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Hemp History BCE

400 BCE: Hopewell tradition Mound Builders smoke marijuana and produce hemp fabrics

Hopewell PipesThe group of cultures collectively called Mound Builders were prehistoric inhabitants of North America who constructed various styles of earthen mounds for burial, residential, religious and ceremonial purposes.

Since the 19th century, the prevailing scholarly consensus has been that the mounds were constructed by Indigenous peoples of the Americas, early cultures distinctly separate from the historical Native American tribes extant at the time of European colonization of North America. The historical Native Americans were generally not knowledgeable about the civilizations that produced the mounds. Research and study of these cultures and peoples has been based on archaeology and anthropology.

In 1891, in  his study of Prehistoric Textile Art of Eastern United States, Smithsonian Institute ethnologist W. H. Holmes showed that the ancient Mound-Builders utilized cannabis. Hundreds of clay pipes,  some containing cannabis residues and wrapped in hemp cloth, dating back to 400 B.C.E were found in the so-called Death Mask Mound of the Hopewell Mound Builders (Hopewell Tradition) who lived in the Northeastern and Midwestern United States, modern Ohio.[1]

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6th century BCE - The holy anointing oil from the Book of Exodus is (probably) made with cannabis

In the Book of Exodus (arguably written in the sixth century BCE), holy anointing oil is described as an integral part of the ordination of the priesthood and the High Priests of the ancient Israelites. The primary purpose of anointing with the holy anointing oil was to cause the anointed persons or objects to become qodesh, or "most holy" (Exodus 30:29).

The holy anointing oil described in Exodus 30:22-25 was created from:

    Pure myrrh (מר דרור mar deror) 500 shekels (about 6 kg)
    Sweet cinnamon (קינמון בשם kinnemon besem) 250 shekels (about 3 kg)
    Kaneh bosem (קְנֵה-בֹשֶׂם kaneh bosm) 250 shekels (about 3 kg)
    Cassia (קדה kiddah) 500 shekels (about 6 kg)
    Olive oil (שמן זית shemen zayit) one hin (about 5 quarts according to Adam Clarke; about 4 liters according to Shiurei Torah, 7 liters according to the Chazon Ish)

While sources agree about the identity of four of the five ingredients of anointing oil, the identity of the fifth, "kaneh bosem", has been a matter of debate. The Bible indicates that it was an aromatic cane or grass, which was imported from a distant land by way of the spice routes, and that a related plant grows naturally in Israel.[1][2] Several different plants have been named as possibly being the "kaneh bosem".

Polish anthropologist, Sula Benet in Early Diffusion and Folk Uses of Hemp (1967), identified kaneh bosem as cannabis.[3]
Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan notes that "On the basis of cognate pronunciation and Septuagint readings, some identify Keneh bosem with the English and Greek cannabis, the hemp plant. There are, however, some authorities who identify the 'sweet cane' with cinnamon bark (Radak, Sherashim). Some say that kinman is the wood, and keneh bosem is the bark (Abarbanel)." [4] Benet in contrast argued that equating Keneh Bosem with sweet cane could be traced to a mistranslation in the Septuagint, which mistook Keneh Bosem, later referred to as "cannabos" in the Talmud, as "kalabos", a common Egyptian marsh cane plant.[3]

1. G. Johannes Botterweck; Helmer Ringgren; Heinz-Josef Fabry (January 2004). Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. pp. 68–. ISBN 978-0-8028-2337-3.
2. J. Cheryl Exum (1 January 2005). Song of Songs: A Commentary. Westminster John Knox Press. pp. 179–. ISBN 978-0-664-22190-4.
3. Sula Benet, Early Diffusion and Folk Uses of Hemp (1967)
4. Kaplan, Aryeh. The Living Torah New York 1981.p. 442