Stoners always have an answer for every common ailment. Stomachache? Smoke a bowl. Hungover with a headache? Pack that bong over there and rip it until you feel better. Sad about your girlfriend breaking up with you? Eat some edibles and forget all about your sexual woes and social problems as your reset reality by blasting off into the cognitive abyss. Cannabis has been labeled a cure-all solution, but how much do we really know about the historical use of this plant?
Cannabis found in 2,500 year-old gravesite near China
The Altai Mountains is an elevated region near Russia and China that is a high-plain plateau, ideal for preserving buried artifacts. Russian archeologist, Natalia Polosmak, knew this area was full of ancient burial mounds, so she started excavating only to make a startling and important anthropological discovery. A mummy, carefully laid to rest among a trove of ornaments and various artifacts, was discovered among a stone and wood tomb. The body had retained impossible detail; a tattoo of a stag could clearly be seen (see image), along with several unknown containers. After extensive sampling, it was determined the high-ranking woman was buried next to items that had traces of opium and cannabis.
Upon magnetic resonance imaging, scientists were able to determine that the woman, aged between 20-30, had been suffering from metastasized breast cancer that had caused her demise. Could she have been using cannabinoids to treat her chronic pain? Was the herb burned during a burial ceremony among ancient people, to commemorate this important woman? Was she just trying to party?
We most likely will never know, but one thing is for sure: this Siberian “Ice Maiden” cared enough about Cannabis to be buried next to a jar of that 2,500 year old good-good. For real.
Cannabis used by ancient Egyptians and Romans
Ancient Egyptians knew of the medical and recreational allure Cannabis presented; the Ebers Papyrus from the National Library of Medicine listed Cannabis as an herb that could be heated on a brick so the patient could ingest the fumes to treat asthma. Seshat, the goddess of wisdom, was depicted with a big-ass pot-leaf lifting the top of her head. Rameses II, an iconic Egyptian pharoah, was discovered with traces of Cannabis pollen. Notice any trend? Egyptian cultures hadn’t just figured out one or two uses for Cannabis; they specifically determined a list of ailments that cannabinoids could help treat. They even administered Cannabis enemas, putting their clearly favorite plant, in their probably favorite body part. The use of cannabis among ancient Egyptians is not trivial as the plant was widely regarded culturally, medically, and spiritually.
Detailed by 2,000 year old Greek Physician
2,000 year-old greek Physician Pedants Dioscorides describes medical Cannabis in his travels with the Roman army. Almost 600 plants are detailed in “De material medical”, including the Devil’s lettuce, which was listed as a treatment for flatulence and gout. The ancient Greeks were making smoothies with their prized medicine, blending up that special jamba in herbal concoctions meant to treat those with common maladies.
Pack it in a pipe, smear it on a hot brick, eat it, boil the root, press for it for oil, rub it on your body; ancient people were diverse when it came to getting faded. One visit to your local Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman or shaman and you may have been able to get the green treatment. Is going to the doctor to get your med card any different from what our ancestors were doing? At one point, your very own genetic predecessor may have been seeking the magical fruit in order to improve their quality of life, garner spirituality, or receive medical treatment.