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The oldest physical remnant of Cannabis in China, a scrap of hemp cloth dated between and B. Hemp fiber also appears in the world's oldest piece of paper, from a Chinese tomb dated between and 87 B.

Temple The tomb of a Han dynasty woman dated circa the second century B. Some of the earliest records mentioning Cannabis also come from ancient China. Accounts of medical and euphoriant use a p p e a r very early.

In Shanxi Province, east of the Yellow River, jade. Rise of the R o m a n Empire Establishment of c o m p l e x trade links w i t h Asia. This may be the earliest reference to the psychoactive and psychological effects of Cannabis. The ancient Chinese medical texts make a clear distinction between ma fen and ma tzetoxic and non-toxicCannabis seeds. As suggested by De Candolle and supported by the work of others, Central Asia is a likely location for the origin of Cannabis. The region surrounding the Takla Makan Desert in Central Asia would have provided an ideal climate for the early evolution of plants like Cannabis, which flower once a year then die annualsform pollen male or seed-bearing female flowers on separate plants dioeciousand rely on wind currents to transport male pollen to female flowers wind-pollinated.

If Cannabis originated in Central Asia, the species would have been situated perfectly for dispersal in three directions: east into China, south into India, and west into Europe. All three regions are well established as ancient homes of Cannabis.

Kerr postulated that Cannabis originated in Central Asia and was carried by the ancient Aryans c. The famous Russian plant explorer, Nicolai Vavilov, studied first-hand the diversity of Central Asian Cannabis and m a d e m a n y valuable observations. He observed farmers collecting seed from the wild to bring into cultivation, but he felt that Cannabis probably had been under cultivation in parts of southern Russia for over 3, years Vavilov Vavilov reported Vavilov and Bukinich that weedy Cannabis occurred commonly in irrigated parts of Afghanistan.

In general, most broad-leaf varieties of Afghani Cannabis are characterized as being short in stature with short internodes the distance between two successive places [nodes] where branches grow from the stalk and profuse branching from the first node.

Vavilov characterized eastern Afghani varieties as having small leaves, with leaflets wider near the tip than at the base, and small, dark-colored seeds encased in bracts which shattered easily to disperse the seeds.

Such seed features are characteristic of wild plants. Vavilov termed the wild Cannabis of eastern Afghanistan, which commonly has dark gray seeds with a marbled pattern, Cannabis indica var. He described a second variety as the same except for larger seeds with colorless seed coats perianths and named the second variety Cannabis indica var. Vavilov concluded that the Afghani Cannabis varieties were entirely different from European and Asiatic varieties, both wild and cultivated, and must be considered as.

Vavilov also reported that Cannabis sativa L. Vavilov also wrote of his visit to Chinese Turkestan in search of evidence to support proposed origins of several wild and cultivated plants. Geographically, it is almost fully isolated, separated from Europe to the west by high mountains and from the remainder of China to the east by the vast Takla Makan Desert. Vavilov reported numerous thick stands of cultivated Cannabis sativa L. He also noted the frequent occurrence of Cannabis sativa L. Vavilov concluded that many of the other cultivated plant species of the region were importsfrom China to the east or Afghanistan and Pakistan to the southwest.

However, he considered Cannabis to be a native crop that originated in this region and throughout much of Central Asia. South Asia The great diversity of Cannabis varieties and extensive uses for Cannabis in northern India and Nepal, along the foothills of the Himalayas, implies that this region was one of the first areas where Cannabis was extensively utilized, if not the location of its first growth.

Linneaus, who initially named Cannabis sativa when he established the binomial system of scientific nomenclature, believed Cannabis sativa to be native to India. However, he never collected specimens from this area and the notes on his herbarium sheets are ambiguous Schultes et al. Sharma argues that Cannabis originated in the valleys along the southern slopes of the Himalayas from Kashmir through Nepal, and Bhutan to Burma. Phenotypic diversity the range of differences within one genotype was the most important criterion in his conclusion.

Sea traders voyaging to the east coast of Africa spread drug types of Cannabis sativa to the west and to the east, and south through Burma, and on into Southeast Asia. The non-drug, hemp varieties of Cannabis sativa that spread north into Central Asia would have evolved at higher latitudes than their ancestors, the drug varieties, of lower more southern latitudes.

