Cannabis History
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How Old Is Cannabis?

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How Old Is The Cannabis Plant?

There are many newbies (new to) to the cannabis plant and the question how old is cannabis is one that many want an answer to. After being asked by several people on different occasions this same question I came to thinking this must be a question a lot of people have, so I decided to dig deep through the internet to find how old cannabis is.

Well, the correct question is when did humans discover cannabis and begin using the plant?

I’ve dug deep and found the answer to this question. I hope you enjoy reading our summarized condensed easy to read version of the question “how old is cannabis”.

Before we get started it’s important to realize and be aware the science of cannabis is evolving rapidly, especially in the last 2-3 years after legalization happened. As the plant becomes more and more popular among all age groups and demographics there are new findings being discovered.

There have been numerous findings of our ancient ancestors using the cannabis plant for a variety of reasons. Since, I’ve been researching this topic for multiple years some of the discoveries which I don’t have the sources for I’ll only mention them. The ones with recent sources we’ll dig deeper.

The use of the cannabis plant has been found in multiple cultures at different times in history on every continent. The cannabis plant, which is a type of weed grows in almost every part of the world naturally. Currently, there are over 150 million daily users of marijuana worldwide and that’s an understatement.

From the heavy and original Afghan Kush strain, which is from the Hindu-Kush Mountains crossing through Afghanistan and Pakistan. To many others. Almost every country in Asia has had an “original” cannabis plant, which the people of that country claim has always been growing there as long as the old folks remember.

Yes, the strains differ. And yes, each culture has used it for different purposes. Also another yes, each strain has a different use giving us more reason to believe each culture had a different use for the plant.

In ancient China warriors used to use cannabis for mental recovery after battle before going back to their villages, families, and sedentary life. They also used cannabis for recreational, spiritual, and physical medical reasons.

Recreational use has been used by the Ancient Chinese. Their shamans used cannabis and their surgeons would use it for anesthetics for surgery by mixing it with wine and giving it to their patients before performing surgery.

So, how old is cannabis? Are the Chinese who used cannabis over 2,000 even 3,000 years ago the oldest culture to use cannabis?

Interestingly, no they’re not the most ancient. Actually, there are hemp artifacts from over 11,000 years ago found in Ancient China, but this doesn’t prove they were using the THC and CBD portion of the plant.

Since, hemp is a powerful material that is very strong, flexible, and the tree grows very fast it’s been used for thousands of years by many cultures for clothes, weapons, and buildings. (scientific findings and sources all over the internet, search for yourselves folks)

Cannabis is 28 millions years old, wow!

Pollen studies suggest the cannabis plant evolved 28 million years ago

So, can we pinpoint how long ago humans begun experimenting with and using the cannabis plant?

The answer is not so simple, but I’ll keep putting more interesting facts for anybody who’s interested in learning more about the cultures who used cannabis in our ancient past.

Very very cool finding. Apparently, Aryan Kings used bongs made out of pure gold. Now, how gangster is that? Who would like to smoke their cannabis from a heavy golden bong? I know I would love that.

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Gold bongs used by ancient Aryans for cannabis
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Gold bongs used by ancient Aryans for cannabis

Most probably top generals and the elite used gold, but if the King and elites used cannabis then probably most of their society did as well. Just not with pure gold!


Some of these artifacts are over a couple of kilos of gold!

8 more ancient cultures who have proof of using cannabis

These are not the only ancient cultures, but there is scientific proof for these 8 civilizations/cultures.

These ancient cultures are Ancient Babylonia (1800 BC), Egypt (2350 BC), India (1600 BC), Rome (700 BC), China (2700 BC), Czech (27000 BC), France (1800) this last one’s not ancient but it’s a cool fact because we all love Napoleon Bonaparte.

The reason why I use the words “civilization” and “culture” is because in these same geographical regions there have been other cultures who have used cannabis some date back older than these and some newer.

If you include today’s culture, well, I really don’t think there’s a single country left that there isn’t some percentage of their population who use cannabis regularly.

Ancient Babylonia

Their word for cannabis was “azullu”. They imported the plant from the regions of Afghanistan and used it for depression. As far as there is proof this was their only reason, however taking a look at human tendency for being curious and experimenting with pretty much everything we can assume they used this plant for many other reasons than just depression.

What human tendency? Do we all put things in our mouth as children and take things apart to understand them as grownups?

That’s right, human tendency which hasn’t changed over the course of thousands of years and many many cultures and languages. To this day all human tendencies are the same across every culture, nation, and language.

Ancient Egypt

Their word for cannabis was “shemshemet”. Again, there are some proof of a few reasons, but based off these findings we can again assume they used cannabis for many many other reasons.

The ancient Egyptians sold cannabis in their version of pharmacies and apparently it was a known cure for women with bad humor. Seems like the ancient Egyptians knew what they’re doing.

