After 75 years of prohibition, Colorado and Washington State legalized recreational marijuana in 2012.
For hundreds of years Cannabis had been an integral part of human civilization. In fact, there’s evidence that in prehistoric Japan, people wore clothes made from its fibers and it was also used for bow strings and fishing lines. The same can be said of other cultures where this versatile plant was used for medicine for centuries.
Sheng Nhong, who wrote the Chinese Materia Medica around 2080 BC, discovered the medicinal properties of Cannabis and stated that it was good for gout, malaria, absentmindedness, and rheumatism, among hundreds of other ailments. Cannabis was also one of the 50 fundamental herbs in the traditional Chinese medicine toolkit.
The fourth Hindu Veda mentions cannabis, and the Hindu god Shiva is often referred to as Lord of the Bhang— an edible preparation of cannabis. His devotees still consume traditional preparations of cannabis to this day. It is most commonly consumed in a drink, which is especially used on holidays.
The Persian prophet Zoroaster is believed to be the first to make mention of cannabis as a sacrament. It was generally unavailable to the common people and only the priests consumed it. They described its effect as allowing their bodies to rest while their minds went on a spiritual journey.
According to legend, The Buddha survived on a diet of cannabis for six years during which time he received important revelations.
And just like that, many ancient traditions and religious persuasions have used cannabis as an important addition to their rituals and rites.
In the 1800s indentured servants from India introduced ganja to Jamaica where it became popular among Rastafarians. They believe it to be the ‘wisdom weed’ mentioned in the Bible.
The Roman Empire spread the knowledge of the medical properties of Cannabis through Europe. Germanic tribes used it mostly for its fiber, but by the mid 1800s a group of French luminaries started a Parisian club dedicated to the consumption of hashish.
The Pilgrims are believed to have brought the crop with them on the Mayflower in 1620, after which it gained popularity among certain groups in the US.
Then in 1857 Fitz Hugh Ludlow wrote ‘The Hashish Eater’, which became wildly popular. In this book he described the altered states of consciousness he entered while using cannabis.