Cannabis and history

In this category, you will find articles about the history of cannabis and its various uses, from medicinal to recreational and industrial. When did humans begin cultivating cannabis? Where did hashish originate and how long ago? For how long has cannabis been used as a medicine? What is the story behind modern resin extraction techniques? Here you will find the answers to all these questions.

Cannabis in the Stone Age, the origins of breeding

Cannabis in the Stone Age, the origins of breeding

Studies on the origins of cannabis are becoming more frequent as global interest in this plant has skyrocketed in recent decades. Whether we talk about the place of origin, the date of domestication or the oldest dated samples found, our curiosity about human's relationship with this ancient plant grows every day, thanks in part to the process of legalisation and normalisation that we see taking place in many countries.

In this article, we want to go back to the beginning of this relationship, and to do this, we need to take you on a journey through time, back to the Stone Age, when humans established their first settlements and started a key activity for their development: agriculture. And, naturally, you can already guess what one of the first plants cultivated by mankind was... Cannabis, of course!

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20 paintings from the Golden Age of stoner art

20 paintings from the Golden Age of stoner art

The criminalisation and stigmatisation of cannabis is a peculiar twist in the latest stage of humanity's long association with this plant because, for most of our history, cultures around the world have embraced it, and as early civilisations discovered its industrial, psychoactive and medicinal uses, they paid homage to it in their works of art.

It is not known exactly when cannabis began to be smoked recreationally, but until the invention of rolling papers, cannabis was often smoked using a pipe, as for thousands of years this was the most common tool to burn weed, hashish (or any other consciousness-altering herb) and inhale the smoke more efficiently.

The oldest known pipes have been found in a tomb in what is now Laos. They are about 3,000 years old and were most likely used for smoking cannabis. In southern and western Africa, marijuana was also burned in small covered pits and the smoke was then inhaled through hollow canes.

More famous is the so-called hookah, a water pipe that originated in Persia and was widely used from the early 17th century onwards in South Asia and the Middle East. However, the habit of smoking hashish began to spread throughout the Middle East much earlier, from the 900s onwards, as the consumption of alcohol was forbidden by the Koran. The Muslim population in Europe used cannabis as a recreational drug during the Middle Ages when the spread of Sufism influenced the Muslim world.

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Cartoons that consumed cannabis

Cartoons that consumed cannabis

Cartoon characters are an essential part of our childhood, growing up with us and often becoming our heroes along the way. However, for the most part, at the time we were not smart enough to understand what made them so funny and lovable. Some of the most famous cartoon characters that we never saw light up a joint on screen were probably secret cannabis users. They were never explicitly shown doing so for obvious reasons, but they radiated 100% stoner vibes!

Furthermore, although intended for a child audience, the cartoon series are created by adults. For this reason, it is not surprising that they are full of hidden symbolism and characters whose fondness for cannabis completely escaped our innocent gaze. And we're sure that more than one of them will surprise you!

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The Hashish-Eaters Club

The Hashish-Eaters Club

When you think of cannabis users, what is the first thing that comes to mind? How many of you think of 19th-century French poets, painters or philosophers who have gone down in history?

This image may differ from the caricature of the unmotivated stoner that many people have in their minds, lazing on the couch, brushing Doritos crumbs off a stained t-shirt. However, as we already know, this stereotype is generally far from reality. For centuries, cannabis has inspired creativity in some of the past generations' most influential thinkers, and perhaps the best illustration of this comes to us from Paris around 1845, behind the doors of the clandestine 'Club des Hachichins'.

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The history of Barney's Farm

The history of Barney's Farm

The origins of Barney's Farm

Barney's Farm Seed Bank is one of the pioneers in cannabis seed marketing, having started collecting genetics and making crosses in the 1980s, at a time when few companies were distributing hybrid cannabis seeds. Hence, the history of Barney's Farm stems from the foothills of the Himalayas, where its founder Derry began to recover and reproduce pure cannabis strains or landraces. Passionate about the plant, Derry continued his research by travelling to countries renowned for their indigenous cannabis lines, such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Thailand, Burma, Vietnam and China.

Once his collection of cannabis genetics had grown large enough, Derry returned to Amsterdam to grow them, create new crosses, stabilise them and offer them to the public, thus offering growers a new world of flavours and effects. Moreover, his strains were adapted to indoor cultivation, being easy to grow and offering very rewarding results, which was rare at the time, as pure landrace varieties are not the most suitable for indoor cultivation under artificial lights.

