. . .the first use of cannabis, in any form, was as hemp rope, and that was at about 10,000 BC. The first recorded use of cannabis as a medicine was about 2737 B.C. and that was by the second emperor of China, Shen-Neng. Medicinal cannabis is 4700 year-old idea that is really only part of the long history we share with this plant and it has been documented to have been an inseparable part of the rise and bloom of every civilization across the globe.
There is a reason this 4700 year-old idea has captivated our interest through the millenia – it’s so amazingly useful for such a wide variety of needs.
The Emperor’s endless fascination with plants led him to discover their medicinal virtues, and in particular, he began to uncover the astonishing medicinal properties of cannabis.
Emperor Shen-Neng was known to have prescribed a cannabis tea for such conditions as gout, rheumatism, malaria and ironically, poor memory (excessive use of cannabis often inhibits short-term memory).
Fast-forward 1700 years, and cannabis has become an essential part of Chinese medicine and is referred to directly. The term for “anesthesia” (mázui 麻醉) literally means “cannabis intoxication.”
Knowledge of the narcotic properties of Cannabis is demonstrated at least from the first millennium B.C. when the word “ma” was used in a secondary meaning of “numbness; senseless.”
Chinese surgeons would reduce the plant to powder and mixed it with wine to administer before surgery.
They clearly used a Cannabis indica so strong it would put patients out cold.
The ancient Chinese discovered the best way to harvest cannabis.
Even then, the ancient Chinese knew to only harvest the cannabis flower (the “bud”) for consumption; They considered the rest of the plant to be poisonous.
And even three thousand years ago, the ancient Chinese knew to only harvest the cannabis flower (the “bud”) for consumption; They considered the rest of the plant to be poisonous.
Scholars have established that cannabis itself was the very first agricultural crop beginning about 10,000 years ago and was cultivated for its fibers to make amazingly strong rope.
This suggests that the need for cannabis set in motion the practice of agriculture which then made it possible for humans to grow food in abundance.
Which in turn, allowed people to rise from being hunter/gatherers living in the wild and becoming farmers who could settle in one place, form civil societies, develop trade and everything else that followed.
Thank you, cannabis.
The first ever pot brownie.
Fast-forward yet again to 1947, and a cookbook written by Alice B. Toklas that featured a scandalous-for-it’s-time cannabis brownie recipe.
The recipe was suggested to Alice by an artist friend, which got past the scrutiny of publishers and out on the shelves here in the US.
Once the recipe was discovered by the public, Alice’s book was at first a scandal, an embarrassment to the publishers and then a sensation (I will offer many more details in an upcoming article entitled “Embrace the Brownie”).
Then, some 20 years later, the idea of a cannabis brownie recipe was revisited in a Peter Seller’s film entitled “I love you Alice B. Toklas” when square guy meets hippe girl with pot brownies in hand.
All manner of period cliché romantic comedy ensues, and because the hippie girl demonstrates and therefore inadvertently endorses pot brownies, Alice B. Toklas’ recipe found new life and was immediately embraced by the love children and hippies alike and has been going strong ever since.
A 4700 year-old idea revised – don’t eat cannabis, infuse it.
After many decades of trying various ways of making cannabis edibles – without them tasting like they are infused with a houseplant – it was discovered that THC (which gets you high) and other useful compounds in cannabis are soluble in oils.
Which means if you boil a cannabis flower in oils or melted butters, those compounds (cannabinoids) will drift off the bud and into the oils.
The method that most people have settled on, is to heat butter or olive oil, drop in some chopped bud and let it soak in the hot oils for a while.
This method draws the cannabinoids from the cannabis plant, like THC and CBD and CDN’s (for the medicinal properties).
There are many other cannabinoids that come along for the ride, but these three are the significant ones.
Infusing butter with cannabis was an important step in getting away from what so many have done in the past; which is simply chopping up the whole cannabis plant and adding it to a brownie recipe.
That’s a very bad plan. Not only does that make the brownies taste really “off,” but depending on what’s in the plant, it can also make whoever eats it very sick.
We are not grazing animals who can digest nearly any plant matter at will.
Even though this very basic method of infusing butters and oils with cannabis eliminates the plant matter, it still picks up a lot of the color and flavor and the cannabis is still very evident in the recipes.
All of which brings us to now.
So our 10,000-year timeline brings us to the present, where JeffThe420Chef has perfected a method for making “cannabutter” and “cannaoils” that are almost entirely free of cannabis color and taste.
In his upcoming book, The Ganja Gourmet – The Joy Of Cooking With Cannabis Jeff offers an even more clever method of making cannabutter or oils that is entirely free of any cannabis taste or color.
JeffThe420Chef’s extensive research led to this discovery and is in reality, the final step in a very long and extraordinary journey we have shared with cannabis.
After 4700 years, when cannabis was first ingested, we can at last infuse our foods with the best of what this remarkable plant has to offer without it affecting the look or taste of the recipe.
And this point speaks to the heart of what CannabisGourmet is all about.
One should always try to create and serve the best foods possible, that it should be both presentable and delicious and that you would be proud to serve anyone.
That one should always try to create and serve the best foods possible, that it should be both presentable and delicious and that you would be proud to serve anyone.
Of course, we teach how to carefully infuse your delicious foods with the right strain of cannabis, intended to bring about a desired effect.
But you should always start with and exercise appreciation for the best foods you can make.
One could say this 10,000-year journey we have been on with cannabis has actually been our own journey.
That cannabis has simply been here all along, waiting for us to catch up.