PLANT FOLKLORE: Cannabis | Community


Cannabis sativa was used to make ropes in ancient China. The rope served as proxy snakes to beat sick beds, driving out demons that caused disease. Quality textiles and many other useful things are still made from the hemp plant.

“Hemp for Victory” is a 1942 US Department of Agriculture film (available on YouTube) about the importance of hemp in the war effort. It was necessary for the rope for the ships, as the traditional supply sources in the East had been cut off. The film highlights the cultivation of hemp in Kentucky and Missouri.

Science doesn’t differentiate between hemp and marijuana. They are the same species.

Hemp contains 0.3% or less of tetrahydrocannabinol; marijuana has more. THC is the substance that produces the high. This is comparable to purple and orange carrots; purple may have more beta carotene, but it’s still carrots.

The criminalization of marijuana in the United States was a state-by-state process, which ultimately led to federal legislation. Its decriminalization seems to follow a similar path. As individual states and municipalities legalize possession of small amounts, initiatives for a single national policy are suggested.

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized the cultivation of hemp across the United States. Growing marijuana (with the exception of medical marijuana facilities) is not nationally legal.

Cannabis has a long cultural history in several countries. China was once known as “the land of mulberry and hemp”. Silkworms were fed on mulberry trees, and hemp was used both medicinally and in making textiles. The oils and teas were made to relieve pain. Consuming small amounts of the seeds would allow a person to communicate with the spirits.

The ancient Egyptian Ebers papyrus, a medical text, gave formulas for hemp essences. They treated pain, inflammation, and depression.

The goddesses Seshat and Bastet were depicted with cannabis leaves on their heads. Their devotees consumed the plant during religious ceremonies.

The ancient Greeks used cannabis incense to ward off evil spirits. It was also used in shrines and by oracles to purify themselves. Theophrastus, the first Greek botanist, mentions the plant in his writings.

In India, the Vedas (Hindu sacred texts) are a source of knowledge about nature and spirituality. Cannabis is mentioned in Vedic scriptures as a sacred plant. It was believed that a guardian angel lived in its leaves.

Cannabis, in all its forms, has been shown to be useful to humans for millennia.

– Reference librarian Lisa Karen Miller has been practicing gardening and researching plants for many years. Do you have any plant knowledge to share? Send an email to [email protected]

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