The history of the Cannabis plant is a history of kings and emperors, wars and merchants, prohibition and revolution. The plant has a long history, and has been cultivated for its valuable resources throughout human history. Cannabis was one of the first plants to be domesticated around 10,000 years ago, and was first cited in medical texts in China in 3,000 BC. But in fact it was always one of the plants most used by all the great civilizations of antiquity due to the wide variety of products that can be obtained and the wide range of medicinal properties that this plant possesses.
What is Cannabis?
Cannabis is a plant with psychoactive properties and one of the most useful groups of plants in the world. There is evidence of its use prior to the tenth millennium BC in the Asian area, but ancient evidence of its ancestors in nature of more than 100,000 years is already known. Even so, its development as we know it today, is increasingly associated with the role and domestication of the human being.
It is native to the Himalayas and belongs to the Hops family, and not to the Mora family as previously thought. Due to its intoxicating properties, it is considered a drug for recreational, religious and medicinal purposes. Although this is the same reason why it is one of the plants whose cultivation has been prohibited or restricted in most countries of the world, in addition to having been used to control the populations of the poorest areas and to encourage difference Between classes. Even so, today, according to the UN, it is the most widely used illicit substance in the world.
3 subspecies are popularly known: indica, sativa and ruderalis, each with its own particularities, although this categorization can be misleading due to the large number of variations that have appeared throughout history. Indica, Sativa and Ruderalis differ in size, shape, smell and potency, and although they are different in origin, they are often combined to create hybrids by uniting the best characteristics of each one or finding new ones. This has resulted in thousands of variations bred by growers around the world, many of them created from complex breeding and selective breeding projects. Due to the infinity of plants with different shades, it is convenient to choose the strain well in conjunction with our purposes of use.
Cannabis or Marijuana is also the term used to refer to the flower clusters or buds of female plants, which are coated with resin that accumulate high cannabinoid content. And although the main psychoactive substance in cannabis is THC, the plant contains in total more than 70 different cannabinoids. We can find a great variety of chemotypes depending on the content of these chemical substances. The cannabinoid content depends on the genetics of the plant and the environmental conditions in which it grows. And although male plants also produce cannabinoids, it is female plants that are not pollinated that contain the most of them.
Where does the term Cannabis come from?
There is much doubt about the exact origin of many modern words that refer to this plant. This is due to the complex interactions that have occurred between populations throughout history. Thus the loan of words from one language to another occurs to such an extent that its exact origin does not seem to be very clear. To this day, this plant is well known as Cannabis, Marijuana, Hemp, Bhang, Weed, Pot, Ganja and many other words that have arisen naturally derived from the use that is given to the plant. There are few substances on the planet that have adopted as many terms as the Cannabis plant.
Given the great value that this plant has contributed to all cultures, it is not surprising that local names have arisen to refer to Cannabis in many of the areas where it has been used. But nobody really knows where the term Cannabis comes from. There are those who point out that it comes from the Greek term that is pronounced Kannabis since it is the first documented term to refer to the plant, being a direct transcription of an identical word of Thracian or Scythian origin.
But others defend that the term came from the Sumerians, since in Sumerian the word Kunibu is used to refer to Cannabis. This could be the root of the word that spread throughout the eastern area. Where in Armenia Kana is used, in Albanian it is said Kanab, in Persian it is Kanapes and in Hebrew Kannesh. There is another theory that maintains that the origin could be derived from the word Bhanga in Sanskrit and Bang in Persian. However, they are no more than mere hypotheses.
These etymological lineages for the word cannabis remain the subject of debate. Although without a doubt, the modern word Cannabis comes directly from the Latin term Cannabis, which in turn comes from the Greek Kannabis.
Psychotropic Effects of Cannabis
Users around the world use cannabis to achieve a psychotropic high, also known as high. Indicas and sativas provide different subjective effects mainly caused by different ratios of cannabinoids, chemical compounds that the plant produces. These effects may vary depending on the person, medical condition, mood, expectations and previous experiences, the dose, the way of use and the context of the moment of consumption.
