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A History of Cannabis

The cannabis plants Cannabis originated from Central Asia and has since worked wonders in the lives of many over centuries in different parts of the world. Humans have used it as medicine, to prepare food, for recreational purposes, and during religious rituals. Humans also used hemp fibers to make rope. Cannabis strains differ based on the environment, soil, climate, and topography. This article discusses the history of cannabis.

Medicinal Cannabis

Ancient Chinese texts show that cannabis has been an integral part of medicine since at least 2000 BCE. They used it to treat more than 100 conditions, including

Intestinal disorders

Rheumatic pain,

Gout and recognized its narcotic effects

Medical records from 1550 BCE show that Egyptians administered cannabis through oral, rectal, and vaginal routes. They also administered it through the eyes and skin. In addition, Egyptians used cannabis to aid during childbirth and as an anti-inflammatory drug. By 1500 BCE, the Chinese were burning cannabis plants in carved wood and inhaling the smoke to get high during funerals.

Highly regarded Arabic scholars, al-Mayusi (living around 1000 CE) and al-Badri (living in the 15th century CE), used cannabis to treat pain relief, gout, edema, infectious wounds, and eye inflammation. Documents from 200 BCE describe the work of Hua Tuo, a Chinese surgeon who actively used cannabis as anesthesia during surgery to numb pain and keep patients high. In addition, he administered cannabis-infused oil and wine before surgeries.

An Ayurvedic medicine text from about 800 BCE explains the numerous uses of cannabis as an anesthetic, pain reliever, appetite stimulant, and even an anti-parasitic. Within the same period, texts from the Atharva Verda, a holy book, highlight the importance of cannabis as a medicinal and spiritual plant. In addition, it describes the euphoric and psychotic effects of cannabis.

An MRI scan of a mummy from Southern Siberia who lived around 500BCE shows she had breast cancer, claiming she may have used cannabis to manage her condition. Accounts from a medical text called De materia medica 1 CE outline instructions on using medical cannabis to treat earache.

Arabic traders spread cannabis plants to Spain and North Africa between the 8th to the 15th century. During this time, an 11th-century Herbarium describes the use of cannabis as an anesthetic to treat urinary infections and to cause weight loss.

By the early 19th century, there was growing interest in the West around the uses of medical marijuana. The works of William O'Shaughnessy, an Irish medical doctor, and that of Jacques-Joseph Moreau, a French psychiatrist, had significant effects on Western medicine.

By the end of the 19th century, people started reconsidering their briefs around cannabis. New laws prohibiting the production, sale, and consumption of cannabis and its derivatives began springing up.

Cannabis As Food

Ancient Indians used cannabis to prepare food and drinks, some of which are still part of their diet. A good example is Bhang, a drink made from spices, milk, cannabis, and nuts. They used it to treat ailments and to relieve people of anxiety. They also believe that it's a favorite of Shiva. Indians still consume Bhang during events like the Holi festival.

With the history books to very much writing themselves on the issue, cannabis is becoming more and more a part of modern society and we are excited to see what the future holds for this amazing plant!


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