Cannabis has been around for a long time now and rarely do people know the true history of this awesome flower that nowadays you can easily find in the local coffee shops in Amsterdam.
What is also interesting is that cannabis has shown up in many different cultures both as medicine and as a psychoactive substance that played a key role in many spiritual ceremonies. Many ancient civilizations used the power of cannabis to heal different things and recorded the journey of cannabis way before the West started using it.
Here is the story of the origin of cannabis.
Although it is not proven, data shows that cannabis first showed up in Central Asia, more specifically in Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, India, China, and Russia. The first records of growing cannabis are from 5 to 6.000 years ago. Then it spread to the Middle East and finally Europe and the Americas hundreds of years later.
Thanks to the different geographic properties, different types of strains started to grow. Such examples include the Hindu Kush, originating from the Kush Mountains located between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The first texts on medicinal cannabis appear around the 2nd century CE, although it has been compiled from other, older texts. In it, the emperor Shen-Nung often considered the father of Chinese medicine, recognized that cannabis can be used for over 100 problems that can show up in a person’s body.
Since Chinese medicine is highly connected to spirituality, Chinese medicine’s main premise is the yin and yang. Thus, cannabis was perceived as the type of medicine that restores the yin – helping with conditions such as constipation, rheumatic troubles, malaria, and gout.
It then started spreading to India, Egypt, Central Asia, ancient Greece, Rome, the Arab and Persian world, Africa, and finally, Europe and the Americas.
In India, it was connected to the Ayurveda, a collection of holy writings in ancient Sanskrit as old as 800 BCE. They describe cannabis as one of 5 sacred plants, recognized as a source of freedom and joy.
In Egypt, the earliest cannabis shows up is in 1550 BCE as a solution to inflammation and as helpful to go through childbirth. What is interesting is that this civilization had a lot of fun with cannabis administering not only through the mouth and topically but also through the vagina, eyes, and even the rectum.
It is possible that the first recorded hot box was in Central Asia, where the Scythians, ancient nomads who were around 600 BCE used to do a vapor bath, where they’d sit in their tent and use heated rocks and cannabis to inhale.
In Ancient Greece, cannabis was surprisingly first used for making ropes and sails, and for medicinal purposes, the plant was praised as a juice to treat issues with the ears. On the other hand, in Rome, the first edibles showed up – a.k.a. cakes with hemp seeds that created a state of relaxation and euphoria.
Arabs were the first to warn that a little THC is good, but a lot of THC can have a lot of different and sometimes negative effects.
So, as we can see, cannabis has been deeply intertwined in many cultures. Luckily, nowadays, you can easily find cannabis in many places, including some of the best coffee shops in Amsterdam.