The effects produced can range from euphoria, a feeling of well-being, relaxation, increased appreciation of humor, increased sense of awareness and creativity, increased libido, greater enjoyment of the taste of food and greater interest in food, greater enjoyment of music, distortions in the perception of time and space. It also has side effects that can range from dry mouth, red and dry eyes, fatigue, and drowsiness. And in high doses it can produce altered perception, creating visual or auditory illusions, confusion and hallucinations, nausea and vomiting.
And although they will never be long-term effects, since once the high is over they will disappear, some of the effects can create a situation of anguish, lack of control or sensory instability, also known as bad trip, especially in people who consume it for the first time or very sporadically, which could create a negative experience and condition subsequent experiences.
The effect is noticeable from the first puffs, reaches its maximum level 30 minutes later, and can last for several hours when smoked. So we always recommend that during your first sessions, you start with low doses, in a situation of control and where you can be comfortable, even with an experienced trusted person in charge of guiding or helping you. While many psychoactive drugs can be categorized as stimulant, depressing or hallucinogenic, cannabis exhibits a mix of all the properties generated mainly by the different ratios of cannabionids.
There are currently more than 85 cannabinoids identified in cannabis. The most famous are THC (or Tetrahydrocannabinol), which is mainly responsible for the psychoactivity of cannabis, and CBD (or Cannabidiol), a non-psychoactive compound, and responsible for many of the therapeutic and medicinal properties of the plant. THC accumulates in adipose tissue and persists in the body for several weeks, even after a single administration. And because it continues to be an illegal substance in many countries, we recommend not driving or operating machinery under its influence and not consuming during the month prior to an analysis or drug test.
Note that if it is your first time and you still do not feel in the physical and mental state to try cannabis, it would be better to wait until your feelings are favorable. A good education when consuming it makes us have more pleasant and positive effects.
Is it true that Cannabis has therapeutic properties?
Although its therapeutic properties are well known and have been used for centuries by most ancient cultures in our history, it is now, when approach policies in some countries and current science are showing all the benefits that this plant can bring us as a modern society.
References to the use of Cannabis preparations as antibiotics and analgesic drugs can be found in the traditions of folk medicine and in the ancient herbs of the Middle East, East and South Asia, Europe, Africa and the New World. Raphael Mechoulam compiled a list of 20 medicinal applications of cannabis by traditional societies. Where it was concluded that Cannabis has been traditionally used throughout the world to alleviate a wide variety of medical conditions: analgesic, anesthetic, antiasthmatic, antibiotic, anticonvulsant, antidepressant, antidiarrhoeal, antimigratic, antiaparageal, antirheumatic, relieved of memory loss, Antiparetic childbirth, hypnotic, reduction of fatigue, sedative.
Raphael Mechoulam the father of modern cannabis medicine.
This Israeli scientist very early succeeded in isolating the THC molecule and from 1966 began to investigate the composition and active principles of the Cannabis Sativa plant at a time when the chemistry of cannabis was not well known. He and his research group achieved the total synthesis of the cannabinoids THC, CBD, CBG and others. And in subsequent projects derived from this first achievement, they managed to isolate a cannabinoid produced in the human brain and in animal organisms. A chemical substance they called anandamide, from the Sanskrit “ananda“, which means “supreme happiness”.
All these advances in research led him to discover the largest receptor system in the human body, the endocannabinoid system. Although to this day it remains unknown to many medical researchers, the endocannabinoid system has been called the supercomputer that regulates homeostasis in the human body. And because of the presence of receptors throughout the brain and in every major organ, is believed to play a role in most diseases. This being one of the reasons why Cannabis can be applied for the treatment of multiple conditions.
Cannabis and cannabinoid receptors, the key that fits in the lock.
In fact, the reason cannabis can work with humans on a biochemical level is due to evolution. If humans didn’t have receptors for cannabis chemistry, the plant just wouldn’t work on us the way it does. The cellular responses that make up our personal experience with cannabis are due to cannabinoid receptors and we all have them, all human beings; they are part of who we are, and they are not exclusive to human beings, but belong to all mammals.
We can trace the early evolution of cannabinoid receptors somewhere around 500 million years ago. The cannabis plant produces cannabinoid molecules that can bind to cannabinoid receptors, since they act very similar to the cannabinoids that the body produces. Humans have been using our cannabinoid receptors with cannabis for as long as we have been together. What probably started as a way to expand awareness and spirituality today has turned into a huge investigation of how these cannabinoids interact with our body and brain.
