Complete History Of Cannabis

The Complete History of Cannabis

Cannabis has been used by the human race for thousands of years. The first evidence of its use stems all the way back to 8000 B.C. It has been prized by many peoples and cultures for it’s versatile impact on our society: its medicinal abilities, role in religions and rituals, and its mind altering and expanding capabilities. Carl Sagan, a prominent author and cannabis advocate has even proposed that it may very well have contributed to the development of civilization itself. Follow the history of marijuana from its first use to modern day applications with with this illustrated timeline.

 
8,000 B.C.

8000 BC – Pottery made of hemp cord is found dating back to over ten thousand years in the area that is modern day Taiwan. Such evidence of hemp use and cultivation makes it one of the earliest agriculture crops cultivated by the human race.

4000 BC - Remants of hemp fibers used for textile production dated to this time were found in China. Additional excavations in Turkestan reveal the use of similarly fashioned hemp textiles there, dating back to about one century later.

2000 BC – Bhang, or dried cannabis leaves, seeds and stems is mentioned in the Atharvaveda, a sacred Hindu text the name of which translates to ‘Science of Charms.’ The text refers to cannabis as “Sacred Grass” and calls it one of India’s 5 sacred plans, to be used as ritual offering to Shiva, as well as for its therapeutic qualities.

600 BC – Ropes made of hemp appear in southern Russia for the first time.

6000 BC - The very first evidence of cannabis use stems back to this time in China, where seeds were first used for food.

2737 BC - The use of cannabis for therapeutic purposes is recorded for the first time in Chinese pharmacopoeia, dating back to this period. Documents cite Emperor Shen Neng of China’s use of cannabis for medicine.

700 BC - The ancient Persian religious text called The Zoroastrian Zend-Avesta refers to cannabis as a "good narcotic." At the time of the publishing of this text, Scythian tribes begin leaving cannabis seeds in royal tombs as an offering to their deities. Additionally, an archeological expedition near Turpan, north-west China, unearthed a grave dated to this period that contained psychoactive cannabis flower inside.

500 B.C.

450 BC - Hemp introduced to the populations of Northern Europe. The first archeological evidence stemming back to this period is an urn that contained cannabis plant material, found near Berlin and dated back to this part of history. Over the next few centuries, the popularity of hemp grew across Northern Europe.

200 BC - The knowledge of hemp begins making its way around the world; hemp rope appears in Greece while the ancient Chinese Book of Rites mentions hemp fabric in its pages.

100 BC – Hemp paper begins circulating in China.

500 BC - Another tomb dating back to 500 BCE is discovered in in Turpan, the contents of which include 13 whole cannabis plant remains. This ceremony of including cannabis as part of the burial ritual was also seen around this same time at a grave of a Scythian couple, discovered in 1940 in what is modern-day Khazakstan.

430 BC - Herodotus, a Greek historian that was dubbed “The Father of History” that was born in modern day Turkey, writes about the Scythians’ use of the cannabis plant for ritual as well as recreational purposes.

25 A.D.

25 AD - A book about the whole of the natural world titled "The Natural History" is written in Latin by a Roman author and naval commander called Pliny the Elder. It mentions hemp rope as well as the plant's analgesic effects.

60 AD – Plutarch, a Greek biographer and essayist, writes about Indo-European tribes called Thracians’ using cannabis for the purposes of intoxication.

105 AD – Cai Lun, a Chinese inventor and father of modern papermaking, formally invents hemp paper with an improved manufacturing process.

300 AD – In Jerusalem, medical marijuana is used to aid a young woman during childbirth.

50 AD – The properties of cannabis (and especially its medical applications) are described with great detail in the Chinese pharmacological book “The Herbal” (The Pen Ts'ao Ching).

70 AD - Pedanius Dioscorides, a Greek physician, pharmacologist, botanist, and author writes about the medicinal properties of cannabis and its use in the Roman Empire.

110 AD – Imported hemp ropes appear in England for the first time.

170 AD - Galen of Pergamon, a prominent Greek physician, surgeon and philosopher known throughout the Roman Empire and arguably the most accomplished of all medical researchers of antiquity writes about the psychoactivity of cannabis and begins prescribing it to patients.

200 AD – The first pharmacopoeia of the East lists cannabis within its treatment armamentarium and a Chinese surgeon named Hua T’o uses it as an anesthetic.

500 A.D.

500 AD – The Talmud, which is the body of Jewish civil and ceremonial law, speaks of the euphoric properties of cannabis.

850 AD – Vikings transport hemp rope and seeds to Iceland and Arabs learn the techniques for making hemp paper.

900 AD - Use of cannabis spreads throughout Arabia and various scholars debate the merits of consuming hashish. Unlike alcohol, Mohammed did not prohibit cannabis and many Muslims have used and praised the plant for centuries.

1100 - Stories spread about the supposed use of hashish by Hassan-e Sabbāh, a prominent Persian missionary, and his people. These tales are the earliest written documents discussing the inebriating power of cannabis and as well as the general use of hashish.

1230 AD – The oldest known monograph on the topic of hashish is written in Arabic by Az-Zarkashi. Zahr al-'arish fi tahrim al-hashish, as it is called, refers to cannabis with names such as the “shrub of emotion,” “shrub of understanding, “peace of mind,” “branches of bliss,” and “thought morsel,” suggesting the Persian culture’s common recognition of the potent psychoactivity of cannabis. As is the nature of all good things, the knowledge spread beyond the Persian empire and Arab traders began exporting cannabis to the Mozambique coast of Africa.

1240 AD - Ibn al-Baytar, a renowned, Spanish-born pharmacist, botanist, physician and scientist described the cannabis plant in his works and went on to prescribe hemp seed oil to women for treating uterine-related conditions.

1240 AD - Ibn al-Baytar, a renowned, Spanish-born pharmacist, botanist, physician and scientist described the cannabis plant in his works and went on to prescribe hemp seed oil to women for treating uterine-related conditions.

570 AD – Queen Arnegunde of France is buried. It was later discovered that her clothing was made of hemp.

1200 AD - Smoking hashish gains popularity throughout the Middle East. First introduced by mystic devotees from Syria, it spreads to Egypt, which at the time was under the reign of the Ayyubid dynasty.

