The history of cannabis

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All from the beginning: How the history of cannabis took its course

Alongside alcohol and nicotine, marijuana made from cannabis has now made itself comfortable on the stairs of the most popular stimulants. The flowers of the intoxicating plant are also widely used in Germany and can probably be found in every social class. Where did the history of cannabis originate? And where is the journey going? This article will give you the answers.

Cannabis, hemp, marijuana – all the same?

In German usage, people talk about cannabis and marijuana. But also grass and ganja are common to talk about the soft drug with intoxicating effect. The term hemp also fits in, but must be considered in a differentiated way. Because hemp is not equal to hemp.

A distinction must be made between hemp rich in THC and hemp poor in THC. The latter serves as a purely useful plant and is therefore also called commercial hemp. It is primarily used to obtain fibers that are used for the production of textiles, ropes and fabrics. Psychoactive substances that lead to states of intoxication are not contained in commercial hemp.

Quite the opposite of THC-rich hemp. If asked about the history of cannabis, the THC-containing female hemp plant is the focus here. Its flowers have an intoxicating effect and are what is colloquially referred to as weed or marijuana. The cultivation of THC-containing hemp plants is prohibited for private individuals in Germany.

The origin of the hemp plant

Although the history of cannabis goes back several thousand years, the question of the plant’s origin is not clear. It is assumed that hemp first appeared in Central Asia and was transported from there to the rest of the world.

About 12,000 years ago, hemp was cultivated as a grain in Asia. At that time as a purely useful plant. The hemp seeds were eaten, and the hemp fibers were used to make clothing and ship nets. Oil and paper could also be obtained from the useful hemp.

It did not take very long for the rest of the world to become acquainted with the hemp plant. Migration, opened trade routes and wars ensured that hemp spread further and further and became the most important crop plant of mankind.

But hemp was and is not a purely industrial plant, even today. People in ancient China, Rome and other parts of the world had also understood this early on. And so the history of cannabis took off.

Between utility and pleasure – the history of the cannabis plant

If you look into the history of cannabis, you will quickly realize that it can be divided into several parts. So far, you have learned about hemp as a useful plant. However, the history of cannabis also includes a chapter from the field of medicine and one from the field of enjoyment.

The history of cannabis as a commercial plant

As you know, the useful plant hemp is versatile. The world’s first ropes were spun from it, the world’s first paper was made from it. Hemp experienced a heyday, among other things, in the 17th century, when sailing shipping took on enormous proportions. At that time, hemp was used for all kinds of equipment. Sails, ropes, nets, even uniforms and flags were made from hemp fibers.

However, this hype was not to last too long. Industrialization took away the importance of the hemp plant. Since hemp processing at that time could only be done by hand, it could not keep up with mechanical cotton spinning. Cotton and jute fibers took over the world market in the 18th to 20th centuries. Synthetic fibers completed the trio.

It was not until the new century that the crop made a comeback. Today, the natural raw material is more in demand than ever. Clothing is produced from environmentally friendly hemp, cosmetics are refined with it, and hemp is also finally back in the food industry.

The history of cannabis in medicine

Given its intoxicating effects, the medicinal use of cannabis is in no way far-fetched. Years before Christ, the THC-containing flowers of the plant were already being used as a remedy and painkiller. The cannabinoids they contained were intended to relieve minor ailments such as fever or constipation, but also to cure more serious illnesses. Cannabis leaves were applied to wounded people to prevent inflammation and relieve their pain.

Over the years, cannabis was used to treat gout, jaundice and malaria. It was also used to fight the plague and tumors. However, the effectiveness of this must be clearly questioned. Cannabis was more suitable as a sedative and sleeping remedy.

Although the history of cannabis in medicine goes back a long way, its future doesn’t look too bright. Synthetic substances have replaced and are replacing cannabis as a medicine. Today, cannabis is used at most for pain therapy. But even in this field, skepticism is high. The plant seems to be struggling too much with its drug image.

The history of cannabis as an intoxicant

The hemp plant naturally contains THC. Thus, it is hardly surprising that the history of cannabis must also be viewed from this angle. Because hemp is not only a commercial plant, but also a stimulant and intoxicant.
The intoxicating effect of the plant was discovered early on.

Indigenous peoples in ancient China and India used cannabis for various rites and spiritual ceremonies. Among other things, the plant was used for meditation and stress management and was considered one of the five sacred plants in Hinduism. Burning the branches was supposed to keep enemies away and defeat evil forces.

As the history of cannabis shows, so-called incenses were not uncommon. For example, in the 7th and 8th centuries BC, the Scythian nomadic people used the smoke of cannabis to be close to their deceased. They inhaled the steam of glowing hemp seeds in small tents and subsequently experienced an intoxication. In the past, those who wanted to get in touch with the supernatural smoked weed.

Cannabis as an intoxicant has endured and established itself over the years. In the 19th century, for example, it was commonplace to smoke hemp. Tobacco as an alternative was simply too expensive for most people. A century later, in the 1960s, cannabis experienced another heyday as a symbol of peace, tolerance and freedom. Love and Peace for everyone!