Did human selection play a role in the evolution of cannabinoids in plants?
There is enough scientific evidence to suggest that natural selection played the role of the fawning force in the relationship between humans and cannabis, but how much have humans influenced this coevolution? We continue to resolve these questions, but we can certainly see big connections in the rise of strains as a result of cultivation practices and the breeding of cannabis crops from the old days to the present day.
Today, the widespread use of individual plant selections in cultivar breeding, inbreeding, and the adoption of asexual reproduction for commercial drug production, reduced genetic diversity and made many current cultivars susceptible to pathogens and pests. The vast majority of medicinal Cannabis cultivars are now completely domesticated, and therefore completely dependent on humans for their survival.
Expansion of the Cannabis plant around the planet.
Thanks to advances in genetic research, we can begin to answer many of these questions. Some of these changes in the Cannabis plant are due to the expansion of the human being by the planet, which adapts to different climates and different cultivation practices, but many of the changes have to do with genetics and with what people have been breeding for the past decades. Where many growers have been selecting for high THC, big buds with great yields, shorter flowering times. Forgetting many other great qualities that our beloved plant offers us.
Cannabis is first cited in medical texts in China in 3,000 BC. But in fact it was always one of the most used plants due to the wide variety of products that can be obtained and the wide range of medicinal properties that this plant possesses. In India, a legend has it that Gautama Buddha survived during the entire period that lasted until his enlightenment, by eating only cannabis seeds. Its cultural and religious use was already accepted in 1400 BC and thanks to the merchant routes between Asia and Europe its use is rapidly spreading throughout the continent. The first political and commercial struggles for the control of cannabis on the routes through Asia and the Mediterranean did not take long to emerge. Peoples such as the Roman and the Carthaginian saw each other in wars that marked history.
Its recreational use was supported by emperors such as Caligula or Nero, although it acquired all its commercial importance in the use for making resistant clothes and fabrics. Around the year 70 AD, the Greek physician and pharmacologist Dioscorides made a list of medicinal herbs and their virtues, where Cannabis already appears, being this the most important classical source of modern botanical terminology and a reference for centuries in pharmacology.
From Spain to America, the conquest of a new continent by Cannabis.
It is known that from the Islamic Arab arrival to the Iberian peninsula in 711 AD, Cannabis cultivation was promoted, especially during the Emirate and later Caliphate of Cordoba, due to the need to dress the ships of the Emirate and Caliphate fleets against the Abbasid Caliphate of Baghdad and the Germanic and Viking looters, who as anecdotal data also used this plant to make their fabrics and everyday clothes.
It should be noted that in the Caliphate of Córdoba, in present-day Spain, the consumption of wine and recreational cannabis was given great permissiveness, unlike in most of the remaining Islam. And with the collapse of the Andalusian Caliphate before AD 1100, recreational cannabis would become even more popular in the resulting Hispanic-Muslim Taifa. The subsequent invasions of the Almohad and Almoravide Empires, very fundamentalists, persecuted this consumption, which re-emerged with the defeat of these Arab/ African Empires by the Hispano-Christian Kingdoms around 1300 AD in the surviving Spanish-Muslim Kingdom or Sultanate of Granada.
When in 1492 the Christian alliance of the Catholic Monarchs took over the Sultanate of Granada, things did not look good for recreational cannabis, wine consumption was enhanced but cannabis did not look good. However, in that same year an unexpected event will mean the conquest of a new continent by Cannabis. The fiber of the Cannabis plant is what provided sufficient resistance to the sails and ropes of the ships of the Columbus expedition fleet, which after 3 months of desperate and agonizing navigation to the West in search of new lands, ended up seeing a island of the present Bahamas. A whole New World to discover, and in which cannabis will have a special importance and prominence.And curiously, it will be the rivalry between two Spanish conquerors, Cortes in New Spain in Mexico and De Garay in Jamaica, which will give rise to the first Cannabis crops and large estates in America where it would end up becoming currency, with which you could buy and pay taxes.
The United States comes into the game.
