Cannabis Timeline– From Past to Present

Cannabis is a plant that is well known to a lot of us and has been a controversial topic for ages now. But we now see it making ways towards being productive and struggling to eliminate the mythical claims over it. From being a ‘high’ dose to gummies, the ride of history includes a lot of transformations and experiments. The journey is pretty interesting with a lot of Chinese whisper stories.

  • 2900 BC – 200 BC

It starts from 2900-2700 BC, by the Chinese Emperor Fu Hsi, who is known to bring the civilization in China. He is said to be the first one to introduce with ‘Ma’ – the Chinese word for cannabis. Later, Emperor Shen Nung discovered its healing properties, and cannabis was used as a medicine then.

From 1500 BC, we can find the written references to the cannabis existence.

Later in 1213 BC, there was a pollen grain that was found on the dead mummy Ramesses II. Egyptians started to use it as prescribed to treat inflammation, healing Glaucoma, and uterus problems.

In 600 BC, the Indians started to cure Leprosy. Indians believed it makes the mind sharp, extends life, betters sleep, etc.

200 BC, Ancient Greece introduces cannabis as a treatment to inflammation, edema, and earache.

  • 1 AD – 200 AD

In 1 AD, when the drug recipes were compiled from the time of Shen Nung, cannabis came out to be a pictorial symbol of dried plants in a shed. The symbolic text recommends cannabis for more than a hundred diseases.

Throughout 70 to 200, the uses of cannabis kept upgrading from healing earaches and suppressing sexual longing by the Greek Physician to performing painless surgeries using cannabis resins and wine creating an anesthetic by Chinese surgeon Hua T’o.

  • 800 AD – 1578 AD

By the 800, cannabis made its way to the Arabic world as a medicine. It was applied to various ailments like migraine, syphilis as an anesthetic, and analgesic. The great Islamic physician of the 19th century, Rhazes, made it wide. But on the other hand, Arab Physician, Ibn Wahshiyah, wrote it as a ‘lethal poison’ and warned about its possible effects of hashish.

In the middle ages of 1500, the use of hemp became a widely known herb, credits to William Turner, the naturalist, and first English botanist. Also, along with this tenure when Islam started spreading to India. Muslim doctors infused cannabis as well to reduce the longing of the effects like reducing sexuality.

  • 1600 AD – 1799 AD

From 1600 to the early 1700s, some residues of cannabis along with tobacco leaves (nicotine) in tobacco pipes were found from the garden of William Shakespeare by Thackeray. Thackeray after studying suggested, “Shakespeare preferred Cannabis as a stimulant which had mind-stimulating properties.”

In 1611– 1762, the Jamestown settlers brought cannabis to North America. They brought the hemp plant in 1611 and within a small period hemp fiber became the biggest yet important export throughout the colonial period. Further, in 1762, Virginia awarded them for introducing hemp culture and also charged penalties to the ones not producing it.

In 1621, an oxford scholar, Robert Burton, wrote in his popular English book that was about mental health that cannabis can treat depression. It was influential then and is still widely known. Later, herbalist published some book which had talked about hemp and its medical uses.

By 1799, George Washington was declared as a user of cannabis. He states that he grew hemp for 30 years approximately. Following him, Thomas Jefferson was found growing hemp too. He was a habitual smoker of hemp, tobacco, and such other substances. In 1799 AD Napoleon conquered Egypt along with his forces that have a team of scientists. The team brought the cannabis back to France in 1799 AD, along with the discovery of Rosetta Stone. The cannabis was further researched, studied, and investigated for its seductive and pain releasing effects. With time it became a widely spread western medic.

  • 1840 AD – 1894 AD

With the passing time during the 1840s cannabis became a well-known and mainstream medicine in the West. It was used to treat severe pain and cramps, induce sleep, muscle spasms, rabies, epilepsy, etc. Dr. William O’ Shaughnessy, an army surgeon was the one to bring back the cannabis to British.

It was 1850 when cannabis made its way into the United States Pharmacopeia. It listed cannabis as a cure for various illnesses like cholera, alcoholism, tetanus, anthrax, excessive menstrual bleeding, neuralgia, gout, tonsillitis, uterine infection, leprosy, rabies, and a lot of more. For the purpose cannabis tinctures began to roll out in the markets. 

Later, till 1894 a few articles and mentions came out stating the uses of cannabis, hyping, and spreading awareness about it more.

  • 1900 AD – 1949 AD

1900 cannabis had made into medicines so much in South Asia that it was now a cure to asthma, bronchitis, and appetite loss.

In 1906 Roosevelt signed the Food and Drugs Act better known as the Wiley Act. It stressed the need of mentioning the proportion on the label of any alcohol used by the brands in their products.

By 1910 states started outlawing and banning cannabis. Maine, Wyoming, and Indiana banned cannabis in 1913; Utah and Vermont did in 1915; Colorado and Nevada in 1917. In 1913, Francis B. Harrison too signed three bills against the intake of cannabis other than medicines.

Till 1949 AD we can witness the on and off uses of cannabis. The higher authorities tried to demotivate the intake of cannabis as a drug.

  • 1950 AD – 2000 AD

In 1951, cannabis intake as a drug was declared a crime. In 1946 AD, Dr. Raphael finally identified delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which was a psychoactive component.

In the 1960s the use of cannabis increased amongst the public and to control them various legislatures were signed including BNDD and CSA.

By the 1970s NORML non-profit organizations were founded to end cannabis use. A consensus was also run during this time and results came out in favor of legalizing but President Nixon didn’t accept it and announced a war against cannabis drugs. By 1972 Shafer commission was out which recommended decriminalizing cannabis but was rejected by Nixon. With passing time, a lot of anti-narcotics agencies came into existence like DEA and NIDA. By 1976 Netherland legalized cannabis.

By the end of 2000, a lot of ACTs came out in favor and against. A lot of surveys were held focusing on the need for cannabis in medicines. In 1991,

the First Medical cannabis initiative was passed in San Francisco.

  • 2000 AD – present

With passing time in the 2000s the cannabis started becoming legal for medical use. But in later 2002 DC Court rejected the proposal of the cannabis initiative in Washington.

In 2004 California put limitations on the medical use of cannabis as well. But after many struggles for 2 years, the FDA confirmed the legalization to smoke cannabis for medical purposes. Following it, a few more administrations and states removed the bans over the cannabis for medical use. By 2018 Oklahoma became the 30th US state to legalize medical cannabis.

On Dec 20, 2018, Trump signed and passed out the bill to legalize the use of hemp in industries. And from that day, the research projects over cannabis are under progress and keeps updating and upgrading now and then.

Final Verdict

We see today that cannabis is being used widely all across the worldwide. It started as a drug and is now back into the industry making its way in beauty line, health, and even food. It is now found in so many shapes and sizes. Also, a variety of types like death bubba, Vancouver Kush, Canadian weed, Sweeties edible, Plane Jane, etc. Throughout history, we have seen the use of cannabis and how it has been used, Still, we are not sure how this miracle plant would be utilized in near future.

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