Cannabis, it's origins and history

The History of Cannabis

Cannabis stocks are rapidly gaining traction (estimated of around $24 billion) and Wall Street certainly has high hopes for this relatively new (and legal) market. The legal use of cannabis dates back further than you might think. While we live in an era where the plant has always been classified as a schedule 1 drug — it’s hard for anyone to believe that it was once used as a form of medicine thousands of years ago.

While the plant is among humanity’s oldest cultivated crops and it’s use dates back as far as 12,000 years — it’s not 100% known as to where the plant came from. However, it’s believed to have evolved on the steppes of Central Asia (southern Siberia and Mongolia).

China’s Relationship with Cannabis

China has used written scripts for over 4,000 years. From these scripts, historians have found that the Chinese had used the hemp plant (a relative of the cannabis plant) for making clothes, rope and even as a source of food — but what about its use for medicinal purposes?

Considering there are plenty of scripts on the hemp plant, finding out more about cannabis and its medical use in China was a lot more difficult than historians thought.

The first use for medical cannabis dates back to 4000 B.C in Ancient China. Reports show that the Chinese Emperor — Shen Nung in 2737 B.C had used it as a form of treatment. This is the first ever written record on the cannabis plant. It is also believed that the plant was used as an anesthetic during surgery. However, there is no solid proof of this.

Roughly between 2000 B.C and 1000 B.C. — farmers from the coast of China brought the plant to Korea.

Cannabis’ Journey to Europe

Cannabis Sativa (a form of cannabis) eventually made its way to the Middle East between 2000 B.C. and 1400 B.C.. Later, it was brought to India, where the plant was seen as a magical herb that cured;

  • Anxiety
  • Gout
  • Inflammation
  • Malaria
  • Depression
  • Psychotic symptoms
  • Nausea

In the 1800s, an Irish doctor known as Sir William Brooke O’Shaughnessy discovered that cannabis had medical benefits such as treating pain and nausea.

It further experienced widespread use in a variety of cultures such as Greeks, Romans, Muslims, and Persians.

Scythians, (a nomadic Indo-European group) — Eurasian nomads, brought the plant to the Ukraine and Russia. Eventually, during the 5th century, the plant made it through central Eupore (specifically Germany) and then made its way to Britain.

It is believed that the Spanish brought cannabis to American during the late 1500s. After thousands of years of the medical and recreational use of cannabis, it eventually took a turn for the worst — or the better?

In the early 1930s, all states eventually criminalized and made the plant illegal.

While it’s future is somewhat promising, there is no doubt that cannabis, still to this day — remains a hot, yet controversial topic. Whether we like it or not, cannabis legalization is happening around the globe, with the hopes of it being heavily regulated of course.