New studies on marijuana are churned out nearly every day, with most of them focusing on novel findings about the plant’s therapeutic potential and the implications of legalization.
But cannabis itself isn’t new. Far from it. And a study published this month in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology documents the fascinating evolution of humanity’s relationship with marijuana over the course of thousands of years of history.
Researchers compiled a trove of documents from around the world and examined earlier studies in order to “provide a critical and comprehensive evaluation, from the ancient times to our days, of the ethnological, botanical, chemical and pharmacological aspects of [cannabis], with a vision for promoting further pharmaceutical research to explore its complete potential as a therapeutic agent.”
There’s a lot to learn from the paper. Here are a few things that stood out.
Where does cannabis come from?
Central Asia and Southeast Asia are considered the regions where the plant originated. It’s also where cannabis was domesticated. The regions are “believed to play a vital role in its evolution,” according to the study.
What was it used for?
Before its medical properties became known, the fibrous plant was commonly used for textile manufacturing. Archeologists have discovered “sophisticated plaited basketry” based on cannabis at Czech Palaeolithic sites, for example.
“In fact, it has been referred to as the oldest known cultivated fibre plant and even today it is used as a constituent of fishing nets,” the researchers, who are from Italy and Sweden, wrote.
How did people discover its potential as a recreational botanical?
There are a couple schools of thought on this topic. But from a “Western-centered viewpoint,” researchers generally believe that natural events caused the plant to be accidentally burned, inadvertently revealing its “psychotropic nature.”
Where has cannabis been featured in religion?
All over the place, apparently. Religious texts where marijuana is referenced span from the Old Testament, where it was seemingly mentioned as an “incense and sacred oil,” to Hinduism and tantric Buddhism, where the plant was once believed to “facilitate the meditation and communication with the spirits,” according to the new paper.
When was marijuana first used as medicine?
There’s certainly room for debate on this, but the researchers said that the timeline started about 5,000 years ago in China. The so-called “father” of Chinese agriculture, emperor Chen Nung, included the plant in the first Chinese pharmacopeia. That text said cannabis was prescribed for “fatigue, rheumatism and malaria.”
“Moreover, Chinese physicians used the seeds of [cannabis] mainly for their vegetal oils and proteins.”
When did cannabis first appear in the Americas?
Marijuana didn’t show up on American shores for thousands of years after it was first discovered. It was “not known in the Americas until the arrival and settlement of the first European colonists,” according to the researchers. “During this period [cannabis] was used primarily for the strength and the resistance of its fibres.”
“Indeed, the Spanish and English colonies in the Americas mainly imported the botanical varieties ideal for textile manufacturing.”
What are the origins of prohibition?
In 1484, Pope Innocent VIII issued a “papal bull” that denounced both witchcraft and the use of marijuana. Of course, the bulk of prohibitionary policies were introduced in the 20th century—with the “Marijuana Tax Act” in the United States in 1937 and an Act of Parliament in the United Kingdom in 1971.
Where did the name “Cannabis sativa” come from?
Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus coined the term “Cannabis sativa” in the middle of the 18th century, the researchers wrote. Subsequently, French naturalist Jean Lamark distinguished between Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica, writing that the former was a European plant and the latter came from “Indian origin varieties.”
Photo courtesy of Max Pixel.
Dave Chappelle Ate Magic Mushrooms Gifted By A Stranger, Joe Rogan Says
Comedian Dave Chappelle recently rented out a movie theater at 1:00 AM and took psilocybin mushrooms that a stranger handed him.
That’s according to Joe Rogan, who also attended the private screening of Quentin Tarantino’s new film with Chappelle after the pair performed a stand-up show in Tacoma, Washington.
“I’m pretty sure he ate mushrooms from a fan the other day,” Rogan said on his podcast last week.
“We have a private screening of Once Upon a Time In Hollywood at one o’clock in morning. Dave is eating mushrooms that some fucking guy gave him in the crowd,” he said.
Rogan, no stranger to tripping, said he did not partake in the psychedelic festivities this time.
“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me,” he joked.
That said, Chappelle did gift a bag of unlabeled cannabis edibles to Rogan, he said.
“I don’t know where the fuck they came from,” Rogan said. “They were in a bag.”
