• Tue. Mar 21st, 2023

Marijuana for All that Ails You: Cannabis in the Ancient World

ByLog_1122

Feb 4, 2023


Marijuana, also called hashish, has been utilized by people for 1000’s of years for each medicinal and leisure functions. Its versatility and effectiveness in treating a variety of illnesses have made it a worthwhile plant in lots of historical civilizations. From its use as a pain-relieving anesthetic throughout surgical procedures in historical China, to its medicinal properties for treating hemorrhoids, irritation, and even glaucoma in historical Egypt, and its religious significance in spiritual rituals in historical India, we discover six superb methods historical civilizations used marijuana.

1.Historical China – Anesthetics and Ointments

The traditional Chinese language have been identified to have used marijuana as a type of anesthetic throughout surgical procedures. This unbelievable medicinal plant was first recorded within the Pen Ts’ao Ching, an historical Chinese language medical textual content written by the Emperor Shen Nung in 2737 BC. Not solely did the textual content describe using marijuana as an anesthetic, but it surely additionally listed its medicinal properties, equivalent to the power to alleviate ache, cut back irritation, and promote the therapeutic of wounds.

However the ancient Chinese did not simply depend on oral consumption of marijuana for surgical procedures. Additionally they used it within the type of a topical ointment, utilized on to the pores and skin earlier than surgical procedure. This technique was believed to supply a simpler type of ache reduction, because the lively compounds in marijuana, equivalent to THC and CBD, have been capable of penetrate the pores and skin and attain the bloodstream extra shortly. The anesthetic properties of marijuana have been so extremely valued that it was utilized in surgical procedures effectively into the nineteenth century earlier than being changed by extra superior types of anesthetics, equivalent to chloroform and ether.

Magu, the Hemp Maiden and Goddess of Longevity. This portray displays her description within the Biographies of Deities and Immortals by Ge Hong (284-363) of the Jin dynasty. ( Public Domain )

2.Historical Egyptians – Hemorrhoids, Irritation, and Glaucoma.

There may be proof from historical Egyptian texts and medical papyri that marijuana was used for medicinal functions in ancient Egypt . One of many earliest identified references to the medicinal use of marijuana could be discovered within the Ebers Papyrus , a medical textual content courting again to 1550 BC. The papyrus describes using marijuana for the therapy of hemorrhoids, irritation, and glaucoma. Moreover, there have been archaeological findings of marijuana pollen in tombs of historical Egyptians, which means that it could have been utilized in funerary rituals as effectively.

To deal with hemorrhoids, the traditional Egyptians would combine the plant with different substances, equivalent to honey and myrrh, to create a potent ointment that was utilized on to the affected space. The traditional Egyptians additionally used marijuana as a treatment for varied eye situations, together with glaucoma, irritation, and redness.

A figure of the goddess Seshat carved on the back of the throne of the seated statue of Rameses II. Above her head, there is what is argued to be a marijuana leaf. (Jon Bodsworth / Public Domain)

A determine of the goddess Seshat carved on the again of the throne of the seated statue of Rameses II. Above her head, there may be what’s argued to be a marijuana leaf. (Jon Bodsworth / Public Domain )

3.Historical India – Non secular Rituals

Historical Indians have an extended historical past of utilizing marijuana in spiritual and religious rituals. They believed that the plant had the facility to convey them nearer to the divine, and it was typically utilized in rituals to advertise religious progress and understanding. The plant was thought-about sacred and was typically utilized in choices to the gods and in spiritual ceremonies.

Using marijuana in historical India was not simply restricted to religious practices; it was additionally used for medicinal and therapeutic functions. The plant was believed to have therapeutic properties and was used to deal with a wide range of illnesses, equivalent to ache, insomnia, and nervousness. The traditional Indian medical system, Ayurveda, additionally made use of marijuana as part of its therapy routine. The plant was used to stability the physique’s energies and promote general well being and well-being.

4.Historical Greece – Marijuana for Nosebleeds and Extra

The traditional Greeks have been identified for his or her extensive knowledge of medicine and their use of assorted herbs and vegetation for therapeutic. Considered one of these vegetation was marijuana, which they used to deal with a wide range of situations, together with nosebleeds. The anti-inflammatory properties of marijuana have been believed to assist cut back the irritation within the nasal passages, whereas its astringent properties helped to constrict the blood vessels, thereby stopping the bleeding. The Greek doctor, Galen wrote about using marijuana as a nasal decongestant and as a therapy for nosebleeds in his medical texts. He described how the dried leaves of the plant have been crushed and combined with different substances, equivalent to frankincense and myrrh to create a poultice, which was then utilized to the nostrils to cease the bleeding.

