallup poll, 64% of Americans support legalization.
Here in Washington, we are fortunate that our state has legalized our beloved plant that has been in existence for many decades. Next time you want to chat about cannabis history, the best strain for you, or dab pipes come by the shop!