Heavy Metals Found in Cannabis Cause Exposure Concerns—Here’s the Scoop
by Chane Leigh
The roots of cannabis stretch deep into its grow medium and far back into history. Cannabis is a very misunderstood plant. Decades of anti-cannabis propaganda supported by the United States federal government distorted the public view of this incredible plant. After eight decades of cannabis prohibition and a failed War on Drugs that targeted cannabis, America is finally on the precipice of ending this draconian era. Education about cannabis is becoming abundant. People are starting to learn a different perception about the plant rather than the picture that was previously painted about it.
Cannabis is not something new. It did not just pop up in somebody’s laboratory last year. Cannabis has been around for thousands of years. Cannabis doesn’t always reference medical or recreational cannabis. It also references industrial hemp. This is where a lot of the confusion about cannabis starts. There is not a universal language for cannabis that everyone adheres to. There are basic guidelines and a lot of slang. When it comes to the origins of cannabis, a lot of people might believe it’s the dispensary up the road these days. While that is not entirely wrong, the origin of cannabis that we’re talking about is where it originally started. In recent days, the internet has been going wild, saying those origins are in China.
A quick Google search of where cannabis started will lead you to the answer of central Asia. Cannabis is said to have started and evolved there. It was then introduced to Europe, Africa, and last but not least, the Americas. Just like the United States Navy utilized industrial hemp to make rope for ships and clothing for troops, people in Central Asia utilized hemp much in the same way, making rope, sails, clothing, paper, and more from it.
Hemp seeds were even used as food like they are today. Cannabis seeds can be roasted or eaten raw. They can be shelled to eat the tiny hearts making them easier to digest. They can also be cold-pressed to make hemp seed oil. As if that were not enough, cannabis seeds can also be used to make non-dairy milk and cheese products. Nutritional information on hemp seeds states that a 30 G serving of raw hemp seeds has 166 calories, 9.47 G of protein, 14.6 G of fat, 2.6 G carbohydrates, 1.2 G of fiber, 0.45 g of sugar. Hemp seeds are also said to be an excellent source of vitamin e, B-vitamins, zinc, manganese, magnesium, iron, and they are an excellent source of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids.
For something so good, why is so little known about it? The answer might be because of the United States Federal government. They have campaigned against cannabis since the early 1900s and officially since 1937. In the 1970s, the President of that era, Richard Nixon, escalated the government’s nasty campaign against cannabis by signing the Controlled Substance Act. The government has lied about cannabis and used it as a tool for control ever since. Now, faced with the information era, these draconian individuals who support an outdated way of thinking that backs the continued prohibition of this incredible plant can no longer hide behind their lies.
In 1939, New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia appointed a committee to explore the negative claims about marijuana. The LaGuardia Committee reports on marijuana, conducted by the New York Academy of Medicine, published in 1944, determined the propaganda about cannabis to be false back then. In 1972, The Shafer Commission report on cannabis did the exact same thing pointing out the government was still spreading lies. Let us not forget the film Hemp for Victory, which the United States government denied making until they could no longer do so thanks in part to the efforts of the legendary Jack Herer, aka The Hemperor.
Cannabis is a very misunderstood plant. Thankfully science is offering clarity these days. The field of cannabinoid therapies has advanced greatly over the past two decades alone. Research on the effectiveness of cannabis to deal with a multitude of different conditions and symptoms has begun. Our understanding of the endocannabinoid system is growing deeper. We are beginning to understand more about terpenes and their importance in cannabis. These are all areas of the plant where research has been prevented because of power and control. While the potential powers of this plant have been suppressed, alcohol, tobacco, prescription drugs, and cotton all thrived financially while destroying people and the planet.
When we start researching cannabis, it is a collection of information that will take you back to ancient China and beyond. A recent study that explored cannabis genetics made the groundbreaking discovery that cannabis was first domesticated some 12,000 years ago in Northwest China. It wasn’t until about 4,000 years ago that farmers began breeding cannabis specifically for its psychotropic effects. Cannabis has been discovered in all parts of the world. One of the earliest recorded written references was in the year 2900 BC, and it is in China. Emperor Fu Hsi is accredited for the earliest reference of Ma, which translates into cannabis in Chinese. The emperor noted that Ma possessed the properties of both yin and yang.
Two hundred years later, in 2700 BC, it is believed that Chinese emperor Shen Nung realized the healing properties of cannabis. Chen Nung is considered the father of Chinese medicine, adding a great layer of solidity to the effectiveness of cannabis as a medicine. By 1500 BC, the Chinese were well aware of cannabis and what it could do. One of the earliest documented references of medical cannabis can be found in the Chinese pharmacopeia, also known as the “Rh-Ya.”
Another area in China in which cannabis has surfaced from ancient times is the Silk Road. The Silk Road started in north-central China, stretching a path along the Great Wall of China, crossing Pamirs, Afghanistan, the Levant, and into Anatolia, covering nearly 4,000 mi or 6,400 km. Many people speculate this is where cannabis made its journey to meet countries such as Africa, Egypt, India, Spain, and eventually the Americas.
Going back in time, around 2,500 years ago, a middle-aged man passed away in China. He was buried in Turpan, China. The body was discovered with a burial shroud of cannabis plants delicately arranged. To be more specific, 13 cannabis plants averaging about 3 ft long were diagonally placed across the man’s chest so that the roots rested at the pelvis and the tops of the plants extended to the chin and along the left-hand side of the middle-aged man’s face. These are not just random plants either; they were 13 harvested female plants. This shows that people understood just about as much as we do about cannabis now, thousands of years ago. You think we would have come further by now. So while the rest of the internet is going crazy with stories about the roots of cannabis being linked to China, you can rest assured this information has already been documented in many other places such as procon.org, National Geographic, and more.
This still leaves the question of where does cannabis originate from? As there are many different landrace strains found around the world, cannabis may have been here long before people and could just possibly come from everywhere. Perhaps that is why it has been so hard for power-hungry governments around the world to destroy. The answer to this question is one we may never have an actual answer for. It is rather amazing, though, to see how far back in history the roots of cannabis go.
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