Ancient History

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Ancient History


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Botanists have determined that Cannabis is native to central Asia, possibly extending southward into the Himalayas. Evidence of the inhalation of cannabis smoke can be found as far back as the Neolithic age, as indicated by charred Cannabis seeds found in a ritual brazier at an ancient burial site in present day Romania. The most famous users of cannabis were the ancient Hindus of India and Nepal, and the Hashshashins (hashish eaters) of present day Syria. The herb was called ganjika in Sanskrit (ganja in modern Indian and Nepali languages). The ancient drug soma, mentioned in the Vedas as a sacred intoxicating hallucinogen, was sometimes associated with cannabis.

Citizens of the Persian Empire would partake in the ceremonial burning of massive cannabis bonfires, directly exposing their children and neighboring tribes to the billowing fumes, often for over 24 hours.

Cannabis was also known to the Assyrians, who discovered it's psychoactive properties through the Aryans. Using it in some religious ceremonies, they called it qunubu or the drug for sadness. Cannabis was also introduced by the Aryans to the Scythians and Thracians/Dacians, whose shamans (the kapnobatai - "those who walk on smoke/clouds") burned cannabis flowers to induce a state of trance. Members of the cult of Dionysus, believed to have originated in Thrace, are also thought to have inhaled cannabis smoke. In 2003, a leather basket filled with Cannabis leaf fragments and seeds was found next to a 2,500 to 2,800 year old mummified shaman in the northwestern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China.

Cannabis
Marijuana is one of the most commonly used illegal drugs. This article looks at the health risks related to cannabis use.

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