The untold history of weed tea

Published Mar 23, 2019 11:30 a.m. ET

Marijuana tea, AKA weed tea, bhang, or cannabis tea has been around for thousands of years for both recreational and medical reasons. Sure, you have probably heard that statement made somewhere before, but very few know the true rich history which proves that the use of the marijuana plant for various reasons has been ingrained in our culture for centuries and likely predates any written history we could reference. Here we will focus on what we do know about the history of weed tea around the globe including who used it, and their reasons for doing so.

Ancient Greece

In Greece, marijuana tea and paste were used to treat people as well as animals including horses. Rags would be soaked in weed tea and wrapped around open wounds of horses’ legs which is one of the earliest documented veterinary uses of cannabis in all of history.

Ancient China

Around 10 000 years ago weed tea was used for fiber, pain relief, and a recreational escape. It is even referenced in ancient religious texts from Taiwan that suggest steeping a marijuana plant and consuming it to achieve a higher level of spiritual enlightening. Hua Tuo was a world-famous Chinese surgeon that’s been officially credited as the first medical professional to use a marijuana tea combined with other ingredients like alcohol as a sedative for surgery as early as c. 208.

Ancient India

In the very early days of Ancient India, the drink Bhang was first made to obtain a spiritual connection to the gods. Bhang is just another term for weed tea that is created using some additional herbs. Now only was Bhang used for religious purposes, but it was also recognized for its medical potential often being recommended for headaches, insomnia, sunstroke, lack of appetite, gastro disorders, and pain. At that time, it was commonly given to laboring mothers to aid in dealing with the pain of childbirth.

Ancient Egypt

A text called the Ebers Papyrus, written in 1550 BC, describes medical marijuana being boiled into a tea to be used for medicinal purposes. Despite ancient Egyptians lack of understanding about cannabinoids, there is even a specific reference that appears to describe the conversion of THCA into THC being a required step to achieve the benefits from it. Weed tea would also be used as an ingredient in suppositories that were meant to relieve severe hemorrhoid pain and inflammation.

Modern history

Near the middle of the 19th century, the western world began to show an interest in the possible medical benefits of using the marijuana plant. As of 1937, there had already been well over 2000 marijuana plant-derived medicines made by just under 300 different manufacturers that had been patented. Unfortunately, its popularity was short lived as the introduction of syringes and instant injectable pain medications becoming available caused the interest in cannabis products began to fade. It wasn’t until 1976 that marijuana once again stole the spotlight as many doctors and scientists started to look deeper into the plant’s efficacy when used as a medicine. In 1982 the very first recognized THC medication was manufactured with thousands of companies following suit over the next half of a century investing millions into the making and testing of THC products.

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