by Martijn on 10/07/2015 | Sensi Seeds News

The long and rich history of Cannabis Sativa L.

The past 30 years have been extremely valuable for Sensi Seeds, but we realize that this period is only one grain of sand on the beach of the history of cannabis.

Currently we are celebrating the 30th anniversary of Sensi Seeds and this includes several specials and interviews on the blog. We are celebrating 3 decades full of love and passion for the cannabis plant, and activism in order to allow the plant to return to its rightful place in society.

As such, this article examines the long and rich history of the plant, a history of tens of thousands of years, by recalling articles that once again allow us to realize the power of cannabis. In doing so, we show its will to survive anywhere on earth and to recreationally, medicinally and industrially serve its users.

10 milestones in the history of cannabis

An image of a concrete milestone with an engraved marijuana leaf.

To begin a little lightheartedly, but also to give an impression of the articles below, we’ll start with 10 milestones in the history of cannabis. The first milestone can be found in the China of 6,000 years ago, where the oldest archaeological finds with a reference to cannabis and hemp originated. In 1937, cannabis was banned, but in recent years this ban is on the wane. The history of cannabis in a nutshell can be read here.

Cannabis in archaeology and paleobotany

An image of a raspberry bush’s branch, heavy with fruit of varying ripeness.

To maintain chronological order, let’s continue this list with an article that looks back millions of years. Fossils enable us to gain a good estimate of the presence of plants and animals in ancient times. Although no fossils of Cannabis Sativa L. have yet been found, fossils exist from related species that are about 66 to 82.5 million years old. Read about cannabis in prehistoric times.

History of cannabis and early migrations to the New Continent: America

An image of a map of North America and South America by Jean Janvier dating to 1862. In the bottom right corner it reads “L'Amerique divisée Par Grands Etats”.

The cannabis plant is native to the Asian continent, but the plant has spread throughout the world. In this article David Hurtado, a writer for the Spanish Cañamo Magazine, considers how cannabis could have travelled to the New World, the Americas. Read part 1 of this article here and the 2nd part here.

Japan, land of imperial hemp and the rising sun in the 21st century

An image of an old Japanese farm house in Toyonaka City, Osaka Prefecture, Japan. The roof is made of straw, and the house of wood. A cherry blossom tree stands on a short hill to besides the home. Two observers with white parasols stand in front.

Hemp has always been invaluable for Japan. In ancient Japan the emperor enjoyed a divine respect and together with hemp, they were the supreme symbols for the protection of the country. Cannabis was planted in gardens and temples throughout the country to protect it from harm. Read more in this two-part article about the history of cannabis and hemp in Japan. Click here for part 1 and here for part 2.

Cannabis coats of arms – the history of cannabis symbols

An image of the Coat of arms of Wangen-Brüttisellen, in Zurich Switzerland. It features a single hemp plant with six marijuana leaves on a white background.

In the past, coats of arms were used to symbolize a person, a family, a city or state or a group of related people. Especially in Europe, where the use of coats of arms was developed further owing to the diversity of rulers, logos with cannabis and hemp regularly appeared; further proof that cannabis has long been very important for mankind. Read more about the history of cannabis symbols here.

Cannabis in Israel: History, legislation, medicine, activism

A 18th century black and white illustrated portrait of Moses Maimonides, a medieval Sephardic Jewish philosopher and scholar. He wears a white turban, beard, and an oriental dress.

Israel has played an important role in the history of cannabis. Interesting discoveries have been made linking cannabis to theology and now, a great deal of research is being done in Israel into the medicinal properties of the plant. Israel also has good medical programmes in place for patients who want to involve cannabis in their treatment and it is the homeland of Professor Raphael Mechoulam, the discoverer of THC. In short, it is a country that should not be overlooked on this journey through history. Read part 1 and part 2 here about cannabis in Israel.

The Cannabis in … series

A collage image including: the flag of Kyrgyzstan superimposed on farmers working a field, the flag of Tajikistan blending into an image of a marijuana leaf, and a photograph of Greek pro-marijuana protestors with the Greek flag in the top right corner.

Sensi Seeds’ expert writer Seshata has already been providing fantastic contributions to the blog for a number of years. She’s the creator of the successful country series “Cannabis in …”, in which she looks at the history of cannabis in a particular country, its cultural use and the current situation. These are all interesting background stories, but some we”d like to mention here are Cannabis in Kyrgyzstan, Cannabis in Greece and Cannabis in Tadzhikistan. Search for “Cannabis in” on the blog for even more articles.

2 x 10 cannabis documentaries you have to see

A graphic of a filmstrip with a marijuana leaf centre framed.

A total of 20 cannabis documentaries detailing every facet of the cannabis plant, including of course its rich history, are presented in the following two articles. Our favourites are in part 1 “Magic Weed: History of Marijuana” and “Grass – The History of Marijuana”, which is a must-see, and in part 2 “True History of Marijuana” and “The hemp revolution”. But the other documentaries are also more than worth it!

CannaZapp 6: the history of the ban on cannabis

A still from opening of Sensi Seeds webshow CannaZapp. A black bar goes across a frame of television static interrupting a series of vertical images of marijuana plants. Centre on the black bar reads the words: CANNAZAPP, the lettering is completely transparent allowing the marijuana leaf imagery to come through. Written below the title in white is “Presented by”, followed by social media symbols of Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

CannaZapp is a Sensi Seeds production and presents various cannabis-related statements from the past and present, with the aim of shining a spotlight on the events and people that brought the cannabis plant to where it is today. In this special episode, a timeline is presented that begins with the historical use of cannabis and then demonstrates the absurdity of the ban on cannabis. See the video here.

The many names of cannabis

A contemporary map depicting Indo-European Migration and the expansion of Indo-European languages.

Because the cannabis plant is invaluable to many cultures worldwide, it’s no surprise that where the use of cannabis became commonplace, it was often given its own name. The spread of cannabis can be followed on the basis of its many names. Also see also the article about the name “ganja“; it may be widely used in Jamaica, but this name didn’t originate there.

Cannabis during the French protectorate over Morocco

A large brick of hash is weighed on small scale. On top of the hash a label reads “Chocolate ½ Oz.”

For years, Morocco was the largest hash producer and exporter in the world. In 1912, the country was split into a Spanish and French part. This was also the time when rules regarding cannabis and hash first appeared, although this never succeeded in eliminated their production and export. Read this article and learn about Moroccan hash and the French protectorate.

10 milestones in cannabis legalisation

A photograph of young man at a busy protest wearing sports clothing. He exhales smoke, while holding a joint in his right hand, and a cut-out of a marijuana leaf in his left. On the leaf are the words “Uruguay Regula 2013”.


And the list ends as it started, with 10 milestones. These involve the latest piece of cannabis history, i.e. the emergence of and the fight against cannabis prohibition. Although the fight is not yet over, in the last few years there has been a great deal of progress in returning cannabis to its rightful place in society. Grow on!

Now that some of the articles from our blog that examine the history of cannabis have been brought to the fore, Sensi Seeds feels proud; proud about the extraordinary history of the plant, of all the things we have achieved with the plant in our relatively short time together, and proud that our desire to inform the public has led to the creation of a fantastic blog!

Cannabis has always been there and will always be there, and each new day contributes to enriching the history of cannabis!


Comment Section

Got an opinion? Let us know by leaving a comment.

Read More
Read More
Read More
Read More