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CANNABIS ORIGINSThe spread of cannabis through the ages, from the Steppes of Central Asia, throughout the world(Based on image by Barney Warf, University of Kansas)Ruth ChambersThe use of cannabis for medicinal purposes has been around for a very, very long time, with many cultures worldwide taking advantage of its therapeutic potential, while being a valuable agricultural crop throughout human history. Out of the Shadows With cannabis emerging from the shadows of prohibition & strict regulation, South Africa is now part of the growing number of countries working on legalising & mainstreaming cannabis, opening the door to a “Green Rush” that impacts many industries.
Researching the plant was prohibited as it was a controlled substance, so much of the information that was available before legalisation was based on what is now termed “bro science”. Mostly based on anecdotal evidence, handed down verbally through generations of underground growers across the world, as possession of documented research was a criminal act in itself.
Now, modern science is legitimately being applied to rapidly decipher the enormous potential of cannabis, with exciting & sometimes astounding results. Ancient Origins Cannabis sativa is believed to originate in Central Asia, especially Mongolia, southern Siberia, the Himalayas & some parts of China. Ancient fossils reveal evidence of cannabis artifacts dating back to 12,000 BC. By 4000 BC it was regarded as a major crop & one of the “five grains” in China. 450 – 200BC saw Greco-Romans prescribe cannabis for anything from toothache to alleviating labour pains, while recreational use was rife. Around 200 BC, it became widely distributed along the trade routes, finding a place in many societies & cultures worldwide. Introduced in the Americas by the Spanish in the 1500s, it was used as a fibre crop. As recently as the early 1900s, popular opinion turned on cannabis, vilifying the plant for a multitude of reasons. The U.S.A. helped shape the rest of the modern world’s perception of cannabis as evil & dangerous, ultimately classifying it as a Schedule 1 controlled substance along with heroin, ecstasy & LSD & criminalising it by 1937. Schedule 1 controlled substances in the U.S.A. are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Well, we all know by now that’s not true! Only in the past 2 decades have serious moves been made to legalise the plant, establishing it as a valuable renewable resource with a mind-bending number of known applications across many industries.
Cannabis has come a long way, even in my lifetime. From the “stop” you scored from the dude at the garage, to your connection hooking you up with a “bankie” of Swaz or DP, we have now entered into a new world where terps, THC/CBD profiles & indoor vs. outdoor are everything. Not to mention the dabs, rosin, honeycomb, shatter …
Oh, my favourite … everyone is now a “cannasseur”!
Like wine, you now have a flavour combo for every occasion, you can select a strain based on feel, flavour & potency … a strain for every pain. Innovation has surrounded this plant since its discovery & will continue to do so in the future.