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Origins of “Human-Cannabis” Relationship

Origins of “Human-Cannabis” Relationship

We’ve been talking about fashion items, fabrics and all sorts of kind up until today, but we think there could be far more interesting facts and stuff you could be learning right here, on the De IONESCU Hemp Blog.

When we say interesting things, we mean literally going back to thousands of years ago, back to the beginnings of mankind, back to our ancestors and to actually follow the timeline in terms of appearance, approach, use and facts about the origins of hemp.

We do love this particular plant, so what greater way to start this online history course wrapped in truths as well as fun stuff sprinkled from now and then, than the relationship of Human and Cannabis, a relationship that lasted for so many years, no matter the wars, the cultures, the temperatures that stood between these two. 

A true meant to be one of a kind!


human-cannabis relationship


“People have a very long and curious association with Cannabis.

In different places, and often for different reasons, humans have developed important uses for this unusual genus of plants. As a diverse ancient resource, Cannabis played an important, sometimes crucial role in fundamental cultural changes that occurred after the glacial Pleistocene Epoch.

Furthermore, over time humans were probably instrumental in some if not most of the dispersal and increased geographical range of Cannabis.”

 Clarke&Merlin - Cannabis Evolution & Ethnobotany, pg.61


But we often stumble upon a question:


Did humans first use Cannabis as a source of fiber in order to make clothing or cordage, a source of seed in order to provide food or maybe Cannabis has been used initially as a medicinal plant?

“More challenging is the possibility that it was originally utilized as a psychoactive substance for spiritual purposes to communicate with ancestors and other supernatural forces. There is the intriguing possibility that early cultivation of plants such as Cannabis may have been inspired by religious or ceremonial motives.

human-cannabis relationship

Most of early human existence was spent roving around in small nomadic groups, hunting animals and gathering wild foods in varied environments.

Then near or shortly after the end of the Pleistocene glaciations, human settlement and subsistence patterns began to change in profound ways. Global temperature increased, and as a result, continental ice sheets and alpine glaciers receded.

Higher latitudes, formerly covered by massive ice fields, opened up to colonization. Meltwater from receding glaciers swelled existing rivers and created new ones while also raising sea levels.


So what did humans do next?


They started finding solutions in order to make their life more bearable and by solutions I mean that they built useful pottery for food and water, bows and arrows for hunting and lines and nets for fishing.

Clever humans, right?

In some cases, humans inspired by the success of fishing, came up with a different approach in terms of food providing, and that’s how farming was invented.

People became active producers of their own food supply, a habit that thrives even today, thousands of years later. Cannabis was one of the plants that could be easily cultivated, provided a variety of resources, and for sure it played an important role in the development of agriculture in areas such as Central Asia and northern China. 


human-cannabis relationship


“Cannabis can be found growing wild, or at least self-sown, in many parts of Eurasia, especially in Central Asia where it is adapted to slopes of undulating foothills and mountains up to several thousand meters above sea level depending on latitude. It also grows spontaneously on rich, fertile alluvial ground of river flood plains and valley bottoms and frequently in recently disturbed open environments along streams.

When early hunter-gatherer-fishers settled down along stream-scoured banks, they cleared some of the surrounding land and constructed shelters.

In removing vegetation they helped create one of nature’s relatively rare environments—the “open habitat.”

Newly cleared habitats are quickly invaded by a series of pioneer plants. Sun-loving Cannabis thrives in open environments with relatively well-drained soils rich in nitrogen compounds such as those found in and around dump heaps.

Camp-following Cannabis was among the first plants to colonize newly opened habitats, often brought in by humans who collected seeds elsewhere and dropped them inadvertently near settlements. 

Humans provided Cannabis with a suitable habitat and soon learned to utilize plants growing on or near their waste piles rather than traveling to collect them.

human-cannabis relationship

Different plant parts were used as sources of fiber, food, seed oil, medicine, and mind- altering drugs. As new uses were discovered, this increased our dependence upon Cannabis for meeting specific needs and interests.”

 Clarke&Merlin - Cannabis Evolution & Ethnobotany, pg.62


So, as a conclusion for today’s reading, humans first got in touch with this famous plant we’re talking about ever since we met, all the way down to Eurasia.

Would you have guessed? 


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