Indian Folks Introduced Marijuana to Jamaica And Named It Ganja


Ancient History | April 21, 2021

Bhang eaters earlier than two huts, c. 1790. (San Diego Museum of Artwork/Wikimedia Commons)

“The place does marijuana come from?” sounds just like the type of query one would solely ask underneath the affect of its topic, however have you learnt the reply? Did not suppose so. The identify, in fact, originates from Mexican Spanish, however the plant is believed to have come from Central Asia earlier than it went on a magical thriller tour to your native dispensary.

The place Does Marijuana Come From?

It is believed that vacationers migrating from or via Central Asia introduced hashish together with them on their travels via the Himalayas and into India between 2000 and 1000 B.C.EKnown as ganja, which is believed to return from the Previous Persian or Previous Iranian time period for “treasure,” it did not take lengthy for marijuana to turn into an vital a part of Indian tradition. Between the third and eighth centuries, it was used to deal with phlegm, catarrh, and diarrhea, and it was even included right into a popular myth concerning the goddess Shiva, who was believed to have “introduced the plant down from Mount Mandara,” the place the primary hashish plant was mentioned to sprout from a drop of sacred nectar that fell from the sky. In the course of the festivals of Shivrati and Kumbha Mela, marijuana was burned as an providing to Shiva and smoked to facilitate a dialog with beings on another plane of existence. It is unclear if it labored.

William Brooke O’Shaughnessy. (Unknown creator/Wikimedia Commons)

Bringing Ganja To Jamaica

Within the 1830s, after the UK had colonized India, Irish doctor William Brooke O’Shaughnessy visited the Southeast Asian nation to deal with a cholera outbreak and realized concerning the Indian individuals’s medicinal use of ganja. Amazed by its potential to ease ache and improve urge for food,  O’Shaughnessy introduced the plant again to England in 1841, and for the subsequent 39 years, English medical professionals sang the praises of “Indian hemp.” For a short interval, farmers in India weren’t solely allowed however inspired to incorporate marijuana of their annual crop manufacturing cycle, and promoting huge portions of the plant to England, modern-day Pakistan, and Trinidad turned massive enterprise.

The UK’s colonial portfolio on the time additionally included Jamaica, whose individuals revolted in opposition to the use of slave labor in 1838, main the empire to import workers from East India. They introduced hashish seeds with them, and as soon as they shared the ensuing crops with the locals, it turned an vital a part of the island’s tradition as nicely. The Rastafarian faith that sprouted alongside the introduction of marijuana in Twentieth-century Jamaica was truly not dissimilar from India’s worship of Shiva.

Rastaman in Barbados sporting a hashish badge above a badge displaying Haile Selasie. (Klaus-J. Kahle/Wikimedia Commons)

Harshing Their Vibes

Sadly, the English love affair with marijuana was brief lived. Many Indian hashish farmers did not recognize the U.Ok. skimming off the highest of their enterprise, so an underground community of smugglers popped as much as transfer the product in and in another country, and mixed with the final prudishness of Victorian England, the U.Ok. had all of the ammunition it wanted to criminalize marijuana within the 1870s. They claimed hashish use precipitated “lunacy” and threw people in asylums for it, so celebrations of Shiva received very quiet certainly.

Equally, the Jamaican authorities did their greatest to outlaw hashish use on the island with the Ganja Law of 1913, however although they tried to ply workers with rum as an alternative, it was a lot much less efficientBy the early 20th century, Rastafarian tradition was firmly established in Jamaica, mockingly ushered in by the very individuals who nonetheless search to squash it.

Tags: ancient history | drugs | India

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Jacob Shelton

Author

Jacob Shelton is a Los Angeles based mostly author. For some purpose this was probably the most troublesome factor he’s written all day, and right here’s the kicker – his girlfriend wrote the humorous a part of that final sentence. As for the remainder of the bio? That’s pure Jacob, child. He’s obsessive about the methods through which singular, transgressive acts have formed the broader strokes of historical past, and he believes in alternate dimensions, which signifies that he’s nice at a cocktail party. When he’s not writing about tradition, pop or in any other case, he’s including to his discovered {photograph} assortment and eavesdropping on strangers in public.






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