Marijuana: Catching up with the ancients

SIX NATIONS – It seems we are only beginning to catch up on the medical use of pot.

Some 2,700 years ago, it was being used for a variety of things, including pain relief and recreation.

In 2008, a two pound stash of marijuana was discovered in the tomb of a mysterious whiteman excavated in the Gobi Desert, at the Yanghai Tombs near Turpan, China.

“It was found lightly pounded in a wooden bowl in a leather basket near the head of a blue-eyed Caucasian man who died when he was about 45,” according to Ethan Russo, of Discovery News.

Upon testing of the still viable weed, it was found to be genetically quite similar to what is grown today.

“We know from both the chemical analysis and genetics that it could produce THC (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid synthase, the main psychoactive chemical in the plant),” he explained, adding that no one could feel its effects today, due to decomposition over the millennia.

Researchers believe the individual was a shaman from the Gushi people, who spoke a now-extinct language called Tocharian that was similar to Celtic. It is believed to be from a cultivated strain and had any male plant parts removed, which are less psychoactive which brings Russo to believe the stash was recreational.

Additional research is being conducted to unearth more of the 2,000 or more grave sites at that location to see if others were buried with the same ingredients for their trip to the afterlife.

It is known that other cultures have used the Hemp plant for rope, clothing and other practical purposes for more than 7,000 years, but this is one of the only sites found to date that may indicate recreational pot as well as medial pot were used in eons past.

More recently, in 2016, archaeologists unearth the remains of a middle age man in the same Turpan China area thought to be 2,500 years old. Cannabis plants were arranged across the body during burial. These remains had Caucasian features and has been laid on a wooden bed with 13 Cannabis plants with leaves, laid carefully across his body.

“This discovery adds to a growing collection of archaeological evidence showing that cannabis consumption was ‘very popular’ across the Eurasia  thousands of years ago,” archaeologist Hongen Jiang told National Geo.

Even more evidence to the common use of marijuana among the ancient tribal societies exists as well.

West of Turpan, cannabis seeds have also been found in first millennium B.C. Scythian burials in southern Siberia, including one of a woman who possibly died of breast cancer. Archaeologists suspect she may have been using cannabis in part to ease her symptoms.

The region of China where the tomb is located, is considered an original source of many cannabis strains worldwide.

“To our knowledge, these investigations provide the oldest documentation of cannabis as a pharmacologically active agent,” says American neurologist Dr. Ethan B. Russo.

It is interesting that no hemp or seeds were provided for fabric or food for the traveler to the afterlife. Rather, cannabis as medicine or for visionary purposes was a part of the postmortem supplies.

There has been tantalizing evidence found elsewhere as well. Remains of cannabis have been found in ancient Egypt and has been referred to by authors such as the Greek historian Herodotus, says the British-based botany journal.

What about biblical references? Yes there is at least one, found in Exodus 30:23 referring to the Hebrew word Q’aneh-Bosm (also translated Kaneh-Bosm, and Kineboisin) used as an ingredient for a specific anointing oil.

“This is to be my sacred anointing oil for the generations to come. Do not pour it on men’s bodies and do not make any oil with the same formula. It is sacred, and you are to consider it sacred. Whoever makes perfume like it and whoever puts it on anyone other than a priest must be cut off from his people,” reads Exodus 30: 22-23.

“Around 1980, etymologists at Hebrew University in Jerusalem confirmed that cannabis is mentioned in the Bible by name, Kineboisin (also spelled Kannabosm) in a list of measured ingredients for ‘an oil of holy ointment, an ointment compound after the art of apothecary’ to be smeared on the head. The word was mistranslated in King James version as ‘calamus'” (Latimer, 1988).

According to Narconon, a global Mission Drug Rehabilitation organization, “The first direct reference to a cannabis product as a psychoactive agent dates from 2737 BC, in the writings of the Chinese emperor Shen Nung. The focus was on its powers as a medication for rheumatism, gout, malaria, and oddly enough, absent-mindedness. Mention was made of the intoxicating properties, but the medicinal value was considered more important. In India though it was clearly used recreationally. The Muslims too used it recreationally for alcohol consumption was banned by the Koran. It was the Muslims who introduced hashish, whose popularity spread quickly throughout 12th century Persia (Iran) and North Africa.”

Marijuana is not a new thing, it started long time ago.

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