5 Ancient traditional uses for marijuana

Published Apr 15, 2019 10:44 a.m. ET

A lot of people know that marijuana use and hemp products production goes far back in history. What most don’t realize is how essential of a role cannabis and hemp plants played in medicine, warfare, religion, manufacturing, recreation and even the nutrition of our ancestors. If you are curious to find out how both hemp plants and marijuana use has helped to shape several industries outside of medicine. Many of which, are rarely known or spoken about, then read on. We hope you enjoy these five traditional uses for cannabis and hemp plants that no one knows about.

1. Religion

A lot of people assume that the oldest documented instances of marijuana use come from India, but the truth is that Ancient Egyptians were using hemp products and marijuana leaves and buds to concoct traditional medicines of their own. In the Embers Papyrus which is the oldest medical text that comes from Egypt recites several different recipes that were used as far back as 1550 BC to reduce inflammation, and alleviate symptoms of disease including pain, nausea, and stress. It was not uncommon for regular everyday folks without access to a legitimate healthcare system to medicate themselves using these recipes. According to these texts’ products containing hemp products and marijuana leaves, were even given to children for well over 300 years. This makes sense since the goddess of wisdom named Seshat is often depicted with marijuana leaves which has led most world-renowned researchers to believe that marijuana use was so ingrained in the culture, that it was also used for religious purposes unrestricted by age. Often in a drink that would be offered to participants of sacrifice.

2. Medicine

Though most people would have a difficult time trying to deny the potential medicinal benefits of marijuana use, the majority wouldn’t assume that it could be used as an aid in some pretty intense surgeries. Though we would never recommend trying to use hemp products or cannabis in place of traditional sedative for operations, in Ancient China, there were few options to choose from. Anesthesia was still non-existent, and scientist along with doctors began to experiment with different ways to offer their patient relief. In 10 000 BC marijuana leaves were plentiful since the plants grew wild and unrestricted in nature and were often cultivated as a food source in smaller villages, so a handful of doctors went to work trying to create a liquid that would render patients unconscious so they could complete life-saving procedures while keeping their patients comfortable. The first success of its kind was a drink that was a combination of potent alcohols, hemp plants, and marijuana leaves which seemed to do a reliable enough job given the times.

3. Recreation

Everybody discusses the medicinal or therapeutic marijuana uses, but very few mention the history behind the recreational use of cannabis. As early as 485 BC there have been documents found that seem to solidify that Ancient Persians partook in marijuana use for the sheer enjoyment of it. Cannabis would be used to line the base of hot rock saunas that were naturally formed and utilized. The heat would release much of the psychoactive effects, but that’s not all they did. They also went as far as fashioning their own kinds of weed smoking devices like pipes and bongs to use while soaking in the sauna. Since it was a time of war, there were very rareand short periods that soldiers could rest themselves, and marijuana use seemed to take the place of alcohol consumption amongst the Persians at that time.

4. Warfare

In ancient times the Chinese heavily relied on products that were made using hemp plants for combat. Archers would craft bowstrings and bows that were much more resilient than their competitions bamboo tools. It didn’t take long for the government to recognize the ability of the plant and begin implementing its fibers into ropes, boats, tires, floating devices and more. Hemp plants were also used to make hemp paper which was one of the oldest materials used in producing paper. Many of which have been recovered in graves from this time, scribbled with writings from another time since hemp is so incredibly durable, many of them are still legible today.

5. Nutrition & materials

Hemp products have been consumed as a staple part of our daily diet until recently due to their incredibly high nutrition content. Hemp seeds are typically what is harvested and eaten as food for their high protein content and essential amino acids that are a critical part of a healthy diet. They also offer a reasonable supplement of iron, magnesium, zinc, and phosphorous even more so than alternatives like flax or chia seeds. Historical texts including the Memorial of Sakya Buddha Tathagata contains several references of eating hemp products like seeds that date as far back as 308 AD when Buddha is believed to have sustained himself during traditional fasting using hemp seeds to maintain his energy.

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