Ancient India

The word for cannabis was “ganjha”. This word is familiar and still used today, now that’s another very cool finding.

The Ancient Indians imported Cannabis from the same region as The Babylonians. Very heavy indica is originally from Central Asia mostly from the Hindu Kush mountains, so that makes sense (Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India).

They used it for the same reasons we still use it today and every culture has used it in the past: treating anxiety and other conditions.

The word “Ganja” was invented by Ancient Indians

Their accent for it was “ganjha””

Ancient Greece

The ancient Greek’s culture was developed after their wars with Middle Eastern nations. From philosophy, religion, to science along with wine and cannabis all came to Ancient Greece from the Middle East. (it’s all sourced, but you’ll have to take the time to find it yourself).

Let me make a quick gap to explain something first before we go on. History, science, and your own heart all have claims and proof for their claims that all humans alive today are the exact same race. As you zoom in you can always find many of differences among different ethnic groups or any types of groups for that matter, but genetically we’re all the same race.

All cultures have learnt everything they know through their interactions with one another. Period. Then, each would build on it and create their own versions.

Ancient Greece is a much newer and modern culture in comparison with the very very Ancient cultures in the Middle East, which as science knows is where our civilization birthed.

Moving on… The Ancient Greeks created their own method of using cannabis inside bath houses. They would fill the room with cannabis smoke mixed with steam. It’s possible the very first hot-box was invented by the Ancient Greeks. That’s another very cool finding.

Did the Ancient Greeks invent “hot-boxing”?

it’s possible the ancient greeks invented hot-boxing inside their bath houses.

Ancient Rome

Two ancient cultures who have a lot, as in tons and tons of evidence for using cannabis are Ancient Rome and Ancient China.

There are Roman scientists with their own writings about cannabis. Pliny mentions using cannabis for laughter by getting them intoxiated using cannabis. Galen was a doctor in Ancient Rome who used cannabis for many many things from burns to tumors to inflammation.

Very similar to what doctors are using “modern science” to prove this plant can be used for. Especially inflammation, which is talked about the most with modern day doctors and scientists for the use of cannabis.

Ancient Romans cooked cannabis in desserts and served them at parties as well. Another very cool finding.

Ancient Romans partied with wine and cannabis

Ancient Romans loved to party and they served both wine and cannabis at their parties

Ancient China

The ancient Chinese used cannabis numerously in all parts of their culture. They exported cannabis for commerce and used it every part of the plant in their culture.

From making paper, baskets, and various textiles with the tree to using the flower for medicinal purposes.

2 very very interesting facts below:

Cannabis was one of the most traded commodities on the Silk Road

The Persians created the silk road 2,500 years ago

Even the Chinese emperor Shennong wrote about using marijuana for medicinal purposes.

There was too many cool facts to keep making huge quote citations for or else reading about the Ancient Chinese we’d have to make at least 3 big quote citations.

Ancient Czechoslovakia

The most ancient artifact found, which dates much further back even in comparison to today’s civilization (10,000 BC), is from almost 30,000 years ago found in today’s Czech Republic.

Whether how old our civilization is and what existed before us is a great mystery, but all we know is even the prehistoric humans who lived far before we ever existed used cannabis. Now, that’s probably the most interesting finding in this whole article.

Prehistoric humans used cannabis hemp 28,900 years ago!

proof of hemp was used, but not thc. however, each time there’s been evidence of hemp use along with it existed thc use.


This one’s not ancient as mentioned before, but since it’s another very cool finding we want to include it.

When Napolean and his troops were in Egypt they didn’t have access to alcohol, since not all but most Islamic nations have banned alcohol after being invaded by the Arabs and forced to convert.

When his troops needed to relax and were used to drinking alcohol to do so, they had no access to alcohol so they resorted to using cannabis in the form of hashish. Apparently, they really liked it because they brought a ton of cannabis back with them to France.

As with many warriors who used cannabis throughout history, so too did Napolean’s troops

when there was no access to alcohol in egypt the troops used hashish for a replacement


To be honest there is no conclusion. There are so much more evidence and proof of cannabis throughout history. Even Sativa and Indica have a different history from one another. That makes things even more expansive.

And, the subject is so interesting one can keep writing more and more very cool facts about the plant.

After learning all this new information I now have the assumption each time the cannabis plant was used for any reason, especially medicinal purposes, within that nation/culture the cannabis plant was also used recreational.

Okay, Let’s Conclude

There is no room for debate for arguing against the fact that cannabis, marijuana, is a foundational block to our use of plants from the number of uses it has to how much it’s influenced multiple cultures across different times all over the world ever since the beginning of mankind’s recent ancient civilizations (12,000 years ago) to present day.

We don’t want to get into religion, but many ancient religions in the past have recognized the uses of cannabis. These religions include Zoroastrian and the Indian Vedas. More on this topic in another blog article, so if you’re interested to learn more let us know in the comment section below.

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