Cannabis, a word which still gets you in trouble if you speak it around police officers except in specific places on planet earth, is a plant that has been around for longer than we have. There are depictions of ancient people with it, and even more writings supporting its use throughout recorded history. It’s about time things changed, this plant has been described as a powerful healing agent for centuries, and it should be used as such.
Lets look at all of the Ancients with Cannabis, shall we?
The Ancient Egyptians
It was upon seeing these pictures of Shesat below that inspired this article. just have a look at the images. It says everything, I shouldn’t even have to write anymore.
That’s right, by far the very vast majority of modern day Egyptologists agree that Medical Cannabis was used by the ancient Egyptians in their medicines. This viewpoint was highly fought by egyptologists up until the 1930’s, when the evidence was no longer refutable, and historians had no choice but to agree – Yep, it’s weed.
“The papyri contain an extremely rich material medica of which only a fraction has hitherto been identified. This has been done through the patient work of Egyptologists who, by studying finds in graves, hieroglyphic inscriptions where plants figure near their names, and late Coptic texts, have helped considerable in this still unfinished work of identification.”
What they used it for: Uterine Contraction, Sore toe-nail, Irrigating the Rectum (no joke), and general Fevers and Illness.
The Ancient Japanese
The Japanese (among other asian cultures) were into the cultivation of Cannabis, in fact, its said that they were (potentially) doing it before civilization even existed – as far back as 10,000 BC! This time period is called the “Neolithic Jomon Period”, (10k – 300 BC) – Jomon itself actually means “Pattern of Rope”, which was a common rope made from Cannabis Hemp.
These ancient asians lived a civilized, comfortable existence, and used the Marijuana plant in many of their creations – weaving clothing, baskets, and eating the seeds as food. What isn’t clear however, is how the seeds first got to Japan. It is believed that they were imported and adapted from the Chinese, or Korea.
To the left is a Korean pot painting, which shows Korean traders bringing Cannabis to Japan. I know, it’s a little difficult to make out with our modern symbolism, but historians agree – this is what is being depicted.
Surrounding the Cannabis at the top of the staves is a sun-like aura, which is a depiction of the connection between the sun and cannabis in Shinto. It is very similar to hieroglyphic carvings from Mediterranean cultures – which also describe the connection between the plants, and the sun.
Shinto, as we just mentioned, is actually an ancient spiritual practice of the Japanese, about reverence to the “Way of the Gods”, an expression of profound respect to Nature, and through Nature – God. Plants, animals, rocks, trees all possess a spirit or reverence which can be terrifying or peaceful. Purity and fertility are very important to those who practice Shinto, and Cannabis is an essential symbol of both.
In Japan, Cannabis wasn’t just used for basket weaving, it is through the Shinto practice that they would in fact smoke it as well. Here is a painting of a Geisha smoking a bowl with their customers.
At Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples, certain objects are symbolically made from hemp. For example, the thick bell-ropes must be hempen, as is the noren, a short curtain which acts as a symbolic purification “veil”, meant to cause evil spirits to flee from the body as the head brushes lightly beneath it.
Cannabis was outlawed in Japan after World War 2, when allied-forces occupied Japan to help rebuild and reshape the nation after all of the destruction of the war…. Wow. In a time when they’d need it more than ever, am I right?
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The Ancient Chinese
Of course, if the Japanese got it from the Chinese, then we need to cover this next!
To be completely truthful: The first recorded use of Marijuana as a medical drug occurred in 2737 BC by the Chinese emperor Shen Nug, who documented the effectiveness of the plant in treating Gout, and Rheumatism. Both Hemp and Marijuana were widely used across ancient China probably long before the Emperor wrote his notes.
They used virtually every part of the Cannabis plant, the Root for medicine, the stem for textiles, rope, and paper making; and of course, the leaves and flowers for getting high, as well as a medicine. They also used the seeds for oil, as well as food.
There is a lot more to learn about the Chinese use of Marijuana! You can read much more about it on Ancient-Origins.net!
There is ample evidence to suggest that Christ himself used Cannabis in his healing practices. Not necessarily that he “relied” on it, but used it in his practices. Here is a painting called “Jesus Healing the Blind” from the 12th Century, Painted by Basilica Catedrale di Santa Maria Nouva di Monreale in Sicily. (Isn’t that quite a name?)
According to a study of scriptural texts published in 2003, Jesus was almost certainly a cannabis user and an early proponent of the medicinal properties of the plant.
The study suggests that Christ and his disciples used the drug to carry out miraculous healings. The anointing oil used by Jesus and his disciples contained an ingredient called Kaneh-Bosem, which today has been identified as Cannabis extract. You can read about that here, in an article by Chris Bennet.
Christ also used an incense during his ceremonies which also contained this cannabis extract. The scholar who did a lot of this research, Mr. Bennet quotes many scholars, such as Carl Ruck, who writes:
There can be little doubt about a role for cannabis in Judaic religion. […] Obviously the easy availability and long-established tradition of cannabis in early Judaism would inevitably have included it in the [Christian] mixtures.”
But this wasn’t the first, nor the last time that Cannabis was used in these times. In fact, the bible is filled with references to Cannabis! Check this out:
Bhang – a drink made from Cannabis and Milk is used as an Anesthetic
The Middle East
In the Venidad, one of the volumes of the Zend-Avesta the ancient Persian texts, describe Bhang from India, as well as lists Cannabis as THE MOST IMPORTANT of 10,000 medicinal plants.
In ancient Greece, Cannabis is used as a remedy for earache, edema, and inflammation.
A Greek Psysician who was a Roman army doctor and travelled on many campaigns throughout the Empire at the time, studied many plants, and published a book called De Materia Medica (On Medical Matters). This book became one of the most important medical tomes for the next 1500 years.
It basically said bluntly, that Cannabis was incredible in treating earaches, and suppress sexual longing. If you were a soldier in the army who left his wife at home, then you need some cannabis while your away!
In the South African Journal of Science, they published the results of a chemical analysis of the plant residue in many tobacco pipes from the time period of William Shakespeare, including several pipes that came from Shakespeares garden itself.
Results of this study (including 24 pipe fragments) indicated Cannabis in EIGHT samples. It was suggested that Shakespeare liked Cannabis because of its mind expanding properties!
In 1621 a book was published “The Anatomy of Melancholy”, which suggested Cannabis as a treatment for depression.
It is then used by Queen Victoria for her menstrual cramps.
There is nobody more “American” in the modern “United States” sense of the word, than George Washington. Who himself, grew Hemp for about 30 years on his plantation. He has a particular interest in Medical Cannabis, and several of his journal entries describe that he was purposefully growing Cannabis with high levels of THC.
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As you can see, Marijuana only really became illegal globally in the last 100 years or so, as the World Wars forced countries into positions of submission to other powers, we saw the global shut-down of Marijuana as any sort of beneficial thing, and it became a cursed plant in the eyes of the masses.
Today, with the powers of information, we can break through that veil and once again open up the world to the curiosity that comes from a stimulated mind on Marijuana, and the healing powers that comes from such a plant when used purposefully as a medicine.
There is no better time for change!
Thank you for reading,
For those interested in learning and reading more, here are some of the sites that I referenced in creating this article.
And of course, all of the links referenced throughout this article!