Early Tokers: The History Of Cannabis

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Early Traces: The History of Cannabis

About a quarter century ago in Czechoslovakia the oldest piece of hemp rope was found. The hemp rope is said to have been dated back to 2600 BC. Since that time forward, hemp has played an important role in humanities development.

For beers, I mean years, cannabis has been an important crop across various cultures, known to be used for medicinal, spiritual, and even commercial value. The earliest known cultivation of cannabis sativa, or *marijuana* can be traced back at least 12,000 years. This puts cannabis on the list for humans as one of the world oldest cultivated crop. #Facts

Early indications of Marijuana use in Asian dates back as far as 500 BC in – here it was used primarily for medicine and spiritual purposes. Archaeological evidence shows that the Neolithic culture in China, Yangshuo, are the first people to cultivate the plant and drive their economy off it. Plants have been spotted all along the Yellow Valley River, which indicates the easy cultivation and transportation routes for trading. Anyone remember the Silk Road? You bet your fine China those men and women were enjoying their adventures on the trading path as they floated through the clouds.

The first culture to use the entire hemp and marijuana plant dates back to 2700 BC. The Chinese Emperor Shen hung documented usage of the plants for alleviating and treating pains of gout and rheumatism – Brilliant! At this time, the Chinese used the root for medicine while they used the stock and stems for textile, rope, and paper. It was said that this sacred flower and leaves were used for spiritual awakenings.

The first medical journals in China were actually made out of hemp – cool! Hemp replaced the papyrus sourced paper, and eventually was used to spread its written knowledge.

Wide-spread usage of marijuana exploded around 2000 BC where local costal farmers of China transported and traded cannabis overseas, technically becoming the worlds first international weed traffickers. It took a few years, but the Gigglebush reached India by 1000 BC. Marijuana was introduced in the Middle East where the Scythians, a nomadic Indo/European group used the plant for medical purposes. The Scythians brought Cannabis to Europe, some 2800 years ago.

FUN FACT: In the Indo European language, marijuana was call “bhang”.


Cannabis wandered its way over to Britain around the 5th century during the Anglo-Saxon invasions. Around this time the cannabis plant was researched and depicted as having male and female genders.

The plant popped into Britain was like “I’m not stopping here, yo” and moseyed its way over to Spain instead. Fast forward, call it mid 1500’s – It was around this time where it would be, bless our souls, shipped to America. The English introduced “that gas” to Jamestown around 1600 where it became a very popular cash crop along with it’s less attractive, way more obnoxious sister tobacco. Which means, Jamestown peeps were burning spliff’s mad long ago, fact!

Terminology: “That Gas*” means marijuana

Let’s fast forward again because this article is getting long and we don’t have that kind of time today.

Cannabis reaches the United States in the 20th century. It was distributed from Mexico as immigrants fled the country during the Mexican Revolution (1910-1911). Beginning around this time state and local laws in the US began to prohibit the use of Marijuana. Shit got real rocky for the next 100 years until now where weed is beginning to become legal again and people can just chill, relax and toke some herb.

That concludes this history lesson folks!

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