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Hemp History BCE

c.1550 BCE: The Ebers Papyrus from Ancient Egypt describes medical cannabis

Ebers PapyrusThe Ebers Papyrus (named after the German eqyptologist who purchased it in Thebes in 1873), is among the oldest and most important of the medical papyri of ancient Egypt. It is thought to have been written around 1550 BCE, yet many scholars think that it is a compilation of older works, perhaps dating as far back as 3400 BCE.

The Ebers Papyrus suggests a number of remedies, including ground corn, celery ground in cow's milk, and hemp ground in honey, all of which were inserted into the vagina.1

Other ancient Egyptian papyri that mention medical cannabis are the Ramesseum III Papyrus (1700 BCE), the Berlin Papyrus (1300 BCE) and the Chester Beatty Medical Papyrus VI (1300 BCE).

Around 2,000 BCE, the ancient Egyptians used cannabis to treat sore eyes. The ancient Egyptians even used hemp in suppositories for relieving the pain of hemorrhoids. Professor of Egyptology at the University of Copenhagen, Lise Manniche notes the reference to "plant medical cannabis" in several Egyptian texts, one of which dates back to the eighteenth century BCE.2

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750 BCE: Assyrians use marijuana medicine to "bannish ghost of child birth"

Assyrian clay tablet mentions cannabis as medicineThe ancient Assyrian kingdom existed as a nation state from the mid 23rd Century BCE to 608  BCE and centered on the Upper Tigris river in northern Mesopotamia (present day northern Iraq).

During his 7th century BCE reign, the famous Ashurai king Ashurbanipal sent emissaries far afield in search of ancient texts and recovered many invaluable records, including the oldest stories of Adam and Eve and the Flood.
He copied many from cuneiform originals thousands of years older and sealed them within a vast underground library he specially constructed for the purpose. In the late 19th century archaeologists Sir Henry Layard and Hormuzd Rassam found this unique time capsule intact and recovered a huge cache of 50,000 tablets.

One such tablet has a fragment recording an ancient Assyrian herbal remedy which uses cannabis for “banishing the ghosts of childbirth.” One of a number of cuneiform medical texts and prescriptions recovered from King Ashurbanipal’s famous underground library in Nineveh during the late 19th century.

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