Ancient Cannabis is indigenous to Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent. Hemp is possibly one of the earliest plants to be cultivated Cannabis has been cultivated in Japan since the pre-Neolithic period for its fibers and as a food source and possibly as a psychoactive material. An archeological site in the Oki Islands near Japan contained cannabis achenes from about 8000 BC, probably signifying the use of the plant. Hemp use archaeologically dates back to the Neolithic Age in China, with hemp fiber imprints found on Yangshao culture pottery dating from the 5th millennium BC. The Chinese later used hemp to make clothes, shoes, ropes, and an early form of paper.

Cannabis was an important crop in ancient Korea, with samples of hempen fabric discovered dating back as early as 3000 BCE.

Hemp is called ganja (Sanskrit: गञ्जा, IAST: gañjā) in Sanskrit and other modern Indo-Aryan languages. Some scholars suggest that the ancient drug soma, mentioned in the Vedas, was cannabis, although this theory is disputed. Bhanga is mentioned in several Indian texts dated before 1000 CE. However, there is a philological debate among Sanskrit scholars as to whether this bhanga can be identified with modern bhang or cannabis.[13]

Cannabis was also known to the ancient Assyrians, who discovered its psychoactive properties through the Aryans. Using it in some religious ceremonies, they called it qunubu (meaning “way to produce smoke”), a probable origin of the modern word “cannabis”. The Aryans also introduced cannabis to the Scythians, Thracians and Dacians, whose shamans (the kapnobatai—”those who walk on smoke/clouds”) burned cannabis flowers to induce trance. The classical Greek historian Herodotus (ca. 480 BC) reported that the inhabitants of Scythia would often inhale the vapors of hemp-seed smoke, both as ritual and for their own pleasurable recreation.
Holy Anointed Oil

Was Cannabis The True Holy Anointed Oil?

 

Exodus, 30:23, God directed Moses to make a holy anointing oil composed of myrrh, sweet cinnamon, Kaneh-bosem, cassia, and olive oil. “And you shall make of these a sacred anointing oil blended as by the perfumer; it shall be a holy anointed oil.”

According to conventional Biblical scholarship, the “250 shekels of kaneh-bosm” listed in ancient Hebrew versions of the Old Testament supposedly refers to calamus.  Sula Benet, Polish anthropologist and author of Early Diffusion and Folk Uses of Hemp, demonstrated that the word for cannabis is kaneh-bosm, also rendered in traditional Hebrew as kaneh or kannabus. The root kan in this construction means “reed” or “hemp”, while bosm means “aromatic”. This word appears five times in the Old Testament; in the books of Exodus, the Song of Songs, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel…. and has been mistranslated as calamus, a common marsh plant with little monetary value that does not have the qualities or value ascribed to kaneh-bosm. The error occurred in the oldest Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, the Septuagint in the third century BC, and was repeated in the many translations that followed

The Ebers Papyrus that dates back to 1500 B.C., lists over 800 treatments that make use of more than 500 plants. Cannabis and hemp seeds are listed among them as remedies for gonorrhea and inflammation. The Chester Beatty Medical Papyrus (1570-1200 B.C.E.) also mentions ancient cannabis oils as a pain reliever for colorectal cancer and headache sufferers. The medical knowledge of Ancient Egypt’s physicians was so renowned that many were invited to ancient Greece and Greeks themselves traveled to the region to learn more. Traces of cannabis were found on the remains of Pharaoh Ramesses II and many other mummies. The hieroglyphic symbol of shemshemet is believed to refer to hemp and cannabis. It has often been used in various ancient medical texts including the ones just mentioned. Depictions of the Goddess of Wisdom, Seshat, often included a hemp leaf in her headdress. Its popularity may also be attested to by the special tax imposed on its supply from Egypt by the Roman Emperor Aurelian (214-275 A.D.).Medical cannabis recipes and remedies can be found in several ancient Egyptian medical texts such as Ramesseum III Papyrus (1700 BC), Eber’s Papyrus (1600 BC), the Berlin Papyrus (1300 BC), and the Chester Beatty VI Papyrus (1300 BC). The Eber’s Papyrus is the most comprehensive ancient medical pharmacopeia, which includes a recipe for a cannabis and honey vaginal suppository believed to aid childbirth. The Ramesseum III Papyrus refers to a cannabis eyewash to treat glaucoma.