Sharma argues that from Central Asia, the drug varieties moved west into Europe, and east along the Silk Road into China, with some drug types migrating far. The Pen Ts'ao, m e n t i o n s Cannabis for medical u s e. Construction of Samartian g o l d and glass paste stash box for storing either "hashish, coriander, or salt" buried in Siberian tomb.

Figures 1. Cannabis is notably adept at naturalizing in many climates. Cannabis' range is particularly widespread and the plant grows spontaneously or cultivated, or both, in Great Spirit - Soft (3) - Hot Club And Smoke Machine (CD every region on earth. Cannabis is believed to be the most widely disseminated of all cultivated plants. Sharma believes that the European and Chinese cultures had little interest in hashish use and made no effort to maintain psychoactive potency.

Thus, these northern drug populations evolved into fiber types. Much later, these fiber varieties spread through trade to many parts of Eurasia. The massive Himalayan and Hindu Kush mountain ranges, mighty barriers to the dispersal of plants and animals including manlie between the two origins of Cannabis proposed by De Candole and Sharma No examples of plant coorigin both north and south of the Himalaya and Hindu Kush mountains have been reported Simmonds Although Cannabis now grows spontaneously throughout Eurasia, its simultaneous origin both north and south of these mountain ranges seems very unlikely.

Plant species evolve initially in one location, although they may soon disperse and undergo local specialized evolution. Prehistoric and more recent dispersal via human migration and trade certainly carried Cannabis to both sides of the Hindu Kush and Himalayas.

Prehistoric dispersal has obscured the geographical origin of Cannabis, and the exact geographical origin may never be determined.

It is certain that Cannabis originated either in Central Asia or in India along the foothills of the Himalayas and that it was first cultivated in China.

India and China were the sites of primary domestication. Central Asia may not be the origin in certainty but, at this writing, available data does not suggest persuasively any other possible origin. There is an ancient connection between humans and Cannabis, as well as a continuing interest in the psychoactive and medicinal properties most often associated with Cannabis.

What, then, is known of the history of hashish and hashish use for altering consciousness? Linguistics Where do the words hashish and charas come from? Word origins and histories etymology can aid in placing locations and dates on past events.

The American Heritage Dictionary states that hashish comes from the Arabic root word hasis which means hemp or dried grass. Schwartz pers. Rosenthal states that the word hashish is a nickname for the psychoactive drug made from Cannabis but has no derivation from words related to terms for hemp.

According to Rosenthal, hashish may mean grass used as fodder, herbs used for medicinal and other purposes, weeds that infest, or simply the herb. He also states that hashish is associated with the word s-h-n, to grind. Discovering Euphoric Properties If prehistoric humans tried to rub resin from their hands that accumulated during seed gathering, the resin would have formed a lump of crude hashish, a fragrant mass that at some time, probably enticed a gatherer to eat.

Or possibly, food gatherers would unintentionally consume bracts and resin while eating the seeds, or simply consumed whole floral clusters filled with seeds rather than individually separating seeds.

No one is certain whether early huntergatherers divided labor along gender lines. Accepting that a division of labormen hunting, women gatheringis ancient, then women were the likely gatherers who discovered the euphoriant properties of the resin.

It seems that the term hashish is specific both to the Arabic-speaking cultures and the grinding and sieving method of preparation see Part II: Hashish-Making. Finding the origin of the word hashish can help in determining where the making of hashish originated. The antiquity of the Hindi word charas adds yet another aspect to our linguistic investigations. In the modern sense, charas is used to describe hand-rubbed rather than sieved hashish.

According to Kerr : Cfiaras, from the Persian Charas was also used in the Bactrian Greek language to mean "grace. Discovery of the Euphoric Properties Imagine Neolithic early tool-using and foodraising humans discovering the euphoriant powers of Cannabis while foraging for food. Cannabis seeds are h i d d e n within the sticky, resin-covered female flowers.

Picking through fresh flowers in search of edible seeds would certainly cause the sticky resins to adhere to the gatherer's fingertips, an accumulation that eventually would interfere with seed collection. Using one's teeth to r e m o v e the accumulation would lead to ingestion. Cooking the seeds and any resinous bracts encasing them w o u l d decarboxylate the THC heat. Possibly balls of sticky resin would be tossed into fires to dispose of them and, inadvertently, people would breathe the smoke.

