Scientists May Have Found The Origin Of Cannabis


Around the globe about 158.8 million people use cannabis, as per United Nations. Weed is widely popular, not only because it is addictive and a favorite of druggies but also because it boasts several medicinal properties.

Marijuana helps with pain management and boasts therapeutic properties. A survey by Quartz revealed that most people take cannabis for its calming effects. Weed has also been shown to help patients of cancer, anorexia nervosa and AIDs in weight gain by increasing their appetite. It can help with the treatment of epilepsy, bladder pain syndrome, glaucoma, Parkinson’s disease, arthritis, anxiety, depression, and insomnia.

Several scientific studies have been conducted to explore the health-helping nature of cannabis. But where has this plant come from? It is already known that cannabis is somewhere from Central Asia but exactly from where in Central Asia is it? Scientists have been exploring the origin of weed for thousands of years now.

An Arab polymath, Ibn Wahshiyya, said centuries back that cannabis’ roots can be traced back to China or India. But because of how rare print fossils are, historians have had a hard time getting more specific than Central Asia. Though the plant has been under observation and examination for a long time now, till date its exact origin has not been found.

Now in a new paper, an author and medical researcher from the University of Vermont, John McPartland also digs into the origin of weed. In 1930, researchers looked at pollen from plants to be able to see where cannabis was from originally. Several many fossil pollen studies have been carried out since then.

As part of this latest study, McPartland and his team looked at 155 research works on fossil pollens of the cannabis genus that were based on the Central Asian region. One shortcoming that has posed is that cannabis pollen grains and grains from the humulus plant genus often lump due to their similar looks.

These plants basically diverged from one another 28 million years ago before which they were one. Therefore, investigators used the ‘ecological proxies’ technique to find which area cannabis could be from probably through differentiation.

The team writes, “We bridged the temporal gap between the divergence date and the oldest pollen by mapping the earliest appearance of Artemisia. These data converge on the northeastern Tibetan Plateau, which we deduce as the cannabis centre of origin, in the general vicinity of Qinghai Lake.” However, this is a mere hypothesis which may never be proved.

The team further pointed out that from the Qinghai Lake, cannabis spread to Russia and Europe and then Eastern China by moving westwards. In Russia and Europe, cannabis probably reached 6 million years ago and then 1.2 million years back it found itself in China.

This explains how weed is present all over Eurasia today. This report has been published in the Vegetation History and Archaeobotany journal. Do you think the scientists’ suggestion is correct or a mere dart in the dark which has landed at the wrong spot?


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