Why Is Cannabis Illegal? The Story of Cannabis Prohibition Will Shock You

gavel with cannabis buds
Ever ask yourself why cannabis was made illegal in the first place?

The real reason why cannabis is illegal is shocking.

Humans around the globe have cultivated the plant for thousands of years, yet it is only in the last 100 that cannabis prohibition has rocketed around the globe.

But, why the sudden change?

Here’s why cannabis is illegal:

Humans and cannabis have a long history

If you really want to know why this plant is illegal, you have to familiarize yourself with the history of cannabis.

Not just when cannabis was made illegal, but its long history leading up to prohibition…

Cannabis is thought the be one of the oldest agricultural crops.

Humans have used cannabis for over 10,000 years, dating our relationship to the plant at the start of the Neolithic era.

The Neolithic era marked the very beginnings of modern agriculture. However, some experts speculate that the cannabis-human connection began earlier than that.

The herb is one of a handful of plants that has been used for millennia in a variety of different ways, including as food, fiber, medicine, and as a spiritual aid.

It’s also thought to be one of the oldest plants traded for economic value.

Cannabis seeds dated as old as 10,000 years have been found in fossilized Japanese pottery relics, along with scraps of woven cannabis fabrics.

Yet, Japan isn’t the only prehistoric location to show evidence of cannabis remains and cultivation.

The multitude of uses for the plant meant that it was likely an extremely valuable herb to have handy.

The archeological evidence thus far suggests that cultivated cannabis likely originated in Central Asia, spreading to many different regions and continents with human migration.

Access to cannabis not only gave people the means to make durable housing materials and clothing, but nutrient-rich hemp seed provided a brain-healthy dose of essential omega fatty acids. Oils from the herb were possibly even used as some of the first cooking oils.

people harvesting hemp
Our ancestors valued cannabis as a staple crop and medicine.

In medical applications, some of the earliest records of cannabis as a healing aid come from ancient China.

Emperor Shen Nung Pen Ts’ao Ching was one of the first to write about the uses of cannabis as medicine. It’s estimated that he lived sometime between 3494 and 2857 BCE. His manuscripts are dated as early as an estimated 4700 years before present time.

According to these writings, cannabis was used to treat ailments like menstruation, constipation, rheumatism, and absentmindedness.

Throughout ancient history, the herb was also frequently used as a women’s medicine in many different cultures.

Other ancient uses of the plant include pain relief, an anesthetic, an antibiotic, migraine relief, antiparasitic, sedative, and many more.

Doctors used to prescribe cannabis

Fast forward several thousand years.

Cannabis continued to be used in the form of hemp in countries all over the world. The first U.S. President, George Washington, even grew hemp on his plantation, Mount Vernon.

Washington used the hemp for industrial purposes, particularly for fishing nets and perhaps rope and cloth sails for boats.

Several countries around the world, such as India, had fully integrated the cannabis plant into medical practice.

In Western countries, cannabis tinctures and preparations were frequently used and prescribed by doctors.

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