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A History of Cannabis

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History of Cannabis and its Preparations in Saga, Science and Sobriquet

by Ethan Russo (2007)

on Hillig and Mahlbergs' two species chemotaxonomy

"A geographic map based on the results depicted an epicenter of origin for C. sativa ["fibre hemp] in current Kazakhstan, and one for C. indica ["drug cannabis"] in the Western Himalayas"



an alternative source:

xtrememediademo.com [PDF]

Edited by namkha
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:applause: :notworthy::cheers::beer:

Thank you good sir. :yes:

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hey Randalizer

most welcome sahib

just finished reading the full thing myself


I really need to get hold of Hillig's other articles

I hadn't appreciated that the research pointed to the Western Himalaya as the likely original home of all forms of C. indica

it seems that includes the wide leaflet indica var. chinensis, and indica var. afghanica forms, as well as indica var. indica, what Western growers call 'sativas'

it makes RSC's offering suddenly look a lot more exciting, as we have offered 7 varieties from the Western Himalaya to date

Garhwali Jungli
Garhwali Jungli #2
Malana Cream
Pahari Farmhouse
Nanda Devi
Kullu Jungli

all of them would be very interesting for growers and researchers to look at

Edited by namkha

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superb Namkha. I might aquire some of the cited authors/books to read more about it. Im really interested in some pathologies and how/if cannabis has a positive effect in alliviating them. Mainly bronchitis and asthma, sleep/nervous disorders, metabolic disorders, melanoma (skin carcinoma), acute and chronic inflamatory process of soft tissues (muscles, etc...). Im also interested if there is any evidence of a postitive effect in thyroid metabolism (in this case lack of it or even early stages of carcigenous development, nodules formation). This will assume a non-smokable form, but in other alternative ways of administration. Thank you, great knowledge.

Edited by wildnature
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hi wildnature --- the book Medicinal Uses of Cannabis and Cannabinoids is a good place to start

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the question of the origins of African cannabis is interesting; specifically of Sub-Saharan cannabis

this is a relevant section from the Merlin paper:

In Africa the archaeological evidence for ancient Cannabis is not substantial yet; but its first presence and use on the African continent may date back as much as 2,000 years ago. All of the historical references suggest dispersal from Central, South, or Southeast Asia into Africa prior to European contact. Indeed, the archeological, linguistic, and historical evidence from the 12th century A.D. to the present indicates that Cannabis was brought to Africa by Moslem sea traders from the Indian subcontinent, via Arabia, possibly as early as the 1st century A.D. (du Toit 1980; also see Emboden 1972 and LaBarre 1980). Cannabis appears to have spread down the eastern coast of Africa and then inland throughout the tropical sub-Saharan region. Dispersal across Africa was most likely slow, as only scattered sedentary farming cultures inhabited this region.

According to Emboden (1972), ‘‘None of the more elaborate techniques of using Cannabis in the Mediterranean or the Near East accompanied the plant into Africa, and practices in the central part of the continent in the thirteenth century were very simple.’’ Direct evidence of Cannabis use comes from ‘‘two ceramic smoking-pipe bowls, excavated in Lalibela Cave, Begemeder Province, Ethiopia’’ (van der Merwe 1975; cf. Dombrowski 1971; Fig. 17). Modified thin-layer chromatography indicated the pipe residues contained ‘‘cannabis-derived compounds.’’ The bowls were dated to 1320 +/- 80 A.D. According to van der Merwe, this evidence suggests that ‘‘some variety of Cannabis sativa was smoked around Lake Tana in the 13th–14th century, in much the same way as it is today.’’ Subsequent related dates for charcoal at 630 +/- 80 B.P. and residue in one of the pipes at 510 +/- 90 (Fig. 18) have been reported (van der Merwe 2003). La Barre (1980) notes that ‘‘the hypothesis of African pipe smoking in the fourteenth century must, however, run the gauntlet of Americanist opinion that the smoking of plant narcotics would be post-Columbian, after the pattern of Amerindian tobacco smoking.’’

