10,000-year History of Marijuana use in the World

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8,000+ BCE Use of hemp cord in pottery identified at ancient village site dating back over 10,000 years, located in the area of modern day Taiwan. Finding hemp use and cultivation in this date range puts it as one of the first and oldest known human agriculture crops. As explained by Richard Hamilton in the 2009 Scientific American article on sustainable agriculture “Modern humans emerged some 250,000 years ago, yet agriculture is a fairly recent invention, only about 10,000 years old … Agriculture is not natural; it is a human invention. It is also the basis of modern civilization.” This point was also touched on by Carl Sagan in 1977 when he proposed the possibility that marijuana may have actually been world’s first agricultural crop, leading to the development of civilization itself (see 1977, below).

6,000 BCE Cannabis seeds and oil used for food in China.
4,000 BCE Textiles made of hemp are used in China and Turkestan.

2,737 BCE First recorded use of cannabis as medicine by Emperor Shen Neng of China.
2,000-800 BCE Bhang (dried cannabis leaves, seeds and stems) is mentioned in the Hindu sacred text Atharvaveda (Science of Charms) as “Sacred Grass”, one of the five sacred plants of India. It is used by medicinally and ritually as an offering to Shiva.
1,500 BCE Cannabis cultivated in China for food and fiber. Scythians cultivate cannabis and use it to weave fine hemp cloth.
700-600 BCE The Zoroastrian Zendavesta, an ancient Persian religious text of several hundred volumes refers to bhang as the “good narcotic.”
600 BCE Hemp rope appears in southern Russia.
700-300 BCE Scythian tribes leave Cannabis seeds as offerings in royal tombs.
500 BCE Scythian couple die and are buried with two small tents covering containers for burning incense. Attached to one tent stick was a decorated leather pouch containing wild Cannabis seeds. This closely matches the stories told by Herodotus. The gravesite, discovered in the late 1940s, was in Pazryk, northwest of the Tien Shan Mountains in modern-day Khazakstan. Hemp is introduced into Northern Europe by the Scythians. An urn containing leaves and seeds of the Cannabis plant, unearthed near Berlin, is found and dated to about this time. Use of hemp products spread throughout northern Europe.
430 BCE Herodotus reports on both ritual and recreation use of Cannabis by the Scythians (Herodotus The Histories 430 B.C. trans. G. Rawlinson).
200 BCE Hemp rope appears in Greece. Chinese Book of Rites mentions hemp fabric.
100 BCE First evidence of hemp paper, invented in China.
100-0 BCE The psychotropic properties of Cannabis are mentioned in the newly compiled herbal Pen Ts’ao Ching.

0-100 CE Construction of Samaritan gold and glass paste stash box for storing hashish, coriander, or salt, buried in Siberian tomb.
23-79 Pliny the Elder’s The Natural History mentions hemp rope and marijuana’s analgesic effects.
47-127 Plutarch mentions Thracians using cannabis as an intoxicant.
70 Dioscorides, a physician in Nero’s army, lists medical marijuana in his Pharmacopoeia.
100 Imported hemp rope appears in England.
105 Legend suggests that Ts’ai Lun invents hemp paper in China, 200 years after its actual appearance (see 100 BCE above).
130-200 Greek physician Galen prescribes medical marijuana.
200 First pharmacopoeia of the East lists medical marijuana. Chinese surgeon Hua T’o uses marijuana as an anesthetic.
300 A young woman in Jerusalem receives medical marijuana during childbirth.
570 The French queen Arnegunde is buried with hemp cloth.