1210 AD - One Thousand and One Nights is a collection of Middle Eastern folk tales compiled in Arabic during the Islamic Golden Age. It is often known in English as "Arabian Nights." A popular collection or Arabian tales, it describes the intoxicating and aphrodisiac properties of hashish.

1215 AD – An ancient Persian legend dating back to this time describes a Sufi master named Shayk Haydar and his discovery of cannabis’ mood elevating properties. Haydar wanted to keep his discovery a secret only known to his religious sect, word spread to Egypt, Syria, and Bahrain upon his death. There is also additional evidence of hashish being present during the reign of Caliph Mustansir in Iraq during this time.

1290 AD – Marco Polo returns from his journeys and brings new knowledge of Cannabis to the attention of the European Monarchy for the first time. Within his reports he recalls the tales of Hassan-e Sabbāh and his use of hashish.

1300 A.D.

1300 - Discovery of Ethiopian pipes containing marijuana residue indicate the spread of cannabis throughout Africa.

1533 – King Henry VIII institutes a penalty on farmers if they do not raise hemp meant for industrial usage among their crops.

1550 - The legendary poem called Benk u Bode, written by the 16th century Turkish poet Mohammed Ebn Soleiman Foruli from Baghdad, is an allegorical work that pins wine and hashish against each other in a dialectic clash that explores the inebriating and euphoric effects of both. In this poem, Foruli described wine as the drink of the rich and affluent and hashish as a 'friend of the poor, the Dervishes and the men of knowledge.'

1563 - "Conversations on the Simples, Drugs and Materia Medica of India" is published by a Portuguese Jewish physician, naturalist and pioneer of tropical medicine named Garcia de Orta. In his work, de Orta discusses cannabis, opium, nutmeg, and a wealth of other medicinal plants and substances, and their respective effects.

1378 - Ottoman Emir Soudoun Scheikhouni issues the first documented edict prohibiting the consumption of hashish.

1526 – News about hashish reach Babur Nama, the founder of Mughal Empire (Mongol, by contemporary references) in Afghanistan.

1532 – French Renaissance writer, physician, and scholar named Francois Rabelais publishes “The Life of Gargantua and of Pantagruel,” which mentions marijuana’s medicinal effects.

1549 – As the African slave trade expanded, Angolan slaves were brought to work on sugar plantations in Brazil. With them they carried cannabis seeds and once tasked with cultivating sugar, they were permitted to plant their cannabis between rows of cane and to smoke in between harvests.

1578 - Li Shih-Chen, a Chinese polymath, physician, scientist, pharmacologist, herbalist and acupuncturist of the Ming dynasty writes about the antibiotic and antiemetic effects of marijuana.

1600 A.D.

1600 – Use of hashish spreads among the population of occupied Constantinople, from where it is allowed to spread. It reaches into European society in the early days of the 17th century and Russia begins exporting hemp to England.

1621 – The Anatomy of Melancholy, published by an English scholar at Oxford University named Robert Burton suggests the treatment of depression with cannabis.

1764 – Medical marijuana becomes available for sale at the New England Dispensatory, the first version of a modern-day dispensary. It granted access to cannabis to the members of the Puritan society residing in New England at the time.

1776 – Kentucky begins growing hemp.

1798 - As Napoleon Bonaparte returns to France following a failed campaign in Egypt, his soldiers bring back the local tradition of habitual use of hashish, which had been common among the lower class Egyptians. Perceived as a social and military threat, Napoleon declares a total prohibition of hashish.

1616 - Jamestown settlers began growing hemp for its unusually strong fiber. They use the plant to make rope, sails, and clothing.

1632 - The British and French begin cultivating hemp throughout their colonies in Port Royal, Virginia, and Plymouth. As the years pass, the trading of hashish between Central and South Asia increases dramatically.

1753 – Carl Linnaeus, a Swedish botanist, physician and zoologist who is known as the father of modern taxonomy for his work on formalizing the modern system of naming organisms first classifies Cannabis sativa.

1800 A.D.

1821 – English essayist Thomas De Quincey publishes “Confessions of an English Opium-Eater,” where he accounts his own addictions, mentioning cannabis.

1844 - The Club des Hashischins (sometimes also spelled Club des Hashishins or, "Club of the Hashish-Eaters") opens. It was a Parisian organization, dedicated to the mind-altering and expanding effects and consequences of drug-induced experiences, primarily with the use of hashish. Among its members were many illustrious and world-renowned writers, artists and intellects, including Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, Charles Baudelaire, Gérard de Nerval, and Honoré de Balzac.

1847 - American journals started recommending the use of hemp seeds and roots to treat venereal disease and inflammation. Even Queen Victoria was said to have used it for menstrual cramps.

1854 - John Greenleaf Whittier publishes “The Hashish,” becoming the first American writer to deal with the subject of cannabis and its intoxicating properties.

1857 - Fitz Hugh Ludlow’s “The Hasheesh Eater” is published, which is an autobiographical book describing altered states of consciousness created through the use of cannabis extracts. The book created widespread interest in hashish, leading to the creation of more edible cannabis products and the formation of private clubs for consuming cannabis.

1877 – Tasked with an early version of reporting and regulation and motivated by economic factors, Hem Chunder Kerr published a now famous report on called "The Cultivation Of, and Trade In, Jute in Bengal, and on Indian Fibres Available for the Manufacture of Paper" where he explicitly described the growth and cultivation of cannabis, its practiced use, cultural impact and effects, among other things.

1893 - The House of Commons of the United Kingdom was concerned with the effects of hemp drugs in the province of Bengal, India and convened a commission to look into the matter. It was named the “Indian Hemp Drugs Commission” and produced a 3,281 page report with testimonies from over 1,000 doctors, yogis, heads of asylums, peasants, farmers, tax collectors, smugglers, army personnel, hemp dealers, clergy, and operators of establishments where people came to get high. This report helped to undermine the prevailing belief of the time that consumption of ganja caused insanity. The report also quantified that that year, over 70,000 kilograms of hashish was legally imported from Central Asia to India.

