TheWith cannabis products becoming increasingly popular with more states legalizing cannabis for medicinal and recreational use, and with the passing of the Farm Bill, people across the country are expressing their curiosity about this plant. There are now many cannabis products on the market today, from classic marijuana bud to cannabidiol (CBD) drops to Delta 8 gummies. But how did this simple plant become such an intricate part of culture worldwide?
Cannabis has been used by humans for thousands of years, both medicinally and recreationally. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound in cannabis, has a long and complicated history, dating back to ancient times. THC has been used to treat numerous medical conditions throughout various cultures, and recent research suggests that it may have therapeutic potential for various conditions.
Today, we’ll explore the storied history of THC and how it’s changed over the years.
Cannabis in Ancient Times
Cannabis has been used for centuries for medical, spiritual, and recreational purposes. THC was first used in ancient China around 2700 BC as a form of medicine. The Chinese herbalist Pen Ts’ao listed cannabis as a treatment for 28 diseases. It was prescribed for various ailments such as gout, malaria, and rheumatism. In fact, the Chinese word for cannabis is “ma,” which is also the word for “medicine.”
THC was also used in ancient India for religious and medicinal purposes. In the Hindu scripture Atharva-Veda, cannabis is one of the five sacred plants. The Vedas call the cannabis plant a “source of happiness” and “joy-giver.” The god Shiva is sometimes depicted with a cannabis leaf in his hand.
The use of cannabis for religious purposes can be traced back to the earliest civilizations. THC was also used in Ancient Greece and Rome for both religious and recreational purposes. In fact, another early recorded mention of cannabis comes from the Greek historian Herodotus, who wrote about the use of cannabis by the Scythians, a nomadic people who lived in the central Eurasian steppes.
The use of cannabis plants for medicinal purposes can also be traced back to the ancient world. The Chinese, for example, have been using THC to treat a variety of illnesses for over two thousand years. The Egyptians also used cannabis plants to treat a variety of illnesses, including glaucoma, epilepsy, and tetanus.
THC was also used for recreational purposes in the ancient world. The Ancient Greeks referred to the cannabis plant as “the joy plant.” The use of cannabis for recreational purposes was also popular in India and China.
Cannabis in the 20th Century
Cannabis use was once considered so normal that it was found in everyday items such as fabric, food, and even medicines. However, with the turn of the 20th century, cannabis products were no longer as widespread.
Marijuana prohibition began in the early 1900s after a false claim connecting THC consumption to crime and violence gained traction. For the next few decades, lawmakers and law enforcement officials worked to outlaw cannabis across the country.
Despite this campaign, THC continued to be used by millions of Americans. In the 1960s, cannabis was thrust into the national spotlight as part of the counterculture movement. People began to challenge the negative stereotypes of THC and call for its legalization.
Over the next few years, public opinion began to shift in favor of cannabis. In 1972, the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse released a report calling for the decriminalization of cannabis.
In 1996, California became the first state to legalize medical cannabis. Since then, more than half of the states have legalized medical cannabis, while 18 states and Washington D.C. have legalized recreational cannabis.
Public opinion is continuing to shift in favor of THC, and it is only a matter of time before cannabis is fully legalized nationwide.