History of Marijuana

A marijuana plant

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A marijuana plant

Aneecia Owens, Editor

Marijuana, a plant used for recreational purposes or medicine, has a long history in not only the US but in other countries. Surprisingly, this plant was not used for all of that when it was first discovered.

Back in the ancient days, Marijuana was evolved in Central Asia and then migrated to America, Africa, and Europe. Hemp seeds were used as food while The rest of the plant was used to make rope, clothing, and paper. It was also used for religious ceremonies and healing practices. Hindus consumed cannabis in religious ceremonies in a drink called bhang.  In the 1600s, states like Virginia, Massachusetts, and Connecticut made it a requirement to grow hemp because of all the fibers it held, which was used to make some ship parts, and it was easy to cultivate. These marijuana plants carry low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC, which is the chemical that alters the mind.

Its medical journey started In the 1830s when Sir William Brooke O’Shaughnessy discovered that cannabis extracts help with stomach pains as well as vomiting. THC carried these healing properties. This chemical sends signals to the parts of the brain that decreased nausea and increased hunger. 

As far as the recreational use of marijuana, its use dates back to 800 BC. The earliest trace of weed smokers was a group called the Iranian nomads in Central Asia. This was very common in the Middle East and some Asian countries. As far as the United States, it didn’t get popular until the early 1900s during the Spanish Revolution when Mexican immigrants started to use it.  

In America, the Marijuana Tax act of 1937 was created to criminalize the plant. Then the Act was ruled unconstitutional years later and was replaced with the Controlled Substances Act in the 1970s which established Schedules for ranks substances by their dangerousness and potential for addiction and cannabis was placed in the most restrictive category, Schedule I.  In 1996, California became the first state to approve the use of medical marijuana and now 22 other states have legalized it too.