1800 - Hashish trade and cultivation expands, with much activity coming from the Russian region of Turkestan and flowing into Yarkand region within Chinese Turkestan. In the US, marijuana plantations flourished across Mississippi, Georgia, California, South Carolina, Nebraska, New York, and Kentucky.

1840 – Persian pharmacies begin stocking hashish while across the ocean in America, medical preparations that utilize cannabis become available.

1842 - William O’Shaughnessy, an Irish physician famous for his wide-ranging scientific work in pharmacology and chemistry is credited with popularizing Cannabis in America and England. He introduced Western Medicine to therapeutic effects of cannabis, applying it to treat nausea, tetanus, cholera, as well as pain.

1846 – French psychiatrist and member of the Club des Hashischins, Jacques-Joseph Moreau publishes “Hashish and Mental Illness.” He was the first doctor to publish a work about cannabis and its effect on the central nervous system.

1850 - Cannabis is added to The U.S. Pharmacopoeia. Shortly after, marijuana was widely used throughout the United States for medicinal purposes and could easily be purchased in pharmacies and general stores.

1858 – French poet Charles Baudelaire publishes Les Paradis Artificiles (Artifical Paradises), a book about being under the influence of opium and hashish. Baudelaire discusses the effects of altered consciousness and how it could theoretically aid mankind in achieving a utopian world.

1875 – Hashish appears on the shores of Greece and the use of the plant is first recorded on the mainland, which was immediately followed by the introduction of its cultivation.

1890 – Greece’s Department of the Interior prohibits the importation, cultivation, and use of hashish. The government of Turkey simultaneously adopts an anti-hashish stance and makes it illegal within Turkey’s borders.

1891 – Queen Victoria’s chief physician Sir J.R. Reynolds prescribes medical marijuana as a method of dealing with symptoms associated with menstruation.

1900 A.D.

1905 – Hashish use reaches peak popularity in the Middle East.

1910 – The Mexican Revolution caused an influx of immigrants who introduced the habit of recreational use of cannabis into American society. Up to this point, cannabis was used chiefly for medical purposes.

1919 – Texas prohibits the use of cannabis. Also in political news, the 18th Amendment to the US Constitution bans manufacturing, transportation, or sale of alcohol, thereby positioning marijuana as an attractive recreational alternative. This leads to an increase in the underground usage of marijuana.

1920 – The Greek prime minister turned dictator Ioannis Metaxas cracks down on the use of hashish, pushing it underground. Smugglers create more trade routes transporting cannabis through Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, and Central Asia, which results in Lebanon prohibiting the production of hashish.

1927 – New York prohibits the use of cannabis.

1928 – Recreational use of cannabis is banned in Britain.

1930 - The Yarkand region of Chinese Turkestan legally exports 91,471 kilograms of hashish into the Northwest Frontier and Punjab regions of India. Legal hashish continues being imported into India from Central Asia, all the while being subject to taxation.

1934 – The Chinese government prohibits all cannabis cultivation and trafficking in Yarkand. Chinese Turkestan follows suit and declares production to be unlawful.

1938 – US Congress passes the Marijuana Tax Act which criminalizes cannabis. Some of the critical testimony in support of the bill was derived from articles in newspapers owned by William Randolph Hearst, who had significant financial interests in the timber industry, which produced the paper he printed on. Dr. William C. Woodward testified in front of Cngress on behalf of the AMA, albeit in vain. He stated that “the American Medical Association knows of no evidence that marijuana is a dangerous drug” and cautioned that a prohibition “loses sight of the fact that future investigation may show that there are substantial medical uses for Cannabis.”

1941 – Cannabis is removed from the U.S. Pharmacopoeia and its medicinal use is no longer recognized in America.

1951 – The Boggs Act and the Nacrotics Control Act increase all drug penalties in the US. The new legislation lays down mandatory sentences for drug –related offenses.

1960 – Czech scientists and researches J. Kabelik, Z. Krejci, and F. Santavy publish findings titled “Cannabis as a Medicament” to confirm the antibiotic and analgesic effects of the plant.

1965 – The first reports of the Afghani cannabis strain begin circulating the globe. Meanwhile, Raphael Mechoulam, who is considered to be the godfather of cannabis, publishes ground-breaking research on molecular contents of the plant and reveals the functions of the various cannabinoids therein.

1970 – Cannabis cultivation spikes in Afghanistan, provoking law enforcement efforts against the prohibited substance. The US National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) is assembled. The same year, the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act repeales mandatory penalties for drug offenses and re-categorized marijuana separately from other narcotics.

1977 – In his book “Dragons of Eden,” Carl Sagan postulated that cannabis may have been the first agricultural crop the world has ever seen and that it may have led to the development to civilization.

1980 – Morocco becomes one of the world’s largest hashish producers and exporters.

1985 – The FDA approves dronabinol, a synthetic form of THC created for cancer patients to treat nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy.

1986 – President Ronald Reagan signed the Anti-Drug Abuse Act, reinstating mandatory minimums and raising federal penalties for possession and trafficking. This officially began the international “war on drugs.”

1992 – In reaction to a surge of requests from AIDS patients for medical marijuana, the U.S. government closes the Compassionate Use program. The pharmaceutical medication dronabinol gets approval for AIDS wasting syndrome. Meanwhile, Lebanon prohibits the cultivation of cannabis under political pressure from the United States.

1995 – Hash (and hash-making equipment) finds its way to Amsterdam, sprouting up numerous coffee shops where consumption takes place.

1997 - The American Office of National Drug Control Policy commissioned the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to conduct a comprehensive study of the medical efficacy of cannabis therapeutics. The IOM concluded that cannabis is a safe and effective medicine, patients should have access, and the government should expand avenues for research and drug development. The federal government completely ignored its findings and refused to act on its recommendations.

1999 – Hawaii and North Dakota unsuccessfully attempt to legalize hemp farming. The U.S. DEA reclassifies dronabinol as a schedule III drug, making the medication easier to prescribe while marijuana itself continues to be listed Schedule I as having “no accepted medical use.”

1906 – The Pure Food and Drug Act is passed in the US, regulating the labeling of products containing Alcohol, Opiates, Cocaine, Cannabis and other things.

1914 – US Congress passed the Harrison Act, defining use of Marijuana (as well as other substances) as a crime.

1915 – The US begins prohibiting cannabis for nonmedical use. Prohibition begins in California first.

1916 – United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) chief scientists Jason L. Merrill and Lyster H. Dewey create a new kind of paper made of hemp. It was not only superior to the pulp wood alternative, but its production had a much cleaner impact on the environment. Nontheless, due to the fact that industry newspaper printers had already heavily invested into ‘traditional’ equipment, hemp paper was regrettably abandoned.

1924 – D. E. Janischewsky, a Russian botanist, classifies Cannabis ruderalis as a species of its own, due to its unique traits and phenotypes which distinguish it from Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa. In US politics, Louisiana prohibits the use of cannabis.

1936 – The propaganda film Reefer Madness is released, intended to scare American youth away from using cannabis. It was originally financed by a church group under the name “Tell Your Children” and meant to offer parents a morality tale to guide children away from the dangers of marijuana.

1963 – Harry J. Anslinger succeeds in his crusade to criminalize marijuana use. He goes to the UN and used America’s influence to persuade over 100 countries to consolidate their various drug agreements into a single, inflexible convention outlawing cannabis use around the world.

1967 – Cannabis products begin to diversify. The first hashish oil is extracted from cannabis and given the name “Smash.” It appears on the black market along with popular new hashish called Red Lebanese, which reaches California shores for the first time and spreads along the west coast.

1971 – The first evidence suggesting that cannabis may be helpful in treating glaucoma patients emerges.

1972 - The Shafer Commission, appointed by president Nixon urged for cannabis be re-legalized, but their recommendations were ignored. Meanwhile, as people were becoming more educated on the subject matter, public interest in cannabis began shifting and medical research picked up the pace. Proposition 19 made it on the California ballot to legalize marijuana use, but it was rejected by two thirds of the vote.

1973 – Nepal prohibits cannabis shops and export of hashish. Afghanistan also cracks down on manufacturing and sale of hashish, making it illegal.

1975 - Nabilone, a synthetic, cannabinoid based medication appears on the market. It is intended to mimic the effects of THC and relieve chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, as well as to assist with chronic pain management.

1976 - The U.S. federal government created the Investigational New Drug (IND) Compassionate Use research program to allow patients to receive up to nine pounds of cannabis from the government each year.

1978 – US President Jimmy Carter and his assistant for drug policy Dr. Peter Bourne push for decriminalization of marijuana, with Nixon himself asking Congress to abolish federal criminal penalties for individuals caught with less than an ounce of the plant.

1987 – The Moroccan government cracks down on cannabis cultivation, partially due to political pressures imposed by the United States.

1988 - U.S. DEA administrative law Judge Francis Young conducts thorough hearings and finds that marijuana has a clearly established medical use and should be reclassified as a prescriptive drug. His recommendation is ignored.

1996 - California - the first U.S. state to ban marijuana use, (see 1915) - became the first U.S. State to legalize it for medical use among people suffering from AIDS, cancer, and other serious illnesses. A similar bill was passed in Arizona the same year. This was followed by the passage of similar initiatives in Alaska, Colorado, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Washington D.C., Hawaii, Maryland, New Mexico, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

1998 – In contradiction to the recommendations brought by the Institute of Medicine the prior year, President Clinton continues the “war on drugs,” beginning a campaign to arrest and prosecute medical cannabis patients and their providers nation-wide.

2000 A.D.

2000 – Legalization of cannabis in Alaska reaches the ballot but fails to win sufficient votes to pass.

2002 – Under President G.W. Bush, the federal crackdown on cannabis intensifies.

2003 – Canada becomes the first country in the world to approve the use of medical marijuana nation-wide.

2010 AD – Marc Emery’s trial takes place, where he is sentenced in a US District Court in Seattle, Washington to five years in prison and four years of supervised release for “conspiracy to manufacture marijuana.” California adds Proposition 19 to the ballot, which would have “legalized various marijuana-related activities in California, allowing local governments to regulate these activities, permitting local governments to impose and collect marijuana-related fees and taxes, and authorizing various criminal and civil penalties,” but the initiative was defeated by a very narrow margin.

2012 - Colorado and Washington legalize cannabis for recreational use, as does the country of Uruguay. Additionally, the US District of Columbia decriminalizes personal use and possession of cannabis.

2015 - Minesota passed a bill authorizing medical use of cannabis by eligible patients.

2016 - California passed Proposition 64, making recreational use of cannabis legal in the state. Additionally, voters in the state of Florida approved a constitutional amendment to legalize medical cannabis for eligible patients.

2018 - Vermont became the first state to legalize cannabis without a public vote. Governor Phil Scott signed a bill that protects the rights of medical marijuana patients.

2001 – Poverty in Lebanon has pressed many farmers to return to cultivating cannabis, under the protection of Hezbollah, which enabled many farmers to circumvent the legal system, which prohibits cannabis cultivation. Within a year, production doubles to a total of 37,000 acres. In Britain, Home Secretary David Blunkett proposes relaxing the classification of cannabis from a class B to class C, while Canada adopts federal laws in support of medical marijuana.

2005 – Marc Emery, a Canadian cannabis activist, entrepreneur, and the largest distributor of cannabis seeds into the United States was arrested. After making #1 on the FBI’s most wanted list, he was extradited from Canada to stand trial.

2009 - President Obama makes steps toward ending the very unsuccessful 20-year “war on drugs” initiated during the Regan administration by stating that individual drug use is really a public health issue, and should be treated as such. Under Obama’s guidance, the U.S. Justice Department announced that federal prosecutors will no longer pursue medical marijuana users and distributors who comply with state laws.

2014 - Cannabis City becomes Seattle’s very first legal marijuana shop for over-the-counter purchase and recreational use. The world-wide media attention that was generated started a serious discussion over the legalization of marijuana and a possible end to the American war on drugs. Later in the year, the states of Alaska and Oregon legalize cannabis for recreational use while California, Nevada, Arizona, Hawaii and Massachusetts all begin drafting legalization legislation.

