Cannabis, which is the oldest source of herbal raw materials in human history, also has industrial uses and many benefits. It is used in medicine making, paper making, fuel making, fabric making, automotive industry, and cosmetics making. Cannabis is a hard, bushy, hollow stem, palmate-leaved, dioecious and annual. Apart from those, the fibers of the cannabis plant are very long and solid. Due to this feature, it is often preferred in areas such as sacks, rope bags, and nets. So where do you think cannabis originated from?
The origin of cannabis is thought to be Central Asian. In recent studies, it has been estimated that the origin of cannabis dates back to 10 thousand to 12 thousand years ago, in a region within the borders of today’s People’s Republic of China. Important regions for the origin of cannabis are the lands of China, India, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan. Later, since cannabis can be grown almost everywhere, it spread all over the world.
Introduction to Cannabis
Cannabis is one of the oldest plants used throughout human history. Thanks to its fibrous structure, it can be used as a raw material in many areas. Cannabis, a member of the Cannabaceae family, is an annual plant. The plant is quite hardy so it can grow in many different environments. A feature of cannabis is that it can reproduce alone without being of the opposite sex. In this way, it can preserve the extinction of its species.
There are species such as Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis Indica, and Cannabis Ruderalis. The type of cannabis used to get high is “Cannabis Indica.” The homeland of the plant is Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent. However, since the plant can grow in difficult conditions, it is widely distributed. The cannabis plant has sexes as female cannabis, male cannabis, and hermaphrodite cannabis, which is bisexual. The contents and harvest times of male and female cannabis are different. The male cannabis produces pollen, while the female plant has flowers.
The female cannabis must deliver pollen. Therefore, it is taller and has a thicker body. The flowers of the male cannabis are in the form of a cluster, the leaves are less than that of the female cannabis. The end of July is harvest time. The male cannabis plant has tiny balls that grow where other branches meet the trunk, this does not happen with female cannabis. The plant produces pollen thanks to these buds.
The female cannabis is shorter than the male cannabis and has a broad stem. In addition, the leaves are more and wider. The harvest time of female cannabis is 20-25 days after male cannabis. Where the female cannabis branches meet the trunk, there is a tufted area. To distinguish between male and female cannabis, the plant must be at least 4 weeks old. The cannabis plant is very difficult to distinguish during its growth phase, so it may be necessary to wait for the flowering and growing phase.
We mentioned that the cannabis plant can reproduce without the opposite sex. Androgynous cannabis is a plant species whose graft is formed as a result of stress, for the survival of the plant species. It contains both reproductive organs to produce the progeny of the plant species. To distinguish the sex of this plant, the plant must be at least 4 weeks old. It is not possible to distinguish gender from cannabis seeds.
Cannabis has been used in many fields, especially in the field of raw materials, tranquilizers, and health throughout human history. Products belonging to the weaving sector such as sacks, nets, ropes, and fabrics are made from cannabis, which has a very fibrous structure. The leaves are used in medicine and cosmetics. The seeds of the plant are quite oily, therefore, they are used to make products such as fuel, soap, and paint.
Benefits of Cannabis
Cannabis is a plant that is called “green gold” in the industry and has a wide range of benefits and uses. It is thought that the first use of cannabis dates back to 8 thousand years ago. This herb is one of the four plants mentioned in the Sumerian tablets. Cannabis is 10 times stronger than cotton. It has been determined that the threads obtained from cannabis are antibacterial.
The raw material of the first jeans made is cannabis. Cannabis is used in the production of ropes used by sailors, textile products such as athletes, fuel, soap, and cosmetic products. The stem, leaves, and seeds of cannabis are used. Cannabis seeds contain a lot of oil, so they are used in fuel, soap, and cosmetic products. Cannabis seeds’ benefits include:
- Used as bird feed
- It is a source of folic acid.
- It contains minerals such as magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, manganese, and sodium.
- It contains high protein.
- Protects bone and muscle health.
- It contains gamma-linoleic acid (GLA), thus it provides the body’s hormone balance.
- Contains omega fatty acids, and protects brain health.
- It strengthens memory.
- Thanks to its rich content, it provides hair care and prevents hair loss.
- It protects skin health and makes the skin lively and bright.
- It has pain-relieving properties.
- It reduces the menstrual period complaints experienced by women.
- Cannabis seeds are very rich in fiber, so they facilitate digestion and prevent problems such as constipation.