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20 Vintage photos that prove cannabis was more popular than you thought

20 Vintage photos that prove cannabis was more popular than you thought

If you thought that cannabis was a cool, modern substance, then there's nothing quite like looking back in time and discovering that our great-great-grandparents' generation was already using this plant in much the same way we do today, at least until the moral crusades of the 1920s cut the habit short. And what better to verify this than with photographs of cannabis use that reached all strata of our Western society, from the lowest with hemp production (for almost 3,000 years the largest agricultural crop on the planet) to the highest, where doctors, aristocrats and intellectuals used cannabis to heal body and mind; or to expand the consciousness. The romantic movement informed humanity that if you wish to transcend the limitations of the flesh, look to nature because nature has the answer. Some people took this literally.

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Be weed, my friend: Bruce Lee and cannabis

Be weed, my friend: Bruce Lee and cannabis

In July 1973 the world lost one of its greatest martial arts icons. Lee Jun-fan, affectionately known as Bruce Lee, actor, director, instructor, and a true artist in all senses of the word. The founder of Jeet Kune Do, a hybrid fighting philosophy drawing on different fighting disciplines, he started the Kung-fu craze in the 1970s, transforming himself into an agile fighter who could do two-finger push-ups and send burly men flying with his famous faster-than-lightning punch.

But what many don't know is that Bruce Lee was a regular cannabis user. This is not the kind of story one usually hears about him, because since he died at the age of 32, the legend of him has grown to such mythological levels that many call him “Kung-fu Jesus”. However, after his death, rumours abounded that cannabis had been found in his stomach during his autopsy and was considered one of the main contributing factors in his death.

Cannabis made Bruce Lee a survivor

According to several of the authorised biographies written about him (books such as 'The Tao of Bruce Lee' or 'Bruce Lee, the Man of Steel'), in 1969 he seriously injured his back during a routine training session. He was told that he would never be able to practice martial arts again and that he would not be able to walk normally. Devastated by this news, Bruce became an investigator of his injury, of his body, and ultimately created his own path to healing.

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Mohan Ram and feminised cannabis seeds

Mohan Ram and feminised cannabis seeds

Throughout the 1990s, particularly in the later years of the decade, the first feminised seeds emerged on the cannabis seed market. For the first time, growers did not have to worry about removing males, or about filling in the gaps left in the crop once they were discarded, or about accidental pollination of their plants... a true revolution had begun within the sector, and feminised seeds became a hit!

What for a few years seemed like some kind of a rarity to many, soon became the most demanded type of seeds in the sector, meaning that at the start of the new millennium there were already many other seed banks that had joined the wave of feminisation and had begun to produce their varieties (also new and interesting hybrids) in a feminised version. Although each breeder had his own technique of reversing the sex of female plants to produce "feminised pollen", without a doubt one of the most used was, and still is, silver thiosulfate or STS. But where does this technique come from? Who was the first to put it into practice? Keep reading if you want to know the answer!

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10 women of yesterday, today and for the ages who left their marks on cannabis culture

10 women of yesterday, today and for the ages who left their marks on cannabis culture

We often portray marijuana use in history as exclusively male, but nothing could be further from the truth; from ancient medieval herbalists, to society today, cannabis has been used to enhance women's well-being through the centuries.

And, while we still have a lot of work to do with regards to the legality and stigma surrounding this plant, today we introduce you to 10 famous and historic women who used cannabis to change their lives and those of others, thereby playing a crucial role in bringing its many benefits to light.

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The Vavilov Institute, the first seed bank in history

The Vavilov Institute, the first seed bank in history

In the heart of the city of St. Petersburg, just behind Saint Isaac's Cathedral, there is a building whose tsarist-era ministerial façade belies the importance of the collection housed behind its walls. Within, stacked under vaulted ceilings and in long hallways, wooden cabinets hold the seeds of hundreds of thousands of plant varieties, many of which have disappeared from their original habitat or growing areas. This is the Vavílov Institute, an institution already hailed as "the guardian of lost plants", a nickname that perfectly illustrates the role it plays as a defence against the new threats to global biodiversity posed by climate change, industrial agriculture, and globalisation.

More formally known as the Vavílov Institute of Plant Industry (VIR), this institution was founded in 1924 by botanist and geneticist Nikolai Vavílov, one of the first scientists to recognise the importance of conserving plant genetic resources. The institute is the oldest seed bank in the world and houses a priceless collection of more than 400,000 samples of different plant species. It is arguably the largest (and oldest) collection of plant genetics in existence, primarily in the form of meticulously catalogued seeds from all parts of our planet.

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What was the first thing sold online? Cannabis, of course!

What was the first thing sold online? Cannabis, of course!

When we think back to the early days of computers and the internet, we often imagine very primitive machines and systems that took hours to send a simple email. But it turns out that, from the very moment of genesis of the network of networks, there was one thing that people made sure could be bought and sold: cannabis.

