The Story Behind the Cannabis We Know

You probably know that the Mexican Spanish word “marijuana,” is the common term of cannabis. Cannabis originated from the Greek word kannabis and had been known to send people into a pleasant, high state. Its use, however, changed drastically over time.

For over 3,000 years, cannabis fibers were used to make ropes and cords because they’re durable and sturdy. Who would have thought they could now be smoked?

Let’s unravel the story behind the cannabis we now know.

Cannabis to the Chinese and the Egyptians

Long ago, in both China and Egypt, cannabis was used to alleviate soreness brought by gout, rheumatism, and other health problems.

Ancient Chinese used hemp (the fiber of the cannabis plant) to make fabrics and ropes. They started using hemp fibers in 1,000 B.C. They even had fishing nets made of hemp back then! Heck, even the world’s first piece of paper was made of hemp, and that paper existed in 500 B.C. It’s evident that cannabis was valuable to China before, especially since they utilized zero cotton until 90 A.D.

Hemp rope

Seriously, China deserves our gratitude for these discoveries. There’s also proof that they noticed the effect of the plant in 100 A.D. because of the existence of a medical book. The publication revealed that if plenty seeds were consumed, they could create hallucinations.

Not long after, the cannabis seeds were merged with wine to produce an anesthetic which could be useful during surgeries.


Cannabis to the Romans and Vikings

Later on, the Romans and Vikings began using hemp for their ropes as well. They used the fibers because the fibers were essential for their trade, exploration, and colonization plans.

Romans used Sicily-grown hemp during that time after they’ve become exposed to the hemp seeds brought by the Arabs.

Cannabis to the Italians

Italians, especially people in Venice, also used hemp for clothes and ropes just like the Chinese.

In fact, Venice became extremely popular for producing gorgeous fabrics with hemp. The clothes lasted long, and they were considered as beautiful as the clothes made of silk.

The hemp industry in the city was supervised well and was also competitive during those days. Hemp was so famous that you’d find different grades of hemp all around Venice.

Cannabis to the English

England started using hemp around 1,500 A.D. Because of King Henry VIII’s commands; more cannabis was grown to be used for ropes. The English badly needed loads of durable ropes because of their numerous navy ships.

English navy

Unfortunately, English farmers couldn’t produce cannabis enough to satisfy the needs of the English navy. That’s when England began importing hemp from Russia.

You might be wondering why they needed that much hemp. Well, it’s because, during the 17th and 18th centuries, Englishmen needed more hemp supplies for their hundreds of ships to achieve their trade and colonization goals.

Cannabis to the Americans

Now, let’s move on to America, where cannabis is widely used today. Americans began importing hemp from Russia, just like the English, in the 1800s. They imported the fiber for fabrics. They also imported some from Italy.

Not long after, they found out, through the comparison tests using USS Constitution, that American hemp was similarly durable as Russian hemp. Because of the discovery, American farmers started using the same processing methods as the Russians.


In the late 1800s, they began using cannabis as medicine. Take note that there wasn’t any legal issue until the 20th century.

Shortly after the year 1910, Mexican immigrants introduced recreational marijuana to America.

The immigration that couldn’t be controlled sparked some of the first legal attacks on the drug.

It was California that first banned cannabis consumption in 1913. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Cannabis Today

Today, Cannabis is bigger than ever. It’s legalized in more and more states in the US, and in more countries all over the world. There are so many ways you can experience cannabis today. You could, for example, take a bus trip with High 5 Tours, that provide adventures that highlight the cannabis industry in Portland and beyond. It’s a very interesting experience and just goes to show how openminded people are about cannabis today.

Leave a Comment: