Now that cannabis is becoming more legal and accepted in the United States and across the world, it’s important to know and understand the plant’s history. Marijuana is one of the oldest known psychoactive drugs which has been used for thousands of years by a number of different cultures and religions. In Ancient Egypt for example, cannabis was used as a pain-reliever rather than a cure and traces of it is found in the remains of a number of mummies. In Early America, the marijuana grown was cannabis sativa L, which contains less than 1% THC, not nearly enough for anyone to get high. Africa is another ancient culture where cannabis was commonly used in culture and religion. 

Cannabis did not originate in Africa, so when it was finally introduced through trading, many tribesmen chewed the cannabis leaves until they discovered the art of smoking. This new discovery changed African culture in many ways. For one, some tribes and cultures in Africa began worshipping cannabis in their religious practices. The Bashilenge tribe for instance, formed their entire religion around the use of cannabis. They called themselves Bena-Riamba, which means “the sons of hemp” because their culture regarded marijuana as a god and the pipe as a symbol of peace.