However smoking, as noted above, most probably took place in Africa, at least in some regions, well before European exploration. For example, Leonotus leonurus (wild ‘‘dagga’’), various species of Salsola (‘‘ganna’’), and most ubiquitously Cannabis were smoked as far back as the Iron Age in South Africa, predominantly among Bantu speakers (du Toit 1975). According to Emboden (1972), in Sub-Sahar an Africa, ‘‘The simple but efficacious practice of throwing hemp plants on burning coals of a fire and staging what might today be called a ‘‘breath in’’ seems to have been popular initially. This was elaborated into a ritual in which members of a given tribal unit would prostrate themselves in a circle around the fire and each would extend a reed into the fumes in order to capture the volatized resins, without the accompanying irritation produced by standing over the vapors

and inhaling. At a later date the fire was elevated to an altar, where humans could sit or stand while inhaling through a tube extending into the smoke.’’

Excavations at the Iron Age site of Sebanzi Hill on the southern edge of the Central Kafue basin in the Southern Province of Zambia by Fagan and Phillipson (1965) uncovered four

baked clay, non-Arab designed smoking pipes (Fig. 19 and 20). Radiocarbon dating, along with related pottery sequences, for the oldest two specimens indicates that these were in use about 1100–1300 A.D., and the others from the 13th– 14th century (van der Merwe 2003). Although chemical tests of the these pipes from Zambia have not yet been possible, the excavators of the pipes argued that they were used for smoking Cannabis because tobacco could not have been known in Zambia at the time (Phillipson 1965).

An unusual find reported from the Kalahari Desert of Botswana provides a ‘‘prehistoric’’ record of pollen from about 130 km west of the Okavango River delta. In association with the calcite cave deposits (speleothem) that have precipitated from solution in a cave scientists have recovered a series of pollen fossils: ‘‘Only one pollen type was identified that may directly indicate human activity, Cannabis/Humulus (Burney 1987a,b, 1988), which first appears in the sample dated to c. 3827 +/- 298 BP’’ (Burney et al. 1994). For a number of reasons Burney believes that this pollen fossil type can be best identified as Cannabis (Burney 2003).

Perhaps the most remarkable recent archaeological or paleobotanical evidence for Cannabis comes from Madagascar. The pollen record for Cannabis in lake sediment cores on this large island about 300 miles east of southern Africa are derived from several sites, with some dating back to approximately 2000 YBP. ‘‘Pollen of the introduced hemp plant, Cannabis sativa, first appears at Lake Tritrivakely in the Central highlands about this time (Burney 1987a), and was present in a core from Lake Kavitaha about 200 km to the north from the beginning of the record at ca. 1500 years B.P.’’ (Burney 1987b, also see Burney 1988).

This ancient evidence for the Cannabis in the Southern Hemisphere coincides roughly with the earliest human arrivals in Madagascar (Austronesians colonists or traders from elsewhere?) approximately 2,000 years ago. These early explorers or traders undoubtedly brought Cannabis along as part of their ‘‘transported landscape’’ (Anderson 1967) or ‘‘portmanteau biota’’ (Cros by 1973) that was consciously or inadvertently introduced into Madagascar. Burney believes the widespread wild (?) distribution of hemp plants is a ‘‘regional-scale signal’’ of human impact in Madagascar, and that Cannabis was an early human introduction by ancient seafarers who used the plant for various maritime uses to make rope, sails, water-resistant clothing, and hull caulking. ‘‘Therefore hemp would, like goats, pigs, and rats, be among the first species introduced to new lands by Indian Ocean sailors coming ashore for provisioning and, eventually, longer stays (Burney 1997; cf. Vavilov 1949). Cannabis was not introduced to the New World until after 1492 A.D.

Edited by distracted
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I need to read this later, looks good. Cheers namkha!

