Who was the first “toker” in History?
People have been smoking things, whether tobacco or other herbs for more than 7,000 years now. Some of the earliest “smokers” dates back to 5,000 BC and cannabis smoking has been traced back to the 9th century BC.
There’s also evidence suggesting that the Vedas located in India and commonly referred to one of man’s oldest “cultures” along with the Khoisan from the South Western parts of Africa who partook of this sacred herb.
Today we’ll dive in a bit into the history of cannabis consumption throughout the ages to see how we got to where we are today.
Kudos to the first stoner
While we don’t know precisely who the first person was to smoke marijuana in history, we applaud him for his or her bravery. The odds however suggest that it must have been some sort of mystic or medicine man who during those times would go around and randomly eat herbs to understand the nature of the plants.
According to the Mayans (who lived several thousand years after the Scythians), these shaman would roam the earth finding plants, eating them and documenting their effects. As you can imagine, many of them died on these journeys. However, many of them also discovered a wealth of plants that produced psychoactive side effects among the user.
In all likeliness, this was how cannabis was first discovered as a medicinal plant. While eating the raw plant won’t get you high due to the fact that the THC in the plant is not psychoactive until heat is applied, you do feel a “boost” when consuming it raw.
In fact, I encourage you to take some cannabis leaf, put it in a mango smoothie and drink it. You’ll quickly feel an energy boost that will keep you going all day. Try it!
The Early Cannabis Cultures
The Chinese were some of the first cultures to adopt cannabis as a medicine and a food source dating back as long as 10,000 years ago. In fact, Carl Sagan believed that cannabis might have been the first agricultural crop planted by humanity.
The Chinese used it extensively from 6,000 BCE to 2000 BCE for a wide variety of purposes from clothing, to medicine and more.
The earliest “tokers” however belong to the Hindus from 2000 BCE to 800 BCE in what they called Bhang. This was mentioned in the sacred text Atharvaveda or the “Science of Charms” and was known as “sacred grass”. The Hindus had five sacred plants that were used in Medicine and rituals.
From this moment on, the use of cannabis as a ritualistic plant was common in many different cultures. This is partly due to the nomadic nature of the Scythians who were located all over Europe and Asia.
The Importance of Cannabis for Early man
Cannabis is a versatile plant that can grow in nearly every climate. Seeing that it is a rich source of protein and fiber among other things, it was a common crop among many different people. In fact, the Europeans loved hemp for quite some time.
Even when England ventured into the “Americas”, they pushed for hemp cultivation. It was seen as the most valued crop and was an economic powerhouse for many nations. Ships depended on it and even the hangman’s rope was fabricated with hemp.
Even though cannabis was everywhere, many people didn’t smoke it. It was rather used for medicines, clothing, food and for products like varnishes, paper and so forth.
There were certain cultures that used cannabis for spiritual and recreational purposes however for the majority of the people; the use was purely medicinal and industrial.
It wasn’t until the 1930s that Hemp became marijuana and was rendered illegal by a small group of rich moguls who wanted to rid themselves of the only competition to their business objectives. I spoke a bit more about that in another article entitled “Why Hemp was the Reason Marijuana was illegalized”.
Folks will always partake of cannabis
The thing we must all understand is that cannabis has always been intricately involved with humanity since the moment we engaged in the practice of agriculture. For thousands of years we have been using this plant for food, medicine, spiritual rituals and of course, recreation and it has only been illegal for the past 80 years.
I believe that we are once more entering into the age of cannabis as more people are waking up to the fact that the drug laws that govern our lives are failing at every level and that cannabis has so much more to offer us now with technology and modern science.
People have found great relief in cannabis in a wide range of diseases and conditions including curing cancer, stopping seizures, migraines, appetite stimulation and much more. It’s now only a matter of time until the ban on marijuana is lifted and once more we’ll embrace the full potential of cannabis.
Nonetheless, if I could travel back in time, I would like to shake the hand of the first person who ever got high on weed for the first time. Little did he know that thousands of years after his demise, people would still be partaking of the sacred herb.