- Thanks to its calming properties, it prevents the problem of insomnia.
- Thanks to the iron it contains, it solves the problem of anemia.
- It relieves problems such as chronic fatigue, headache, and weakness.
Cannabis oil is the oil obtained from the seeds of the plant. Oil is obtained by squeezing the seeds of the plant without being subjected to high heat. Cannabis oil, which has a very high nutritional value, has many benefits. Cannabis oil has rich content. It contains minerals and vitamins such as omega acids, GLA, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and iron, so it has many benefits.
- It is protective against cancer.
- It lowers bad cholesterol and protects cardiovascular health.
- Balances hormones
- It has pain-relieving properties and is good for joint pain.
- Cannabis oil has appetizing properties. Cannabis oil balances blood sugar and suppresses the body’s hunger attacks and sugar cravings. Thanks to this feature, cannabis oil helps to lose weight.
- Provides hair care.
- Cannabis oil is an anti-aging oil. Thanks to linoleic acid in its content, it renews skin cells and reduces wrinkles.
- Cannabis oil is very beneficial for the skin. It renews cells and makes the skin look more lively and healthy. Cannabis oil relieves acne and acne problems.
- It is good for eczema.
Cannabis is a plant with different uses according to its type. Known as female cannabis, it contains more than 0.3 THC. THC is used to get high. Especially female cannabis leaves are used as drugs-marijuana. Female cannabis is also called “marijuana weed”.
Cannabis is among the plants that are forbidden to grow in many countries. This is because female cannabis, known as the “marijuana plant”, has a narcotic effect. Therefore, the cultivation of female cannabis is a prohibited plant. This plant is not grown without the permission of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
Cannabis is the “Cannabis sativa” strain of cannabis. It is used as a raw material source in textile products such as sacks, ropes, and bags. The drug is obtained from the seeds and leaves of female cannabis. Seeds and leaves are processed into a powder. Powdered female marijuana is used as a narcotic.
Industrial cannabis is the type that contains less than 0.3 THC in the leaves and seeds of the cannabis plant. It is used in many fields, especially industrial cannabis, paper, soluble plastic, textile, medicine, cosmetics, and fuel. The difference between jute and industrial cannabis is the THC ratio. Cannabis contains more than 0.3 THC and cannabis is used to make drugs. Industrial cannabis is grown for industrial use only.
Cannabis is used in many fields, especially in health, cosmetics, textiles, and paper. The stem, leaves, and seeds of the plant are used in different areas. However, especially, female cannabis has a narcotic effect and it can be addictive. Side effects such as mental emptiness, memory loss, and lung damage may occur.
The Origin and History of Cannabis
The earliest use of cannabis dates back to China in 4000 BC, where it was used primarily to grow crops. The 5 most common cannabis uses of all ancient societies are textile, medicine, drugs, food, and oil. Many cultures viewed cannabis as a sacred good and either burned it (for any of various purposes, such as smoking or diving) or dressed it up during ceremonies. In Africa, cannabis was used to treat fevers and diseases such as malaria and bloody diarrhea.
Even the villagers of the 17th century held traditions, believing in the potency and value of cannabis. Some African tribes, such as the Hotantos, valued cannabis, which they called dagga, more valuable than gold and felt that it numbed their brains like opium. They carried their crests in their small pouches and fastened them under the ivory rings they wore around their guns.
Henry VIII ordered farmers in England to grow cannabis on 0.40 hectares of every 2.43 hectares of land. The English began growing cannabis in their Canadian colonies in 1606 and in Virginia in 1611. After learning about its cultivation from the Indians, the Pilgrim community of Puritans began farming cannabis in the New England region of the USA as early as 1632.
Although the colonists were not particularly keen on growing cannabis, the homeland made it mandatory to grow cannabis in the colonies. In the mid-1600s, courts in places like Hartford, Connecticut, and Massachusetts were ordering all families to plant a teaspoon of marijuana seeds. Cannabis was so valuable that it was used as a method of paying taxes, and some colonial ministers were forcing residents to buy their yarn-like materials with cannabis.
By 1776, they passed laws encouraging many colonial farmers, including Virginia, to grow cannabis, and fined those who didn’t comply, prompting them to grow cannabis. Britain demanded raw materials from its colonies to increase its workforce. Being able to produce products locally, the colonists became increasingly self-sufficient as they grew cannabis, leading them to boycott British cloth products.
