5 Fascinating Facts About Cannabis You May Not Have Known

5 Fascinating Facts About Cannabis You May Not Have Known

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From the garden of the world's most celebrated playwright to the first online transaction, you'll find many unexpected cannabis facts buried in the history books. This plant has undeniably embedded itself within the tapestry of human civilization, popping up in politics, religion, literature, and many of our shared cultural touchstones.

Don't believe us? Here are just a few fun facts about cannabis that highlight the far-reaching impact this herb has had on the human species.

5. Cannabis and Shakespeare: The Bard and the Blunt

Bronze William Shakespeare statue in New York City

Since archeologists unearthed a few old pipes from William Shakespeare's backyard at Stratford-upon-Avon, rumors have swirled about whether or not the world's greatest dramatist had any experience with cannabis. 

According to the research done by South African researcher Francis Thackeray, several of the 400-year-old pipe pieces linked to Shakespeare's garden have residue from cannabis. Thackeray also has suggested that the lines "compounds strange" and "keep invention in a noted weed" pulled from Sonnet 76 may reference the writer's love of the plant.

Of course, as many historians have noted, the evidence of cannabis in these bits of pipe is far from conclusive. Maybe the cannabis-covered fragments came from a neighbor chucking their pipe over the fence. 

But, as Thackeray and others argue, we know for certain that cannabis was used by England's artists and aristocrats at the time. Doesn't it make sense that Shakespeare would have partaken as well?

4. Cannabis in Mythology: A Food of the Gods

Lord Shiva statue in India

A small but passionate part of the cannabis community has always regarded this plant with a spiritual reverence. But this isn't anything new. Cannabis has long been a part of religious mythology.

Just take a look at the stories of Lord Shiva, one of the most important deities of the Hindu faith. According to the lore, during the churning of the ocean (known as Samudra Manthan), a poison called Halahal was released into the world. Shiva consumed it to save the universe. And, to cool him down afterward, the Hindu gods offered him Bhang (cannabis)

As a mythological food of the gods, cannabis consumption has since evolved into a powerfully spiritual ritual for many religious communities across modern-day India.

3. Cannabis Online: The First eCommerce Transaction

outdated vintage computer

One of the most surprising fun facts about cannabis is its origins as an online commodity. Before online shopping was an option, and long before legalization, cannabis was the very first product sold online. 

In his book “What the Dormouse Said: How the Sixties Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry,” author John Markoff wrote about students messing around at Stanford University's Artificial Intelligence Laboratory in the early 1970s. 

In the way Markoff tells it, these students worked with Arpanet, the precursor to the Internet we know and love today. These students connected with their counterparts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and supposedly used the network to set up a sale of "an undisclosed amount" of cannabis

This small, discrete sale over half a century ago has led to some pretty great things today. From high-potency Peak Delta-9 100mg Gummies to mellow Balance 1:1 Gummies, buying cannabis products online isn't just technologically possible but is now the standard.

2. Cannabis and America: A Flag Made From Hemp

Betsy Ross American Flag with 13 stars

This little-known cannabis fact is brought to you by homegrown American hemp. Firstly, did you know that many of the founding fathers, like Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, grew hemp? As far as we know, they didn't plant it for its mood-lifting or relaxing effects. Instead, it was highly valued for its fibers and used for rope, clothing, and canvas.

But it gets even more interesting. Betsy Ross, the American seamstress known to have created the very first American flag, actually used hemp fibers in its creation.

Cannabis’ industrial, economic potential later led to the release of Hemp for Victory, a 1942 film by the USDA meant to promote the plant’s growth. I guess you could say cannabis is woven into the fabric of American society. 

1. Cannabis and 420: Cracking the Secret Code

Ungrateful Dead bassist

The term "420" has a long association with cannabis, but until relatively recently, its origin story was to the mists of time. But then, just a few years ago, High Times broke the story about how and why 420 came to be. Thanks to their reporting, we now know that in 1971, a group of California teens coined the term. 

They called themselves "The Waldos" for their tendency to hang out next to a wall at their San Rafael school. As the legend has it, they were on a quest to find a hidden cannabis grow, supposedly stashed somewhere in their town. The Waldos would meet weekly after sports practice at 4:20 pm; thus, this time stamp became a secret code for their mission. 

But, eventually, as their quest for cannabis came up empty-handed, 420 evolved into a secret code for passing around a blunt or two. Still, this doesn't explain how a joke shared among friends became a worldwide phenomenon.

One of The Waldos' older brothers just happened to be close friends with Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh. In the early 1970s, the Waldos spent a fair amount of time in the vicinity of the Dead. The 420 terminology quickly spread backstage, then onstage, and eventually into the Grateful Dead fandom. 

Countless Cannabis Facts Buried in History

When you consider that humans have a 10,000-year history with cannabis, with the earliest known instances of its cultivation by humans in 8,000 BC, it shouldn't be surprising to discover it has influenced so many facets of our human condition over the past millennia. What other plant can connect everything from a Hindu god to the founders of America to the Grateful Dead?

After all these seemingly impossible cannabis connections, we'll leave you to ponder this plant's larger cultural influence. Until then, happy exploring, and mind your mind!

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