Cannabis has been used as a medicine by Eastern cultures such as Hindus, Afghanis, Persians, Arabs, Bedoiun, and Chinese for THOUSANDS of years. There is also a rich history of cannabis in Africa with ancient smoking pipes found in Ethiopia having traces of marijuana resin on them.
The exact history of cannabis as a medicine is sketchy as you can imagine.
Up until the 1500s, hashish was consumed as an edible in Muslim nations. The popularity of smoking increased due to the introduction of tobacco and this led to hashish becoming popular as a smokeable.
Fast Forward a couple of hundred years; Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Egypt in 1798, during this invasion he discovered that there was no alcohol in the country. Consequentially, Bonaparte and his troops tried hashish as a relaxant, which they really enjoyed!
From this point onwards, cannabis gained interest across the Western Hemisphere.
Industrial hemp was introduced to Western nations in the 1500s through a Chilean cultivation operation which was managed by Spanish colonialists. By 1619, hemp had made its way to what is now the U.S State of Virginia.
Cannabis History: Marijuana Gains Popularity in Western Nations
Although cannabis was rapidly gaining popularity in the Western world from 1800 onwards, there were some notable concerns.
Britain has attempted to criminalize marijuana in British India several times (1838, 1871, and 1877) and failed.
Viewing the subject generally, it may be added that the moderate use of these drugs is theReport of the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission, 1894-1895
rule,and that the excessive use is comparatively exceptional. The moderate use practically produces no ill effects. In all but the most exceptional cases, the injury from habitual moderate use is not appreciable. The excessive use may certainly be accepted as very injurious, though it must be admitted that in many excessive consumers the injury is not clearly marked. The injury done by the excessive use is, however, confined almost exclusively to the consumer himself; the effect on society is rarely appreciable. It has been the most striking feature in this inquiry to find how little the effects of hemp drugs have obtruded themselves on observation.
Cannabis had begun to take off in the West as a medicinal and recreational substance.
Notable Early Marijuana Researchers
French Physician Jacques-Joseph Moreau
Moreau travelled to the Middle East and North Africa from 1836-1840 and wrote extensivelly about the psychological effects of cannabis.
Irish Physician William Brooke O’Shaughnesy
Classic works by Fitz Hugh Ludlow (The Hasheesh Eater) in 1857 and Charles Baudelaire (Les paradis artificiels) in 1860 are amazing examples of literature about cannabis from this time period. Seek them out if you love to learn about the history of this amazing plant.
How Was Cannabis Used In The 19th And 20th Centuries?
In the late 1800s, there were at least 2000 different cannabis medicines in the Western Hemisphere, made by over 280 manufacturers. These medicine were mostly in a tincture-style. At this point in time, there were also many different types of cannabis capsules available.
These medicines were used for a multitide of ailments such as headcahes, mood swings, pain, and much more. However, many of these medicines were never tested properly and marketed towards almost anyone, leading to an act known as the Pure Food And Drug Act in 1906. This act required medicines to curb their misleading claims.
Interestingly, in Denmark and Norway during the late 1800s and early 1900s, there was a drink called Maltos-Cannabis. This drink was marketed as a lunch drink that was especially useful and beneficial to children!
It was at the start of the 1900s that many nations across the world began to ban cannabis.