Using marijuana as a therapy for nosebleeds was not restricted to only the traditional Greeks. In reality, it was a typical observe in historical medication and was additionally utilized by the Romans and different cultures. The effectiveness of this therapy was well-known, and it continued for use for hundreds of years earlier than the arrival of recent medication.

A funerary kantharos (Attica, circa 780 BC), a type of ancient Greek cup used for drinking. (Public Domain)

A funerary kantharos (Attica, circa 780 BC), a sort of historical Greek cup used for ingesting. ( Public Domain )

5.Historical Romans – Earaches and Leisure Use

The traditional Romans have been identified to have used marijuana for each medicinal and leisure functions. In line with historic texts, the Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder wrote about using marijuana as a ache reliever for earaches and gout in his e-book Pure Historical past , written within the first century AD. The Romans additionally used marijuana as a sedative, mixing it with different herbs to create a relaxing and soothing impact.

Moreover, historical Romans have been identified to have used marijuana for leisure functions. The Roman poet, Ovid, in his work Tristia, wrote of a “hempen wreath” that was used to “drive away care” and convey on sleep. Furthermore, archaeological proof equivalent to clay pipes and pottery depicting marijuana leaves have been present in historical Roman settlements, additional indicating its leisure use. It’s believed that the marijuana plant was launched to the Roman Empire by the conquering troops from Egypt, the place it was used for medicinal functions.

Cannabis sativa from the Vienna Dioscurides, 512 AD. The Vienna Dioscurides is an early 6th-century Byzantine Greek illuminated manuscript of an even earlier 1st century AD work, De materia medica by Pedanius Dioscorides. Both ancient Greece and Rome used marijuana for multiple ailments. (Public Domain)

Hashish sativa from the Vienna Dioscurides, 512 AD. The Vienna Dioscurides is an early Sixth-century Byzantine Greek illuminated manuscript of a fair earlier 1st century AD work, De materia medica by Pedanius Dioscorides. Each historical Greece and Rome used marijuana for a number of illnesses. ( Public Domain )

6.Central Asian Steppes – Diseases and Braveness in Battle

Historical Central Asia was residence to a number of cultures that used marijuana for each medicinal and leisure functions. The Scythians, a nomadic tribe that inhabited the area from the ninth century BC to the 4th century AD, have been identified to make use of marijuana in ritual ceremonies. They’d toss the dried leaves and flowering tops of the plant onto sizzling stones to create a thick smoke, which they might then inhale. This was believed to have been performed to induce hallucinations and to speak with the spirit world. The Scythians additionally used marijuana for medicinal functions, to deal with a wide range of situations, equivalent to complications, toothaches, and ache reduction throughout childbirth.

One other historical tradition in Central Asia that used marijuana was the Sogdian civilization, which lived within the area from the fifth century BC to the eighth century AD. They used marijuana in spiritual rituals and likewise as a type of forex. They’d trade the plant with different cultures, such because the Chinese language and the Indians, for items equivalent to silk, spices, and valuable stones. The Sogdians additionally used marijuana for medicinal functions, to deal with situations equivalent to gout and rheumatism, and to alleviate ache throughout surgical procedure. That is supported by the truth that Sogdians used the phrase “hashish” to explain the plant, which interprets to “a strategy to acquire freedom from ache.”

Historical nomadic tribes of the steppes of Central Asia additionally used marijuana to get excessive earlier than going into battle. The Scythians and the Sarmatians believed that the plant had highly effective properties that would give them supernatural energy and braveness. They’d inhale the smoke from burning marijuana, or eat it within the type of a drink known as “bhang,” which was made by mixing the plant with milk or different liquids. This observe was additionally believed to have religious and spiritual significance because it was believed to assist them talk with the gods and ancestors. Using marijuana on this context was not simply restricted to males, but additionally ladies and kids, who have been believed to partake within the rituals to achieve energy and braveness.

Bhang eaters in India, circa 1790. Bhang is an edible preparation of marijuana native to the Indian subcontinent. It has been used in food and drink as early as 1000 BC by Hindus in ancient India. (Public Domain)

Bhang eaters in India, circa 1790. Bhang is an edible preparation of marijuana native to the Indian subcontinent. It has been utilized in foods and drinks as early as 1000 BC by Hindus in historical India. ( Public Domain )

Conclusion

Historical cultures had a profound understanding of the therapeutic properties of marijuana and used it in varied varieties to advertise well being and well-being. From medical remedies to religious practices, the traditional world knew the worth of this highly effective plant.

High Picture: Marijuana and different vegetation have been used for medicinal, religious, and leisure functions since time immemorial. The pictured Amazonian shaman makes use of ayahuasca ritualistically. Supply: Ammit / Adobe Inventory

By Joanna Gillan





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