6 Ways people in history used marijuana that we don't use any longer

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Cannabis has been used by humans for thousands upon thousands of years. And while we still use marijuana today, the reasons why we do so are very different, writes Joseph Misulonas. 

Here are six ways people in history used marijuana that we don’t use any longer:

1. Anesthesia

Today when you go and have major surgery, the doctors will give you propofol or some other drug to induce anesthesia so you fall asleep and don’t feel anything. However, ancient people obviously didn’t have access to these modern medicines. And one alternative they used was marijuana. Chinese doctor Hua Tuo is often credited during the 100’s AD as being the first person to use cannabis for anesthesia.

2. Steam Baths

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The famous Greek historian Herodotus documented many uses of cannabis by the Scythian people of the Middle East. His most unusual finding is that the Scythians would go to a steam bath, like a sauna, but the room would be filled with marijuana smoke. It would supposedly get the people in the bath into a frenzied state. I guess we sort of do something similar when people hotbox.

3. Milk

In a little more recent history, at the beginning of the 20th century a popular drink in Scandinavian countries was called Maltos-Cannabis. It was basically just milk with cannabis seeds in it. It was a popular drink at lunch, and was especially loved by children.

4. Hemorrhoids

The ancient Egyptians (as in before 1000 BC) were known to use cannabis and hemp for various medical issues. They often used it to treat sore eyes, which is similar to how today we use it for glaucoma. But the most interesting way they used it was by putting it into suppository form to help treat people with hemorrhoids. It was mostly to relieve the pain, not to actually get rid of the issue.

5. Burials

Archaeologists for years have discovered hemp and cannabis in burial sites around the world. This includes places like the Middle East, where ancient cultures were known to use marijuana, to all the way into Siberia. Cannabis and hemp were basically used the same way we use flowers or candles in funeral services today.

6. Paper

For most of history, paper was actually made from hemp, not wood. It started around 2,000 years ago in China, and eventually spread to Europe by the 13th century. The first copies of the Bible were actually printed on hemp paper. However in the 19th century, the process of creating paper from wood pulp became popular because it was cheaper than hemp. However, this has somewhat been contested, as paper made from wood pulp contains far more lignin, a substance that makes paper more rigid, than hemp paper. Therefore, wood pulp paper needs to be treated chemically to remove lignin before it can be used, so it’s a more complex process than manufacturing from hemp. But, most paper is still made from wood today.

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