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Ancient Cultures that trusted in cannabis

March 15, 2021 3 min read

Ancient Civilisations that consumed Cannabis and Hemp

In ancient artwork, textual references and tails can be found proof of ancient civilizations trusting and making use of the many benefits of the hemp plant. For many historians, it's proven that along the ancient Silk Road products made out of hemp-related goods and products were trafficked throughout Asia and Europe. In this article, we will shed some light on ancient cultures and civilizations that knew the truth about cannabis long before western politicians decided to make it illegal. 

There seems to be many theories on the true origin of Hemp, but one thing is for certain: that was at least 8000 years ago. That is a long time given that the prohibition of Cannabis in the USA was put in order in the early 20th century with the first laws being put in place as early as 1913 when California, Maine, Wyoming, and Indiana began to ban marijuana, and it's derivatives. We have been seeing a slow legalization since 1996 where California started to legalize medical Cannabis.

In other words 8000 years of free flow of Cannabis goods vs. 85 years of total prohibition, which still creates a negative bias of society towards the healing powers of the plant. Let's look at some ancient cultures that knew better:


It's been recorded in the books of history that the Chines Emperor Shen Nung wrote about the usage of Cannabis for medicinal use in 2737 BC. Chines farmers also began to grow Hemp to gain Oil and Fiber which they used to make clothing, rope and even paper. With time China became a major exported of Hemp related products as they produced baskets, textiles and scrolls and sold them along the famous Silk Road. 

Ancient China Cannabis Trade



Around 3000 BC the ancient Egyptian culture was relying on Cannabis for medicinal and spiritual purposes for centuries already. Traces of the hemp plant have been found in ancient Egyptian mummies, but it was also mentioned on Papyrus roles and description of Cannabis which they called ‘Shemshemet’ was mentioned in their hieroglyphs. Scientist also discovered traces of THC one of the main components of Cannabis who functions as the main psychoactive compound in the lungs of ancient Egyptians, suggesting that they may have used to inhale the plant for ceremonial rituals or spiritual gatherings. The ancient Egyptian culture was not only a consumer of Cannabis they also where one of the biggest exporters of their time expanding the plant around their trading partners along the Nile river. 

Ancient Egypt Smoking Cannabis



There is a strong possibility that you immediately recognize the ancient Indian word for Cannabis Ganjha, as we still use it today (spelled Ganja). The Cannabis culture in India is rich and with a very long tradition, the first mentions of the plant on the Indian continent date back at least 5000 years when it most likely migrated from the Himalayas and area which for many centuries has been growing wild Hemp. 

Medical Cannabis was actually never outlawed and, to this day,  all Indian students of medicine learn in detail about the properties and healing powers of Cannabis.  

According to the Vedic textbooks (some of the oldest scriptures of Hinduism) Ganja is among the five most divine plants as its know that it can be a source of relaxing, happiness, liberation and compassion for all living things.  

One of the most recognizable of the Indian Gods, Lord Shiva, is believed by many to be a fan of Cannabis. To this day, Hindus in the thousands assemble near the Pashupatinath temple, chanting the name of Lord Shiva and drinking Cannabis infused water as their spiritual tradition.

Ancient India Cannabis Hemp Shiva


These are just some of the ancient cultures that consumed, traded and thrived on the Cannabis plant, other famous civilizations include the Babylonians, Rome and Persia. 

So if the next time someone uses the argument that Cannabis is illegal for good reason, you might want to mention that Cannabis was legal and freely traded all around the world for over 8000 years.  

We hope you enjoyed this article and as always: Feel Like the Captain. 


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