While Chappelle has incorporated marijuana and magic mushrooms in his comedy routines (like this 1998 bit where he also talked about taking shrooms he got from a stranger and then hallucinating during a haircut), he’s also seriously advocated for reforming cannabis policy.
Former NAACP President Ben Jealous, who ran for governor of Maryland in 2018 on a pro-legalization platform, credited Chappelle for first putting the idea or marijuana reform in his head.
The two had an “ongoing conversation about the history of marijuana enforcement—the way it was targeted at our community and Latino communities—and that just sort of opened my eyes,” Jealous told Marijuana Moment last year.
Whether Chappelle will go on to become a vocal advocate for psychedelics reform is yet to be seen.
Photo courtesy of YouTube/Joe Rogan Experience.
Here Are The Top 20 Most And Least Marijuana-Friendly U.S. Colleges
It’s back-to-school season, and as college students get ready to move into their dorms, some might be wondering about campus culture—including whether their school is marijuana friendly.
The Princeton Review is here to help. Besides ranking colleges overall each year, it also includes breakout sections offering ratings on a wide range of college features. For this year’s issue, the review guide looked at the top 20 universities where students use cannabis the most and least.
To compile the list, released earlier this week, Princeton Review asked 140,000 students at 385 schools a simple question: “How widely is marijuana used at your school?”
The results, for the most part, aren’t especially shocking. In general, marijuana is consumed most frequently at colleges located in states with looser cannabis laws, or more libertarian climates. Students are least likely to consume cannabis, according to the rankings, if they attend religious or military schools, or if the campuses are located in states with more restrictive cannabis policies.
Here are the most marijuana-friendly colleges:
1. University of Vermont (Burlington, Vermont)
2. Pitzer College (Claremont, California)
3. University of Rhode Island (Kingston, Rhode Island)
4. Wesleyan University (Middletown, Connecticut)
5. Skidmore College (Saratoga Springs, New York)
6. Reed College (Portland, Oregon)
7. University of Maine (Orono, Maine)
8. Bard College (Annandale-on-Hudson, New York)
9. Marlboro College (Marlboro, Vermont)
10. University of California at Santa Barbara (Santa Barbara, California)
11. Warren Wilson College (Asheville, North Carolina)
12. Sarah Lawrence College (Bronxville, New York)
13. State University of New York, Purchase College (Purchase, New York)
14. Champlain College (Burlington, Vermont)
15. Colorado College (Colorado Springs, Colorado)
16. University of Colorado at Boulder (Boulder, Colorado)
17. Ithaca College (Ithaca, New York)
18. University of Wisconsin at Madison (Madison, Wisconsin)
19. Syracuse University (Syracuse, New York)
20. Hamilton College (Clinton, New York)
Here are the least cannabis-friendly colleges:
1. United States Air Force Academy (USAF Academy, Colorado)
2. United States Military Academy (West Point, New York)
3. United States Naval Academy (Annapolis, Maryland)
4. College of the Ozarks (Point Lookout, Missouri)
5. Thomas Aquinas College (Santa Paula, California)
6. Brigham Young University (Provo, Utah)
7. Wheaton College (Wheaton, Illinois)
8. City University of New York, Baruch College (New York, New York)
9. Calvin University (Grand Rapids, Michigan)
10. Grove City College (Grove City, Pennsylvania)
11. City University of New York, Hunter College (New York, New York)
12. Baylor University (Waco, Texas)
13. Gordon College (Wenham, Massachusetts)
14. Hillsdale College (Hillsdale, Michigan)
15. Illinois Institute of Technology (Chicago, Illinois)
16. Stephens College (Columbia, Missouri)
17. University of Dallas (Irving, Texas)
18. Pepperdine University (Malibu, California)
19. Agnes Scott College (Decatur, Georgia)
20. Simmons University (Boston, Massachusetts)
Regardless of how much or little students at a given college consume marijuana, those who choose to partake could be at risk of losing the means by which they pay for their tuition. Drug convictions can lead to the loss of federal financial aid, which is why some lawmakers are pushing for legislation to protect such students from being denied access to education over a substance that is becoming legal in more and more places.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.
More Than 150 Proposed SXSW Marijuana Panels Are Being Voted On For Next Year’s Festival
More than 150 different marijuana-focused panels are up for consideration to be featured at next year’s South by Southwest (SXSW) festival and its related SWSW EDU event.