 

Ancient Cannabis Predates thousands of years
Ancient Cannabis Predates Thousands of Years

Cannabis has an ancient history of ritual use and is found in pharmacological cults around the world. Hemp seeds discovered by archaeologists at Pazyryk suggest early ceremonial practices like eating by the Scythians occurred during the 5th to 2nd century BC confirming previous historical reports by Herodotus. In China, the psychoactive uses of cannabis are described in the Shennong Bencaojing, written around the 3rd century AD. Daoists mixed cannabis with other ingredients, then placed them in incense burners and inhaled the smoke.

Around the turn of the millennium, the use of hashish (cannabis resin) began to spillover from the Persian world into the Arab world. Cannabis was allegedly introduced to Iraq in 1230 CE, during the reign of Caliph Al-Mustansir Bi’llah, by the entourage of Bahraini rulers visiting Iraq. Hashish was introduced to Egypt by “mystic Islamic travelers” from Syria sometime during the Ayyubid dynasty in the 12th century. Hashish consumption by Egyptian Sufis has been documented as occurring in the thirteenth century CE, and a unique type of cannabis referred to as Indian hemp was also documented during this time. Smoking did not become common in the Old World until after the introduction of tobacco, so up until the 1500s hashish in the Muslim world was consumed as an edible.

 sadhu (the holy man) smoking marijuana from a clay pipe during the Hindu festival 'Maha Shivaratri'. Maha shivaratri is a festival dedicated to Lord Shiva.
sadhu (the holy man) smoking marijuana from a clay pipe during the Hindu festival ‘Maha Shivaratri’. Maha shivaratri is a festival dedicated to Lord Shiva.

Cannabis is thought to have been introduced to Africa by early Arab or Indian Hindu travelers, which Bantu settlers subsequently introduced to southern Africa when they migrated southward. Smoking pipes uncovered in Ethiopia and carbon-dated to around 1320 CE were found to have traces of cannabis.

Early prohibition started as European colonial powers absorbed or came into contact with cannabis-consuming regions, the cannabis habit began to spread to new areas under the colonial umbrella, causing some alarm among authorities. After his invasion of Egypt Syria (1798-1801), Napoleon banned cannabis use among his soldiers. Cannabis was introduced to Brazil either by the Portuguese colonists or by African slaves in the early 1800s. Their intent may have been to cultivate hemp fiber, but the slaves the Portuguese imported from Africa were familiar with cannabis and used it psychoactively, leading the Municipal Council of Rio de Janeiro in 1830 to prohibit bringing cannabis into the city, and punishing its use by any slave. Similarly, the British practice of transporting Indian indentured workers throughout the empire had the result of spreading the longstanding cannabis practices. Concerns about the use of Gandia by laborers led to a ban in British Mauritius in 1840, and the use of ganja by Indian laborers in British Singapore led to its banning there in 1870 In 1870, (now in South Africa) passed the Coolie Law Consolidation prohibiting “the smoking, use, or possession by and the sale, barter, or gift to, any Coolies [Indian indentured workers] whatsoever, of any portion of the hemp plant (Cannabis sativa)…

Cannabis Prohibition
Cannabis Prohibition

Attempts at criminalizing cannabis in British India were made, and mooted, in 1838, 1871, and 1877.  In 1894, the British Indian government completed a wide-ranging study of cannabis in India.

