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Ancient Greece & Cannabis

Updated: Dec 22, 2021

Ancient Greeks knowledge of cannabis went far beyond its use as a fibre.

Cultures parallel to the ancient Greeks and Romans, like the Egyptians, Scythians, and Hittites, were known to use cannabis in their medicine, religious and recreational practices so the Greeks were just as likely to have used cannabis in their daily lives.

As Michael Lahanas records in his well researched essay ‘Examples of Ancient Greek Medical Knowledge’, “The ancient Greeks used cannabis as a remedy to treat inflammation, earache, and edema (swelling of a body part due to collection of fluids)” (Lahanas, 2006). It has also been reported that the ancient Greeks used cannabis to dress the wounds of their horses.

There is a classic Greek term, cannabeizein, which means to smoke cannabis. Cannabeizein frequently took the form of inhaling vapors from an incense burner in which these resins were mixed with other resins, such as myrrh, balsam, frankincense, and perfumes.


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