The use of Cannabis plants might date back to over 10,000 years ago. But they weren’t smoked back then. People used the hemp fibers from the plant For pottery and textiles.
It is even speculated that Cannabis might actually be the first-ever agricultural crop. But that was a long time before we find out who smoked weed first.
In 4000 BCE, hemp was widely used in China and Turkestan for textiles. Later, in 1500 BCE the Scythians also used hemp to weave cloth.
1000 years later, the use of hemp spread throughout Northern Europe. Its sustainability and durability have meant that it has been used in the manufacture of textiles and weed clothing ever since.
Who Smoked Weed First?
The first reported medicinal use of cannabis dates back to around 2737 BCE. Shen Nang, a Chinese emperor used cannabis tea to treat ailments including gout, malaria, and even poor memory!
In 2013 a team of archeologists stumbled across 10 wooden braziers at the site of the ancient Jirzankal Cemetery on the Pamir Plateau.
The team tested residue that they extracted from the braziers. They found traces of THC at much higher levels than they would expect from the marijuana plants used for their hemp.
The site of the cemetery dates back to around 2500 years ago. The evidence suggests that the plants were deliberately altered (hybridization) to enhance their psychoactive properties.
Our first weed smokers!
It Gets a Bit Hazy After That
Herodotus, an ancient Greek historian wrote about the Scythians. The Scythians were nomadic people who migrated from Central Asia to southern Russia in the 8th and 7th centuries BCE. It turns out that they might be responsible for inventing ‘hot-boxing.’
Herodotus tells how they would craft a makeshift tent and dig a small pit in the center, which they would fill with red hot stones. They would throw cannabis seeds on to the stones where they would smolder creating a sort of ‘weed sauna’.
Always Be Clear When Writing out Rules
The most widespread smoking of cannabis can be traced back to shortly after 800 AD, to the Middle East and parts of Asia.
The Quran forbids the use of alcohol and other intoxicating substances but neglected to mention cannabis.
Muslims would smoke ‘hashish’, a purified form of cannabis smoked through a pipe. As Islam spread throughout the region, so did recreational cannabis.
By 1800, recreational cannabis had arrived in Europe. It is likely that Napoleon’s troops were exposed to it whilst they were in Egypt.
Recreational cannabis didn’t really appear in America until the early 1900s. During the Mexican Revolution, Mexicans immigrating to the US brought it with them.
And by 1931, 29 states had already outlawed it.
In 1937, the US government passed the Marijuana Tax Act. The act criminalized anything other than the industrious use of cannabis nationwide.
History’s First Dealer
When it comes to who smoked weed first, the answer is always going to be a little hazy. The one thing we do know for sure is the identity of America’s first convicted weed dealer.
Just one day after the 1937 Act was passed, police caught a man by the name of Samuel Caldwell trying to sell marijuana. He was sentenced to four years of hard labor.
Skip forward eighty-three years later: 33 states have legalized the use of medicinal marijuana with 11 of them having legalized recreational use.
Sadly, I think Caldwell has already served his time.
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