Last Updated 2 years by Shariful Alam Pavel
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Epic History of Marijuana
Someone somewhere in the far past first invented the mysterious plant Marijuana, thousands of years people use/misuse it.
It is the most frequent illegal drug in the world. Cannabis is present in the list of dangerous drugs. The possession, use, and cultivation of marijuana are illegal in most parts of the world.
Once Marijuana is only used for being high, teens use it for drug abuse! Drug administration listed it as a gateway drug that always hides marijuana’s other positive versions like Hemp.
Today another version of marijuana named a “Hemp plant” is largely produced CBD. CBD is actually helpful for our health. It is getting popular day by day. Within a short span of time, CBD will spread across the globe.
Marijuana Use as Hemp
Simply, every marijuana plant and Hemp plant originated from cannabis plants (scientifically Cannabis Sativa). Just like the famous dialogue brothers from another mother because the chemical compounds are so different but the structure is the same.
In one sentence, the odds of marijuana is having at least 25/30% THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is a psychoactive compound that makes us high. Whereas, hemp has a maximum of 0.3% THC so that how much you intake Hemp is not going to make you high.
History of Marijuana in the society
The history of marijuana is a long and interesting one. Archaeologists discovered an ancient village that dates back over 10,000 years to the Stone Age used marijuana plants as fiber in small pots to decorate them. Archaeologists also found in many ancient cultures that marijuana was used to make clothes, ropes, fishing nets, and paper.
Marijuana has been used for medicinal and recreational purposes for thousands of years in many different cultures around the world. The first known use of cannabis dates back to 2700 BC when Chinese Emperor Shen Nung discovered its medicinal properties.
The earliest evidence of marijuana being smoked comes from the Ancient Egyptians who were using marijuana leaf as aroma during their religious ceremonies. They also believed that smoking marijuana would help them achieve higher states of consciousness.
In the Middle Ages, marijuana was widely used throughout Europe as a treatment for various ailments including epilepsy, headaches, insomnia, and even menstrual cramps. During this time period, both recreational marijuana and marijuana as a drug use were very popular.
In the 1600s, marijuana became popular among European settlers in North America. They found that marijuana could be made into rope, paper, and cloth. However, soon enough they also realized that the plant might be used for other purposes such as food and medicine!
Many researchers think that marijuana is originated in Central Asia. The plant was most likely introduced to India through the series of Aryan invasions between 2000 and 1000 BCE. “Sushruta Samhita”; a book on ancient Indian medicine written between the third and eighth centuries BCE. In this book, marijuana is seen as a remedy for was for phlegm, catarrh, chronic illnesses, and diarrhea.
“Sociologist Theodore M. Godlaski, in his article, ‘Shiva, Lord of Bhang’, published in 2012, recounted a popular myth around the deity’s fascination with marijuana. “When the Gods stirred the heavenly ocean with the peak of mount Mandara, a drop of amrita (sacred nectar) fell from the sky. Where it landed, the first cannabis plant sprouted. Lord Shiva brought the plant down from Mount Mandara for the benefit of mankind”.
Marijuana was introduced to South Africa in 1815 by Dutch colonists. At the time, marijuana was used as a painkiller and antispasmodic. The use of cannabis to make rope grew dramatically among sea voyagers. Demand soared from domestic and foreign sources of Marijuana rope at that time.
In the early 1900s, Mexican immigrants to the U.S. introduced the recreational practice of smoking marijuana to American culture during the Mexican Revolution. Mexican cannabis was so popular at that time among other drugs. Massive unemployment, economic uncertainty, and social unrest increased the recreational use of marijuana in Mexican immigrants.
Using Marijuana in Religious Festivals
In religious aspects particularly in India; during festivals like Shivratri and Kumbha Mela; marijuana is burned and exhaled as offerings to Shiva (Hindu God). Notably, the spiritual/recreational use of marijuana consumption is not limited to Hindu people and the Indian subcontinent. All over the globe, Different people from different religions use it as a part of the holy sacrament. From ancient times to today, the mystic plant has been consumed by the Sadhu, a few Sufi, African dagga Cults, Chinese Daoists & many more.
Archaeologists have found evidence that ancient cultures knew about the psychoactive properties of marijuana. They practiced cannabis cultivation of different varieties of marijuana to find higher levels of THC for use in religious ceremonies or healing practices. Around 500 BC. burned seeds of marijuana have been found in the graves of shamans in China and Siberia.
Among all the drugs humankind has seen so far only marijuana got the privilege to be a part of recreation use in different cultures, communities, and societies.
Marijuana as Medicine
History of marijuana; the medicinal benefits of the plant are known for millennia, not as drug abuse. As far back as 2800 BC, the medicinal properties of marijuana were used to treat many health hazards and were listed as a natural remedy in Emperor Shen Nung’s pharmacopeia.
Marijuana was first used medicinally in China around 2,500 years ago.
In 1543, Spanish physician Garcia de Orta described the medicinal uses of marijuana. He wrote about its use to treat asthma, migraines, and rheumatism.
In 1641, Dutch scientist Rene Boerhaave recommended using marijuana to relieve nausea and vomiting.
In 1790, American doctor George Washington Carver discovered that cannabis had antiseptic properties.
In 1839, British surgeon William O’Shaughnessy reported on the use of marijuana to reduce seizures in children.
In 1942, Swiss psychiatrist Albert Hofmann isolated pure THC from the resin of the female cannabis flower.
In 1943, Australian chemist Dr. Raphael Mechoulam synthesized the chemical structure of THC.
In 1964, Israeli researcher Dr. Raphael Mechoulem isolated CBD from cannabis.
In 1965, Canadian scientists Dr. John C. McConnell and Peter Dr. McCann isolated CBD from industrial hemp.
In 1970, Dr. Mechoulam published his discovery of the psychoactive effects of THC.
In 1975, Dr. Mechoulemm and Dr. Mechoulam demonstrated that CBD blocks the effects of THC.
The Legalization of Medical Marijuana
Irish physician, Sir William Brooke O’Shaughnessy studying medical marijuana in the 1830s, found that cannabis extracts could help lessen stomach pain and vomiting when people suffer from cholera.
It wasn’t until 1936 that medical marijuana or medical cannabis began to gain popularity. That year, Congress passed the Marijuana Tax Act which placed a tax on marijuana.
This law was repealed in 1937 but was reenacted again in 1942. By then, the United States government had become aware of the potential benefits of medical marijuana. During World War II, the U.S. military tested cannabis for its ability to relieve stress and anxiety. After the war ended, the U.S Department of Health, Education, and Welfare conducted studies on the effects of cannabis on glaucoma patients. The results showed that cannabis helped reduce eye pressure and improve vision.
In 1970, President Richard Nixon signed the Controlled Substances Act. This act classified cannabis as a Schedule I substance meaning that it was considered dangerous with no accepted medical uses.
However, in 1988, the CSA was amended so that cannabis could now be prescribed by doctors if it was approved by the Food & Drug Administration as a prescription medication and the journey of medical marijuana begins from here.
As of June 2019, eleven states and Washington, D.C., have already legalized marijuana for recreational use. Colorado and Washington became the first U.S. states as they legalized marijuana in 2012. Still, marijuana legalization all over the world is a long journey.
Today, there are over 100 cannabinoids in cannabis. Each cannabinoid can have a different effect on your body. For example, THC makes you feel high while CBD/CBN/CBG doesn’t make you high. Marijuana is still illegal under U.S. federal law, however, if the government legalizes medical marijuana; it can unleash new findings and benefits.
