Cooking With Cannabis Through The Ages

Reviving ancient cannabis remedies for modern day recipes

ancient cannabis remedies

Cooking with cannabis is becoming increasingly popular. But cooking with cannabis in ancient times? Archaeological records show ancient cannabis remedies that have been used by humans for thousands of centuries. 

The earliest evidence of marijuana use has been discovered in a 2,500 year old cemetery in Central Asia. However, the plant can be found even further back in history. Researchers have discovered traces of the plant in western China burials dating back to the eight and sixth century B.C.

Exact methods of cannabis use are still unknown for some cultures. But this much we do know: humans have been involved with the plant for a very long time. However, it’s difficult to imagine ancient cultures baking up batches of pot brownies. So how did humans cook with cannabis in earlier times?

A Look at Bhang, a Celebratory Ancient Cannabis Remedy

Elite castes in ancient Hindu society used cannabis leaves and flowers to concoct a paste for use in a creamy beverage called Bhang ki Thandai, or “bhang” for short. The drink was used for celebration and religious ceremonial rites.

The traditional preparation of bhang was simple. The leaves and flowers were mixed with water, pounded into a fine paste and formed into a ball. Once the ball of paste dried, it was then mixed with milk, strained, and flavored with nuts, spices and sugars. 

Higher castes commonly consumed the drink. But that doesn’t mean lower caste systems didn’t also have their own brew. Using the flowering tops of female cannabis plants, they made ganja. As one Harvard Medical School psychologist put it, the difference between ganja and bhang was akin to the varieties of alcoholic drinks we have today. It would be like comparing beer to top-shelf liquor.  

Consumption of bhang was not limited to the Hindu culture. In fact, Persian text has referenced the drink as far back as 700-600 B.C. as a “good narcotic.” Recipes are widely available online, and you can make this drink in your own kitchen.

Mahjoun: A Simple Moroccan Dish That Stands the Test of Time

Moroccan tribes like the Berbers and Amazighs have been cooking up ancient cannabis remedies for over a thousand years. One of the best known dishes is Mahjoun. It’s a sweet and savory treat composed of pistachios, almonds, honey, dates, spices and, you guessed it — weed. 

Apparently, eating this dish is similar to consuming an marijuana edible. After about twenty to thirty minutes, you can expect to experience a nice, smooth and uplifting high. Just like edibles, it affects everyone a little differently. So it’s important to meter out dosing. And, you’ll need to know how to make your own hash. or have access to a few grams. You can try it for yourself by finding a recipe for Mahjoun here.

A Mouth-Watering Cannabis Dish from the Mountainous Region of Georgia

According to this interesting travelogue from Atlas Obscura, the ancient Svan community of Georgia used cannabis in a variety of ways. They used the fibers for cloth and rope, made delectable dishes like cheese bread, veggie-walnut spreads and meat pies. The soviet Union outlawed cannabis consumption. However, some ancient cannabis recipes still remain within the Svan culture.

Most notable among them, a tasty dish called Khachapuri. Basically, this cheesy bread is absolutely delicious. You can find a basic recipe, albeit without the inclusion of cannabis ingredients, here. But if you just have to try it the traditional way (with cannabis) at home, you might need to experiment. We know that the Svan community used the buds, flowers, leaves and ground-up seeds of cannabis into the recipe. How you choose to incorporate cannabis into your cheese bread is up to you.

A Little Weed Honey Goes a Long Way

In this article, the existence of marijuana-laced honey in ancient Egyptian culture dates as far back as 1500 B.C. It makes sense, since cannabis has anti-inflammatory properties. And when combined with anti-oxidant rich honey, you have a tried-and-true ancient cannabis remedy.

Interested in making some weed honey of your own? The process is pretty simple. All you need to do is decarboxylate your bud by putting it in the oven at 240 degrees Fahrenheit for forty minutes. After that, all you have to do is add it to a jar of honey and enjoy.

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