Cannabis, or marijuana as it is commonly referred to has been used by various cultures throughout history as a medicine, building material, fiber for use in the manufacture of cloth and a plethora of other uses.
Archeological evidence shows the use of cannabis possibly as early as 8000B.C. in China. Ity is thought that the use of cannabis back then was primarily as a fabric for use in clothing, paper, and many other textile goods.
One of the first ingestible cannabis preparations in known history is called bhang. Bhang is believed to have originated on the Indian subcontinent sometime before 1000B.C.E. Bhang can still be found today in the Indian subcontinent, prepared in much the same way as it has for centuries, by grinding fresh cannabis buds and fan leaves into a paste using a mortar and pestle, then mixing this paste with water to produce a drinkable concoction.
The ancient Assyrians are widely believed to be the first people to use an inhalable form of cannabis. They did this for ceremonial purposes to produce a trance like effect. This was thought to be done by placing dried cannabis buds into a censer, then lighting the buds to allow smoke to flow out in much the same way as incense.
Herodotus wrote the first account of the psychological effects of cannabis he witnessed and wrote about in the 3rd century CE. In his writings it was described how Daoists would mix cannabis with other substances, place them into a censer and directly inhale the smoke that was produced.
With such a rich history of ceremonial and medicinal use it is sad to see how demonized the cannabis plant became in modern times. As early as the 1300s cannabis has faced backlash from many governments throughout the world. Being banned in certain areas in the Arabian peninsula was the first attempt to regulate cannabis consumption among citizens.
It wasn’t until the late 1700s that the idea of banning cannabis consumption hit the mainstream. This began in 1787 when King Andrianampoinimerina of Madagascar banned its use within Madagascar, even going so far to make capital punishment the sentence for its use.
In the early 1800’s cannabis criminalization became the norm as many colonialist powers banned its use primarily among their slave labor. Throughout the 1800’s the banning of cannabis became more and more popular despite its known medical uses.
In the United States, Washington D.C. was the first city to create any form of anti cannabis regulation. Due to pressure from foreign governments the US began strengthening its demonizing propaganda campaign in an effort to further discredit any benefits one may get by using cannabis. From 1906 to 1928 many countries followed suit and enacted their own cannabis legislation restricting its sale, consumption and general use. It wasn’t until 1937 when a man named Harry Anslinger was appointed the United States first drug tsar that mass hysteria began to grip the country.
Known for his hard lined stances on cannabis, Harry Anslinger was a master propagandist. He is responsible for creating the reefer madness style of cannabis demonization. A well known racist, Harry Anslinger was known to put fear into the general public with racially charged claims that cannabis consumption is directly responsible for immoral behavior, psychosis, violence and any other actions that he could attribute to the migrant farm workers who popularized cannabis use in the early 19th century.
Mr Anslingers propaganda campaign was wildly successful leading to the eventual signing of the Marihuana Tax Stamp Act in 1937 which led to the outright ban of cannabis in the United States. To this day, cannabis remains illegal in many parts of the world despite many scientific findings that support its medicinal value.
In 1972 the Dutch government reformed their drug policies, categorizing drugs as either more, or less harmful. The categorization of cannabis as less harmful was one of the first meaningful steps to reverse the hysteria and stigma created by Harry Anslinger’s propaganda campaign. After this classification the Dutch government recognized the possession of 30 grams of cannabis as a misdemeanor which was a drastic change in comparison with the lengthy incarcerations many other countries levied upon cannabis users during this time period. As early as 1976 cannabis could openly be purchased and consumed in designated coffee shops throughout Holland with quantities of 5 grams or less being totally decriminalized.
As time goes on and the policies of previous generations are challenged, the stigma of cannabis use is slowly being reformed into a more positive outlook. States like California, and Colorado were among the first groups of people to revisit the laws surrounding cannabis possession and consumption. Cannabis finally began regaining recognition as a medicinal herb in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s despite stiff penalties for its use. In 1996, California became the first state in the US to legalize cannabis specifically for use as a medicine. This came with strong objection by the federal government who was set on continuing the propaganda campaigns from previous eras.
As time has progressed, more scientific research has been made publicly available pointing to the medicinal uses for the cannabis plant. Primarily Israeli scientists have had a more open path to researching cannabis and its underlying composition. Dr Raphael Mechoulam has been on the forefront of this research since the 1960’s making breakthroughs such as discovering the THC molecule, the CBD molecule, the endocannabinoid system and the way the substances within cannabis interact with the receptors of the endocannabinoid system. The modern basis for cannabis as a medicine can almost entirely be attributed to Dr Mechoulam’s work.
With new information becoming available regularly about how cannabis is essentially engrained into our DNA, many states and countries have since followed Holland and California’s lead in creating robust drug reforms and medical cannabis programs.
Here in Oklahoma, where Lotus Gold is based we were finally able to get our medical marijuana program up and running after the passage of state question 788 in 2018. Even though many states have legalized cannabis use either medicinally or recreationally, cannabis still remains federally illegal meaning the states who choose to offer medical cannabis option operate in a grey market, legal on the state level but very much illegal on the federal level.
Since the passage of 788 Lotus Gold has worked tirelessly to ensure we have the best quality cannabis products at a fair price that anyone can afford. We believe cannabis truly is medicine and that we have only scratched the surface when finding acceptable uses for cannabis. With scientific studies claiming everything from pain relief, to relief from insomnia, anxiety, and general wellbeing it is our belief that once the endocannabinoid systems role in our body is better defined cannabis will be much more accepted as an essential part in our daily lives.
In spite of all the progress that has been made to eliminate the stigma of using cannabis for medical reasons the federal government still requires that we use a disclaimed discrediting cannabis’ use as a medicine, as an example of this even with a medical marijuana program in place in Oklahoma to specifically use cannabis for treating illnesses any public documents concerning our products must include the following, minus the parenthesized portions that I’ve added to highlight just how close we still are to Harry Anslingers paranoid propaganda campaigns of the 1930’s.
Because of its federal illegality and disapproval by the FDA I must inform you that “these statements have not been evaluated by the FDA” (Because they refuse to acknowledge valid scientific findings) “Our products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.” (Because of the federal stance that all currently available cannabis related medical research is just anecdotal). I urge you to continue your research to answer any questions you may still have about cannabis legalization, or its medicinal uses. The vast majority of peer reviewed scientific studies say that it is only a matter of time before the governments of the world will be forced to recognize how important cannabis and the endocannabinoid system are to our lives.