In any event, if an early human ate enough resin or breathed enough smoke, euphoria would have resulted. Foraging for food probably led to the discovery of the first and certainly the most widely used concentrated Cannabis drug, hand-rubbed charas. Nomadic peoples could have collected hand-rubbed hashish during their seasonal migrations.

Sieved hashish would have required at least temporary settlements where the Cannabis plants could be dried and sieved. Large-scale production of hashish requires settled agriculture and a concentrated work force. Such requirements are beyond the province of nomadic or pastoral peoples and can be satisfied only by settled agrarian peoples.

Wild Cannabis seeds shatter readily from mature, drying inflorescences flower clustersproviding early humans with a second option for collecting the seeds. Once humans had settled into more permanent village sites and developed some simple tools to assist in Album), it became possible to cultivate and harvest the plants.

It was also possible to dry the inflorescences after the seeds were mature in cultivated varieties, seeds do not fall readily from the inflorescences but before they fell to the ground.

After harvesting and drying, early farmers would have separated seeds by threshing the dried flowers over baskets, mats, or other woven surfaces to facilitate recovery of the seeds. If the broken leaves, flowers, and powdered resin left after threshing were thrown onto a fire within an enclosed structure, breathing the smoke could have induced a high.

Threshing releases both the seeds and the resin glands from dried Cannabis flowers. The separation of resin from plant material is the basis of sieved hashish manufacture. Since resin glands and seeds are small, round, and dense, both tend to sink to the bottom of a mass of threshed plant material. The use of carpets in making hashish is a logical outgrowth of this threshing operation see pages 75,and Figure 3. If Cannabis flowers were dried until brittle, and threshing was done indoors most likely during the winterseeds and resin powder glands would have fallen onto the carpetcovered floor.

Separating seeds from resin powder was the next obvious step. Once this was done, the farmer would have a large pile of very crude resin powder. Sieving out the small debris would have been the obvious way to clean and purify the resin powder.

This is a likely origin for sieved hashish. The rubbing and sieving techniques of resin collection used today are representative of ancient traditional methods. Himalayan foothill charas represents the oldest example. Tenth century Scholars debate the pros and cons of eating hashish u s e spreads throughout Arabia c.

Mature Cannabis seeds vary widely in size, shape, color, and seed-coat pattern. Colors range from light gray to black, and from buff to dark brown. They used Cannabis as a sacrament during funerary rituals long before the time of Christ, although it remains unclear whether Cannabis was used by the Scythians for its psychoactive effects Artamanov The Greek historian Herodotus c.

As cited by Hyams :. They make a booth by fixing in the ground three sticks inclined towards one another, and stretching around them woolen felts which they arrange so as to fit as close as possible: inside the booth a dish is placed upon the ground into which they put a number of red hot stones and then add some hemp seed Herodotus comments Herodotus, Book 4.

This to the Scythians is in the place of a bath, and it excites from them cries of exultation also translated asshouts of joy. Herodotus Herodotus Histories 1. Referring to this tribe's ritual use of Cannabis, he states that when they As it burns, it smokes like incense, and the smell of it makes them drunk, just as wine does us. As more fruit [seed] is thrown on, they get more and more intoxicated until finally they jump up and start dancing and singing.

Brunner states that tribes living on islands in the Aras River in Turkish Armenia inhaled Cannabis smoke in a similar fashion. Artifacts fitting Herodotus' description were discovered in Scythian tombs by Rudenko inpointing to the origins of Cannabis use as a euphoriant, although not to the use of hashish itself. These grave sites date from the fifth century B. The round, mound-shaped grave called a kurgan where the Cannabis smoking equipment was found contained two bodies: a man and a woman.

Rudenko feels that this indicates that both men and women smoked Cannabis in ancient Scythia. Two bronze censers were found in the royal kurgan number 2 at Pazryk. The censers, which had handles wrapped with birch bark, contained scorched stones. Two sets of six sticks each were found. The short to cm sticks found in the grave would have supported a tent far too small to crawl into but large enough to stick one's head inside to inhale trapped smoke see Figure 1.

