Around the year 500, cannabis spread to the Middle East from India.
It is in the period of the advent of Islam, The alcohol forbidden by the Koran is replaced by cannabis in the form of hashish. Muslims use it for the recreational effect and its therapeutic qualities.
Islam spreads the use of cannabis in Africa.
The traditional medical applications of cannabis have been recorded by Muslims in particular thanks to Avicenna (10th century) and his reference work in 5 volumes (Canon of Medicine) where cannabis is indicated among other things for neurological diseases, such as epilepsy and migraine, as well as dysmenorrhea and difficult childbirth.
The first sustainable papers were designed, in China, almost 2000 years ago, based on hemp and mulberry. This invention was kept secret for 650 years but the Arabs obtained the recipe in 750 by taking Chinese papermakers prisoner. This will allow and facilitate the dissemination of the Koran.
The consumption of cannabis, already regulated in the 14th century
It is in Egypt that the first prohibition concerning cannabis is enacted: in 1378, the emir Soudoun Sheikouni forbids its cultivation, in Joneima, and condemns the person caught consuming it to have their teeth pulled out.
In France, it was not until the ninth century and Charlemagne that hemp cultivation was revived again.
In monasteries, copyist monks work on hemp paper by the light of hemp oil lamps.
But, again, the known benefits of cannabis will be discarded. In the middle of the Central Middle Ages (XI – XIII century), Europe enters the religious obscurantism of the inquisition. The plant is considered satanic by the church.
However, in 1455, the first Bible printed by Gutenberg was printed on hemp paper.
In 1484, Pope Innocent VIII condemned the use of cannabis but the same year the first illustrated herbarium was printed: it describes 131 plants including cannabis specifying their medical use as well as how to use them.
In 1492, Christopher Columbus discovered the New World. He offers the Indians hemp seeds and clothing.
This is the beginning of modern times and a new expansion of cannabis.
The courts of Spain, Portugal and England, in their desire to expand and control the seas, will develop their fleets (Sails, ropes). The cultivation of cannabis will be revived and even forced for the war effort mainly. Here, by the way, are some key dates in the history of cannabis :
1545 AD: Spanish sailors bring hemp plants with them to Chile, to use its fibers, also marking the first appearance of the plant in the Americas
1611: The English introduce hemp to the colony of Jamestown (Virginia), marking the first appearance of the plant in what will become the United States. Hemp fiber will become a strong source of export, especially in its derived products: ropes, grease, oil, paper, etc … In Virginia, in 1619, farmers are forced to grow hemp, under penalty of fines.
1776, and the independence of the United States: George Washington, first President of the United States of America cultivates hemp on his estate in Virginia. He gives instructions to grow Indian hemp everywhere in order to promote the independence of the Nation. The first American flag is made of hemp.
1797: Samuel Hahnemann, the father of homeopathy, describes the interest of the plant as a whole while the seeds were used more.
1798: During the Egyptian campaign, Napoleon’s army deprived of alcohol in a Muslim country discovers the use of recreational cannabis. The French soldiers return from Egypt with certain quantities of hemp in their luggage. Napoleon, victim of an assassination attempt on an Egyptian under the empire of cannabis, associated with opium, totally prohibits cannabis in France.
Cannabis, a plant with proven medical interest
After returning from Egypt, Louis Aubert-Roche, a doctor, recommends the use of hashish to treat various contagious diseases
Joseph Moreau de Tours, psychiatrist at the Bicêtre Hospital, tests the drug in 1837. In 1845, he published the first study of the physical and psychic effects of cannabis consumption in his work Hashish and Mental alienation. He recommends the ingestion of cannabis in a paste form (which he mixes with other foods such as pistachio, honey, also called Dawamesk) to treat all mental disorders.
This same Psychiatrist organizes consumer evenings where the intellectuals of the time meet: the poets Gerard de Nerval, Théophile Gautier, the painters Delacroix, Daumier, the writer Victor Hugo: The Hashischins club.