Because of this, the colonizers’ becoming more capable of independence resulted in the American Revolution. Uses of cannabis during the American Revolutionary War included the stationery indispensable for passing letters between war leaders, as the colonialists had to devise many strategies to deal with the more abundant and mighty Red Jackets (British soldiers).
In his most famous work, Common Sense, Thomas Paine writes: “We have a plethora of defense items for just about every other item. Cannabis is so plentiful that we don’t need to ask for a set of ropes.” George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, the founding fathers of this country, both supported cannabis farming. In his farm diary, Washington talked about the quality of the seeds and how convenient it was to grow them at the right time, and how he planted them in the most productive parts of his farm.
In the 1790s, Washington began cultivating cannabis, which was said to be superior to the common one, making it the best plant for him in the 1790s. During his term as governor of Virginia, Jefferson maintained cannabis reserves and even used cannabis as currency in May 1781 in the absence of federal funds. Jefferson even edited the American Declaration of Independence into cannabis paper, and Benjamin Franklin owned a factory that produced cannabis paper.
In 1792, Kentucky’s legislature levied a tax of $20 per tonne on imported cannabis, encouraging the state to start growing its own cannabis as opposed to buying an increasingly expensive raw material. Since the land in the state was not suitable for growing grain crops in the 1800s, cannabis became one of the most important crops in Kentucky.
To compensate for their inability to grow crops other than cannabis, Kentucky, called the Prairie Bluegrass State, developed its own agro-industry with cannabis. Taking into account that Kentucky is a southern state, farmers used slaves to grow the biggest money crops, and slavery in Kentucky flourished because of blacks’ supposed expertise in handling the dirty business of cannabis products, including breaking, cleaning, and making profits.
Henry Ford, the inventor of the assembly line, used cannabis as biomass to produce alcohol. He also discovered that 30% of cannabis seed oil can be used as premium diesel fuel. Thanks to the fuel that powered the machines and some of his vehicles, such as the later 1908 Model T car, Ford pioneered what is known as mass production, which created many jobs and kept the economy on track during the very successful 1920s.
In the 1930s, William Randolph Hearst, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon, the Rockefeller family developing their ground oil (petroleum)-based empires, and other oil-based oil barons were all intent on destroying the renewable resource, cannabis, and biomass fuel industries. Hearst, one of the most well-known journalists, even used his newspaper to use the word marijuana for cannabis because it would make cannabis more illegal. Fear of tactics similar to those of the most influential magnates of the time led to the 1937 Cannabis Tax Act, which preceded the demise of the industrial cannabis industry in the United States.
Cannabis Has Its Origins in Asia and Europe 10,000 Years Ago
At the end of the Last Ice Age, about 11,5,000 to 10,200 years ago, Stone Age people in Eastern Europe and Japan began using cannabis independently of each other. Other research on historical cannabis use suggests a link between the rise of intercontinental trade in the Bronze Age, about 5,000 years ago, and the rise of cannabis use in East Asia.
The Yamnaya peoples of Eurasia, thought to be one of the four ancestral lineages of the Europeans, began spreading eastward during this period, 5,000 years ago. These people are also thought to have spread cannabis, and perhaps its psychoactive properties, throughout Eurasia. The pollen, fruit, and fibers of the cannabis plant have been unearthed for years in archaeological excavations in Eurasia.
Tengwen Long and Pavel Tarasov of the Free University of Berlin in Germany collected information on these archaeological digs in a database to reveal trends and patterns in prehistoric cannabis use. It’s generally thought that cannabis was first used and possibly domesticated in China or Central Asia, but the database also points to an alternative option, the researchers say.
The most recent studies included in the database suggest that the plant began appearing in archaeological records in Japan and Eastern Europe around the same time, between 11,500 and 10,200 years ago. “The cannabis plant appears to have spread over a wide geography from 10,000 years ago, maybe even earlier,” says Long.
Researchers suggest that different groups on the Eurasian landmass began using this plant independently during this period, perhaps for its psychoactive effects, perhaps as a source of food or medicine, or perhaps to make cloth from its fibers. But only in Western Eurasia has cannabis been used regularly by humans for millennia, according to Tarasov and Long’s database. Long says the early evidence for use in East Asia is rather scattered.
This situation seems to have changed at the beginning of the Bronze Age, about 5,000 years ago. During this period, cannabis use in East Asia apparently became more intense. Tarasov and Long think the timing of this increase makes sense.