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History of cannabis prohibition

History of cannabis prohibition

As we have already seen in earlier articles such as our post on the history of cannabis cultivation, the relationship between humans and this plant dates back millennia. Since time immemorial, this relationship has been characterised by humanity's exploitation of the various facets of cannabis use, from the social or recreational to the medicinal, not forgetting the textile and industrial, religious or spiritual uses.

However, since ancient times, this relationship has also been marked by the desire of some to prohibit its use, often as a simple tool to increase the control that the ruling classes hold over other, less favoured, classes of society. Today we invite you to delve into the history of cannabis prohibition and learn in more detail how it came to be established, practically on a global level, during the 20th century.

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Mexico and marijuana

Mexico and marijuana

Mexico is certainly one of the New World countries with the strongest tradition in cannabis cultivation and consumption. Sharing borders with the United States to the north and Guatemala and Belize to the south, this wonderful nation is nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico and enjoys such disparate climates that it’s possible to go from a desolated desert to a luxuriant rainforest brimming with life, in a matter of a few hours.

In fact, (although, as we will see, it's a widely contested theory) according to many sources, Mexico is the place where cannabis first arrived in the Americas. From there, it quickly spread both north and south, and to the Caribbean Sea islands off the east coast of Mexico. In this article, we take a deeper look into the history of this ancient plant in this beautiful land, which recently has been taking huge steps towards full regularization, and could become an example for many others.

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Spiritual, religious, and traditional use of cannabis

Spiritual, religious, and traditional use of cannabis

Since mankind first used cannabis it has always been considered as a holy or spiritual plant, thanks to the altered state of consciousness brought on by its consumption. For many religions, sects and creeds across the globe, the cannabis plant has become integral to the way rituals are celebrated and to the observance of religious tradition. We hope you enjoy this Alchimiaweb blog article where we'll take a look at a some of the most prominent religious, spiritual and traditional uses of cannabis.

Jamaica, Rastafarians and Cannabis

The Rastafarian faith began in Jamaica during the 1930s, created partly by Leonard Percival Howell who is considered the first Rastafarian in history. It was born partly from a social movement on the part of Jamaica's black working-class in rejection of the dominance of the white colonists and the middle-class, serving, in particular, to give pride back to the black people of Jamaica, the descendants of the slaves brought to the island.

The Rastafarian doctrine is not particularly strict and its followers often adapt it depending on how they personally perceive it. Some Rastafarians believe that Jesus Christ came back to Earth, reborn in the form of Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie I and as such consider him a representation of God (Jah) on Earth. The Rasta doctrine promotes or praises a return (spiritual or physical) of all black people to Africa and believes that Ethiopia represents Mount Zion or the Promised Land.

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The origins of blunts

The origins of blunts

Nowadays, it’s very usual to see someone rolling or smoking a cannabis cigarette wrapped in a tobacco leaf, as the popularity of this type of papers has skyrocketed over the last few years, thanks partly to the publicity - direct or indirect - given to it by many celebrities and figures from different backgrounds. In addition to this, as many of you might know, there are blunts with a wide range of aromas added to them, so apart from altering the smell of the content, they also make it considerably less of a giveaway.

However, this type of rolling leaf is a relatively novel product, since blunts go back decades to when people used to roll cannabis in tobacco leaves, or strip a cigar and use its outer cover as rolling paper. Today we are taking a closer look into the history of blunts, on a journey that will take us from the Caribbean in the 19th century to the cannabis dispensaries and clubs of the modern age.

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Thai sticks and cannagars

Thai sticks and cannagars

During the 1970s, the American cannabis scene discovered a new and revolutionary product originating from an exotic land: the Thai Stick. And while nowadays it might seem impossible, back then cannabis was a taboo subject in American culture, and very few people cultivated their own plants. In contrast, most of the weed they used came from the overseas market, particularly Central America and the Caribbean, but a large share of this marijuana cargo originated in Asia.

The explanation is simple: at the time, many hippies embarked on an adventure - that became known as the Hippie Hashish Trail - to visit some of the world's biggest cannabis and hashish producers, from Morocco to South East Asia, through countries like Egypt, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, India, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand, among others.

Naturally, drug-trafficking networks were soon established between all of these countries and the US as the cargo destination, mostly created by young American "tourists" with great entrepreneurial talent and very little interest in what could happen to them if they were caught.

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About this Cannabis Blog

This is the official blog of Alchimia Grow Shop. This blog is intended exclusively for the use of adults over the age of 18 years.

To buy equipment for growing cannabis at home you can consult our catalogue of cannabis seeds, grow shop and paraphernalia


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