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thank ya kind sir :spliff:

.. and my reading stash is getting bigger... :headpain:

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Good read Namkha! I'll have to digest all this new info.

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Great references, merci Namkha pour le partage!

This recent Merlin's study (peace bro) confirms my little theory about the Austronesian migration with canna to Africa, antediluvian et cetera. I just feel that these facts could also be even older, so i think that cannabis arrived in Africa first by the South, Madagascar is the key no doubts, then Mozambique, Malawi... (Anyway jej' why not cannabis is simply left Africa to Indonesia there are hundreds of thousands of years hehe!... :smokin:)

So the arrival in Africa by the North is easy much closer (Arabs to Egypte, Marocco) for example cannabis was quasi unknown to the ancient Egyptians and Hebrews, there is no trace of its existence known in hieroglyphics, in the frescoes of the Pharaohs or the Old Testament, also no traces of hemp clothing in the tombs! In the same time traces of smokers and clothing or ropes in India, China, Syria...! History is an amazing maze! :alien2:

About the indica landrace (caused by altitude acclimatization!), i think the real place could be the Nuristan. (Kafiristanica, N. Vavilov)

Imho landraces imported by RSC aren't "100% indica", just indi/sati evolutions. Peace

Edited by Roms
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hey Randalizer

most welcome sahib

just finished reading the full thing myself


I really need to get hold of Hillig's other articles

I hadn't appreciated that the research pointed to the Western Himalaya as the likely original home of all forms of C. indica

that includes the wide leaflet indica var. chinensis, and indica var. afghanica forms

it makes RSC's offering suddenly look a lot more exciting, as we have offered 7 varieties from the Western Himalaya to date

Garhwali Jungli

Garhwali Jungli #2

Malana Cream


Pahari Farmhouse

Nanda Devi

Kullu Jungli

all of them would be very interesting for growers and researchers to look at

I've been looking into these strains in anticipation of the Nanda Devi freebies. Namkha, you mentioned two different varieties being grown almost side by side in Kumaon, Pahari farmhouse and a local 'hemp strain'. Is that very common in those areas? I mean there must have been geneflow back and forth during the decades. In Hilligs study Genetic evidence for speciation in Cannabis (Cannabaceae) they assigned Garhwali hemp as C. Chinensis, which would suggest double origins of modern northeast Indian strains. I don't means to suggest they're any worse because of hybridization, quite the opposite actually.

There seems to be a very similar situation going on in parts of South East Asia, Chinese chemotypes in hemp grown by the Hmong of northern Thailand and further south I'm sure. Bean pole phenotypes are much more common where cannabis is grown for multiple purposes, while in strictly ganja producing areas (Kerala) plants tend to be bushier.

I'd like to know if you consider Nepalese strains any different in this regard? Do they have a different 'strain kit' to north east India?

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Nice one mate some late night reading sorted :yinyang:

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Cannabis: Evolution and Ethnobotany

by Robert C. Clarke (Author) & Mark D. Merlin (Author), May 2013



Cannabis: Evolution and Ethnobotany is a comprehensive, interdisciplinary exploration of the natural origins and early evolution of this famous plant, highlighting its historic role in the development of human societies. Cannabis has long been prized for the strong and durable fiber in its stalks, its edible and oil-rich seeds, and the psychoactive and medicinal compounds produced by its female flowers. The culturally valuable and often irreplaceable goods derived from cannabis deeply influenced the commercial, medical, ritual, and religious practices of cultures throughout the ages, and human desire for these commodities directed the evolution of the plant toward its contemporary varieties. As interest in cannabis grows and public debate over its many uses rises, this book will help us understand why humanity continues to rely on this plant and adapts it to suit our needs.

Introduction to the Multipurpose Plant Cannabis

In the beginning: Circumstances of early human contact with Cannabis

A brief summary of the long and diverse history of relationships between Cannabis and humans

What shall we call these plants?

