Cannabis legalization is here. Cannabis is one of humanity's oldest cultivated crops and has been consumed and used for various purposes by humans for thousands of years. It comes from the genus Cannabaceae, the same plant family as hops, which are often used in the production of beer. Early civilizations across the world utilized the hemp plant to make fibre, textiles, paper, rope, oil, pottery and medicine. The seeds were also consumed as a nutritional source of protein. This ancient plant originated in Central Asia and was discovered sometime between 5,000 and 12,000 BCE.
The use of marijuana for recreational and spiritual purposes has been documented by archaeological finds dating back to prehistoric societies in Europe, Asia and Africa. There are several written records of cannabis use in Greek mythology, ancient texts of Chinese medicine and the Atharva Veda, written in the Indian subcontinent sometime around 2000-1400 BCE. References to the sacred plant can also be found in the Bible and the histories of Herodotus, where he described ceremonial practices of the Scythians in the 5th to 2nd century BCE.
Across the centuries, cannabis has also been used in shamanic practices, religious ceremonies, Norse festivals and Asian burial rituals - including being found buried with some of the Tarim mummies. In a number of countries, it was used to treat tetanus, hydrophobia, delirium tremens, infantile convulsions, neuralgia and other nervous disorders, cholera, menorrhagia, rheumatism, hay fever, asthma, skin diseases, and protracted labor during childbirth.
Fast forward to the 15th century; the use of hemp in ship sails played a huge role in Europe's "Age of Discovery," and it was eventually transported across the Atlantic by the Spanish. Shortly afterwards, it began to emerge in North America. In the early 1800s, cannabis played a crucial role in Canada's development and economy. Hemp was an extremely important resource to early settlers who used it for food and fibre for textiles. It was so important, that the Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada distributed hemp seeds to farmers to stimulate the industry. The possession and sale of cannabis remained legal until 1923.
After an almost century-long prohibition, Bill C-45 was passed in 2018, allowing for the sale, cultivation, possession and distribution of recreational cannabis. In 2019, Canada is now one of the first countries in the world to approve cannabis legalization for both medicinal and recreational use. Modern research and technology has uncovered much more about the properties of cannabis, allowing for regulated cultivation, responsible distribution and educated consumption. Cannabis can now be found in a variety of forms, including dried or milled flower, oils, infusions, edibles, capsules, topicals, concentrates and more.
The Canadian Rockies are home to a number of newly opened dispensaries where you can purchase a multitude of cannabis products and accessories with the assistance of knowledgeable staff, who can give you advice and help guide your experience. There are many different species and strains originating from different parts of the world, so it's important to get professional advice before making a purchase.
If you are visiting Canada, you should refer to your own country's laws and regulations regarding cannabis before consumption. Always discuss the effects and potential risks with your health care practitioner before consuming cannabis.