The exact origin of Cannabis discovery is today still unknown however a multitude of scholarly articles will suggest its origins in Central Asia. With cultural and physical evidence throughout many Ancient and modern historical cultures Cannabis has had quite a journey. 

The most solid evidence of cultural understanding and acceptance of the medicinal use of Cannabis (or ‘Ma’ as it was descripted back then) is found in the famed 3000-2700BC Chinese Pharmacopeia: The Pen-ts’ao Ching. With controversial evidence, the recording and placement of Cannabis in medicinal texts and practices are credited to the legendary Chinese emperor, Shen Nung (2838-2698BC). 

Shen Nung

This was the earliest known recording of Cannabis as medicine in human history and there is a staggering amount of physical evidence throughout European and Middle Eastern history that supports the need for modern cultures to accept the importance that Cannabis has played in human evolution both as a material for multi-purpose and medicine.

Other Ancient cultures and their description/use of Cannabis have varying degrees of evidence. The Assyrians; Egyptians; Scythians; Thracians; Greek; Roman and many more all of have a large amount of physical and written evidence of the use of Hemp in dietary and living standards. A common theme that runs through the evidence is that of the use of Cannabis as a spiritual or healing remedy.  A multitude of afflictions, diseases and well-being disorders are referenced as the targets for the use of Cannabis.

In the romanticized era of European shipping between 1400 – 1600 AD   (You remember Pirates . . . right?) Hemp was used for many different operational purposes: Sails, Rigging, Ropes, Sacks and even Sailors Uniforms were all made from Hemp fibers. The incorporation of Hemp Seeds into the day to day diet of sailors was a testament to the benefits of the Hemp seed as a nutritional food source.

Hemp and Fibre Ropes

The inevitable furthering of Naval technological advancement (The steamship) and the onset of the controversial Cotton Industry saw a massive decline in the demand for Hemp use. A militarised and brutal trade triangle of Cotton, Tobacco, Coffee and Sugar between the US, UK and Africa gave birth to an extremely damaging and embarrassing period of human history due to the incarceration and enslavement of the people of Africa for Western advancement.  This use of the slave trade, economies of scale in manufacturing and a public preference for cotton fibres made Hemp vulnerable in the common market.

In the early 20th century Hemp had all but been localised to smaller industry demands and was stagnating as a viable or profitable crop since Cotton had now become the widely preferred textile choice. By 1928, Cannabis (and subsequently Hemp) were to become heavily stigmatised.  During the period of 1928 to 1937 a smear campaign was spearheaded by Henry J Anslinger as the Head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics in the US.  The campaign resulting in the ‘Marijuana Tax Act 1937’ set the tone for the slow re-emergence and acceptance of Hemp and Cannabis in Main Stream Society today.

Marijuana Propaganda 1930’s

The 1960’s the ‘Hippy Movement’ saw a declaration of the ‘War on Drugs’ in the early 70’s as a response to liberalised society which further solidified Cannabis in the minds of many as a harmful substance threatening the fabric of social constructs and the further expansion of the prison system and users (many of ethnic minority) were criminalised.

In the early 80’s under Reagan the ‘Say No’ campaign again looped Cannabis in with more harmful street drugs such as Cocaine and Heroin. The stigma continued. By the early 90’s the US President George Bush Snr renewed the War on Drugs setting to the back of the minds of many the advancements in the Scientific field research of Cannabis.  The discovery of the EndoCannabinoid System in the 90’s by multiple scientists such as Raphael Mechoulam (aka The Godfather of Cannabis research) started the slow burning fuse for modern day demand of Cannabis based products specifically toward human health.

Raphael Mechoulam 1960’s

Hugely important and still as yet under-researched, Cannabis is making a come back in a very different way. It has returned with Science as its companion and the growing need for sustainable global solutions as its mission.

In 2019 we are still beset by political indecision and loosely based arguments as to the need to keep Cannabis unregulated and illegal in the UK.  However, other nations have seen sense in Cannabis regulation and have made small measures to prepare for medical legalisation including: Canada; The US; Australia; Greece; Germany; Holland (Obviously) and many more. This growing change of approach has still yet to be fully realised as pro-choice supporters for recreational use have a continued battle to fight to gain freedom of a Cannabis market without criminalisation.

Recently the World Health Organisation (WHO) has called for a global reclassification of Cannabis due to the overwhelming evidence found in modern research and anecdotal evidence from brave and in many cases desperate users.  This is a positive step in a Cannabis friendly future.

You can read more about this here

All in all though the topic of Cannabis and its place in human history is an exciting one with many opinions to be able to be drawn. Further education, understanding and safe use practice regulation is long overdue to allow for accurate opinions to be developed. Here at Flora Fusion we will support the rise and return of Hemp products in daily life and aim to educate as many as possible on the safe use of  CBD and benefits of wider Hemp products.

Thank you for reading.

Hemp/Cannabis – A Brief History

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