2017 - The state of Nevada approved recreational use of cannabis while Louisiana passed laws to support medical use.

 
8,000 B.C.

8000 BC – Pottery made of hemp cord is found dating back to over ten thousand years in the area that is modern day Taiwan. Such evidence of hemp use and cultivation makes it one of the earliest agriculture crops cultivated by the human race.

6000 BC - The very first evidence of cannabis use stems back to this time in China, where seeds were first used for food.

4000 BC - Remants of hemp fibers used for textile production dated to this time were found in China. Additional excavations in Turkestan reveal the use of similarly fashioned hemp textiles there, dating back to about one century later.

2737 BC - The use of cannabis for therapeutic purposes is recorded for the first time in Chinese pharmacopoeia, dating back to this period. Documents cite Emperor Shen Neng of China’s use of cannabis for medicine.

2000 BC – Bhang, or dried cannabis leaves, seeds and stems is mentioned in the Atharvaveda, a sacred Hindu text the name of which translates to ‘Science of Charms.’ The text refers to cannabis as “Sacred Grass” and calls it one of India’s 5 sacred plans, to be used as ritual offering to Shiva, as well as for its therapeutic qualities.

700 BC - The ancient Persian religious text called The Zoroastrian Zend-Avesta refers to cannabis as a "good narcotic." At the time of the publishing of this text, Scythian tribes begin leaving cannabis seeds in royal tombs as an offering to their deities. Additionally, an archeological expedition near Turpan, north-west China, unearthed a grave dated to this period that contained psychoactive cannabis flower inside.

600 BC – Ropes made of hemp appear in southern Russia for the first time.

500 B.C.

500 BC - Another tomb dating back to 500 BCE is discovered in in Turpan, the contents of which include 13 whole cannabis plant remains. This ceremony of including cannabis as part of the burial ritual was also seen around this same time at a grave of a Scythian couple, discovered in 1940 in what is modern-day Khazakstan.

450 BC - Hemp introduced to the populations of Northern Europe. The first archeological evidence stemming back to this period is an urn that contained cannabis plant material, found near Berlin and dated back to this part of history. Over the next few centuries, the popularity of hemp grew across Northern Europe.

430 BC - Herodotus, a Greek historian that was dubbed “The Father of History” that was born in modern day Turkey, writes about the Scythians’ use of the cannabis plant for ritual as well as recreational purposes.

200 BC - The knowledge of hemp begins making its way around the world; hemp rope appears in Greece while the ancient Chinese Book of Rites mentions hemp fabric in its pages.

100 BC – Hemp paper begins circulating in China.

25 A.D.

25 AD - A book about the whole of the natural world titled "The Natural History" is written in Latin by a Roman author and naval commander called Pliny the Elder. It mentions hemp rope as well as the plant's analgesic effects.

50 AD – The properties of cannabis (and especially its medical applications) are described with great detail in the Chinese pharmacological book “The Herbal” (The Pen Ts'ao Ching).

60 AD – Plutarch, a Greek biographer and essayist, writes about Indo-European tribes called Thracians’ using cannabis for the purposes of intoxication.

70 AD - Pedanius Dioscorides, a Greek physician, pharmacologist, botanist, and author writes about the medicinal properties of cannabis and its use in the Roman Empire.

105 AD – Cai Lun, a Chinese inventor and father of modern papermaking, formally invents hemp paper with an improved manufacturing process.

110 AD – Imported hemp ropes appear in England for the first time.

170 AD - Galen of Pergamon, a prominent Greek physician, surgeon and philosopher known throughout the Roman Empire and arguably the most accomplished of all medical researchers of antiquity writes about the psychoactivity of cannabis and begins prescribing it to patients.

200 AD – The first pharmacopoeia of the East lists cannabis within its treatment armamentarium and a Chinese surgeon named Hua T’o uses it as an anesthetic.

300 AD – In Jerusalem, medical marijuana is used to aid a young woman during childbirth.

500 A.D.

500 AD – The Talmud, which is the body of Jewish civil and ceremonial law, speaks of the euphoric properties of cannabis.

570 AD – Queen Arnegunde of France is buried. It was later discovered that her clothing was made of hemp.

850 AD – Vikings transport hemp rope and seeds to Iceland and Arabs learn the techniques for making hemp paper.

900 AD - Use of cannabis spreads throughout Arabia and various scholars debate the merits of consuming hashish. Unlike alcohol, Mohammed did not prohibit cannabis and many Muslims have used and praised the plant for centuries.

1100 - Stories spread about the supposed use of hashish by Hassan-e Sabbāh, a prominent Persian missionary, and his people. These tales are the earliest written documents discussing the inebriating power of cannabis and as well as the general use of hashish.

1200 AD - Smoking hashish gains popularity throughout the Middle East. First introduced by mystic devotees from Syria, it spreads to Egypt, which at the time was under the reign of the Ayyubid dynasty.

1210 AD - One Thousand and One Nights is a collection of Middle Eastern folk tales compiled in Arabic during the Islamic Golden Age. It is often known in English as "Arabian Nights." A popular collection or Arabian tales, it describes the intoxicating and aphrodisiac properties of hashish.

1215 AD – An ancient Persian legend dating back to this time describes a Sufi master named Shayk Haydar and his discovery of cannabis’ mood elevating properties. Haydar wanted to keep his discovery a secret only known to his religious sect, word spread to Egypt, Syria, and Bahrain upon his death. There is also additional evidence of hashish being present during the reign of Caliph Mustansir in Iraq during this time.

1230 AD – The oldest known monograph on the topic of hashish is written in Arabic by Az-Zarkashi. Zahr al-'arish fi tahrim al-hashish, as it is called, refers to cannabis with names such as the “shrub of emotion,” “shrub of understanding, “peace of mind,” “branches of bliss,” and “thought morsel,” suggesting the Persian culture’s common recognition of the potent psychoactivity of cannabis. As is the nature of all good things, the knowledge spread beyond the Persian empire and Arab traders began exporting cannabis to the Mozambique coast of Africa.

