The Cannabis plant is used effectively for medicinal properties for thousands of years. And yet, despite this long history of use, where exactly did it originate from? The answer may just surprise you…
Cannabis may have originated elsewhere and been introduced to Asia and the Middle East. Or that it probably evolved from an ancient ancestor called Cannabis sativa.
Historically the data about marijuana is anecdotal, I am not surprised there are still unanswered questions. So I did a little research and found some interesting facts about Cannabis that most people don’t know. Check them out below…
Many people believe that it was first used in Asia, which is also where the oldest records of its use originated from. Records about its Asian origin are at Yanghai Tombs in China. A 2000-year old mummy was discovered wearing hemp clothing. However, recent discoveries have given rise to the theory that Cannabis actually originated in Central Asia. The discoveries also suggest the existence of the plant there 5,000 years ago.
From Central Asia, the plant arrived in Europe and India around 1,500 BC. The plant arrived in the Americas at least 6,000 years later.
In fact, tribes along the Yellow River cultivated the plant as early as 6000BC! Europe, India, and America at that time were using hemp for making sails, fabric, and rope. This was centuries before smoking the plant for recreational purposes was a thing.
As for why it’s called Marijuana? The name originated from Mexican soldiers who had spread through America during the Spanish conquest of the 16th century. They noticed American Indian’s had a tendency to be incredibly relaxed after consuming the plant, and so they coined the term marijuana – which is Spanish for ‘crazy’.
One big misconception about Cannabis is that it is a new plant. But, there is evidence suggesting hemp was used in Taiwan in 2800 BC; for making rope. Which is the hemp strain of the cannabis species. This suggests the plant has been around for much longer than most people believe. So the Cannabis originates saga continues.
Another common misconception is that marijuana and hemp are actually different plants. However, they are actually the same species. The difference comes down to one of a few factors. The main ones are growing conditions, genetics, and location. Hemp growers do not allow the plant to flower. The plant cultivated like this is grown under these conditions, not for potency. While marijuana refers to cultivated plants developed specifically for their potent strains and higher yields/potency.
In other words, there’s no such thing as high-grade hemp!
Well, for starters Cannabis is not really a new name for the plant. It originated as Cannabis and is actually the scientific name. The plant is cultivated around the world and has different strains. These strains are Sativa, Hybrid, and Indica. Cannabis Sativa is a subspecies of the common hop plant. The strain is widely cultivated in countries having temperate climatic conditions. And this is because the plant adapts best in these conditions. Hemp, another strain of Cannabis is grown for industrial uses, and for its CBD content.
However, the two are more or less interchangeable when it comes to medical use. When Cannabis was introduced into the Western culture it was named marijuana. However, it wasn’t until the late 1800s that people started using hemp for medicinal purposes – when Cannabis tinctures were first sold on a commercial level.
Today, we know these species of plants can be effective for medical purposes. But there are differences between Cannabis and hemp.
As we have already mentioned, this largely comes down to growing conditions and genetics. By far one of the biggest differences is THC content; which stands for Tetrahydrocannabinol – also known as “the psychoactive active ingredient in Cannabis“. This chemical produces psychoactive effects when inhaled or ingested. It was integral in ceremonial rituals.
The amount of THC that a plant contains depends on two main factors; genetics and growing conditions. When we say “growing conditions”, this refers to the climatic conditions, type of cultivation, and harvesting. Types of cultivation refer to outdoor or indoor preferences. Which depends on the grower. Higher temperatures, for example, will speed up the flowering process – while longer periods of time will produce a higher THC level.
As for genetics, the two main types are Indica and Sativa. Indica plants contain less THC on average than a Sativa plant. However, they tend to be much more effective when treating chronic pain, muscle spasms, gastrointestinal issues, and insomnia – as well as providing a sense of calm and relaxation. Sativa plants, on the other hand, provide a more energetic “high” that can help treat fatigue; depression, and mood disorders.
Although Cannabis originated such a long time ago, our ancestors were aware of the many medicinal benefits. They may not have had the knowledge of chemical percentage content but utilized the plant effectively to aid in symptom relief.
Asia is responsible for introducing Cannabis to the rest of the world. Because these Asians traded along the Silk Road, the plant was very much a part of their culture. These traders used the plant for medicinal and ceremonial purposes. From there, it spread to North America and the rest of the world.
Therefore, because the region is responsible for introducing the plant to the rest of the world, makes it is widely used today. Its uses are for medical and recreational purposes and for some cultures ceremonially.
Thanks for reading!
Cannabis is believed to have originated from Central Asia, although its exact place of origin is unknown. The plant has been used for medicinal and recreational purposes for centuries in Asia. Cannabis was even used as a form of currency in some parts of the region.
Today, cannabis is still widely used in Asia, particularly in China, Nepal, and Southeast Asian countries. Religious rituals involving cannabis are also popular in the region.
To understand where cannabis originated in Asia, knowing how long the plant has been used in the area is essential. Historical records prove that cannabis was already cultivated during the Neolithic Age (6,000 – 7500 BC). The plant was used for various purposes, such as food, clothing, and medicine.
The first mention of cannabis in China was recorded in 500 BC by Shen Nung’s emperor. Cannabis was already recognized for its analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and anticonvulsant medical properties. It is also believed that the Chinese used cannabis during spiritual rituals.
As far as written history goes, the first mention of cannabis in India was by the Greek historian Herodotus. He mentioned that the people of India burned “resin from fine stalks” and inhaled its smoke to induce euphoria. However, it is unclear whether or not these rituals involved burning plant parts or incense.
Cannabis pollen dating back 2,500 years has been found in an archeological dig in the Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan. This suggests that cannabis was being cultivated in this area during the Bronze Age. The first written record of cannabis in this region is from the 7th century when it was mentioned in a Persian pharmacopeia.
Cannabis is also thought to have originated in the Philippines. The first written record of cannabis in this region is from the 16th century when it was mentioned in a Spanish pharmacopeia.
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