All this time it was a time of bonanza and expansion for the Cannabis plant. A law promulgated in Virginia in 1619 urged all farmers to grow hemp, the Declaration of Independence of the United States (1776) was written on Hemp fiber paper, even the first medical study on the plant was conducted in Ohio (1860). But when the era of petrochemicals arrived, during the 1830s and 1860s, this changed radically. Other economic factors come into play and new synthetic fibers begin to displace the natural production of Cannabis. Among other materials, neoprene (1930), nylon (1935), Teflon (1937), and lycra (1959) were patented and registered, all obtained mainly from oil.
On the other hand, more attention is focused on its recreational uses, creating the Federal Bureau of Narcotics in 1930 and the illegalization of cannabis was set as an objective. It was the custom of the lower classes to get drunk by smoking Cannabis flowers and that is how a campaign against cannabis was started through sensational advertising that promoted fear, racism and associated marijuana with criminal behavior. Fact that finally affects the prohibition of its cultivation during 1937.
Subsequent governments and their respective disinformation campaigns began to proclaim the risks of cannabis. These are the years in which hoaxes appear, such as the springboard effect relating the consumption of Cannabis with that of heroin that came from China, expanding the idea that the communists used drugs to control the American population. In a context in which fear and collective paranoia had permeated society, this new theory that it related was widely accepted.
The Clash of Prohibition and the Revolution of Cannabis.
The 1950s marked the beginning of new legislation aimed at toughening penalties for the use of cannabis and drugs that exist today. The prohibitionist context was transferred to the international framework when in 1961, 185 countries agreed to limit the production, use, possession and trafficking of narcotic drugs to exclusively medical and scientific purposes. And that placed the Cannabis plant at the same height as other drugs such as cocaine or heroin, and classifying THC within the substances considered to have little therapeutic value.
In the 60s and 70s the scene was still refreshed with new airs, the hippies adopted cannabis as their banner of peace and love that spread throughout the world. Many of these young people from the hippie movement coming home from their travels brought seeds of the local strains of Cannabis that they had been smoking, and many of these strains are the genetic basis of the strains that we have today. In 1973, the Netherlands approved policies of tolerance towards the plant and its consumption, despite international pressure. While on the other side of the Atlantic Richard Nixon used the term War on Drugs for the first time and hardened his policy against drugs, in the Netherlands personal use of this herb was decriminalized and possession was limited to five grams per person.
This put the focus on a new revolution in California in the USA and Amsterdam in the Netherlands, becoming the main banners of Cannabis worldwide. One in a hidden and illegal way and the other in a visible and legal way but both developed the current culture that there is about cannabis. The first activists appeared who took seriously the breeding, development and selection of genetics adapted to new needs, especially for recreational use, which had become a very lucrative business. In 2010 California introduced a law that would approve the use of Cannabis but this did not get enough votes, which did happen in 2016 when California again voted for legalization and resulting in the regulation of the sale of medical marijuana to encourage the economy and enter the black market into the legal system.
Cannabis a giant growing sector.
To this day, the history of Cannabis is being written by leaps and bounds. New policies of acceptance of its uses, both medicinal and recreational, are unleashing a chain reaction throughout the international scene. Scientists and associations of anti-prohibition activists have seen their work rewarded for years, succeeding in gaining recognition and reevaluation of the plant as a medicine. And already many experts say that cannabis could become the aspirin of the 21st century, except that you cannot suffer a fatal overdose of cannabis.
More than thirty countries have legalized the therapeutic use of cannabis extracts and it is estimated that at least a dozen more will do so in the coming years. Uruguay, Israel and the Netherlands have been pioneer countries in this regard, but it was probably the legislative changes in two world economic powers such as the United States of America and Canada that have contributed the most to the current boom in the cannabis industry. And this new global scenario poses an important challenge, a legal reform must be faced that can generate controversy in certain sectors and allow the implementation of a reliable and secure dispensing model. In addition, education on the risks of consumption associated with the misuse of cannabis should be promoted, taking into account the growing number of cannabis users.
Thank you very much for reading this far and for all the support to Tropical Seeds Co that we continue with the same purpose for which we were born, to preserve, study and share everything related to our beloved plant. Continue reading another of the posts that may be of interest to you:
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