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Marijuana, also known as cannabis or pot, has a long history of human use.
And when was marijuana first discovered? According to the best estimates of researchers, the cannabis plant appears to have diverged as a unique species some time around 28 million years ago, somewhere in the general vicinity of the Tibetan Plateau 1.
From here cannabis spread like the weed it is, interestingly toward Russia and Europe first before reaching eastern China only 1. We note this as interesting because archaeologists have discovered the earliest physical evidence of a culture smoking cannabis as a psychoactive drug in China.
Though marijuana was likely used through-out early history as an intoxicating herb, the earliest known evidence of someone smoking weed to get high was found in a dig site at the Jirzankal Cemetery, on the Pamir Plateau. It was here that a team of researchers including noted director of Paleoethnobotany Dr. Robert Spengler discovered a set of ten wooden braziers 2 ; though damaged by time and the elements the site contained clear s of incense burners containing stones that had been exposed to burnt materials.
Believing that these braziers might have been used for some fashion of ritual purpose the team began work extracting residue from the charred materials still stuck to the stones. And not just any cannabis; the research team discovered that the concentration of THC in these samples were much higher than average wild-grown plants from the same time, meaning the Jirzankal people either purposefully gathered cannabis plants high in THC or otherwise cultivated them for their psychoactive properties.
Medical marijuana: an older concept than you might think
At roughly 2, years ago, this gives us the earliest physical evidence for a culture smoking cannabis to get high. Though additional evidence is slim we do know that cannabis cultivation goes back thousands of years further, to at least the stone age. One of the best early recorded uses of cannabis as a medicinal aid also stems back to the ancient Chinese. It even goes as far to describe a seven-month growth and flowering period for the plant prior to harvesting the flower, and recommends waiting a longer period of time if harvesting for seed.
Toward the end of the same century the surgeon Hua Tuo 5 became the first recorded individual to use cannabis as a surgical anesthetic. Instead of smoking the plant, however, Hua Tuo ground the plant into a powder-like substance which he then mixed with wine, in a concoction meant to be drank prior to surgery.
A new study suggests ancient humans used cannabis to commune with nature, spirits or even the dead
Cannabis use was very common in traditional Chinese medicine, with uses listed for over different forms of ailments. From flowers to seeds to stalks the entirety of the marijuana plant was utilized, for everything from ulcers to wounds and beyond. But can we go even further back? Though evidence prior to this point starts becoming more conceptual in nature, there have been very heavy s of cannabis being used for medical purposes in even older cultures.
Ancient India and cultures through-out the ancient Middle East also used cannabis for both medicine and recreation, and the practice was referenced by the ancient Greeks as well. Mentions of cannabis stem back to the 5th century BC, where Greek historian Herodotus described the Scythian culture and their use of cannabis prior to battle. Happy smoking! High There. Medical Uses for the Entire Cannabis Plant Cannabis use was very common in traditional Chinese medicine, with uses listed for over different forms of ailments.
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