Should we praise or condemn this multipurpose plant?

What we discuss in this book

Chapter 1: Natural Origins and Early Evolution of Cannabis


Basic life cycle of Cannabis

Ecological requirements of Cannabis: Sunlight, temperature, water and soil

Cannabis origin and evolution studies

Central Asia: Vavilov and the origins of Cannabis

Cannabis and grapes

Theories for South Asian origin of domesticated Cannabis

Model for the early evolution of Cannabis

Summary and conclusions

Chapter 2: Ethnobotanical Origins, Early Cultivation and Evolution through Human Selection


First contacts: Origins of Human-Cannabis relationships

Transitions to cultivation and civilization

Earliest uses of Cannabis: Useful traits for ancient people

Evolution of Cannabis through human selection

Disruptive selection

Origin from weedy populations

Natural hybridization: Introgression vs. isolation

Artificial hybridization


Isolation of populations

Population size and changes in variability

Evolutionary effects of dioecy

Effects of human selection on sexual expression for different products - Seeds, fibers, marijuana and hashish

Sexual dimorphism and selection

Phenotypic changes during domestication - Seeds, fibers and inflorescences

Directional evolutionary changes

Cannabinoid profile

Timing of floral maturation

Evolution of cannabinoid phenotypes

Geographical distribution of cannabinoid phenotypes

North America; Western Europe; Eastern Europe; Central America and the Caribbean; South America; Middle East; East Asia; Indian Subcontinent; Southeast Asia; Equatorial Africa; South and East Africa

Summary and conclusions

Chapter 3: Cultural Diffusion of Cannabis


Methodology: The multidisciplinary approach

Types of archaeobotanical evidence for Cannabis

Seeds, fibers, pollen, fiber and seed impressions, other carbonized remains, chemical analysis and phytoliths

Written records of Cannabis presence and use

Non-human agencies affecting the geographical range of Cannabis

Human impact on the dispersal and expanding geographical range of Cannabis

Early relationships among humans and Cannabis in Central Asia

Fishing and hemp

Hemp, humans and horses in Eurasia

Scythians and Cannabis

Archaeological and historical evidence for the spread of Cannabis

Diffusion throughout East Asia

Diffusion from northeastern China into Korea and Japan

Diffusion into South Asia

Archaeobotanical evidence from South Asia

Diffusion into Southwest Asia and Egypt

Diffusion into Europe and the Mediterranean

Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Baltic region, Finland, Austria, Czech Republic and Slovakia, Germany, Switzerland, Northern France, Iberian Peninsula, Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, British Isles, and the Mediterranean

Dispersal phases within and beyond Eurasia

Phase One: Primary dispersal across Eurasia – ca. 10,000 to 2000 BP

Phase Two: Spread into Africa and Southeast Asia - ca. 2000 to 500 BP

Phase Three: Migration to the New World - 1545 to 1800

Phase Four: Migration to the New World - 1800 to 1945

Phase Five: Migration after the Second World War - 1945 to 1990

Phase Six: Artificial environments and the proliferation of industrial hemp – 1990 to the present

Summary and conclusions: Cannabis' dispersal from an evolutionary point of view

Chapter 4: History of Cannabis Use for Fiber


Textile basics

Historical and archaeological evidence for Cannabis fiber use in China

Hemp in clothing, lacquerware, weapons and ships in ancient China

Traditional Korea

Contemporary South Korea and North Korea

Ancient Japan and hemp

Ancient evidence from South Asia, Southwest Asia and Egypt

The ancient Mediterranean region

Ancient Europe north of the Mediterranean

Hemp fiber use spreads to the New World

Some aspects of the recent history of hemp

Cannabis and paper

Advent and early history of papermaking in China

Hemp paper in ancient Korea and Japan

Dispersal to North Africa and Europe

Hemp paper production in North America

Summary and conclusions

Chapter 5: Food, feed and oil uses of hemp seed


Human food and animal feed uses of hemp seeds

Early hemp seed use in China: Neolithic Period through the Han Dynasty

Hemp seed oil in ancient China

Ancient evidence for traditional production and use beyond China

Korea; Japan; South and Southwest Asia; Central and Eastern Europe; Mediterranean and Western European Regions

Present-day hemp seed production and use

Summary and conclusions

Chapter 6: Historical Aspects of Psychoactive Cannabis Use for Ritual and Recreation


Discovery of the euphoriant properties of Cannabis in Eurasia.

