Over the past decade or so, many articles have been written on the subject of cannabis and human civilization. Some of these articles discuss the pros and cons of cannabis use. Other articles focus on the potential long term effects of cannabis use on human civilization, as well as individual health and mental stability. Many articles are written from a human biological perspective, which usually include an overview of the basics of how humans use cannabis on a day-to-day basis.
Before delving too deeply into the specifics of why and how humans use cannabis, it is probably important to review some history of cannabis use within human history. Since prehistoric times up until the discovery of agriculture, people have used cannabis and other plants and trees to medicate, prevent pain, treat wounds and treat anxiety. This history provides a valuable context for understanding why cannabis is such a widely used substance throughout human history and the development of civilization. Some of the uses that were common in pre-historical times may also be relevant to understanding why and how we use cannabis today.
Throughout recorded history, both oral and written sources mention at least some use of cannabis by ancient human cultures. This includes references to its healing properties from ancient Egyptian mummies, Sanskrit texts, Greek mythology and Egyptian religious texts. The Book of Numbers in the Bible is another important source of historical information on the medicinal benefits of cannabis. Ancient Egyptians also used cannabis as a source of medicine and a method of bread making.
Across many civilizations and periods of history, cannabis has been used as both a source of medicine and as a source of bread making. The use of cannabis was often combined with the use of basic flora and spices to enhance flavor and aroma. In some cases, basicflora was mixed with cannabis for the purpose of ingestion. This combination of medicinal and baking ingredients made the use of cannabis highly widespread in human history, despite the objections of early civilizations to its use as a food.
Across various periods of human history, consumption of cannabis throughout the ancient world was commonplace. In India, hemp was extensively used as a source of rope and other rope goods. In Africa, cannabis was woven into tapestries, cloth, rope and tapestry weaves and even into baskets. Early Chinese literature refers to the use of cannabis throughout the Chinese empire and hemp woven into clothing forms is still widespread throughout China.
The early history of human civilization is largely forgotten by most people. Few are aware that the use of cannabis was widespread throughout ancient history, even up to the time of the discovery of America by Europeans. Through archeology and anthropology, we can learn much about the relationship between human behavior and the use of substance throughout human history. Just as importantly, we have an enormous amount of knowledge about the health and social aspects of cannabis use. With this understanding we can begin to understand more clearly the moral issues surrounding its use today.