…The History of Cannabis – Transcends the History of the Written Word
Some say it was first used 5000 years ago by the ancient Sumerians. Some say the ancient Chinese were the first users, as they were said to consume the cannabis seeds for medical purposes as far back as 8000 BC. One thing is for sure, though: the first stoners definitely weren’t the flower children of the 1960s.
It is pretty generally accepted that Central Asia was the birthplace of the cannabis plant, and is also generally accepted that cannabis was first grown for its fiber properties to use in pottery and weaving. However, the first civilization to use cannabis as a mind-altering, vision-inducing, body-healing, clarity-revealing mind stimulant…well, that’s a little harder to pinpoint.
The case for ancient China can be made through their usage of cannabis in trance ceremonies dating back to the sixth century BC, as they mixed it in with incense during many of their rituals and experimented with it greatly. But then, Chinese Taoists learned of the drug and began to associate it with yin, which in Taoism is the label given to everything that is the opposite of good. Therefore, given that the ancient Chinese was the first nation to stigmatize marijuana (laying the groundwork for twentieth-century party poopers like Ronald Reagen and your high school principal), they can hardly be classified as the earliest stoners.
In the second millennium BC, Aryans invaded the area that is now known as India and set up a civilization there. Their legend held that the god Siva was alone and burning in the hot badlands when he suddenly found and was comforted by the shade of a marijuana plant, eventually choosing to take some of its leaves back home with him to share with his people. Therefore, the Aryans get points for having marijuana be given mystical connotations, as well as for referring to their cannabis as “Bhang” (yes, “Bhang”) and becoming one of the first societies to turn marijuana into a recreationally-used drug. However, they must be penalized for their belief about non-stoners being cursed to the worst torments of hell for all eternity; weed’s awesome, but you don’t need to burn forever if you’re not down with it. Robbie Marley would not have approved.
They originally wrote about the plant in the middle of the second millennium BC, referencing its use in relation to their need for greater introspection. They believed that their usage of the plant allowed them to hear voices from other dimensions and insights from other realms. They used in while in times of great stress to find focus and enlightenment, and access their way of inner thinking. And I found all of this out from a book with the title of The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, whose pages I will soon be using to roll joints with. Therefore, it’s clear who the winners, and original stoners, were: the ancient Sumerians. Raise a toast to them during your next smoke sesh, and then go back to hitting your Joint.