Where Did Cannabis Come From? New Study Pinpoints East Asia

CANNANNEW REPORT

The popularity of cannabis is nothing new, but a new study finds it dates back further than many may have expected. How much further back? Try 12,000 years. That’s the time period identified in a new study published in the journal Science Advances. The study also pinpoints a place: East Asia. The international team of researchers, led by co-authors from Switzerland and China, wrote that through genome sequencing they “show that sativa was first domesticated in early Neolithic times in East Asia and that all current hemp and drug cultivars diverged from an ancestral gene pool currently represented by feral plants and landraces in China.” The researchers wrote that these ancient people in what is now China likely used the plant for fiber and medicinal purposes. Breeding cannabis to get high didn’t happen until about 8,000 years later. The New Study Differs From Past Efforts to Pinpoint The Origins of Cannabis The findings of the study differ from previous research that placed the origin of hemp and cannabis in Central Asia. It’s an area where people 2,500 years ago used cannabis as part of a ritualistic funeral ceremony. The new research argues that most people place cannabis’ origins in Central Asia because it’s possible even today to find wild plants – called feral plants – growing there. However, the new study suggests these feral plants descended from domesticated plants that cross pollinated with wild plants at some point thousands of years ago. In the study, researchers also pointed out that the change in attitude toward cannabis is a 20th century thing. They wrote: “As one of the first domesticated plants, it has a long and fluctuating history interwoven with the economic, social, and cultural development of human societies.” They noted that cannabis served as a “major source for textiles, food,…

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