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Cannabis and Culture Around the World

The word “marijuana” paints a hazy picture of young hippies with their bell-bottom jeans smoking and getting really “high”. That’s how the people, the era, and the media portray cannabis. But this plant is utilized differently in parts of the world. Depending on the need, cannabis can provide very good use. Let’s see and learn about Cannabis and culture around the world.

Ways Humans Use Cannabis.


This is the most common and popular use of this plant, especially in this day and age. Still considered as a Schedule 1 drug in the US, the Cannabis’ major cannabinoid THC provides the psychoactive effect or the “high” that people look for. 


Especially true with hemp, cannabis was actually first cultivated not for its psychoactive effects but for its industrial applications. Evidence suggested that hemp was first utilized to make ropes, paper, oils, and other textile products.


Advances in medical technology have taken advantage of the potential benefits of cannabis. Epidiolex, the only FDA-approved medicine with CBD as the active ingredient, is very effective in reducing seizures in certain severe epileptic conditions. Cannabis can help in treating Parkinson’s disease, tremors, and other neurological conditions. 


People have been using cannabis since the dawn of age to increase their spirituality. Hindus, Sheiks, and especially Rastafarians use cannabis as a way to increase and unlock their spiritual awareness. When used correctly and appropriately, it can increase your quality of life.

How different cultures around the world use Cannabis


Cannabis was introduced to Africa around six centuries ago from Egypt. Ceramic smoking-pipe bowl artifacts were recovered in Ethiopia that dated around the 14th century contain traces of Cannabis. This shows that Ethiopians have been smoking cannabis for a long time. 

With lots of people enjoying the hit they get from Cannabis, they used it as means of trading with other tribes. They exchange cannabis for other supplies like feathers, hide, food, among others.

In North Africa, they have “kif” rooms, where they can gather to smoke cannabis and sing, dance, and do other cultural traditions. 

Different tribes also use cannabis for different reasons. The Baluba tribe in Congo incorporates cannabis into religious and magical beliefs. The Bashilenge tribe uses cannabis as a form of punishment. Criminals are forced to smoke Cannabis “dagga” until they admit their wrongdoing or until they lose consciousness.


Cannabis was introduced to Jamaica by India around the 18th Century. Jamaicans saw that the Indians use cannabis for religious ceremonies. Dreadlocked mystics, known as Sadhus, smoke cannabis and perform religious acts which led to the “cannibalization” of Jamaica. Today, the religion with Jamaican origins, Rastafari, promotes the use of cannabis for religious use. Rastafarians believe that smoking cannabis becomes a portal to deeper spirituality. 


With a long history with Cannabis, India is one of the reasons why cannabis is so popular all over the world. 

The Atharva Veda is a religious text that was discovered around 2,000 years ago described cannabis as a “source of happiness”, and “bringer of freedom”. In 1798, William O’Shaughnessy published an article “On the preparations of Indian hemp, or gunjah” which highlights the medical benefits of consuming Indian Hemp.

Today, even though recreational consumption of cannabis is illegal in the country, religious people still use cannabis to treat a range of conditions. A cannabis drink called Bhang is popular among people because they believe that this drink is a jack-of-all-trades in terms of treating common aches and pain.

The Netherlands.

We all know that Amsterdam is essentially the new capital of marijuana because of its laid-back and friendly appreciation of cannabis. But technically, cannabis is still illegal in The Netherlands but small consumption is now decriminalized. You’ll find a lot of cafes and restaurants that offer cannabis as smoke or as part of a delicacy. 


This country now tops the list of the countries that consume cannabis the highest. Over 18% of the population participates in the consumption of weed. It is still illegal under their federal law but it does not stop them from enjoying cannabis. 

Cannabis is very popular among its people because it had its own kind of prohibition in 1915 and only allowed beer in 1989. So people had to find something to do especially during the cold.


Even though it’s technically illegal to consume, enforcement is a different matter. It’s a bit relaxed especially if you’re only caught in one or two ounces. 

But Cambodia is becoming popular with cannabis connoisseurs because of “happy pizza”. It’s a popular pizza in the country that contains cannabis. A lot of tourists have been flocking the country excited to try this unique cannabis culture. 


This is the first country to legalize the sale and consumption of marijuana in 2014. Production of marijuana is also legal and you are allowed to buy up to 40 grams from approved pharmacies. But you need to be registered in order to buy so that the government can track your purchase record. 


Canadians are very progressive in treating cannabis. Medical marijuana has been legal for more than 16 years and the government is striving to legalize it all together soon. If everything falls into place, it will be the first industrialized nation where cannabis is legal throughout.

Cannabis has become a legitimate business that some medical marijuana growers even take their business public on the Stock Exchange to generate capital.

The United States.

Cannabis and the USA have a very polarizing relationship. At the end of the 19th century, cannabis was marketed as an over-the-counter medication used to treat nausea, rheumatism, and common pain. In the early 20th century, the USA did its best to prohibit the use and sale of cannabis in the country because of the stigma it created when Mexican immigrants used what was called “locoweed”. Through the Harrison Act and Marihuana Tax Act, it forces people to see cannabis in a bad light.

But research done in the mid-20th century paved the way for Americans to start appreciating cannabis again. From the hippies to the discovery of THC, CBD, CBN, CB1 and CB2 receptors, and ECS, people are now starting to see cannabis positively.

Now, cannabis is legal in 29 states. Some states made only the medical use of cannabis legal and some states made it legal altogether. Definitely, the cannabis culture in the USA is flourishing.

Cannabis now has a place at everybody’s table. We have THC, CBD, CBG, CBN, and other cannabinoids that will surely help people treat and manage illnesses. Wherever you are in the world, you’ll see people finding ways of taking advantage of the myriad of potential benefits of cannabis. The future of the culture of Cannabis is now brighter than ever!

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