By this time, nomadic herders in the Eurasian steppes specialized in horse riding. This allowed them to travel long distances and begin to build intercontinental trade networks along the routes that would become the Silk Road a few millennia later. This earlier Bronze Age Trade Route allowed a thousand and one types of commodities to spread between the west and east, possibly including cannabis.
“We need more evidence to test this hypothesis,” says Long, but says that the high value of cannabis will also make it an ideal trade-in product at this time. Other evidence suggests that people and products were in motion at the beginning of the Bronze Age. For example, Wheat, which began to be grown in the Middle East 10,000 years ago, also began to appear in China 5,000 years ago, Long says.
Ancient DNA studies published in the last few years also confirm that one of the steppe pastoral societies, the Yamnaya, spread both east and west during this period. According to some researchers, burnt cannabis seeds found in archaeological excavations may indicate that the Yamnayas spread the idea of smoking cannabis throughout Eurasia.
David Anthony of Hartwick College, who studies Yamnayas, says that at certain times Yamnayas may have used cannabis for its psychoactive properties. The spread of the use of cannabis as a drug appears to be associated with outward movements from the steppes.
“As we know from ancient Greek historians, the Scythians, nomadic herders who lived in the steppes after the Yamnayas, regularly used cannabis as a drug,” says Barney Warf of the University of Kansas. It is mentioned that the historian Herodotus recounted his memories of smoking cannabis with the Scythians in the Crimean peninsula.” “I think cannabis has an untold story in Europe from the Bronze Age to the Renaissance,” Warf says, adding that the new studies are very interesting.
The Exact Origin of Cannabis Is China, According to Genetic Analyzes
A group of researchers studied 110 different cannabis genomes. Their findings revealed the genesis of Cannabis sativa in northwest China. New genetic studies reveal that the cannabis plant originates in what is now northwestern China, where local lineages are most similar to the original cannabis strain cultivated 12,000 years ago.
Adding 82 more genomes to the 28 already sequenced, the study, the most comprehensive review ever of the entire genomes of cannabis plants, shows that cannabis was probably first domesticated in the early Neolithic in modern China near the borders of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, and from there spread around the world as different varieties.
Luca Fumagalli, a geneticist at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland, says researchers have identified a previously unknown “basal type” cannabis plant from northwest China. Fumagalli says there is substantial scientific debate about where the cannabis plant originated from as it is so common now, and suggestions include Western Asia, Central Asia, and northern China.
These were tall, branchless stem plants rich in cellulose suitable for producing fibers for rope and textiles. However, they were not of the so-called basal type, which is suitable for fiber production and produces psychoactive effects.
Most biologists now think that two different cannabis species—Cannabis indica and Cannabis Rawlis—are the only species in the genus to be a subspecies of Cannabis sativa, which was domesticated more than about 12,000 years ago. These dates are confirmed by archaeological evidence that includes traces of ancient cannabis seeds found in pottery from southern China, Taiwan, and Japan.
Fumagalli says the genetic study led the researchers to conclude that all cannabis plants living today are descended from plants domesticated in the original region and that the wild ancestors of Cannabis sativa are probably now extinct. Different cannabis strains must have started to diverge from the basal strain sometime after they were domesticated, and the study showed that the cannabis strain emerged about 4,000 years ago, probably when humans began choosing plants for fiber production.
Cannabis strains now grow in the wild in parts of Europe, Central Asia, and northern China. Cannabis strains grown commercially for residual drugs are only those of the drug strain chosen for the higher psychoactive chemicals they produce. Wild drug strains have been growing in the wild in South and Southeast Asia over the past few thousand years, where cannabis appears to have been cultivated primarily for its psychoactive effects.
Most notably, the four types of cannabis differ in gene assemblies that control the production of two specific acidic cannabinoids. (CBDA, which produces the chemical CBD and stands out in the cannabis variety, and THCA, which produces the more psychoactive chemical THC.) Inside the plant, both CBDA and THCA are produced by the same raw material, cannabigerolic acid or CBGA, and compete for this raw material.
Scientists think both sets of genes likely play an important role in the plant’s defenses. However, the genes produce very different effects on the cultivation of each plant species, with the cannabis strain that supports the production of the CBDA genetic setup and the drug type that supports the THCA genetic setup.
The researchers note that cannabis has long been viewed as an important source of fiber for textiles, as well as a source of medicinal and recreational drugs, but domestication is difficult to establish due to both legal restrictions and clandestine production of the drug.
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