- Both hemp and marijuana have been found among the remnants of ancient civilizations. It is one of the world’s oldest cultivated crops, dating back 12,000 years, in regions now known as Siberia and Mongolia. The first record of the plant’s medicinal use is around 4000 B.C; it was then carried throughout the world and used for practical, medicinal, religious and recreational purposes. The movement of cannabis through the world from Asia is shown below:
2. The cannabis that we know & love today has gone by several different names through history, some of which were popularized by classic literature. In The Thousand and One Nights, cannabis was referred to as “bhang.” In The Count of Monte Cristo, it was known as “hashish.” “Ganja” is an ancient Sanskrit word.
The origin of the word “marijuana” is more debatable. Some scholars theorize that emerged from a combination of the South-American female names “Maria” and “Juana.” Some historians argue that the word “marijuana” had xenophobic and racist origins — anti-immigration groups in the early 20th century sought to associate the plant with crime, much of which was unfairly blamed on Mexican immigrants. Unfortunately, the history of cannabis in the United States has been wrought with racism, which leads to our next fact….
3. African Americans are incarcerated for cannabis possession at a much higher rate than their white counterparts, even though there is barely a difference between cannabis use. A study by the ACLU found a huge disparity between who serve time in prison and those who do not. This is displayed in the graphs below.
This is a huge issue facing the country as more states legalize cannabis, both for medical and recreational use. How will legalization affect the huge, largely minority, population of people serving time in prison for cannabis possession? This will be something to watch carefully.
4. Cannabis has amazing benefits for humans, but also (specifically Cannabidiol, which is non-psychoactive) may have the potential to help our furry, four-legged friends. Many pet owners have shared their stories: dogs with terminal cancer, suffering and unresponsive to mainstream pharmaceuticals or dogs with debilitating epileptic seizures. Many of these stories recall how their beloved companions seemed to experience nearly constant pain, their quality of life declining rapidly. In one particularly moving story published by the Journal of American Veterinary Medical Association, Denise’s 12 year old lab, Miles, developed cancer. Denise, after seeing positive results that cannabis had on human cancer patients, began administering small amounts of a cannabis tincture to Miles.
“Within an hour after she gave Miles the tincture, the dog’s appetite returned, and he was no longer vomiting. ‘It couldn’t have been a coincidence,’ Denise said.
Unfortunately, there is a definite lack of research in this realm, especially since many states have yet to legalize the sale of cannabis products, along with the difficulty of finding reliable studies and testing on our best companions. As the stigma towards cannabis lessens and more research emerges, there may be many more pets living longer and more fulfilling lives.
5. Hemp (a species of cannabis with little to no THC content) has countless uses, yet American farmers weren’t allowed to cultivate the plant until 2014 when President Obama removed it from the Controlled Substances Act. Canada has been utilizing hemp as a valuable resource since 1998. Hemp’s uses are incredibly diverse; the seed has been used for baking, beer, vegan replacements for dairy products, etc. Hemp oil is widely popular for cooking, body care products and medicine. Hemp fiber is used in construction and animal bedding and mulch. The possibilities are endless.
The Canadian hemp industry has represented the vast uses and sustainability of this plant. It can be grown without fungicides/pesticides, it absorbs more carbon dioxide than the same acreage of forest and matures faster than many other crops. Hopefully American farmers will recognize the profitability of this plant — it has the potential to provide a much-needed boost to American agriculture.