1240 AD - Ibn al-Baytar, a renowned, Spanish-born pharmacist, botanist, physician and scientist described the cannabis plant in his works and went on to prescribe hemp seed oil to women for treating uterine-related conditions.

1240 AD - Ibn al-Baytar, a renowned, Spanish-born pharmacist, botanist, physician and scientist described the cannabis plant in his works and went on to prescribe hemp seed oil to women for treating uterine-related conditions.

1290 AD – Marco Polo returns from his journeys and brings new knowledge of Cannabis to the attention of the European Monarchy for the first time. Within his reports he recalls the tales of Hassan-e Sabbāh and his use of hashish.

1300 A.D.

1300 - Discovery of Ethiopian pipes containing marijuana residue indicate the spread of cannabis throughout Africa.

1378 - Ottoman Emir Soudoun Scheikhouni issues the first documented edict prohibiting the consumption of hashish.

1526 – News about hashish reach Babur Nama, the founder of Mughal Empire (Mongol, by contemporary references) in Afghanistan.

1532 – French Renaissance writer, physician, and scholar named Francois Rabelais publishes “The Life of Gargantua and of Pantagruel,” which mentions marijuana’s medicinal effects.

1533 – King Henry VIII institutes a penalty on farmers if they do not raise hemp meant for industrial usage among their crops.

1549 – As the African slave trade expanded, Angolan slaves were brought to work on sugar plantations in Brazil. With them they carried cannabis seeds and once tasked with cultivating sugar, they were permitted to plant their cannabis between rows of cane and to smoke in between harvests.

1550 - The legendary poem called Benk u Bode, written by the 16th century Turkish poet Mohammed Ebn Soleiman Foruli from Baghdad, is an allegorical work that pins wine and hashish against each other in a dialectic clash that explores the inebriating and euphoric effects of both. In this poem, Foruli described wine as the drink of the rich and affluent and hashish as a 'friend of the poor, the Dervishes and the men of knowledge.'

1563 - "Conversations on the Simples, Drugs and Materia Medica of India" is published by a Portuguese Jewish physician, naturalist and pioneer of tropical medicine named Garcia de Orta. In his work, de Orta discusses cannabis, opium, nutmeg, and a wealth of other medicinal plants and substances, and their respective effects.

1578 - Li Shih-Chen, a Chinese polymath, physician, scientist, pharmacologist, herbalist and acupuncturist of the Ming dynasty writes about the antibiotic and antiemetic effects of marijuana.

1600 A.D.

1600 – Use of hashish spreads among the population of occupied Constantinople, from where it is allowed to spread. It reaches into European society in the early days of the 17th century and Russia begins exporting hemp to England.

1616 - Jamestown settlers began growing hemp for its unusually strong fiber. They use the plant to make rope, sails, and clothing.

1621 – The Anatomy of Melancholy, published by an English scholar at Oxford University named Robert Burton suggests the treatment of depression with cannabis.

1632 - The British and French begin cultivating hemp throughout their colonies in Port Royal, Virginia, and Plymouth. As the years pass, the trading of hashish between Central and South Asia increases dramatically.

1753 – Carl Linnaeus, a Swedish botanist, physician and zoologist who is known as the father of modern taxonomy for his work on formalizing the modern system of naming organisms first classifies Cannabis sativa.

1764 – Medical marijuana becomes available for sale at the New England Dispensatory, the first version of a modern-day dispensary. It granted access to cannabis to the members of the Puritan society residing in New England at the time.

1776 – Kentucky begins growing hemp.

1798 - As Napoleon Bonaparte returns to France following a failed campaign in Egypt, his soldiers bring back the local tradition of habitual use of hashish, which had been common among the lower class Egyptians. Perceived as a social and military threat, Napoleon declares a total prohibition of hashish.

1800 A.D.

1800 - Hashish trade and cultivation expands, with much activity coming from the Russian region of Turkestan and flowing into Yarkand region within Chinese Turkestan. In the US, marijuana plantations flourished across Mississippi, Georgia, California, South Carolina, Nebraska, New York, and Kentucky.

1821 – English essayist Thomas De Quincey publishes “Confessions of an English Opium-Eater,” where he accounts his own addictions, mentioning cannabis.

1840 – Persian pharmacies begin stocking hashish while across the ocean in America, medical preparations that utilize cannabis become available.

1842 - William O’Shaughnessy, an Irish physician famous for his wide-ranging scientific work in pharmacology and chemistry is credited with popularizing Cannabis in America and England. He introduced Western Medicine to therapeutic effects of cannabis, applying it to treat nausea, tetanus, cholera, as well as pain.

1844 - The Club des Hashischins (sometimes also spelled Club des Hashishins or, "Club of the Hashish-Eaters") opens. It was a Parisian organization, dedicated to the mind-altering and expanding effects and consequences of drug-induced experiences, primarily with the use of hashish. Among its members were many illustrious and world-renowned writers, artists and intellects, including Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, Charles Baudelaire, Gérard de Nerval, and Honoré de Balzac.

1846 – French psychiatrist and member of the Club des Hashischins, Jacques-Joseph Moreau publishes “Hashish and Mental Illness.” He was the first doctor to publish a work about cannabis and its effect on the central nervous system.

1847 - American journals started recommending the use of hemp seeds and roots to treat venereal disease and inflammation. Even Queen Victoria was said to have used it for menstrual cramps.

1850 - Cannabis is added to The U.S. Pharmacopoeia. Shortly after, marijuana was widely used throughout the United States for medicinal purposes and could easily be purchased in pharmacies and general stores.

1854 - John Greenleaf Whittier publishes “The Hashish,” becoming the first American writer to deal with the subject of cannabis and its intoxicating properties.

1857 - Fitz Hugh Ludlow’s “The Hasheesh Eater” is published, which is an autobiographical book describing altered states of consciousness created through the use of cannabis extracts. The book created widespread interest in hashish, leading to the creation of more edible cannabis products and the formation of private clubs for consuming cannabis.

1858 – French poet Charles Baudelaire publishes Les Paradis Artificiles (Artifical Paradises), a book about being under the influence of opium and hashish. Baudelaire discusses the effects of altered consciousness and how it could theoretically aid mankind in achieving a utopian world.

1877 – Tasked with an early version of reporting and regulation and motivated by economic factors, Hem Chunder Kerr published a now famous report on called "The Cultivation Of, and Trade In, Jute in Bengal, and on Indian Fibres Available for the Manufacture of Paper" where he explicitly described the growth and cultivation of cannabis, its practiced use, cultural impact and effects, among other things.

1875 – Hashish appears on the shores of Greece and the use of the plant is first recorded on the mainland, which was immediately followed by the introduction of its cultivation.

1890 – Greece’s Department of the Interior prohibits the importation, cultivation, and use of hashish. The government of Turkey simultaneously adopts an anti-hashish stance and makes it illegal within Turkey’s borders.

1891 – Queen Victoria’s chief physician Sir J.R. Reynolds prescribes medical marijuana as a method of dealing with symptoms associated with menstruation.

1893 - The House of Commons of the United Kingdom was concerned with the effects of hemp drugs in the province of Bengal, India and convened a commission to look into the matter. It was named the “Indian Hemp Drugs Commission” and produced a 3,281 page report with testimonies from over 1,000 doctors, yogis, heads of asylums, peasants, farmers, tax collectors, smugglers, army personnel, hemp dealers, clergy, and operators of establishments where people came to get high. This report helped to undermine the prevailing belief of the time that consumption of ganja caused insanity. The report also quantified that that year, over 70,000 kilograms of hashish was legally imported from Central Asia to India.

1900 A.D.

1905 – Hashish use reaches peak popularity in the Middle East.

1906 – The Pure Food and Drug Act is passed in the US, regulating the labeling of products containing Alcohol, Opiates, Cocaine, Cannabis and other things.

1910 – The Mexican Revolution caused an influx of immigrants who introduced the habit of recreational use of cannabis into American society. Up to this point, cannabis was used chiefly for medical purposes.

1914 – US Congress passed the Harrison Act, defining use of Marijuana (as well as other substances) as a crime.

1915 – The US begins prohibiting cannabis for nonmedical use. Prohibition begins in California first.

1916 – United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) chief scientists Jason L. Merrill and Lyster H. Dewey create a new kind of paper made of hemp. It was not only superior to the pulp wood alternative, but its production had a much cleaner impact on the environment. Nontheless, due to the fact that industry newspaper printers had already heavily invested into ‘traditional’ equipment, hemp paper was regrettably abandoned.

1919 – Texas prohibits the use of cannabis. Also in political news, the 18th Amendment to the US Constitution bans manufacturing, transportation, or sale of alcohol, thereby positioning marijuana as an attractive recreational alternative. This leads to an increase in the underground usage of marijuana.

1920 – The Greek prime minister turned dictator Ioannis Metaxas cracks down on the use of hashish, pushing it underground. Smugglers create more trade routes transporting cannabis through Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, and Central Asia, which results in Lebanon prohibiting the production of hashish.

1924 – D. E. Janischewsky, a Russian botanist, classifies Cannabis ruderalis as a species of its own, due to its unique traits and phenotypes which distinguish it from Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa. In US politics, Louisiana prohibits the use of cannabis.

1927 – New York prohibits the use of cannabis.

1928 – Recreational use of cannabis is banned in Britain.

1930 - The Yarkand region of Chinese Turkestan legally exports 91,471 kilograms of hashish into the Northwest Frontier and Punjab regions of India. Legal hashish continues being imported into India from Central Asia, all the while being subject to taxation.

1934 – The Chinese government prohibits all cannabis cultivation and trafficking in Yarkand. Chinese Turkestan follows suit and declares production to be unlawful.

1936 – The propaganda film Reefer Madness is released, intended to scare American youth away from using cannabis. It was originally financed by a church group under the name “Tell Your Children” and meant to offer parents a morality tale to guide children away from the dangers of marijuana.

1938 – US Congress passes the Marijuana Tax Act which criminalizes cannabis. Some of the critical testimony in support of the bill was derived from articles in newspapers owned by William Randolph Hearst, who had significant financial interests in the timber industry, which produced the paper he printed on. Dr. William C. Woodward testified in front of Cngress on behalf of the AMA, albeit in vain. He stated that “the American Medical Association knows of no evidence that marijuana is a dangerous drug” and cautioned that a prohibition “loses sight of the fact that future investigation may show that there are substantial medical uses for Cannabis.”

1941 – Cannabis is removed from the U.S. Pharmacopoeia and its medicinal use is no longer recognized in America.

1951 – The Boggs Act and the Nacrotics Control Act increase all drug penalties in the US. The new legislation lays down mandatory sentences for drug –related offenses.

1960 – Czech scientists and researches J. Kabelik, Z. Krejci, and F. Santavy publish findings titled “Cannabis as a Medicament” to confirm the antibiotic and analgesic effects of the plant.

1963 – Harry J. Anslinger succeeds in his crusade to criminalize marijuana use. He goes to the UN and used America’s influence to persuade over 100 countries to consolidate their various drug agreements into a single, inflexible convention outlawing cannabis use around the world.

1965 – The first reports of the Afghani cannabis strain begin circulating the globe. Meanwhile, Raphael Mechoulam, who is considered to be the godfather of cannabis, publishes ground-breaking research on molecular contents of the plant and reveals the functions of the various cannabinoids therein.

1967 – Cannabis products begin to diversify. The first hashish oil is extracted from cannabis and given the name “Smash.” It appears on the black market along with popular new hashish called Red Lebanese, which reaches California shores for the first time and spreads along the west coast.

1970 – Cannabis cultivation spikes in Afghanistan, provoking law enforcement efforts against the prohibited substance. The US National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) is assembled. The same year, the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act repeales mandatory penalties for drug offenses and re-categorized marijuana separately from other narcotics.

1971 – The first evidence suggesting that cannabis may be helpful in treating glaucoma patients emerges.

