History of Marijuana

Have you ever sat down and wondered about the history of marijuana use? A lot of people don’t until someone asks them and they are instantly curious. Just how long has marijuana been around? Did people smoke weed thousands of years ago? The origins of marijuana go back a ridiculous amount of years. After all, it just grows naturally in the ground. So, put on your thinking caps, and join us for this history lesson about our beloved bud.

The Origin of Weed

What do we know about cannabis history? Historians believe the origin of weed spawns back over four thousand years. The oldest known written record of cannabis was recorded between 2900-2700 BC by former Chinese emperor, Chen Nung. The Romans and Greeks were also known to imbibe. Really, is that any surprise? Those guys could party.

Cannabis can be grown all over the world for all of us to enjoy. It has met with mixed reactions across the globe as far as legality is concerned.

When did Marijuana Start Being Used for Medical Purposes?

Fu Hsi wrote of one of the earliest use of cannabis as a medicine in 2900 BC. That seems to be the earliest use of marijuana. The Chinese sure knew how to use a plant to the best of its abilities. Certain Bible scholars believe that anointing oil was made with cannabis as referenced in the Bible. That would suggest that it was used for many different types of healing.

history of weed

Timeline: Worldwide Cannabis History

  • In 1213 BC, Egyptians start toking up to cure glaucoma. While this seems like a ridiculously long time ago to discover this benefits of marijuana, and modern medicine should support those findings by now, many modern-day lawmakers still disagree.
  • In 1000 BC, India mixes marijuana with milk for a pain killer.
  • The 1500’s saw both the English and the Chinese stocking their medical bags with cannabis. The Middle Ages had this figured out. “The Anatomy of Melancholy” details how marijuana can be used for helping depression.
  • In 1840, Queen Victoria was rumored to have used it to treat cramps. If the rumors were true, she was on to something. There is not much a joint and a hot bath can’t fix.
  • 1889 brought about an article in the Lancet that described cannabis as a tool for getting through opiate withdrawal.

History of Cannabis in the US

The Early Daze

George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both grew cannabis plants. Did they smoke? It depends on who you ask. If you had fields of it, wouldn’t you smoke some? While the history of cannabis in the US may have included our founding fathers, there is little evidence to support such claims.

In 1911, Massachusetts decides to set a precedent and outlaws marijuana in their state. This is when the United States history of marijuana legislation begins. This action led to a chain reaction, as Maine, Wyoming, and Indiana followed suit two years later. It is believed that they thought outlawing the herb would rid their states of all forms of nefarious deeds.

Less than a decade later, New York. Vermont, Utah, Colorado, Nevada, and California all outlawed the drug. More states continued the trend. Everything, however, comes back into fashion sooner or later.

history of marijuana use

Federal Bureau of Narcotics

In the 1930s, marijuana extracts were being sold as medicine in the United States. In 1933, however, Harry Anslinger of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics was in the midst of leading the charge against cannabis, and announced that marijuana use was linked to murders. These crimes were documented in the “Gore Files” which are now regarded as dubious at best in their integrity; some of the contents have since been proved false.

The Bureau of Narcotics called for reform, and in 1936, the infamous “Reefer Madness” film was released, which scared parents across the nation into turning on marijuana with vehemence. This film radicalized the criminalization side of the history of marijuana use in the United States.

Cannabis Origin: The History of Marijuana Use

In 1937, taxes were added onto the sale of the drug and in 1942 marijuana was removed from the United States Pharmacopoeia.

1970 was the big year when the United States government classified marijuana as a drug “with no acceptable medical use.” It was also labeled a Schedule 1 Narcotic along with Heroin. Cocaine and Meth are only Schedule 2.

In 1971, former President Richard Nixon, declared a “War on Drugs” linking marijuana with the rest of the narcotics, despite a lack of evidence that it was harmful. Alcohol, in contrast, remains legal.

In 1973, the DEA was established and marijuana seems to be an ever-growing target of the organization since causing much of the modern history of marijuana to hold a negative stigma.

cannabis origin

History of Marijuana and its Effect on Modern America

Fast forward to present, where half the country, as well as our nation’s capital, has finally gotten on board with the fact that marijuana is not harmful but beneficial. Only time will tell how long we have until the rest of our states and the federal government come to the same conclusion.

You can get an in-depth look at the life of cannabis from our good friends at the DEA in the article is entitled “Cannabis, Coca, & Poppy: Nature’s Addictive Plants.” Take some of what you read with a grain of salt, because things have moved on, but you will find some very interesting facts. Or if anything, you’ll gain perspective on the many social and political factors that have impacted the history of marijuana in the US.

Check out this huge, in-depth timeline that may answer many of your questions about the history of marijuana. Be sure to keep an eye out for more marijuana facts and statistics on The Spot 420’s comprehensive cannabis blog.


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