When was Cannabis first discovered in the UK

How long has it been?

Vikings and cannabis The oldest documented evidence of cannabis being in the UK is seeds found in York around the 10th Century and associated with the vikings settlement.  Since then Cannabis has in itself been through a very interesting journey and rather surprising that it has taken so long for its health properties to be written in stone, as it were.

Many people in the UK have always been aware of the potential health properties of cannabis. Even when the law was far more strict in this area there was always enough evidence through research that cannabis had the potential to do great things health wise. We now have the luxury of being able to purchase CBD Vape oils and other CBD products. This is an exciting time and is attracting very positive attention, inspiring many people, who have never considered CBD as an option, to research this area further for themselves.

The marketing around CBD (Cannabidiol) is clever as it’s simply a component of the cannabis plant.  However the new terminology throws people off. At this moment in time if I walked down the street and asked 50 random people if they have heard of CBD products 80% would say no.  On the other hand, if I asked have you heard of cannabis 100% would say yes. Whether they are trying to reinvent the reputation of cannabis or just thought the name CBD is cool no one knows, but it’s a cannabis product and weed has been around for years in the UK and was not always illegal.

The use of Cannabis stretches back over 4000 years worldwide and was used as medicine in various parts of the world including India, China and the Middle East.  In China it was used to treat conditions such as constipation, malaria, rheumatism. It was only in the middle of the nineteenth century that the doctors in the West took notice of its medicinal properties.

Here in the UK it was prescribed by doctors to treat various pain and stress related illnesses. Queen Victoria was even given weed by her doctors to treat menstrual cramps! Even in the US you could purchase Cannabis in shops over the counter.

What’s the deal with legality around weed in the UK?

In the UK Cannabis was made illegal in 1928. An international drugs conference was held in Geneva where an Egyptian delegate convinced the rest of the committee that Cannabis will destroy societies like Opium so that’s when the door was closed.  However there has been a fair bit of change around the law.

Cannabis is classified as a class B drug in the UK. This is the Law saying that even though it sees weed as a harmful drug it’s not as harmful as others.

Cannabis has not always been a class B drug in the UK. Between the years of 2004-2009 cannabis was put down to class C which means it was seen as even less harmful. The reasoning behind this was to basically enable the police to focus on more serious drug offenders. It worked as the amount of cannabis related arrests reduced by a third.

More advanced research was discovered  later on the down the line, this showed that cannabis is more harmful to the body than first thought.  So in the year 2009 it was raised back to class B.

How cannabis was used in the UK

Not many know this but when cannabis was discovered in the UK the first major use for the plant was…

Hemp – Fibre

Cannabis was grown mostly around coastal areas and proved an excellent source to make Hemp fibre and  was reportedly far more effective than the likes of stinging nettles or Flax. The growth of Cannabis was actually partial to the success of the English Navy with King Henry Vlll in 1533 in the form of Hemp Ropes.

As Cannabis was easy to cultivate and proved very useful, Queen Elizabeth I increased the amount grown and strict penalties were in force if the demand was not met.  As time went by cannabis hemp fiber was used for other things and it really became a big part of the British economy.

Cannabis Recreational

Weed in the UK became extremely popular in the 1950’s when the first migrants from the West Indies came to Britain. It was in this period that even though it was illegal cannabis was fairly easy to get hold of.  It was almost like it was a big part of their culture, it was used by all ages of their community for a number of reasons and was all mind and health related:

  • Hemp Tea – As medicine
  • Cannabis oil – Pain relief Ointment
  • Smoked – Rolled in Rizla and sometimes mixed with Tobacco – For mind relaxing and stress relief

All these activities were obviously against the law but over time this cannabis culture, as it were, started spreading rapidly across the UK and the use of cannabis became increasingly popular.

Cannabis Present Day

Cannabis in the UK is presently talked about more than ever before, the knowledge we now have is very promising and positive.  No longer is it only looked upon a drug that is just smoked to get high, it’s a herb that has many health benefiting properties. Cannabis is still illegal but by extracting the cannabidiol from industrialised hemp, we have a component of the plant that contains no THC, allowing some cannabis products to be produced legally. Cannabis has been made legally available in different forms such a CBD oils (which is said to be good for many health related conditions)  including CBD Vape oil and even CBD Balms and Vitamins. Finally this amazing herb is being utilized in ways that can only benefit the population.

For those who still desire the plant and its benefits as a whole, THC included, vaping cannabis has become a fast growing trend; smoking the weed is not the only way to get the THC into the system. The introduction of a weed vaporizer or even vaporizer pens encouraged many previous smokers to switch and the growth in popularity of these weed vaporizers is astounding. They have provided a much healthier way to inhale the herbs properties and this in itself is an encouraging new direction to be heading in.

Current affairs with cannabis in the UK has seen a huge advancement in its availability, by which I refer to the fact that it’s now prescribed by the NHS for patients who are suffering from certain health conditions.  At the time of writing this it’s only prescribed for children suffering from a rare type of epilepsy and adults who suffer from vomiting or nausea from chemotherapy. Over time we will see it prescribed for more illnesses as research has shown that it can do so much more.

If we are to look at what is happening with cannabis outside of the UK as an indication on what’s next then we can expect many new exciting products to be made available.

Happy Vaping !

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