The History of Cannabis Cultivation

cannabis cultivation

Discover how the cannabis plant has been cultivated for thousands of years for medicinal, religious, recreational and commercial uses. Cannabis has been cultivated by humans for millennia. As long ago as 2,800 BC, cannabis was being used to treat a wide variety of ailments and health problems. 

It also found its way into the religious ceremonies and practices of many different religions. It was especially prevalent in the rites and ceremonies of the Hindu religion of India and in the pharmacopoeia (medicine) of the ancient Chinese. Even the Romans used weed. So let’s take a brief look at the history of cannabis cultivation. 

A Gift From Asia

The cannabis plant is a native of Central and South Asia. There are three main species of cannabis. These are:

  • Cannabis indica. This is the species of cannabis that produces large amounts of the psychoactive compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
  • Cannabis sativa. This species of cannabis, while still producing THC, also produces cannabinol (CBD), a compound that has many medicinal and health-giving uses.
  • Cannabis ruderalis. This is a less well-known species of cannabis found in Eastern Europe. It is mainly grown for hemp seed oil, and for making industrial fibres.

The Lord of Bhang 

In ancient India, the Hindu God Shiva was given the title The Lord of Bhang because the cannabis plant was his favourite food. Bhang is a drink made from yogurt, nuts, spices and rose water infused with the sauteed flowers of the cannabis plant. The drink was used in many Hindu ceremonies and is still a common refreshment consumed throughout India today. 

The Timeline of Cannabis Cultivation

From its beginnings as a medicinal herb and as a part of religious ceremonies, cannabis cultivation has a long and colourful history. Here are a few important moments in its story.

Pliny the Elder 

The Romans recognized the medicinal uses of cannabis from the earliest times of their empire. Travellers returning from the east brought with them samples of the plant which grew wild in the valleys of Afghanistan, the mountains of the Himalaya, and the hot plains of India.Doctor Galen

The Greek physician Galen (129-200AD) included cannabis in his list of plants that had useful medical properties. He concluded that the plant had properties that benefit both therapeutically and emotionally. 

The Middle Kingdom

The Chinese have a long history of using plants for both medicinal and spiritual functions. The plant rose to prominence during the Warring States period (475-221BC) and by the sixth century AD it was an established part of Chinese agriculture. The agricultural text Essential Techniques for the Welfare of the People (Qi Min Yao Shu) describes techniques for the cultivation of cannabis in detail and contains the first known descriptions of applying fertilizer to plants.   

Mr. O’Shaughnessy’s weed 

The Irish physician William Brooke O’ Shaughnessy is credited with introducing cannabis to the West. Dr. O’Shaughnessy had lived for a time in India, during which he had observed and documented the use of cannabis both as a recreational drug and as a part of the wider medicinal treatment of various ailments and conditions.

He famously demonstrated the efficacy of cannabis in 1837 by successfully relieving the pain and convulsions of rheumatism in a child, and by quelling the spasms of tetanus using cannabis resin on a patient.

A Growth Industry

Throughout the twentieth century, scientific analysis of the cannabis plant has yielded an ever-increasing amount of data about the characteristics, uses and efficacy of cannabis.

On-going research continues to identify new uses for cannabis and its derivatives and the legalization of cannabis in many countries and territories has created a large amount of demand for commercially-grown cannabis.

A study conducted in 2021 by The Greenhouse Grower organization found that a staggering 29,094,139 square feet of greenhouse space was being used for cannabis cultivation in North America.  

Buzzed Extracts Bring the Ancient Traditions to the Present.

The staff at Buzzed Extracts embrace the cultural and spiritual traditions of cannabis by sourcing ethically grown and sustainably produced cannabis and its many derivatives. Check out our shop for more information.



All views expressed here are from a third-party source and do not necessarily represent the entity of Buzzed Extracts itself. This blog post is intended to be used for informational purposes only.

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