Marijuana, also widely known as weed, has been used for thousands of years for both medicinal and recreational purposes. Its history is long and varied, with evidence of its use dating back to ancient times. Ancient Korea, for example, harvested cannabis hemp as early as 3000 BC. Cannabis use is also a part of Hindu practice and culture, with belief that the Hindu god Shiva uses it. According to multiple sources, archaeological evidence also suggests that cannabis was used by ancient Assyrians, Greeks, and even in the Kingdom of Judah. Even Taoists would mix cannabis with certain ingredients, burn it as incense, and inhale the smoke.

In more recent history, cannabis has found numerous proponents across the globe. A particularly good example is that of Napoleon Bonaparte’s soldiers ingesting hashish – cannabis resin – during their invasion of Egypt. Soon after, however, Napoleon banned its use in his army. There were many attempts at restricting cannabis on an international scale since, perhaps, the Middle Ages. But marijuana continued to grow and spread into what it has eventually become today.

Marijuana was introduced to the Western world in the 19th century, and its popularity grew rapidly as more people discovered its effects. In the early 20th century, however, attitudes towards marijuana began to change, with some people believing that it had negative effects on users and society. In the United States, marijuana was first restricted in the early 1900s, and was officially banned in 1937 by the “Marihuana Tax Act” which prohibited the production of cannabis and hemp, though the hemp restriction was later lifted. Despite governmental efforts to restrict use and production, marijuana continued to be popular throughout the 20th century, especially among the counterculture movements of the 1960s and 1970s. It was Uruguay, in 2013, that became the first country in modern history to legalize the recreational use of the drug. Many countries have followed, at least in some part, this outtake on cannabis use. In the United States, it was California in 1996 that became the first state to, though in clear defiance of federal law, legalize medical marijuana.

Fast forward to 2023 and the list of states legalizing its use has grown and continues to do so. Today, attitudes towards marijuana are continuing to evolve, with more and more states legalizing it for both medical and recreational use. Many people now believe that marijuana has a wide range of health benefits, including pain relief, anxiety reduction, and sleep improvement.

However, there are still some concerns about the potential risks of marijuana use, especially in young people. Some studies have suggested that marijuana use can have negative effects on brain development and mental health, although more research is needed to fully understand these effects.