Italy’s deep-rooted cannabis culture

Italian village with cannabis plants

Uncovering Italy's longstanding cannabis tradition

Recent archaeological findings in Italy have shed light on the country's long-standing relationship with cannabis, tracing its use back to the 1600s. This revelation comes from a project examining bones that revealed traces of cannabinoids, challenging the notion that cannabis use is a modern phenomenon in Italy.

The historical context of cannabis

The relationship between humans and the cannabis plant stretches back millennia, with hemp fiber usage recorded as early as 10,000 years ago during Japan's Early Jomon Period. The medicinal application of cannabis dates back to at least 2,800 BC, according to records from Emperor Shen Nung, considered the father of Chinese medicine. These historical insights highlight the recent nature of cannabis prohibition, which lacks a foundation in scientific reasoning and is more attributable to the interests of a few.

Italy's archaeological breakthrough

Italian archaeologists have provided the first physical evidence of cannabis use in the Modern Age not only in Italy but in Europe as a whole. The study, published in the Journal of Archaeological Science, conducted toxicological analyses on human remains from a Milan hospital crypt, revealing the presence of cannabinoids. This discovery indicates the consumption of the cannabis plant among the Italian population during the 17th century, likely for recreational purposes, as hospital records from the 1600s do not mention cannabis as a medical treatment.

Global evidence of ancient cannabis use

A 2019 project in western China also uncovered evidence of high-THC cannabis use, including a smoking apparatus, suggesting that ancient populations encountered naturally high-THC cannabis plants at higher elevations. This, along with ancient artwork and references from Syria to China, hints at an even earlier date for human cannabis use, illustrating a global historical context.

  • Archaeological findings in Italy reveal cannabis use dating back to the 1600s.
  • Historical records show medicinal cannabis use as far back as 2,800 BC.
  • Evidence from around the world suggests an ancient and widespread tradition of cannabis consumption.

The archaeological findings in Italy are part of a growing body of evidence demonstrating humanity's long-standing relationship with cannabis. This tradition, spanning centuries and crossing cultures, challenges modern perceptions and prohibitions of cannabis use. As we uncover more about our ancestors' use of this plant, we gain valuable insights into its role in human history and its potential for the future.

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Robin Roy Krigslund-Hansen

Robin Roy Krigslund-Hansen

About the author:

Robin Roy Krigslund-Hansen is known for his extensive knowledge and expertise in the fields of CBD and hemp production. With a career spanning over a decade in the cannabis industry, he has dedicated his life to understanding the intricacies of these plants and their potential benefits to human health and the environment. Over the years, Robin has worked tirelessly to promote the full legalization of hemp in Europe. His fascination with the plant's versatility and potential for sustainable production led him to pursue a career in the field.

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