‘Smokers hearts’ by Gabriel Ferrier, 1887

Cannabis: A Journey Through the Ages

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The Spanish brought marijuana to the Americas in the mid-1500s and the English introduced it at Jamestown in 1611, where it became a popular commercial crop alongside tobacco. 

In 1799, Napoleon brought marijuana back to France from Egypt where it was investigated for its pain relieving and sedative qualities. 

Cannabis as medicine

Cannabis as medicine ( Wikimedia Commons )

Cannabis finally reached the United States at the beginning of the 20th century, arriving in the southwest from Mexico, as immigrants fled the country during the Mexican Revolution of 1910-1911.  Beginning in the early 1900's, a number of state and local laws in the United States began prohibiting the use of marijuana.  A federal law called the Marijuana Tax Act banned its use and sales in 1937.  Prior to 1937 in the United States (and 1928 in the United Kingdom), cannabis had enjoyed a 5,000 year run as a therapeutic plant with no history of illegality.

Today, the U.S. federal government classifies marijuana as a Schedule I control substance, alongside heroin, LSD and ecstasy.  In recent years, support for marijuana has increased on a national level in the U.S. with the legalization of medical marijuana in 32 states.  Some nations, such as the Netherlands have decriminalized marijuana possession in coffee shops.  In 2001, Portugal became the first European country to officially abolish criminal penalties for personal possession of drugs, including marijuana. In the last decade, a plethora of scientific research has emerged providing evidence for the medicinal benefits of consuming cannabis, confirming what ancient people already knew thousands of years ago.

Featured image: ‘Smokers hearts’ by Gabriel Ferrier, 1887 ( Wikimedia Commons )

By Bryan Hilliard


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One of the ingredients of the holy anointing oil discribed in the bible is Kaneh Bosm, most likely cannabis and not sweet calamus wich it is falsely translated to.

riparianfrstlvr's picture

herbs have been used since forever and cannabis is no exception. for food, healing or to get high. in the news we hear of medical marijuana and now recreational marijuana. up in Montana they took it a step further back in 2011. while some were smoking it on the front steps of the Capitol building, ruffeling the feathers of the conservative republican  controlled legislature, repeal after repeal raised it’s ugly head in legislature that year. however Irvin Rosenfeld came to Montana and lobbied for FREE medical marijuana that year. he as well as 3 other people get free med. marijuana from the federal govt. grown at the University of Michigan, under the Federal Compassionate Investgative New Drug Act. the Montana legislature saw the compassion in that law and made medical marijuana free there too. not only did the govt. make it free they also increased the number of plants one can grow from 6 to 16, making Montana tied for 2nd in the total number of plants one can grow. New Mexico is the other and only in Oregon can you grow even more plants, 24 is the number if i remember correctly. 2 years later in a constitutional referendum 57% of the people of that great state voted Senate Bill-423 in as the law of the land. now that is way more like an “affordable health care act” than “Obama care” FREE pot from a republican, is that a conundrum, a contradiction, or a revelation? it is all three and i am thankful for the compassion and i am eternally grateful that i am a MONTANAN.



Cannabis is the most useful plant on the planet; food, clothing, shelter, energy, medicine, insight, , re-creation. It has been mankinds companion and helpmate since the beginning. Any law against it is a crime agains humanity , creation and the Creator

Thank you, this helped me a lot. Marijuana and Hemp should be legalized again.

This article, while being quite enlightening and informative, does not make any reference to the difference between the agricultural grade hemp used for rope, bowstrings, clothing, fabric,paper and food, with that used for medicinal and hallucinogenic purposes. It is crucially important that this difference is clearly understood at a time when some far sighted people are seeking to re-introduce hemp as a useful crop, easy to grow, in poor soil , quick growing with minimal input. It was a major useful crop in the US during WWII. However there is much said against it because it is understood only as a drug,although you would have to smoke a whole field full to get even slightly merry.


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