Parent Testimonials Video

The History of Marijuana

Ancient History of Marijuana

Marijuana has been used for millennia. Six thousand years before Christ the seed of the cannabis plant was being used by the Chinese and only a couple of thousand years later textiles started being made from hemp. Marijuana was referred to as a psychoactive drug as early as 2737 BC when Shen Nung, a Chinese emperor, wrote about these qualities of the plant. In China the cannabis plant was considered recreational but it was important because of its medicinal purposes whereas in other countries, like India, marijuana was used extensively for leisure. Consuming marijuana was very popular in the Middle East because the Quran, the holy text of Muslim, banned alcohol. Due to their increased intake of the drug the Middle East soon created "hashish" which went into other places like Persia and Africa. During this time many scholars and academics argued about the benefits and drawbacks of consuming hashish.
By the 13th century, a famous Moorish scientist had described the psychoactive effects of the drug in Andalusia in Spain while researching medicines. His name was Ibn al-Baitar.
Later, in the Ottoman Empire, the first edict ever against eating and consuming hashish is announced. The year is 1378. Later, when slaves are transported into South America from Africa and they take the cannabis plant with them.
In occupied Constantinople the regular use of opium and hashish are on the rise.
The Middle Ages
Cannabis was used as a medicine for around 150 years in Europe's Middle Ages based almost entirely on two very famous Roman medicine texts written over a thousand years before. This was not an entirely common use but some physicians did use it at the time and it was used recreationally by those of the lower class. It must be noted that Europeans from the Middle Ages were not much interested in the psychedelic effects of the plant. Peasants and traders grew hemp plants to make into clothes and textiles, until Europeans started to travel to the Far East, curious about different cultures. They wrote in best-selling books that hemp was used medicinally in India and that an intoxicating drink could be made out of it. While well-to-do Europeans bought hemp made clothes, country-side peasants who dabbled in witchcraft knew about hemp and used it for its psychedelic and medicinal purposes.
By the year 1484 the Pope condemned both witchcraft and the use of hemp in Satan worshipping masses. A few centuries later hemp was condemned as one of the main ingredients used in oils and creams of devil worshippers. Other herbs were condemned including opium. Demonologists thought that hemp was used to cause euphoria and intoxication during Black Mass. They also thought that consuming oil made of hemp seeds in a particular ointment made witches able to fly. We can infer then, that the psychedelic properties of cannabis were well-known by both those who dabbled in the occult and general peasants around Western and Eastern Europe.
European Colonialism
Well-to-do Europeans did not know anything about the other properties of the cannabis plant. A Portuguese physician called Garcia Da Orta enlisted into the Indies expedition and wrote a very famous travel book in which he described the psychoactive properties of cannabis in detail. He described that hemp could cause euphoria, could be an aphrodisiac, could cause hallucinations, could cure insomnia and stimulate appetite. Da Orta was a Jewish man that had adopted the customs of Christianity to keep himself safe during the inquisition but he was found out. He was killed and all of his books were thought to be destroyed. One copy remained in a library in Lisbon and was subsequently published and translated in many different languages.
For the next century many wrote travel logs and many of these authors mixed up the effects of opium with the effects of hemp.
The Napoleonic Era
Napoleon took over the majority of Europe leaving many dead behind. When the French invaded Egypt they discovered hashish. Napoleon was concerned that their overindulgence in the drug would cause them to be unruly. Military life was very boring for the French Army and although the men used to entertain themselves by drinking hashish was much more widely available in Egypt. Use spread throughout the troops until Napoleon forbade it with a decree that said that consuming hashish made individuals "lose their reason" and become "victims of violent delirium." The soldiers did not exactly abide by his rules and some samples of the drug were sent back to France. When the army got back from Egypt the French heard all about the psychoactive effects of cannabis. The French were enchanted by the drug and it became a popular topic for articles, books, poems and music. Around this time a forefather in psychiatry started testing the drug as a cure for 'madness.' Moreau took small doses of hashish and recorded feeling euphoria and calmness, then took medium sized doses. When he took these he reported feeling a distorted sense of times and a disorganized train of thought. With the highest doses he felt like dreams flooded his brain. Moreau came to the conclusion that madness was caused by changes in the brain. Many French writers and scientists researched hemp after that since it became a huge point of interest.
Victorian Times
A physician used cannabis in India to test on both animals and humans. He gave some to a patient dying of rabies and although he wasn't cure the doctor noticed that the patient was now able to swallow. He gave the drug to a pharmacist in England and he made it into Squire's extract. Physicians prescribed it for almost everything, particularly excessive period bleeding.
By the year 1875, a growing numbers of people in the United States were experimenting with hashish. Cannabis became a popular recreational activity in many places and inspired many books, articles and poems.
Modern Marijuana History
The American government was used by the excess opium usage in the United States. They were also worried by the excess marijuana usage. The Pure Food and Drug Act which passed in 1906 said that all pharmaceuticals which contained a specific amount of opium, heroin, morphine, cocaine and cannabis had to be labeled. After many years of taxation, legalization and debate marijuana was placed into Schedule 1 by the Reagan administration. This is still a highly contested and controversial ruling and some states use marijuana medicinally.