Weed is a plant that’s been around for a long time. In fact, there are hundreds of different names for it. Due to the controversial history, there are so many different names to conceal the topic when talking about it in front of people who don’t condone it. Some of them include:
That’s not even all of them. Ganja is another popular one, and it actually has a very old history that is much further back than these terms.
India and the Ganja roots
Cannabis actually has a history in India, dating all the way back to 2000 BC in that area. One can look at ancient texts to find out about this, and how it was used in ritual preparation called soma during this time. This concoction was mind-altering, and this plant was also used at this point to help with anxiety treatment.
These documents were written in Sanskrit, which is one of the oldest languages out there, and this linguistic system has over 70 different names for even just water and more for elephants. The word ganja comes from the mother language, which is a preparation that’s made with cannabis, and is then carried over to Hindi as well, and descended from an early version of Sanskrit too, and is written in a similar way.
The word itself only refers to the product that comes from cannabis plants. The flowers themselves are called charas, and the leaves and seeds are called behang. The impact of this is still present to this day, since this is still a term, and even researchers used this with the molecules.
A researcher by the name of Raphael Mechoulam actually found THC in 1964, and in 1992, it was found that to understand the effects of this compound on the body, the endocannabinoid called anandamide stemmed from Canada in Sanskrit, which means joy or bliss, and this actually is a molecule that underpins the runner’s high people have. Ganja has an interesting, rich history, but how did this become part of the global vernacular?
The Contribution to the Rastafari
Ganja didn’t reach western civilization through a cultural mission or outreach, but instead through slavery. Back in 1845, the British started to traffic the Indians that were enslaved there to the Caribbean to work on the plantations they had out there, with over 40,000 of these slaves showing up over the next ensuing decades.
During this point, the slaves didn’t get rid of the culture of course, with some of them bringing that to the people of this world, with one of them being ganja. There were also other slaves that arrived many hundreds of years prior to this point during the transatlantic slave trade. As the British brought these people over, it actually caused a melting pot, and some synergy, and it would affect cannabis as well.
During this point, missionaries would speak to the African population, and this fusion of culture and religion brought forth Rastafari, which is a religion that opposes many elements of Christianity, where heaven is directly on the earth, and that God manifested itself in Haile Selassie I, and there is a lot of significance of ganja in this.
The slave trade left a bad strain, but it also did mesh the cultures and brought forth this, and it offered a way to use ganja in order to engage in different religious aspects and also brought for the rise of reggae and other cultural aspects too in the western world.