There’s a famous proverb saying that necessity is the mother of invention, which certainly seems to be the case with cannabis. This plant has thrived worldwide, and there’s hardly a culture in the world that hasn’t used it in one way or the other.
Marijuana’s reputation has undoubtedly had its ups and downs. Although now it’s generally accepted as a drug no more dangerous than alcohol, some of us are old enough to remember brutal anti-cannabis propaganda. In anti-drug presentations at school, it was often presented along with other far more dangerous drugs such as cocaine and heroin.
The “gateway drug” narrative was popularized in the 1980s, claiming that smoking weed led to the abuse of increasingly more dangerous substances. While people who were addicted to drugs such as cocaine and heroin had smoked pot at some point, there was no evidence that the use of one generally causes the abuse of the other.
This faulty reasoning fell prey to a common mistake made by people, assuming that correlation implies causation. This means that people saw an association between addicts with drug problems and marijuana use and believed that smoking marijuana caused their serious drug addiction.
Science disputed this claim, as a study done in Japan, where cannabis is much harder to come by than in the US, found that more than 80 percent of recreational drug users hadn’t used cannabis first. You can explore the study in more detail on this link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3600369/.
However, pot’s name was still widely feared by parents, even more so because of its moniker “the devil’s lettuce.” Even though this term originated in the 1930s when the government needed a new villain after ending alcohol prohibition, it reemerged during the so-called Satanic Panic. Parents believed that satanic cults were looking to recruit their children by offering them drugs which would make them commitrituals and animal sacrifices.
That never happened. The panic was precisely that: baseless paranoia. In fact, the Satanic Church leader even came out to say that all drugs, including marijuana, should be avoided “like the plague.” He did not believe that cannabis was morally wrong, but his opinion was that anything that harms the body is objectively wrong and should not be used.
Was he completely right about that, though? Thousands of cultures and scientists might disagree. We will discuss some of the beneficial effects of weed below.
The people’s remedy
Native to East and South Asia, this plant is as versatile as it’s miraculous. In ancient China and Korea,people used marijuana to create clothing, shoes, and ropes. A bit further south, in ancient India, early uses were recorded as far back as 1000 BC, usually for inducing trance-like states for religious purposes.
As the spice trade progressed, so did the journey of cannabis. The plant quickly made its way to Europe through the Silk Road, ending up in the Balkans, where tribes like the Thracians and the Dacians also incorporated it into their religious ceremonies. Read more about its travels here.
After the Slavic tribes settled on the Balkan peninsula, they also adopted this plant in their pagan beliefs. The Slavs thought that hemp seeds had powerful attraction abilities and brought good luck, which is why young maidens wore charms with them in it, and hemp seeds were thrown to brides’ when they entered their new home after their marriage ceremony.
Further north, early Germanic tribes considered this herb to be multi-purposeful. They used it in various homemade medicines, from salves and oils to tea and disinfectants. They deemed hemp so healthy that they even gave it to pregnant women because they thought it prevented stillbirths!
Unfortunately, with the advent of Christianity, many of these homemade remedies were labeled witchcraft and declared sinful. Like all pagan traditions, the Catholic Church set out to prevent the use of marijuana in European tribes. While for some, the customs continued, they were done in secret of fear from the inquisition.
The truth about hemp
Unlike the groovier Asian variations of this plant, the variant of cannabis that thrived in Europe had a very notable difference. Namely, while the herb that arrived via the Silk Road induced psychoactive states in its consumers, the European one didn’t have that superpower.
You might be wondering, how come? Although we are speaking about the same plant, there are some chemical distinctions between different strains. The two largest chemical compounds in marijuana are THC and CBD. While THC is “at fault” for all the psychotropic properties, CBD is in charge of the bodily effects after its use. The proportions of these two substances can vary but traditionally, the plant which contains more CBD than THC is referred to as hemp.
That was what the Europeans of yore were using. Now, it probably did not get them high, but they were right about its beneficial properties. Doctors found CBD to reduce seizures, lower blood pressure, and improve digestion. It’s no wonder then that it’s one of the most frequently bought cannabis products. From CBD gummies like Zen Bears, people are raving about it left and right. If you have finally decided to try CBD, gummies are the best way to do it as they are fun to munch on. When it comes to choosing CBD products, quality and concentration is important, full-spectrum UFO gummy is exactly what you need to get started today.
So, what’s the consensus? Is weed good or bad? We think our ancestors had a right hunch about this plant. They might not have had the science to back their theories up, but they could see the proof. Now it’s up to us to merge the old with the new and make them proud.