Marijuana in American history
In 2009, the US Attorney General said that the DEA wouldn’t raid legal medical marijuana facilities and that the Department of Justice won’t prioritize the prosecution of legal patients. Still today, America continues to have a complicated history with legal marijuana laws. Anti-drug campaigners were always farmly stood against legalizing marijuana. The problem is marijuana began its journey in use as a drug and still people compared it with other drugs.
The U.S encouraged domestic cultivation of marijuana dates back to the Colonial Era. In the 17th Century govt. was focused on the production of rope, sails, and clothing. By the late 19th Century, it became a popular ingredient for medicinal products and can be openly sold in pharmacies.
In 1910, a vast array of Mexican immigrants flooded into America because of the Mexican revolution. the great depression of that time and the economical imbalance push them to introduce the recreational use of cannabis.
In 1937, Congress passed the Marijuana Tax Act, making criminalization of marijuana. Meanwhile, the New York Academy of Medicine issued a report declaring cannabis did not induce violence, or insanity, or lead to addiction or other drug use.
During World War II, the U.S. Department of Agriculture launched a “Hemp for Victory” program to use hemp to produce marine cordage, parachutes, and other military gear.
In the 1950s, federal laws declared mandatory sentences for drug-related offenses whereas reports commissioned by Presidents Kennedy and Johnson found that marijuana has no relation with inducing violence or leading to the use of other drugs.
In 1996 California passed Proposition 215 which allowed the commercial sale and medicinal purpose of marijuana to find a way for AIDS patients, cancer, and other serious painful disease. Drug enforcement administration, food and drug administration, and commercial companies that work with cannabis still facing a complex situation.
Marijuana Tax Act of 1937
The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 was the first federal government of U.S. law to criminalize marijuana nationwide. This act was designed to make marijuana illegal at all costs. This legislation led to the criminalization of marijuana use in the United States.
Today, this legislation continues to impact people who use or sell cannabis. Many states still classify marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug. Around the world Schedule 1 drug are still considered highly addictive and dangerous. These laws continue to put people at risk for arrest and imprisonment. Still, in many countries marijuana/cannabis use remains illegal; forbidding citizens from drug abuse, smoking marijuana was enlisted as a dangerous drug at that time.
The Farm Bill 2018 on Hemp Legalization
Hemp is defined by the US Department of Agriculture as a type of cannabis plant that contains less than 0.3% THC. As per section 10113 of the Farm Bill, cannabis/marijuana that possesses more than 0.3 percent THC would be considered as non-hemp cannabis/marijuana under U.S. federal law. And might face legal procedures under this new legislation. Of course, the 2018 farm bill has legalized the production of hemp as an agricultural crop and also removed it from the list of precise substances.
Production of hemp was legalized but it failed measurably to create a system where producers can grow hemp as freely as other crops. The bill specifically outlined the actions that would be considered violations of the law, like producing a plant with higher than 0.3 percent THC content and cultivating hemp without a license.
In other words, the Farm Bill still doesn’t create a system in which people can grow hemp as freely as they can grow flowers in their garden. Still, hemp is considered a highly regulated crop in the US for both personal and industrial production.
International regulation of cannabis
Since the early 1990s, many countries have legalized cannabis for recreational purposes. In early 2020, an international conference in the UN classified cannabis for recreational or commercial purposes even for medical purposes. The US Legislature voted in favor of it, despite this pending measure failing to get through Parliament. In early 2020 several pieces of state and federal legislative legislation were already passed during the same year. In January 2019, 32 States and the District of Columbia have legalized the medicinal use of prescribed marijuana.
However, there are still many countries where cannabis remains illegal.
Some of These countries are:
- Hong Kong
- New Zealand
- Saudi Arabia
- South Africa
Final Thoughts: History of Marijuana
It’s a matter of time that, the medicinal use of marijuana will rise. People from all over the world are still unaware of the medicinal purposes of marijuana’s other version! the hemp does not have psychoactive properties. Hemp doesn’t possess adverse effects. It is not slightly related to any other drugs.
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