Cannabis and Hemp History

Medicinal use of  Cannabis and Hemp dates back around 5,000 years, as such cannabis history tied to many iconic time periods. Cannabis had been an ingredient in a holy anointment oil referenced in the original Hebrew version of Exodus. The Ancient Egyptians used Cannabis to treat glaucoma as well as general inflammation. Chinese Emperor Fu Hsi called hemp a popular medicine in 2,900 BC, and they had identified more than 100 medicinal uses from Hemp by 100 AD.1

In 1,000 BC, the Indians invented a drink called bhang, a mixture of Cannabis, milk, and other Hemps, and used it as an anesthetic and anti-phlegmatic. This drink is still used in India today. Ancient Indians may have also used cannabinoids as a purported cure for dysentery and leprosy as well curing fever, encourage sleep, and improve judgment and cognition. It was also thought to prolong life.
The English also documented many medicinal uses of Hemp and Cannabis  for ailments, such as:
  • Muscles spasms
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Insomnia and sleep problems
  • Rheumatism
  • Convulsions
  • Joint pain
Hemp has a long history of spiritual use in India. It is said that the Hindu god Shiva rested under a cannabis plant and ate its leaves following a family disagreement. Shiva is referred to the Lord of Bhang. The Vedas, a collection of ancient scriptures, refer to cannabis as an herb to release people from anxiety. One story in the Vedas describes a drop of heavenly nectar falling on the earth and becoming the cannabis plant.
Other ancient cultures also used Hemp. The Ancient Greeks used it for inflammation, earaches, and swelling. Greek historian Herodotus described cannabinoids being smoked for spiritual, emotional, and sometimes recreational purposes. He debated groups coming together and smoking, stating that the people smoking would “howl with pleasure.”2
In 70 AD, Roman medical texts listed it as a cure for earache and a way to suppress sexual desire. The Romans also boiled the roots of the plant and used them as a treatment for gout, arthritis, and generalized pain.1 The Arabians used it from 800 AD to 900 AD for migraines, pain, and syphilis.