On Marijuana History we discuss the pro’s and cons, benefits and side effects and all things right and wrong about natures miracle known as marijuana, cannabis, weed, bud, CBD and ganja.
We think it should be legal the world over, but of course it is not, so we try and look in to the history of marijuana and get an understanding of why it has a bad aura, governments ban it and the people in genral frown upon it. Is it propaganda or is there truth to what the mainstream media brainwash us with… sorry I mean tell us.
The long history of marijuana in the UK
Although the recreational use of marijuana is not legal in the UK, it has a long-standing relationship with the plant. Its cultivation has taken place for hundreds of years and was once the main crop grown in many regions. Back in the early 1500s, King Henry VIII put laws in place that actually required farmers to grow hemp. A few decades later Queen Elizabeth actually raised the requirements farmers had to grow the plant. Here we’ll take a look at the long history of marijuana in the UK.
The need for hemp is so great there’s not enough land in all of Britain
Once Queen Elizabeth increased the obligation each farmer had for growing the cannabis plant, it became increasingly impossible to meet those requirements. The country was literally running out of enough land to produce the amount of the marijuana plant required for all its different uses. The country started substantial colonisation of many parts of the world in order to secure enough land for the growth of this product.
After a couple of hundred years, it started becoming recognised as having medicinal value. Queen Victoria was prescribed this herbal medication to help reduce her pain. It was recognised for a long time for different medicinal uses but in the 1920s Britain joined the world in outlawing its use after attending the international drug conference that took place in Geneva. The British government became convinced that marijuana was a threat to its society.
Despite the laws put in place many continued to use it recreationally. Beginning in the 1950s and continuing into the 1960s a counterculture developed that included its use. Just as in the US and other parts of the world, there are those that are fighting to make this herb legal but as yet it remains illegal throughout the UK.
What is the oldest recorded use of marijuana?
There is evidence that it was used by the Vikings as far back as the 10th century. It was typically grown in coastal areas which means its most likely use was that of vegetable fiber which was found to be more durable than flax. It was most assuredly used for its psychedelic uses as well as for its medicinal value even before it was formally recognised for those things but this product also has a long history of being used for its ability to make strong canvas, ropes, and fishing nets.
This is most assuredly why the Vikings valued it so much. Even in modern days, this product can be used to make extremely strong and durable rope. It would be equally valuable for the use of modern-day fishing nets and other types of canvas. One of the reasons why the British government sought to increase the growth of this crop was the fact that it was considered to be absolutely necessary to the British Navy.
Over time this crop became one of the most important ones to the overall economy. It was found that this crop was reasonably easy to cultivate and it could be easily transported and grown in the ever-expanding British colonies. The ships that were being built for the British Navy depended on hemp. Sailcloth and ropes we’re needed every couple of years. Hundreds of tons of hemp were needed for the demand.
When did marijuana start being used commonly as a drug?
It is almost certain that this plant was used for psychedelic and medicinal use from its earliest days. Even so, it wasn’t formally recognised in the UK until the 1800s when an Irish doctor studied the drug. After spending time abroad he brought cannabis to Britain where he introduced its psychoactive effects. At that time it was already widespread in British colonies and people were using it both recreationally and medicinally.
Over time the use of cannabis as a drug spread throughout the British Empire. In the mid-1800s it was introduced to Jamaica under British rule and the indentured servants began using it. Most of the marijuana was being brought from India which at the time was ruled by Britain as well and that is why some of the language used for marijuana in Jamaica comes from the Indian language.
First attempts at prohibition
A good hundred years before the international drug conference in Geneva the British government attempted to place prohibition on British-controlled India. From the 1830s through the 1870s there were attempts to put such a law in place. Even so, it was determined that it caused very little injury to society to use marijuana. It wasn’t until the 1920s that it was first prohibited in the UK. It was at that time that marijuana was added to the Dangerous Drugs Act.
Marijuana was only vaguely on the public consciousness until the 1950s. Until that time users did it in the privacy of their own home and the majority of society paid little attention to its use. In 1950, however, several white British men were arrested for having large quantities of marijuana and cocaine. Throughout the UK and the world the feelings about dangerous drugs were changing and the fact that the use of these drugs was being used by more young middle class, it was being perceived as a menace.
These facts all led to more people being arrested for the use and possession of this drug. In fact, by the early 1970s, the UK convicted more than 10,000 people every year for possession of marijuana. Since that time it has largely been classified as a Class B drug. It was temporarily lowered to a class C drug from 2004 to 2009 which meant that the punishment for possessing the drug was less during those years but it then went back to being a Class B drug.
What is the background of its recreational use in the UK?
Marijuana is now used throughout the UK by all age groups and those with every socioeconomic background. An estimated 7 to 8% of all those from 16 years old up to 60 years old say that they used marijuana at least once within the last year. That means that it is the most used drug that is illegal in the UK.
It is believed that the gateway to teenagers using marijuana is with the use of smoking cigarettes. In fact, it is very common for people in the UK to smoke marijuana and tobacco together. Although this is a long-standing common practice it is something that is beginning to change. Various options such as the use of a roach card or vaporisation are becoming more commonplace which is why the use of marijuana together with tobacco is not as common. One reason why it has long been a common practice to mix tobacco and marijuana together is because of the fact that the price for cannabis is more expensive in the UK than in many other parts of the world.
How is it used medicinally?
As of the fall of 2018 marijuana was legalised in the United Kingdom for medical use. This took place after it was found that a couple of children who suffered from epilepsy was found to benefit significantly with the use of marijuana. In the beginning, the law would not allow them to use it and the public made an outcry which led to the legalisation of cannabis for medicinal purposes.
Jeremy Hunt who is the health secretary gave his support for its medical use and this was the beginning of having the law changed. It was determined that those with high levels of clinical need should be able to legally obtain marijuana for its medicinal value. In the autumn of 2018, the information was presented in the house and it was then put into policy in November of that year. Despite the change in law very few have been able to obtain medical marijuana even a year later.
General Practitioners are not allowed to give prescriptions for medicinal marijuana. These prescriptions can only come from specialist consultants. Even then, the prescription can only be written when there is substantial evidence that it will benefit the individual greatly. In fact, all other options have to be fully exhausted before a prescription for medical marijuana can be given.
The specific conditions that have been approved for the use of medical marijuana are very limited. One of the approved drugs doesn’t contain actual THC but rather a synthetic form of it. It is designed to treat vomiting and nausea caused by a type of chemotherapy. CBD oil can be sold legally in the UK without a prescription but that product contains little or no THC. While it is considered to have a number of health benefits there are some medicinal uses for THC that couldn’t be derived by taking CBD oil. Check out our page on the potential of CBD oil for much more information.
Marijuana is a £2.5 billion market
The Institute Of Economic Affairs published a report in 2018 that showed what the black market is worth. If it were legalised it would bring in substantial tax revenue. Based on that report the organisation recommended that marijuana be legalised. It was further recommended that the tax on its sales should not be excessively high because doing so would then continue to promote the black market.