SXSW solicited the submissions last month, urging individuals to help them fill out the lineup for its “Cannabusiness Track.” The collection of panels are meant to explore the “technological, cultural, financial, legal and political ecosystems that are defining the cannabis-focused enterprises of both today and tomorrow.”
But not all of the suggested panels are going to make the cut. An online vote opened on Monday for people to support the proposals they want to see, and that voting period closes on August 23. Proposed discussions touch on everything from social equity in the industry to protecting intellectual property to setting CBD product safety standards.
Here are some examples of what could appear at SXSW next March:
—Frenemies: Cannabis Activists & Cannabis Industry. Kris Krane, president of 4Front Ventures and former executive director of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, explores the growing tension between the marijuana industry and activists, as debate intensifies over how to create a legal cannabis market that’s socially equitable.
—Cannabis Restorative Justice. Members of the Last Prisoner Project, including Harborside co-founder Steve DeAngelo, discuss the long-term impacts of marijuana criminalization and their experience being incarcerated over cannabis. The panel will also touch on ways “the cannabis industry can work together to repair these past and continuing injustices.”
—Is Cannabis Media Coverage Fair Or Biased? Journalists on the marijuana beat talk about the evolution in cannabis coverage and biases in how mainstream media outlets report on marijuana.
—Cannabis As A Catalyst For Change. A panel of experts, including representatives from the Drug Policy Alliance, will seek to inform the audience about “policy positions they can support to ensure the cannabis industry is operating in a socially responsible manner,” ensuring diversity in marijuana businesses and how to invest in communities disproportionately impacted by prohibition.
—IP Rights And Threats In The Cannabis Industry. Intellectual property attorney Larry Sandell will share his expertise on making sure that cannabis companies protect their innovations and branding. He will offer a “primer on utility patents, design patents, plant patents, trademarks, trade secrets, plant variety protection certificates, and copyrights—all from the cannabis perspective.”
—Full Recovery: Mixing Cannabis With Sobriety. Medicine Box CEO Brian Chaplin will answer questions about incorporating marijuana into a “sober, mindful lifestyle,” drawing from his own experience using cannabis to wean off an anti-depressant.
—The United States Of Cannabis. Experts at the Marijuana Policy Project will give the audience a status update on cannabis reform efforts throughout the country and offer perspective on how reform advances through ballot initiative and state legislatures. The panel will also provide a preview of how MPP plans to allocate resources to continue changing cannabis laws in the coming years.
—Descheduling Cannabis: Be Careful What You Wish. Market analysts will dive into the debate over potential industry changes that could occur if marijuana is federally descheduled. Panelists will raise questions about how descheduling could lend to a market model that favors established corporations like Walmart over marijuana businesses.
—Can The South Rise To End Pot Prohibition? This panel will take a look at obstacles that southern states have faced in legalizing and decriminalizing marijuana. Entrepreneurs from the region discuss what it will take for “the South to ultimately rise above prohibition” and answer questions about how to ensure that the industry that emerges will be inclusive.
—Reporting On The Corporatization Of Psychedelics. Staff at the psychedelics publication DoubleBlind will explore the rapidly changing politics of psychedelics like psilocybin and MDMA. Conversations will concern the potential corporatization of psychedelics and “accessibility of psychedelic medicine” today.
—Cannabusiness In Africa: Is There A Future? As several African countries weigh getting into the cannabis export business, panelists will go over how the industry can be “developed responsibly and help support broad based economic growth in some of the world’s poorest countries.”
—The Corporatization Of Marijuana. Panelists including former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) will talk about just how much the government—at the state and local level—should be regulating cannabis as well as concerns about underage consumption and impaired driving.
This isn’t the first time that SXSW has featured marijuana panels. This year’s SXSW festival involved more than 20 cannabis events, including discussions that covered female entrepreneurship in the cannabis market and the prospect of marijuana reform in Texas.
Former Republican House Speaker John Boehner, who joined the board of a major cannabis firm after leaving office, delivered a keynote address at one panel, which drew protests from social justice advocates who argued that restorative justice needs to be a critical component of legal cannabis systems that profit-minded “Big Marijuana” companies are currently benefiting from.
Photo courtesy of Mike Latimer.