Marijuana is a Schedule I drug according to the United States Controlled Substances Act. If you’re not familiar with that term, it means marijuana has “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” This begs the question: how did weed become illegal in the first place? Marijuana is one of the most controversial substances in the world. In some parts of the world, marijuana is illegal and considered a dangerous drug. In other parts, it’s legal for both medical and recreational use. The history of marijuana has been fraught with contradictions as attitudes have changed over time about its risks and benefits. In this blog post, we will explore some of the origins of weed as well as uncover some surprises about its history.
Marijuana use dates back at least 5,000 years
The earliest known reference to weed is from 2727 BC, in the Chinese Pharmacopeia. The plant was used as a medical treatment and for spiritual purposes. Weed wasn’t always illegal: Ancient Egyptians grew it and traded with it, and Roman Emperor Nero burned it as incense. Queen Victoria became one of its first famous users when she used marijuana to help alleviate morning sickness. Other sources say that this controversial historical figure used it to help with menstrual cramps. Regardless of its purpose, we do know that cannabis was being used in some form back in the early 19th century.
Cannabis usage and consumption wasn’t limited to Europe historically. Around 1,000 B.C., the Indians created a drink called bhang that consisted of milk, marijuana, and other ingredients. According to The History of Marijuana, it was used as an anti-phlegmatic and a form of anesthetic. A more modern form of bhang is still consumed in India today. In addition to physical aid, cannabis has a long history of having a spiritual purpose in India. Furthermore, a group of ancient scriptures called The Vedas refers to marijuana as an herb to help calm people suffering from anxiety.
The marijuana plant eventually made its way to the Americas
Eventually, the marijuana plant was brought to America’s continent to be used for rope and fabric. Although marijuana leaves were primarily used by manufacturers when it made its way to North and South America, it wasn’t long before its recreational uses were uncovered. It was around the late nineteenth century that people began to use marijuana recreationally. Although it was illegal, during the 1920s and 1930s jazz musicians would often smoke weed before they performed on stage.
In 1937, Congress passed a law which banned both hemp and marijuana because of their association with cannabis sativa. Although this wasn’t technically a ban on marijuana, it was enough to influence its use for many years. It would take the 1960s and 70s for weed to make its way back into mainstream culture as one of America’s favorite drugs (despite still being illegal on a federal level). Today, marijuana remains the most commonly used illicit drug in America. Despite it still being illegal on a federal level, many states have decriminalized its use for both recreational and medical purposes. The negative stigma around marijuana usage is slowly disintegrating.
Decades of negative stigma about cannabis are finally being broken
Marijuana is a drug that has been around for centuries and dates back to 5000 years ago. The negative stigma surrounding cannabis is slowly fading, with more states legalizing it in 2018 than ever before. Cannabis was used by ancient cultures as both medicine and spiritual aid, but the plant’s association with counterculture movements of the 1960s led to its prohibition in most countries today. More people are getting educated on how this plant can be useful medicinally and recreationally without the harmful side effects we’ve seen from alcohol or tobacco use.
Instead, we’re becoming familiarized with more of the positive side effects that cannabis provides. Some of these benefits include pain relief, improved moods, appetite stimulation, reduced nausea during chemotherapy treatments, and much more. If you’re interested in learning about how to use cannabis medicinally or want help with any other aspect of this powerful plant medicine, reach out to us today or visit our dispensary in Lemon Grove.