Throughout the centuries, cannabis has been cultivated and traded around the world. The plant has been revered and used for medicinal purposes, despite its many negative stigmas.
The history of the cannabis plant is a long and interesting one. It has a deep global history that can be traced from etymological offshoots to ancient texts, medical papyri, and more.
Ancient Chinese Medicine
Throughout history, Chinese medical physicians have been aware of the drug effects of cannabis. These include its antiepileptic, diuretic, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory properties, among many others. These properties can be traced back to the earliest periods of Chinese medicine when this plant was used for its seeds and fiber.
As a result, there is a great deal of information about the use of this plant in ancient China that has been preserved in a vast collection of texts called bencao literature (Bencao gangmu). These textual documents can reveal much about the history and culture of Chinese medicine, and they also help to clarify many details about the historical applications of cannabis.
The first references to cannabis in Chinese medical literature appear in the Divine Farmer’s Classic of Materia Medica (Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing) from the first to second century AD, which includes many fundamental statements that were repeated over time as more and more bencao manuscripts were transmitted. In addition, the commentary known as Additional Records of Famous Physicians (Ming Yi Bie Lu) clarified that mafen was the “rising spike on the cannabis flower” and should be harvested on the 7th day of the 7th month according to the lunar calendar (Tang, 1999).
These quotes suggest that early Chinese physicians recognized the psychoactive properties of cannabis, a fact that would later become well-known in Western medicine. These qualities were incorporated into the formulas and preparations of many Chinese practitioners, including a renowned surgeon named Hua Tuo.
For example, in the Song Dynasty text Illustrated Classic of Materia Medica (Tu Jing Ben Cao) it was stated that wine mixed with cannabis seeds is a very effective remedy for pain. Another recipe written by Sun Simiao, a physician in the Tang Dynasty, recommends that the leaves of cannabis can be crushed and extracted to treat severe pain due to fractured bones.
Despite the wealth of these quotations, there has been little research on the historical application of cannabis in Chinese medicine. This is likely because the distinction between the fiber- and drug-producing biotypes of cannabis was not clearly established in ancient times.
The history of cannabis has a long association with India. Hindu devotees offered the herb to Shiva during religious ceremonies, and sages used it to purify the amrita, an elixir of life, that was said to have been extracted by Shiva from the churning of the ocean.
In the ancient Hindu tradition, cannabis was regarded as sacred and possessed the power to protect its owner from evil spirits. The earliest written accounts of its use date back to the Vedic period and are found in several Hindu scriptures, including the Atharva Veda and the Rajanirghanta.
It was considered a cure for various ailments. In Susruta, a well-known ancient medical text, the drug is recommended as an antiphlegmatic, and in Rajanirghanta it is mentioned as a cure for catarrh accompanying diarrhoea. In Sarangadhara Samhita, a medical treatise written during the Mohammedan period, the plant is described as an astringent, a mild painkiller and a stimulant of the appetite.
Although a great deal of emphasis is put on the medicinal value of the drug, it is also sometimes consumed as a recreational substance for its sedative and hypnotic effects. This was quite common twenty or thirty years ago, and is still fairly common among the lower strata of the population.
The drug is obtainable in three forms – bhang, ganja and charas (resinous exudation secreted by the flowers, twigs and young fruit of the female cannabis plant). In many parts of India, the narcotic property of the cannabis plant does not develop until the fruits are mature.
Bhang is prepared by boiling a decoction of the leaves or ganja in a jaggery syrup and then filtering out the residue. It is believed to contain the active principles of cannabis and is often consumed during the spring festivals of Maha Shivratri and Holi.
Similarly, a decoction of bhang is often made for gastrointestinal troubles and to alleviate the pain associated with rheumatic diseases, as a medicinal drink. In many rural areas, religious mendicants carry bhang with them when they travel and use it for a variety of ailments.
In the Middle East, cannabis has a rich history and has played an important role in the development of various spiritual practices. It has also been a popular substance in the Maghreb region, and has been cultivated and traded throughout the centuries.
The most prominent cannabis-growing countries in the Middle East are Israel and Morocco. The Israeli government has even made it legal for medicinal use, and the Moroccan government recently legalized the cultivation of cannabis for recreational use.
Hashish is an ancient herbal medicine, and it has been used in the region for over a thousand years. The Persian legend of the mystical Sufi Sheik Haydar of Khorasan who discovered and devoted his life to cannabis is one of the earliest stories of this plant.
This herb was very popular in the Middle East, and it is believed that the Sufis used it to help them achieve a state of transcendence. It was not uncommon for people to use hashish during their spiritual pursuits, and it was even a practice endorsed by the Prophet Muhammad himself.
However, these mystical practices were in conflict with orthodox Islamic religion. The mystical Sufis sought direct communion with God and did not accept the traditional teachings of the ulema. This caused them to be social pariahs in Arab society and led to them being labeled as “hashish users.”
In 1378, the brutal Ottoman emir Soudoun Scheikhouni issued a series of edicts against the use of hashish. These laws targeted both the plant and its producers.
But despite this repression, hashish continued to flourish and grow in the Arab world, and it became widely available for cultivation. The Egyptians were particularly fond of this drug and used it in religious rituals.
It was also a popular drink for smugglers, and was used to keep water from spoiling on long trips in the desert. This was due to the fact that cannabis is a drought-resistant plant, meaning it is able to survive in the parched Arabian heat.
The mystical Sufis were often referred to as the “hippies” of their time, and they embraced cannabis as a way to achieve spiritual enlightenment. The smugglers who were the first to cultivate and trade hashish in the Arab world were often members of this marginalized Muslim sect. Their nonconformist lifestyle made them pariahs in the orthodox Islamic culture, and they were often forced to flee for their lives when confronted with harsh law enforcement.
Europe is a continent made up of many countries that have different languages and traditions. This area of the world is located in the Northern Hemisphere and is home to over 747 million people. Its history is full of showdowns as different cultures clashed and ideologies collided.
Cannabis has been cultivated by humans for millennia, and the plant is still used around the world today. It is an herb that has many uses, including as a source of fiber for rope and cloth, and as a substance for food and medicine. It can be smoked or ingested as dried flower buds and leaves, hash, or oil.
The plant is also used in medicine as a treatment for anxiety and depression. In addition, it can help treat sleep disorders and pain and is known to increase feelings of happiness and calmness.
Researchers have found evidence that cannabis use has been documented in human history as far back as 2500 years ago. They have found evidence of funeral pyres that burned the cannabis plant at Jirzankal, a cemetery in the Pamir Mountains in far western China.
This site, which is 3000 meters above sea level, is an ancient settlement that once sat at the center of a trade network between Central Asia and China. The Sogdians, a splinter group of the larger Zoroastrian religion, traded in cannabis products for silk and glass beads typical of western Asia.
In the Middle Ages, Europeans began experimenting with the use of hemp as a substitute for flax sails, which quickly rotted when exposed to salt water. This resulted in the development of the latten sail, which allowed ships to navigate the waters more effectively.
While Europeans have always been a powerful force in the world, they have had to struggle with many different issues throughout history. One of the major challenges they have faced is how to control the use of marijuana. They have tried to encourage the cultivation of hemp, but they have also tried to prohibit the use of marijuana and other drugs. This has led to many different ways in which people have adapted to the situation. For example, some have started smoking cannabis as a form of recreational activity. Others have started using cannabis as a medical treatment for ailments such as insomnia, depression, and nausea.