The Beginning of 420

Kathrin Garner

420. From the Beginning to our Days
Cannabis has been used across the world for ages, and numerous reports from old times suggest that the drug has a long and colorful history. With all those debates regarding the legalization, it is pretty easy to conclude that people have started to use cannabis on such a scale. 
However, this conclusion would be far from the truth because the records of first cultivation go back as far as 12,000 years. In fact, the oldest record on marijuana use dates back to Chinese Emperor Shen Nung in 2727 B. C. Ancient Romans, Greeks, and people of Islamic Empire and Northern Africa were also familiar with the plant. 


Sorry, hippie generation, you did not discover pot 😊
The type of cannabis defined its use. The first subspecies, Cannabis sativa L. is a non-psychoactive form that is a common component of some cloth, oil and fuel products. The second species, Cannabis Indica, are psychoactive. Sativa plant is known to have an uplifting and energetic effect, which makes it well-suited for day use while Indica produces calming and relaxing feelings, so it’s recommended for night use.

Image Credit: leafscience

The third, lesser-known classification of cannabis strains is Cannabis ruderalis, which is thought to be a hybrid of the previous two that managed to adapt to a harsher climate of Central and Northern Asia.

Image Credit: leafscience

The history of cannabis reveals some pretty unique uses of the plant. For example, everyone is familiar with the giant statues on the Easter Island. Well, there is some evidence that the islanders use ropes made from Cannabis sativa, or hemp, to move them into their positions!
With sizes of the statutes ranging from about 6 to 33 feet in height, the rope must have been really durable. 

Another kickass fact from the history of marijuana is its codename, 420. Why do they call it 420, anyway? A popular urban legend states that the term was a reference used by the police in the 1970s to refer to marijuana related cases.


However, the founders of this term are a group of high school children from California! The story behind the name is actually pretty funny. Five kids heard that a plot of cannabis plants was no longer guarded by the owner, so they agreed to meet outside their school at 4:20 pm to find the treasure. 
 

According to the story, despite all the effort and weeks of searching, the kids never found the plants. However, their hunt was remembered because they were in indirect contact with a Grateful Dead member Phil Lesh. As the result, 4/20 became an unofficial holiday in marijuana culture that is celebrated with, well, weed!

What’s Next?
Today, marijuana has become a subject of debate, but the supporters of 420 have made a tremendous progress. For example, as of September 2017, some form of marijuana use is legalized in 29 states and the District of Columbia. 

The future of cannabis use sure seems promising! 

Kathrin Garner is an enthusiastic journalist and writes article on social issues. As an activist, she takes part in NCSM program. She searches for topics that are relevant, and writes about it to a wide range of readers.