A Global History of Cannabis Edibles

Eating cannabis dates as far back as 50,000 years ago. It was the en vogue way to consume for thousands of years. A 2019 book by Robyn Lawrence Griggs titled Pot in Pans: A History of Eating Cannabis highlights some notable edibles throughout history.

 

Stone Age

  • Humans actively cultivated cannabis for food, fibre, and medicine
  • Ethnobotanists believe it was one of the first plants people of the time explored
  • Could be linked with growth in music, art, religion, and agriculture

 

Ancient India and the Islamic Golden Age

  • Mahjoun is a hash-filled confection with spices, sweeteners, and other ingredients that was widely prevalent during this time, and used as more of a food
  • There is a legend that mahjoun was used in the 11th century by Hassan-ibn-Sabbah to control his legion of blood-thirsty assassins
  • The word hash comes from hashishine, the Persion word for assassin
  • Mahjoun use spread to India, but was something that was consumed more for fun
  • Bhang was a customary Indian beverage served to guests in the 12th Century as a marijuana-infused yogurt drink made with honey and spices
  • Bhang remained so popular among the wealthy class that they managed to keep it legal, even with the U.S. pushing other countries to outlaw the substance in the 70’s.

 

Medieval Times

  • Surviving folk recipes give us a glimpse of how people were using weed in their everyday kitchens
  • Cambodia used cannabis as seasoning in their food for centuries, particularly with “happy soup” served at weddings
  • Indonesians would make dodol aceh, or a toffee-like candy
  • Greece had Khylos, which was green cannabis seeds steeped in wine for days
  • A popular Polish snack called for adding crushed cannabis seeds to salt and a little bit of oil and butter to spread on bread

 

The 1800s

  • Mahjoun and hash consumption was popular among many prolific European and American writers
  • A Majoon lozenge was created in New York with datura seeds and opium for the wealthy elite
  • Gunjah Wallah Company produced hash-based maple candy as a more affordable option, sold across the U.S.
  • By the turn of the century, negative public opinion started forming around hash consumption

 

The 1900s

  • Rastafarians in Jamaica developed the ital diet, which prominently featured cannabis
  • Mahjoun made a massive comeback with a Hashish Fudge recipe featured in the book The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook, which is a collection of recipes based on her life in Paris
  • Mary Rathbun (aka Brownie Mary) began selling her legendary pot brownies in San Francisco in the 70s
  • The first cannabis coffee shop opened in 1972 in the Netherlands, which sold “space cakes”

 

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