The Historical Utilization of Cannabis by Humans for Nourishment, Textiles, and Psychoactive Properties Extends Over Thousands of Years, Indicates Recent Study

The Historical Utilization of Cannabis by Humans for Nourishment, Textiles, and Psychoactive Properties Extends Over Thousands of Years, Indicates Recent Study

A recent article published in the European Journal for Chemistry delves into the extensive history of cannabis and its relationship with mankind. The paper, titled “From ancient Asian relics to contemporaneity: A review of historical and chemical aspects of Cannabis,” was authored by Gabriel Vitor de Lima Marques and Renata Barbosa de Olivera from the pharmacy department at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil.

The authors begin by highlighting the plant’s initial use as a source of fiber. Dating back approximately 10,000 years ago in ancient Mesopotamia and around 6,000 and 5,000 years ago in China and Kazakhstan respectively, hemp fiber was utilized for various products such as ropes and sails. It became one of the five main grains alongside rice, soy, barley, and millet.

Furthermore, cannabis played a significant role in religious and ceremonial practices. The study notes that about 3,000 years ago, people in the Indian region began using cannabis for both therapeutic and narcotic purposes due to its religious connotations. Described in the Vedas as one of the five sacred plants, cannabis was believed to bring joy and freedom to those who used it. The psychoactive effects of marijuana were also documented in the world’s oldest pharmacopoeia known as the Pen Ts’ao Ching, which dates back to 2,700 B.C.E.

The authors emphasize that cannabis has been cherished throughout history for its various applications. In the Indian region, it was used during weddings, family gatherings, seasonal festivities like Holi, and important religious ceremonies like Durga Puja. Cannabis was regarded with a similar reverence as communion wine or sacred host is for Christians. Moreover, Ayurvedic medicine employed cannabis as a panacea for numerous ailments including pain relief, spasm control, anti-inflammatory properties, aphrodisiac effects, appetite stimulation, treatment of female tract diseases, inducing childbirth, and more.

These historical findings challenge the assertions made by proponents of cannabis prohibition, such as Kevin Sabet of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM). Sabet argued that the legalization of alcohol is justified due to its long history of use, unlike illegal drugs. However, the paper reveals that Semitic people were aware of the psychoactive properties of cannabis centuries before the Christian era. Cannabis formulations were utilized for injuries and various ailments, described as “sicknesses of the spirit.” Additionally, cannabis-based incense was commonly used in social rituals, including funerals.

While the paper refrains from taking a political stance on cannabis legalization, it acknowledges that numerous jurisdictions worldwide have moved towards legalizing or decriminalizing cannabis. Countries like South Africa, Canada, Georgia, and Uruguay, as well as some states in the United States, have embarked on this path. Furthermore, countries such as Germany, the UK, Chile, New Zealand, and Brazil have authorized medical marijuana products.

Over the past six decades, efforts to destigmatize cannabis and explore its therapeutic potential have gained momentum due to discoveries related to its active principles in the 1960s. Humans continue to unravel the mysteries of the cannabis plant. Recent studies have highlighted the benefits of consuming multiple cannabinoids for a stronger and longer-lasting high compared to pure THC. Moreover, advancements in genetic engineering have allowed for manipulation and control over the course of cannabis evolution.

In conclusion, this paper provides a comprehensive overview of cannabis’s long-standing relationship with humanity. From its early use as a source of fiber to its role in religious ceremonies and medicinal applications, cannabis has played an integral part in various aspects of human culture throughout history. As society continues to explore and understand this versatile plant’s potential benefits, ongoing research and legalization efforts will shape its future trajectory.

Dr. Paul Miller, MD

Dr. Miller is committed to finding new and innovative ways to help his patients manage their symptoms and improve their overall quality of life. He has a particular interest in the therapeutic potential of medical cannabis and is passionate about educating both his colleagues and patients on its safe and effective use. He is also committed to continuing his education and staying up-to-date on the latest advances in neurology and cannabis research.

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