Humans were getting high on marijuana long before Woodstock. Actually, try 10,000 years earlier. Cannabis predates other drugs and alcohol by over 3,000 years.

A new study reveals that cannabis was used earlier and by more people than originally assumed. It was believed that cannabis was grown and used in China or Central Asia. The new study disputes this with proof that the herb was used at the same time in Europe as well as in Asia.

The research team, led by Tengwen Long and Pavel Tarasov at the Free University of Berlin, Germany compiled a database of prehistoric cannabis use. Archaeological records show that the herb was used in Japan and Eastern Europe
10, 200 –11,500 years ago.

Toward the end of the Stone Age, humans in Europe and Asia discovered a new plant once hidden by the glacial ice melt … cannabis. They began to use its hemp for clothing, seeds for nutrition and leaves for smoking. Burned cannabis seeds have been found at ancient archaeological sites.

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Prehistoric man discovered cannabis and traded it for commodities.

When Bronze Age nomadic herders realized the herb’s value, they began to trade it with other tribes for livestock. It was determined that the herb was sold for psychoactive use. The use of cannabis spread throughout Eurasia by the Yamnaya Tribe.. They are one of three tribes thought to have founded the European civilization and were the first to tame and ride horses. Thus, they could cover more ground more quickly. DNA evidence shows how they migrated east and west. They formed a transcontinental trade network, predecessor to the famous Silk Road. They traded commodities, one of which was cannabis.

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Long says,

It’s a hypothesis that requires more evidence to test (but it was a) cash crop before cash.

David Anthony at Hartwick College in Oneonta, New York, an expert on the Yamnaya people says,

The expansion of cannabis use as a drug seems to be linked to movements out of the steppe. Cannabis might have been reserved for special feasts or rituals.

It’s interesting that only Western Eurasians continually used cannabis to this day. In East Asia, use was scattered.

Barney Warf at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas says,

People talk about Herodotus’s accounts of hanging out in the Crimean peninsula smoking weed with the Scythians. I think there’s a largely untold story of cannabis in Europe from the Bronze Age up until the Renaissance.

Even today, modern man no doubt has countless stories about hanging out smoking weed.

Nancy Loyan Schuemann

Nancy Loyan Schuemann is a writer specializing in architecture, safes, profiles, histories and a multi-published fiction and non-fiction author and is Nailah, Middle Eastern dancer.

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