Approximately 11,500 to 10,200 years ago, at the end of the Last Ice Age, stone-devoted people in Eastern Europe and Japan started using marijuana independently of each other. Other studies on the use of marijuana in history show a link between the increase in intercontinental trade in the Bronze Age about 5,000 years ago and the increase in the use of hemp in East Asia.
The Yamnaya people who lived in Eurasia, believed to be one of the four descendants of Europeans, began to spread eastward 5,000 years ago. It is believed that these people also hemp through Eurasia, and maybe even psychoactive properties of it. The pollen, berries and filaments of the cannabis plant are unearthed in archaeological excavations in Eurasia for many years.
Tengwen Long and Pavel Tarasov from Berlin’s Free University in Germany gathered this database of information about this archaeological excavation in order to reveal the currents and patterns of cannabis use.
The researchers say that it is usually thought that hemp is first used and probably domesticated in China or Central Asia, but the database also points to an alternative option.
The most recent studies included in the database suggest that the plant began to appear almost 11,500 to 10,200 years ago in archaeological records in Japan and Eastern Europe. Long “The hemp plant seems to have spread to a wide geographical area from 10,000 years ago, perhaps even earlier.”
Researchers suggest that on Eurasia land, different groups have begun to use this plant to fabricate their fibres, perhaps independently of each other, perhaps as a source of food or medicine, perhaps for psychoactive effects.
Increase in the Usage of Cannabis in the Bronze Age
But according to Tarasov and Long’s database, hemp has been used regularly by humans for millennia only in Western Eurasia. Long says that the early evidence of use in East Asia is very fragmented.
This seems to have changed about 5,000 years ago, at the beginning of the Bronze Age. In this period, the use of hemp in East Asia has become more intense. Tarasov and Long think that the timing of this increase is meaningful.
Until this time, nomadic shepherds on the Eurasian step lines had specialized in horseback riding. This allowed them to begin long-distance shuttles, and to establish inter-continental trade nets over the routes that would become Silk Road after a few millennia. This earlier Bronze Age Commercial Road has enabled the spread of a wide variety of methane, possibly hemp, between the west and the east.
Long says, “We need more evidence to test this hypothesis,” but says that the high value of hemp will make it an ideal clearinghouse product at this time. Other evidence shows that at the beginning of the Bronze Age people and products are in motion. Long, for example, says that the wheat, which started growing 10,000 years ago in the Middle East, is beginning to appear 5,000 years ago in China.
The ancient DNA studies published in the past few years confirm that one of the nomadic shepherd communities living on the stepladders, the Yamnaya, spread both east and west during this period.