Central Asia


Taoism and tales of Ma Gu

India and Nepal

Was Soma Cannabis?

South Asian psychoactive Cannabis products

Hindu acceptance of ritual bhang use

Shiva worship and Cannabis

Other occasions on which bhang was used

Worship of the bhang plant

Mongols and Cannabis

Southwest Asia, the Mediterranean, Africa and Europe

The advent of Cannabis smoking: Tobacco meets hashish

Summary and conclusions

Chapter 7: Ethnobotanical history and contemporary context of medicinal Cannabis


Early East Asian medicinal use

South and Southeast Asian medical traditions

Egyptian medicinal use

Cannabis in early Middle Eastern and later Islamic medicine

Medicinal use in Africa and South America

European medicinal Cannabis

Present-day Western medicinal applications of Cannabis

Summary and conclusions

Chapter 8: Non-psychoactive Ritual Uses of Cannabis


Hempen rituals of major religions – Shamanic influences survive repression

Archaeological remains from ritual contexts – Central Asia, China and Europe

The Hmong – Spirit travel in healing, life-cycle and funerary rituals

China – Shamanism, Taoism and Confucianism

Korea – Shamanic funerary rites, Confucian mourning and ancestor worship

Japan – Shamanist, Shint and Buddhist hemp traditions

Europe and the Middle East – Judaeo-Christian hemp rituals


Summary and conclusions

Chapter 9: Recent history of Cannabis Breeding


European hemp breeding

North American hemp breeding

Introduction of NLD Cannabis to North America

Breeding history of NLD varieties

Introduction of BLD Cannabis

Recent trends in Cannabis breeding

Summary and conclusions

Chapter 10: Classical and molecular taxonomy of Cannabis


One, two or three species?

History of Cannabis taxonomy

Recent advances in Cannabis taxonomy

Genetic and historical model for the evolution of Cannabis biotypes

Recent geographical distributions of Cannabis biotypes

Europe and the former Soviet Union; China; Central Asia, Afghanistan and Turkestan; India and Nepal; Southeast Asia; Africa and the Middle East; and the New World

Summary and conclusions

Chapter 11: Hypotheses Concerning the Early Evolution of Cannabis


Prehistoric climate change and plant distribution: Pleistocene and Holocene ranges

Early human migrations

Plant speciation and colonization: Pleistocene refugia, post-glacial population expansion, and speciation rate

Early evolution of Cannabaceae: The hemp and hop family

Breeding systems and reproductive strategies as clues to geographical origin: Angiospermy, annuality, anemophily, dioecy and sex determination

Reconstruction of a Cannabaceae ancestor

Summary and conclusions

Chapter 12: Cannabis and Homo sapiens – Present position and future directions


The long term relationship

Summary of Cannabis’ evolution

Cannabis' influence on the evolution of human culture

A case for social benefits from Cannabis’ psychoactivity Human influence on Cannabis’ evolution

Environmental impact of the Human-Cannabis relationship

Coevolution of Cannabis and humans: Fresh concepts

Present position of the Human-Cannabis relationship

Remaining questions and future directions

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Cool new book :)

About my talks before i just wanna correct by mention that my view go back 10000 years etc, i mean in the ancient Egypt the oil was used for the mummies, so certainly for entheogen and sacred uses too...

But it doesn't mean that cannabis was cultivated there i think (no fibre clothing found), maybe oil imported??? as the cocaine used in the same old mummies...


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