Pre-historic people likely knew a lot about plants and the natural world that surrounded them. They had to in order to survive. So when hunter-gatherer societies started domesticating plants about 12,000 years ago, they grew what would be useful to them. They would need food, obviously, but also fiber for making things. Maybe plants with medicinal properties would be a good call, and maybe even plants with psychotropic attributes would be domesticated.
While it’s not known for sure all of the ways our ancient ancestors used the cannabis sativa they cultivated, what is known is where it was first domesticated. A group of scientists used whole-genome re-sequencing of 110 unique strains of marijuana from around the world to narrow down that the plant was first domesticated in East Asia, or more specifically, what we call China today, according to a peer-reviewed article published on Science Advances in July 2021.
Much like the genealogy of modern humans can be traced back to Africa, according to Your Genome, the genealogy of today’s cannabis can be sourced back to China. According to the journal, Nature, that finding is relatively new. Prior to this latest research, it was widely accepted that the origin of Cannabis cultivation was in Central Asia.
It’s no wonder cannabis made the cut for cultivation early on. Take away the “Reefer Madness” stigma that proliferated the twentieth century and look at the plant at face value. According to a scholarly article called “Cannabis sativa: The Plant of the Thousand and One Molecules,” the oft misunderstood plant is “a treasure trove of phytochemicals and a rich source of both cellulosic and woody fibers.”
Published: September 14, 2021
Founder & Interim Editor of L.A. Cannabis News