If you got asked when cannabis was first used, what would you say? 50 years? 100 years? 500 years? Well, the history of cannabis is longer than that. A LOT longer. So let’s go canna-back in time to the beginning.
How long has cannabis been around?
There is evidence that shows the cannabis plant, or hemp, has been cultivated for over 12,000 years – a bit longer than you thought, right?
In fact, throughout the history of cannabis it was used around the globe for medicinal or spiritual purposes – sometimes both. But, as time went by, cannabis (or hemp) lost out to cotton as the major material for cloth. If it weren’t for cotton, it would be the most widely used plant in the world.
Historically, cannabis was used for textiles, paper, and card. Even cannabis-based plastics were developed, as well as solid biomass fuels. The range of materials that could be made from hemp are so numerous that it could easily be used instead of cotton.
Furthermore, the health benefits of cannabis plants are known to include pain relief, stress relief, and mood-balancing, as well as medication for insomnia and epilepsy.
CBD, which is the component of the cannabis plant that helps with this, is leading a health revolution currently, and research around CBD products – like our CBD teas and flapjacks – is growing!
However, cannabis has had – and still has – a place in the world of medicine.
Many of the health benefits of cannabis (which will be talked about later) have been utilised throughout its long history. The history of medicinal cannabis isn’t much dissimilar from today. Many of medical cannabis’ uses were to alleviate pain, although in ancient china it was used as an anesthetic before surgery, and in ancient India it was used to aid in childbirth.
If you were to find yourself in ancient Egypt, you may well receive cannabis to help with hemorrhoids. Furthermore, in ancient Greece cannabis leaves were used to treat nosebleeds, and cannabis seeds were used to expel tapeworms.
Later on, it was used in medieval islamic civilization to treat a wide variety of medical conditions, like epilepsy and inflammation.
In recent years, there has been a strong move to change people’s views on cannabis plants and their benefits to society and to our wellbeing. For example, due to its natural structural properties, cannabis plants are robust enough to grow almost anywhere and even help to cleanse over-cultivated soils.
So, is cannabis ‘bad’?
It may seem strange, but it was only 100 years ago that cannabis started to get powerfully vilified, building a bad reputation as a serious narcotic. According to The Guardian, the term “marijuana” was used as a method of marketing cannabis as a dangerous and foreign substance to white Americans during a time of strong xenophobia.
In many cases, it was linked to racism and aspects of culture related to race, such as jazz and swing – they were often labeled “satanic.” The main reasons for the vilification of cannabis through history usually boils down to business, economics, or political agendas.
This seemingly arbitrary negativity towards cannabis is becoming more visible to the general public. So, as cannabis gradually becomes more available in western society, maybe more research will be done for a better understanding of how medicinal cannabis can be used in the future.