And even today, the story of cannabis is far from over. As a stimulant and intoxicant, hemp has arrived in modern society. However, with the serious difference that not much has remained of tradition and a carefree feeling of freedom. Cannabis consumption takes place behind closed doors – at least until now. Politics wants it that way.

Culture or cramp? Why cannabis is so polarizing

Cannabis divides society. That is a fact. However, this is not a problem of the modern age. More often in the history of cannabis, bans have been imposed, and usually for completely base motives.

Reasons for the illegalization of cannabis

Anyone who wanted to consume cannabis in the Middle Ages really had a bad hand. The church dubbed the THC-containing plant as the “devil’s stuff” and banned its consumption. On the island of Madagascar, people were even punished by death in the 18th century if they violated King Andrianampoinimerina’s ban on cannabis.

Napoleon also had little love for cannabis. As the history of cannabis tells, the French emperor is said to have banned his troops from consuming it altogether in the 19th century. He was afraid that the intoxicating effect of the plant would impair the fighting ability of his soldiers.

Napoleon was probably not entirely wrong in his assessment. For, at present, the hemp plant is still classified as an intoxicant due to its THC content. Not only in Germany, but also in many other parts of the world. Anyone who possesses cannabis is liable to prosecution. This is laid down in the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961.

186 states joined the treaty at that time. Cannabis is described as a particularly dangerous drug with a high potential for addiction. There is no mention of any therapeutic benefit of the plant. If the ladies and gentlemen were not mistaken.

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The CBD-hype picks up speed

Cannabis is still banned in Germany and many other countries. However, anyone who walks attentively through life will probably have already discovered one or two surprises in everyday life. A hemp store here, a CBD online store there. But is it allowed?

Science is clearly team cannabis and contributes to the enlightenment. As a result, more and more countries are considering or even introducing cannabis legalization. CBD products are the first pioneers. What CBD is exactly? It is the substance cannabidiol, which is extracted from the hemp plant. It does not have an intoxicating effect, which is why the production and sale of CBD products are not prohibited.

On the contrary, more and more producers and authorized outlets are jumping on the CBD bandwagon. Creams with hemp seed oil moisturize, CBD oils help you fall asleep and stay asleep, and hemp protein helps build muscle. You see – there’s hardly anything CBD can’t do.

Hemp cultivation in Germany – who is allowed, who is not?

From 1982 to 1996, farmers in Germany were prohibited from cultivating hemp plants on their fields. It was not until 1996 that this ban was lifted. Since then, hemp cultivation in Germany has boomed tremendously and is increasing year by year.

However, nothing works here without strict conditions, as you can imagine. Only varieties with a THC content of less than 0.2% may be cultivated as commercial hemp in Germany. Intoxicating cannabis can therefore not be obtained from it.

Private individuals are still prohibited from growing hemp. Anyone who wants to enter the hemp business as a farmer needs a permit from the state, as well as an old-age insurance for farmers. The Federal Agency for Agriculture and Food (Bundesanstalt für Landwirtschaft und Ernährung) controls whether everything is in order. Hemp cultivation must be officially registered with this agency.

Is cannabis legalization coming to Germany?

As you’ve learned throughout this post, the history of cannabis has been writing itself for thousands of years. A new chapter almost happened with the turn of the year 2021/22. But nothing came of it – to the great disappointment of many!

Because with the new federal government of SPD, FDP and Greens, the controlled dispensing of cannabis was within reach. A milestone in the history of cannabis. The draft law has been ready for years. Only the implementation is taking a long time. Why? The Corona pandemic is a priority.

The “Draft Cannabis Control Act,” as the document is officially called, was penned by the Green Party. The goal: Cannabis is to be removed from the list of drugs in the Federal Controlled Substances Act in Germany. This would be a decisive step towards cannabis legalization. Well – would be.

When in the history of cannabis there will actually be legalization in Germany remains to be seen. The fact is that the direction taken is the right one. Now we have to wait and see and continue to make do with CBD products for the time being.

Cannabis use and its risks

Although cannabis has been banned time and again in its history, the herb was able to prevail in the end. The path to cannabis legalization in Germany seems to have been paved. However, this step cannot be equated with unrestricted, risk-free consumption.

The Federal Ministry of Health, among others, makes it clear that regular cannabis use carries risks, especially for young people. Both in the short term and in the long term.

Accordingly, international studies would indicate that psychological and psychosocial disorders cannot be ruled out. In short: developmental disorders. Diseases of the cardiovascular system and the respiratory tract are also possible. Impairments of the attention and memory function are also mentioned as possible risks.


When and where was the help plant discovered?

The traces of the hemp plant go back several thousand years and can still not be officially dated and localized. It can be assumed that hemp was first found and cultivated in Central Asia.

What do cannabis flowers look like?

A distinction is made between female and male cannabis flowers. Female flowers have a calyx with white hairs and tend to grow upwards. Male flowers, on the other hand, have a pollen sac and hang slightly downwards.

Is cannabis legal in Germany?

The private cultivation and possession of cannabis is considered a criminal offense in Germany. The same applies to the trade in cannabis. The consumption of cannabis, however, is not prohibited.

Photo: geralt / Pixabay

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