This would be much like trying to open clogged sinuses by hanging the head, tented with a towel, over a pan of boiling water and breathing the trapped steam.

Use in this fashion contradicts the. The Scythians About B. They cultivated Cannabis and wove fine hemp cloth with intricate designs. The Scythians, expert horsemen and fearless warriors, were also highly skilled craftsman. Their fine gold jewelry and inlaid weapons often were decorated with elaborate animal motifs and dreamy geometric swirls that bring to mind the popular psychedelic art of the twentieth century California tribes.

The Scythians traveled, traded, and interbred with many peoples from China to Europe, embracing many customs and technologies.

In the sixth and seventh centuries B. More likely, the small tents were only funerary models, made to be placed in the grave but not actually used. A leather pouch decorated with two fighting birds of prey and containing Cannabis seeds was attached to one of the sticks supporting the little tent Rudenko The draw-string leather pouch is very similar to those used in recent times by the Afghans for hashish storage see Afghanistan in Part III. The censers, sticks, and leather pouch may be the earliest evidence of the intentional inhaling of Cannabis smoke, and predate any contact with the New World by nearly 2, years.

If this finding could be verified by the detection of psychoactive cannabinoid residues, it w o u l d stand as the most meaningful evidence for the independent appearance of smoking in the Old World. In latea n o t h e r Scythian m u m m y was discovered on the remote Umok Plateau in southern Siberia. The China Daily of June 6, reported:. When called to war, Scythian warriors practiced the scorched earth policy: burn and kill everything in your path; leave no resources for survivors; intimidate your enemies by demonstrating your ruthlessness.

In times of peace, they proved themselves to be intelligent agriculturists who practiced plant breeding, crop rotation, and soil fertilization for excellent harvests based on Sumach T h e mummy was buried alongside six horses in full harness, dishes, a mirror, a brush, and even a small pot of Cannabis to help her travel into the afterlife. Again, the presence of Cannabis remains has been associated with the flight of the spirit from the body to the afterlife.

Further research might reveal whether the remains include Cannabis plant tissues or are composed solely of seeds, as was the case in the Pazryk kurgan 2, and whether the plant material, if extant, had been burned.

These items from an ancient Scythian grave likely were used in the ceremonial burning of aromatic herbs, including Cannabis. Drawings by Roddy Heading. Most popular accounts have over-emphasized the observations of Herodotus and the archeological remains recovered by Rudenko to imply that the ancient Scythians were intentionally getting high by burning Cannabis flowers. Rudenko reported that Cannabis seeds were found inside the leather pouch, but he makes no mention of.

Rudenko assumes that the ancient Scythians smoked Cannabis, most likely drawing his conclusions from the writings of Herodotus. It must be noted that Rudenko published his findings forty years after the initial discovery. Some more recent writers have further embellished these early assumptions, interpreting the leather stash pouches as indications of ritual smoking of hashish.

Curators of a exhibition of Scythian artifacts from the collection of the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia touring through Amsterdam stated, on the signs with the exhibit and in the collection catalog, that the leather pouch was used to store hashish. Also included in the exhibit was a highly ornate and elaborately constructed Sarmatian gold box with glass p a s t e d e c o r a t i o n sd a t i n g f r o m the first c e n t u r y A.

This w a s recovered in from the Chochlatsj kurgan in the Rostov district of Russia. The long, narrow shape of the box Great Spirit - Soft (3) - Hot Club And Smoke Machine (CD that it was designed to hold p o w d e r ssalt granules, or seeds. The exhibit label claimed the box was used for storing "hashish, coriander, or salt. Scythians are believed to have inhaled Cannabis vapors while enclosed in small tents.

Drawing by Robin Ade. There was no analysis of the contents to support the curator's interpretations. The seeds recovered from the leather pouch found in the Pazryk kurgan 2 are small, mottled in appearance, and have an elaborated point of attachment.

These are wild seed characteristics. There was no evidence that the seeds had been burned and, despite the astonishing level of preservation, no other Cannabis plant material was recovered from the pouch. If the pouch had contained Cannabis flowers, most likely some evidence of plant remains such as stems w o u l d have been present.

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