From Ancient Gardens to Modern Medicine

Among the primary reasons why humans were able to stop chasing woolly mammoths and start building skyscrapers was because we domesticated the plant world — we figured out how to grow and use wheat, beans, lentils, and cannabis. Food security (and something to enjoy at the end of a long day working in the bean fields) allowed us to devote time to studying the world and ourselves, and gave rise to religion and shamans and the first doctors and scientists. In all the great prehistoric civilizations — Mesopotamia, China, Egypt, India — cannabis played a key role in our survival and our success. Shen Nung: The Zen of Cannabis The Chinese emperor Shen Nung might have been the world’s first cannabinologist. Shen lived nearly 5,000 years ago in a time when most humans on earth were still using stone tools. He was a young genius who was taught to read and write and ponder the world, which were fairly new developments to humans. Shen became fascinated with herbs, eventually investigating — gathering, examining, tasting, smoking — over 350 varieties and…

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