In 1925 a compromise was made at an international conference in The Hague about the International Opium Convention that banned exportation of “Indian hemp” to countries that had prohibited its use, and requiring importing countries to issue certificates approving the importation and stating that the shipment was required “exclusively for medical or scientific purposes”. It also required parties to “exercise effective control of such a nature as to prevent the illicit international traffic in Indian hemp and especially in the resin

In the United States in 1937, the Marihuana Tax Act was passed and prohibited the production of hemp in addition to cannabis. The reasons that hemp was also included in this law are disputed—several scholars have claimed that the act was passed in order to destroy the US hemp industry, Shortly thereafter the United States was forced back to promoting rather than discouraging hemp cultivation; hemp was used extensively by the United States during World War II to make uniforms, canvas, and rope. Much of the hemp used was cultivated in Kentucky and the Midwest. During World War II, the U.S. produced a short 1942 film, Hemp for Victory, promoting hemp as a necessary crop to win the war. In Western Europe, the cultivation of hemp was not legally banned by the 1930s, but the commercial cultivation stopped by then, due to decreased demand compared to increasingly popular artificial fibers. In the early 1940s, world production of hemp fiber ranged from 250 000 to 350 000 metric tonnes, Russia was the biggest producer.

Reefer Madness Propaganda
Reefer Madness Propaganda

Today the United States, the use and possession of cannabis is illegal under federal law for any purpose, by way of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. Under the CSA, cannabis is classified as a Schedule I substance, determined to have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use – thereby prohibiting even medical use of the drug. At the state level, however, policies regarding the medical and recreational use of cannabis vary greatly, and in many states conflict significantly with federal law.

The medical use of cannabis is legalized (with a doctor’s recommendation) in 33 states, four out of five permanently inhabited U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia. Fourteen other states have laws that limit THC content, for the purpose of allowing access to products that are rich in cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive component of cannabis. Although cannabis remains a Schedule I drug, the Rohrabacher–Farr amendment prohibits federal prosecution of individuals complying with state medical cannabis laws.

The recreational use of cannabis is legalized in 11 states (Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington), the District of Columbia, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Guam. Another 16 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands have decriminalized. The commercial distribution of cannabis is allowed in all jurisdictions where cannabis has been legalized, except the District of Columbia. Prior to January 2018, the Cole Memorandum provided some protection against the enforcement of federal law in states that have legalized, but it was rescinded by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Although the use of cannabis remains federally illegal, some of its derivative compounds have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for prescription use. Cannabinoid drugs that have received FDA approval are Marinol (THC), Syndros (THC), Cesamet (nabilone), and Epidiolex (cannabidiol). For non-prescription use, cannabidiol derived from industrial hemp is legal at the federal level but legality (and enforcement) varies by state. Today we see more and more states open up to cannabis legalization. Marijuana laws are changing at a rapid pace across all 50 states, making things a bit confusing at times. Marijuana is legal for adults in 11 states and Washington D.C. Medical marijuana is legal in 33 and it doesn’t look to slow down anytime soon.

Cannabis legalization

Cannabis legalization

The future of cannabis legalization has never been brighter. Today science is uncovering the ancient healing molecular properties of cannabis and its effect on the human body. Cannabis was used as medicine, food, clothing, religious ceremonies, and everyday essentials for thousands of years long before today’s governments were formed and prohibited its use. As science uncovers the layers of closely guarded secrets we start moving away from the stereotype of cannabis is for smokers. Now modern science and ancient myth are colliding and understanding these powerful cannabinoids that it’s much more powerful than we have given credit. Did our ancestors keep secret the power of cannabinoids and its magical effect on people? With the Current affairs of Covid-19 and the recession of 2020 that was created by the virus, Cannabis has a good chance that its legalization could jump-start local, state, and even global economies. The hope is to usher in a new green economy based structure. This not only has the ability to help with thousands of health conditions but could really jumpstart our economy. Could cannabinoids be the unlocked secret that provides advanced health? Over time we have noticed that cannabis was used for just about everything and even mentioned in the bible several times and Kaneh Bosm sounds a lot like cannabis. Let’s face it the “burning bush” most likely was cannabis. A lot of secrecy, suppression, and criminalization seems to have been riddled in cannabis history. The word Cannabis has been renamed and translated over thousands of years and today we call in Cannabis, We know now through actual science that cannabinoids found in Marijuana and Hemp have been used and closely guarded for thousands of years, and its mentioned in just about every culture and history.