If you’ve ever asked yourself the question, when did people start smoking weed? or who was the first person to ever get high?, then the content in this blog is likely to have a certain appeal. For example, did you know that cannabis has been used for a wide range of purposes, a number of them medicinal ones, for almost 5,000 years?

Keep reading to find out who discovered weed and to get a better understanding of the history of medical marijuanas. Delve into the important historical moments of the history of cannabis and brush up on your knowledge regarding the history of cannabis use across the world.


In the Beginning

Historical documentation dates back as early as 2737 B. C, when the Emperor Shen Neng of China used to prescribe cannabis-infused tea for the treatment of a range of ailments, including gout, rheumatism, and even malaria.

It didn’t take long before the plant’s popularity as a reliable solution to a whole host of problems expanded way behind China and moved on to conquer the whole of Asia, the Middle East, and the east coast Africa. Even medical journals, in the U.S., began recommending the use of hemp roots and hemp seeds by the late 18th century.

When did Weed Become Popular?

William O’Shaughnessy was one of the first people to truly popularize cannabis and its medical use in England and the U.S. His particular findings concluded that cannabis use eased the pain of rheumatism and was particularly good at dealing with moments of discomfort and nausea.

The History of Cannabis Prohibition

But then in 1937 everything changed. The federal government passed what was known as the Marihuana Tax Act and, although its actions didn’t outlaw cannabis in the U.S. completely, the ultimate effect was essentially just that.

Objections were raised from the American Medical Association (AMA), whose team testified before Congress, stating that, “The American Medical Association knows of no evidence that marijuana is a dangerous drug” and that prohibition would actually jqopardize future investigation to prove that, “there are substantial medical uses for cannabis.” Today, the AMA’s stance and protests are riddled with irony.

The History of Medical Cannabis in America

Since that time, the U.S. has gone back and forth on its views of medical cannabis. The 1976 research program, the Investigational New Drug (IND), was a federal government project that allowed participating patients to receive up to nine pounds of cannabis directly from the government.

All cannabis given to these patients came from one particular farm belonging to the University of Mississippi. Unfortunately, only five of the original participants are alive and still receiving medical cannabis today, making the conclusions taken from the studies on that program fairly reduced in nature.


The History of Cannabis Legalization

Another breakthrough moment for medical cannabis in the U.S. came from the Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) own Administrative Law Judge, Francis Young. In 1988, he made a formal statement which said, “Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known… It would be unreasonable, arbitrary, and capricious for the DEA to continue to stand between those sufferers and the benefits of this substance…” 

Even so, the DEA refuses, to this very day, to consider the rescheduling of cannabis. As such, it remains a schedule 1 drug under federal law. Despite the federal government’s stance on medical cannabis, 33 U.S. states have now legalized the use of cannabis for medical purposes and the number is most likely to rise in the near future. 

Indeed, dozens of studies have been published worldwide (although most of these studies have actually taken place outside of the U.S.). They support the conclusion that cannabis is blessed with medical benefits and they call for further research. The story of medical cannabis is only just beginning.

Cannabis Scheduling: Where are we?

So, where are we today?

All advances in cannabis research are restricted in the U.S. because of the lack of support from the federal government, but the information gathered is useful and compelling nonetheless. Research is fuelled mainly by controlled studies, observational studies, reports, and peer reviews.

In 2015, three U.S. Senators brought forth the CARERS Act, a bipartisan effort to protect those involved with state-based medical cannabis programs while rescheduling cannabis from a Schedule I to Schedule II substance. The support that the Act has received so far is unprecedented.

If this new legislation is eventually adopted, cannabis will finally be given the opportunity to take its place in traditional pharmacology in the 21st century. This would be a truly momentous event and would change the face of cannabis in the U.S. like nothing has ever before.

A Few Cool Cannabis History Facts

While we’d lve to be able to answer the question, who was the first person to smoke weed in the white house?, it’s doubtful anyone will ever know the true answer. What we can confirm is that at least 12 U.S. presidents are known to have smoked and enjoyed cannabis at some point. Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and JFK are among the mix.

Cool cannabis fact number two relates to U.S. cannabis history. Few people actually know this, but cannabis was actually part of the U.S. pharmacopoeia until 1942. In fact, cannabis tinctures were available for over-the-counter purchase in pharmacies throughout the U.S. until the 1930s. Incredible to believe, we know.

And, to finish up, who was the first person to smoke a blunt? Well, we can’t answer that, but we can confirm that Bushwick Bill was the first person to ever smoke a blunt with Snoop Dog, which is a cool piece of trivia to know nonetheless, right?