The early history of marijuana is very complex yet interesting. Since it first appeared in 6000 B.C., its uses have been for medical, spiritual, and ritualistic purposes. Only recently, within the past 100 years, has marijuana been seen as a “dangerous substance” and something to be feared or cautious of. From appearing in early Chinese medical journals, to ancient burial sites, cannabis, and its various forms have been utilized throughout history. One of the most prominent uses of cannabis throughout its history is for the making of hemp. Hemp is a material used and created from the strain of cannabis known as Cannabis sativa L. Unlike the other stains, this one is has non-psychoactive properties, which allows it to be used for purposes other than ingesting, such as making cloth, oils and fuel.
Throughout the course of history, cannabis has been used for various medical purposes. The first time cannabis is mentioned in a medical journal or on a medical record was as a pain medication for women giving birth. Additionally, it was classified as a special type of drug because of it’s “relaxing and anti-anxiety purposes”. Moreover, once the plant reached India by the travels of the Aryan people, the Indian people praised the plant, and it was known as a one of the “Five Kingdoms of Herbs…Which release us from anxiety.”
2900 BC-Marijuana is first made popular in ancient China by Emperor Fu Hsi.
He is thought to have brought civilization to China, and when he referenced Cannabis, he said that it was a popular medication because of its possession of both “yin and yang” (equal parts dark and light; good and evil).
2700 BC-Shen Nung discovers healing properties of cannabis.
Also known as the Father of Chinese medicine, he discovered marijuana has similar healing properties as two popular Chinese herbal medications at the time, ginseng and ephedra.
1450 BC-References to cannabis oil being used is written in the Book of Exodus.
In the hebrew version of the bible, a recipe that was handed down from God to Moses is described to be drenched in cannabis oils (Exodus 30:22-23).
1213 BC-Ancient Egyptians use cannabis for medical treatment.
Some of the illnesses being treated through the use of cannabis is enemas, inflammation of the joints or extremities and glaucoma.
1AD-Ancient Chinese recommend marijuana as the number 1 treatment for more than 100 ailments.
30AD-Jesus allegedly uses cannabis oil as an anointment.
In the New Testament, Jesus’ disciples the oil to his disciples to spread throughout the land. After his death, it is suggested by James that “all who are ill in the Christian community should be appointed the oil in the name of Jesus”
200AD-Cannabis resin used as anesthetic.
When combined with wine, Chinese surgeon Hua T’o used this concoction as a way to put patients to sleep in order to operate.
800-900AD-First time Marijuana is labeled as a potential “lethal poison”.
During this time in the Arabic world, cannabis was used as medication and was highly praised, while others believed it to be a deadly poison and something to be feared.
1538AD-Hemp becomes popular.
An English botanist spoke of hemp in his medical journal, and described possible uses of the material and how it is beneficial.
In conclusion, the history of cannabis in the ancient world is one that is very prominent. The herb has popped up in not only multiple medical books, but as well in biblical and religious scripture. Moreover, it has been one of the first medically prescribed pain killers and is still prescribed as such to this day. With modern advances in technology, it’s amazing to see that such a simple plant can help so many people and is still relevant thousands of years after its discovery.
Research (Writing) Conducted by: Colleen Schoch