The Rediscovery of Cannabis in the West: Bengal and Cairo

The Rediscovery of Cannabis in the West: Bengal and Cairo

Cannabis use in antiquity There is abundant evidence for the use of cannabis in Europe for fibre, rope and textiles that dates back several millennia (Clarke and Merlin 2013:64–65); there is also archeological evidence from Eastern Europe (in Bulgaria) and Central Asia dating from the 5th millennium BCE which has revealed that in antiquity cannabis was smoked for inebriation. Buds would be placed on hot stones or a brazier inside a simple, tent-like structure made of felt, which then became filled with smoke (Sherratt 1991; 1995; Parpola 2015:53). Image from HistoryExtra Amongst other similar discoveries, cannabis material, almost certainly used for inebriation, has been found at sites in Xinjiang Province in western China (Jiang et al. 2006; Ren et al. 2019), dated to the mid-first millennium BCE, and in Israel at the Judahite shrine at Arad, dated to the 8th century BCE (Arie et al. 2020). The earliest, extant report in the West of the effects of cannabis, which is well known, is by the Greek historian Herodotus in his Histories (1968:265–266), who around 450 BCE described militant, wild, horse-riding Scythians in a region near the Black Sea inhaling cannabis smoke in felt tents and “howling with laughter.” Despite the report of the psychoactive properties of cannabis by Herodotus and later accounts from the world of radical Sūfīs from the 12th century onwards (as recounted in a previous blog, ‘Radical Sūfīs’), and although known as a medicine in the classical Greco-Roman world, the psychoactive effects of cannabis were hardly known…

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Source : seedman
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