Cannabis has been used for thousands of years. Today, its consumption is penalized in many countries around the world.
However, some areas of the world, such as the US states and the Netherlands, no longer penalize the use of marijuana. Discover the history of cannabis.
The first traces of marijuana around 5,000 years ago
It is in writings dating from 2700 BC that we find the first traces of cannabis, inside Chinese writings. Emperor Shen Nung is said to have discovered various so-called “healing” properties of marijuana. The final form of marijuana seeds was then used to fight rheumatism and malaria. It was also seen as a way to counter distraction. Traces of writings dating back a thousand years earlier also tell of their use for the opening of appetite, dysentery and the treatment of diarrhea.
16th and 17th centuries
In 1532, Rabelais put marijuana forward in “Gargantua”, under the name of the herb Pantagruelion, as having various medicinal properties. Closer to 2021, hemp plants were brought to Chile by the Spanish Navy, for the purpose of using its fibers, in 1545.
A few decades later, in 1611, the English introduced hemp cultivation to Jamestown, a British colony in Virginia. This constitutes the appearance of marijuana on the soil of the future United States. It was exported strongly in different forms: grease, paper, oil, etc. It was in 1619 that Virginia legislated on the cultivation of hemp, forcing its cultivation on farmers under penalty of being penalized.
Marijuana from the 18th century to the present day
Napoleon discovered the use of marijuana during his campaign in Egypt. So his soldiers brought marijuana back to France, the use of which was banned by the emperor. In 1830, William O’Shaugnessy (Irish doctor) brought cannabis into the world of Western medicine.
The tests of its effectiveness were first carried out on animals then on humans in particular suffering from pain, vomiting or even diarrhea. Here are other important dates on marijuana use and legislation:
- 1894: meeting of Western and Indian doctors to discuss its properties, to conclude that its moderate use has no adverse effects, but that at too high a dose, it can be dangerous: its ban is then suggested
- 1937: introduction of the “Marijuana Tax Act” by the USA which restricts its use, prohibition of the distribution of marijuana-based drugs
- 1960s: recreational marijuana, although banned, is a real hit with all classes, especially hippies
- 1977: President Jimmy Carter’s call to decriminalize marijuana
- 1986: signing of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act by Ronald Reagan
- 1996: first legalization of the medical use of cannabis by an American state: California
- 2012: Legalization of the use and sale of recreational marijuana (restricted to persons 21 years of age and over) by the states of Colorado and Washington