1972 - The Shafer Commission, appointed by president Nixon urged for cannabis be re-legalized, but their recommendations were ignored. Meanwhile, as people were becoming more educated on the subject matter, public interest in cannabis began shifting and medical research picked up the pace. Proposition 19 made it on the California ballot to legalize marijuana use, but it was rejected by two thirds of the vote.

1973 – Nepal prohibits cannabis shops and export of hashish. Afghanistan also cracks down on manufacturing and sale of hashish, making it illegal.

1975 - Nabilone, a synthetic, cannabinoid based medication appears on the market. It is intended to mimic the effects of THC and relieve chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, as well as to assist with chronic pain management.

1976 - The U.S. federal government created the Investigational New Drug (IND) Compassionate Use research program to allow patients to receive up to nine pounds of cannabis from the government each year.

1977 – In his book “Dragons of Eden,” Carl Sagan postulated that cannabis may have been the first agricultural crop the world has ever seen and that it may have led to the development to civilization.

1978 – US President Jimmy Carter and his assistant for drug policy Dr. Peter Bourne push for decriminalization of marijuana, with Nixon himself asking Congress to abolish federal criminal penalties for individuals caught with less than an ounce of the plant.

1980 – Morocco becomes one of the world’s largest hashish producers and exporters.

1985 – The FDA approves dronabinol, a synthetic form of THC created for cancer patients to treat nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy.

1986 – President Ronald Reagan signed the Anti-Drug Abuse Act, reinstating mandatory minimums and raising federal penalties for possession and trafficking. This officially began the international “war on drugs.”

1987 – The Moroccan government cracks down on cannabis cultivation, partially due to political pressures imposed by the United States.

1988 - U.S. DEA administrative law Judge Francis Young conducts thorough hearings and finds that marijuana has a clearly established medical use and should be reclassified as a prescriptive drug. His recommendation is ignored.

1992 – In reaction to a surge of requests from AIDS patients for medical marijuana, the U.S. government closes the Compassionate Use program. The pharmaceutical medication dronabinol gets approval for AIDS wasting syndrome. Meanwhile, Lebanon prohibits the cultivation of cannabis under political pressure from the United States.

1995 – Hash (and hash-making equipment) finds its way to Amsterdam, sprouting up numerous coffee shops where consumption takes place.

1996 - California - the first U.S. state to ban marijuana use, (see 1915) - became the first U.S. State to legalize it for medical use among people suffering from AIDS, cancer, and other serious illnesses. A similar bill was passed in Arizona the same year. This was followed by the passage of similar initiatives in Alaska, Colorado, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Washington D.C., Hawaii, Maryland, New Mexico, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

1997 - The American Office of National Drug Control Policy commissioned the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to conduct a comprehensive study of the medical efficacy of cannabis therapeutics. The IOM concluded that cannabis is a safe and effective medicine, patients should have access, and the government should expand avenues for research and drug development. The federal government completely ignored its findings and refused to act on its recommendations.

1998 – In contradiction to the recommendations brought by the Institute of Medicine the prior year, President Clinton continues the “war on drugs,” beginning a campaign to arrest and prosecute medical cannabis patients and their providers nation-wide.

1999 – Hawaii and North Dakota unsuccessfully attempt to legalize hemp farming. The U.S. DEA reclassifies dronabinol as a schedule III drug, making the medication easier to prescribe while marijuana itself continues to be listed Schedule I as having “no accepted medical use.”

2000 A.D.

2000 – Legalization of cannabis in Alaska reaches the ballot but fails to win sufficient votes to pass.

2001 – Poverty in Lebanon has pressed many farmers to return to cultivating cannabis, under the protection of Hezbollah, which enabled many farmers to circumvent the legal system, which prohibits cannabis cultivation. Within a year, production doubles to a total of 37,000 acres. In Britain, Home Secretary David Blunkett proposes relaxing the classification of cannabis from a class B to class C, while Canada adopts federal laws in support of medical marijuana.

2002 – Under President G.W. Bush, the federal crackdown on cannabis intensifies.

2003 – Canada becomes the first country in the world to approve the use of medical marijuana nation-wide.

2005 – Marc Emery, a Canadian cannabis activist, entrepreneur, and the largest distributor of cannabis seeds into the United States was arrested. After making #1 on the FBI’s most wanted list, he was extradited from Canada to stand trial.

2009 - President Obama makes steps toward ending the very unsuccessful 20-year “war on drugs” initiated during the Regan administration by stating that individual drug use is really a public health issue, and should be treated as such. Under Obama’s guidance, the U.S. Justice Department announced that federal prosecutors will no longer pursue medical marijuana users and distributors who comply with state laws.

2010 AD – Marc Emery’s trial takes place, where he is sentenced in a US District Court in Seattle, Washington to five years in prison and four years of supervised release for “conspiracy to manufacture marijuana.” California adds Proposition 19 to the ballot, which would have “legalized various marijuana-related activities in California, allowing local governments to regulate these activities, permitting local governments to impose and collect marijuana-related fees and taxes, and authorizing various criminal and civil penalties,” but the initiative was defeated by a very narrow margin.

2012 - Colorado and Washington legalize cannabis for recreational use, as does the country of Uruguay. Additionally, the US District of Columbia decriminalizes personal use and possession of cannabis.

2014 - Cannabis City becomes Seattle’s very first legal marijuana shop for over-the-counter purchase and recreational use. The world-wide media attention that was generated started a serious discussion over the legalization of marijuana and a possible end to the American war on drugs. Later in the year, the states of Alaska and Oregon legalize cannabis for recreational use while California, Nevada, Arizona, Hawaii and Massachusetts all begin drafting legalization legislation.

2015 - Minesota passed a bill authorizing medical use of cannabis by eligible patients.

2016 - California passed Proposition 64, making recreational use of cannabis legal in the state. Additionally, voters in the state of Florida approved a constitutional amendment to legalize medical cannabis for eligible patients.

2017 - The state of Nevada approved recreational use of cannabis while Louisiana passed laws to support medical use.

2018 - Vermont became the first state to legalize cannabis without a public vote. Governor Phil Scott signed a bill that protects the rights of medical marijuana patients.