The Complicated History of Cannabis in the Islamic World

Although the Koran does not specifically outlaw cannabis, and it was apparently never mentioned by Mohammed himself, the plant and products made from it are still considered haraam (forbidden). However, cannabis grows and is processed into hashish in many Muslim-majority countries around the world, and it has been an undeniable part of the culture for centuries in many of these countries.  

State and religious authorities have often been highly unsupportive of this fact, and some of the harshest punishments for cannabis and other drugs can now be found in Muslim countries such as Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. But this has not always been the case. Historical records show us that the attitudes towards cannabis have varied over time, and for long periods, the countries were permissive enough to allow deeply entrenched industries to become established.

Obviously, the Islamic world is vast, and it encompasses huge areas in...

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