The Cannabis plant, in its rawest form, has come a long way. Cannabis is singularly responsible for the formation of an entire industry. Economic publications such as The Wall Street have projected the industry to surpass $220 billion by the end of this decade. Nevertheless, The cannabis plant has not always been beloved in the ways many consumers are familiar with today. Let’s take a leap back in time and view cannabis and its perception during different periods.
Weed in ancient times
Cannabis has been around as early as 3000 B.C. History credits the legendary Emperor Fu Hsi for introducing cannabis to the masses. Fu Hsi believed that cannabis embodied both yin and yang qualities. During this time, people used cannabis for medicinal purposes. Cannabis, known as ‘Ma” during this time, was utilized as a medicated tea. There is also evidence of pharaohs using cannabis during the times of Ancient Egypt. The popularity of cannabis during this time would grow widespread and spread into the upcoming centuries.
Cannabis & the Industrial Revolution
The history of cannabis would continue well into the Industrial Revolution. During this time, America (alongside other large countries) began producing more industrial materials. Steel was a prominent influence on the advancement of the Industrial Revolution. Further, cannabis was just as prevalent during this time. Citizens use cannabis for its medicinal purposes. Workers crafted cannabis into the quality of life tinctures and elixirs with promising attributes.
Cannabis and Manifest Destiny
During the American frontier and ‘Manifest Destiny,’ the cannabis plant was a huge staple crop for farmers, who reportedly grew it for its fiber. In conjunction with tobacco, hemp quickly became a significant export crop during the American Revolution. The pioneers of Jamestown, Virginia, brought the plant to the states in the fall of 1611. Hemp was also cultivated for its textile properties. The wild west pioneers were not the only settlers reaping the benefits of the cannabis plant during this point in history. Cannabis was also being utilized for its textile properties across the waters in England. Some historians even believe that cowboys were stoners. However, this has yet to be confirmed.
Cannabis during the 1970s
Until the late 1960s and 1970s, cannabis was public enemy #1. This portion of history is often referred to as the ‘Counterculture Era.’ The era gets its name from the population becoming more educated in society and politics. Moreover, the population was heavily opposed to the Vietnam War. The 1970s was the first time American citizens had heavily protested the government’s decision to invade Vietnam. The Counterculture Era would prove to be the momentum that cannabis needed all these years.
The Reefer Madness Era of cannabis
During the early 1900s, the status of cannabis would take a hard left. This portion of marijuana history is often known as “Reefer Madness.” Reefer Madness is a time of slander and propaganda of cannabis, unlike any other time in history. Harry Anslinger led the onslaught on cannabis and cannabis cultivation. He feared the versatility of cannabis in its industrial form: hemp. Hemp is often more substantial and more durable than materials such as cotton, timber, and nylon. These fantastic feats intrigued Anslinger. Yet, instead of harvesting the advantageous properties of cannabis and hemp for consumers, Anslinger decided to run the most vigorous smear campaign ever orchestrated against a plant.
Cannabis country, 2021
After more than 100 years, cannabis has once again become advantageous. Consumers, patients, and lawmakers are becoming more conscious of cannabis and its benefits. This is gradually creating a positive ripple effect on society and the economy. Last year, the state of Illinois grossed more than $100 million in cannabis sales. One hundred years ago, this feat would have been deemed impossible. Today, nearly 3/4 of the United States has enacted pro-cannabis laws. It is safe to say it is only up from here.