6 Facts About How Cannabis Was Used in Ancient Egypt

In recent years, cannabis has been considered one of the most widespread medicinal herbs. Before, in ancient times, the plant, medicine, and drug’s reach was much wider as its use was much more common in different aspects of regular life. For thousands of years, cannabis has been part of Egypt’s cultural and religious practices, which many modern laws now prohibit.

Religious and Medicinal Cannabis use in Ancient Egypt

First, yes, Ancient Egypt used cannabis as we do today, for medicinal purposes, but the Egyptians uncovered and used these medicinal properties far beyond what today’s medical science has been able to. The Ebers Papyrus, one of the oldest medical textbooks found, mentions a number of formulas that help with pain relief caused by various diseases and injuries including depression, glaucoma, inflammation, hemorrhoids, cataracts, and even cancer. In addition to its medical properties, cannabis was used for Egyptian religion and culture. When the mummy of Pharaoh Ramesses II was uncovered, traces of cannabis were found in the remains. Similar traces of the plant have been found in a number of other mummies, which confirms that marijuana was a regular part of Egyptian culture during ancient times. One of their gods, Seshat, the goddess of wisdom, is even often depicted with a marijuana leaf above her head in ancient paintings. Many worshippers may have used cannabis in religious rituals for this reason.

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I've been covering cannabis for nearly five years, and by now I'm all too accustomed to the impersonal cannabis conference at a stuffy, generic hotel or expo hall, brimming with white guys in suits, and generally lacking in the spirit of well, cannabis. (The woes of legalization, I suppose.) So it was a breath of fresh air when I walked into what felt like a giant atrium in downtown LA for a new kind of cannabis conference. Located in what's called the Valentine Grass Room in an industrial area past the hustle and bustle of the DTLA skyscrapers, Microscopes & Machines (M&M) boasted a diverse array of speakers, from doctors and lawyers to chemists and cultivators on the frontlines of the cannabis industry.

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