Three plants have helped to shape the United States. One of those plants is cotton, and the other two are tobacco and marijuana plants. The latter have both been the subject of culture wars in the country, and they’re both multibillion-dollar industries today.
Of course, one thing that separates cannabis and tobacco use is that one is legal at the federal level and one is not. In this article, we’re going to talk about the history of tobacco and marijuana and how they’ve helped make the United States.
The history of tobacco use in the Americas goes back millennia
Tobacco is indigenous to North and South America. In fact, the rest of the world knew nothing about tobacco until Christopher Columbus brought dried tobacco leaves that natives had given him as a gift back to Europe. That was the first time anyone had ever seen tobacco outside of the Americas. Europeans fell in love with the plant, and around 40 years later, Europeans began tobacco cultivation in Central America. However, the history of tobacco goes back much further.
Archaeology shows that humans may have been using tobacco as far back as 10,000 B.C. You read that correctly—archaeologists believe that the natives have been using tobacco for different purposes for over 12,000 years! In those times, tobacco leaves were used for healing. They were also burned for religious ceremonies and rituals, and of course, there’s the iconic peace pipe that natives sometimes shared to cement a treaty or celebrate the uniting of tribes into confederations.
People have used cannabis plants for healing for centuries
You may or may not be surprised to learn that people have been cultivating and using cannabis plants for almost as long as tobacco. However, one huge difference is the part of the globe they come from. While tobacco is native to the western hemisphere, cannabis was only found in the eastern hemisphere before Europeans brought it to the Americas.
Cannabis has been popular in Western, Central, and Southern Asia and Africa for millennia. Indeed, they used cannabis plants and cannabis seeds for everything, from rituals to cooking. Cannabis seedlings were often put in dishes and mashed to make medicines and teas. The ancients valued cannabis as much for its nutrients as for its euphoric effects. Furthermore, there’s evidence that there was recreational use in ancient times, too.
One thing that separates cannabis and tobacco is that you can grow weed easy in your home with a hydroponic system or outdoors. Even beginners can set up their own grower and produce high yields of quality indica and sativa marijuana plants. Of course, there’s more to growing cannabis than merely choosing the strain you want to grow, purchasing your seedlings, sticking them in some potting soil, and sprinkling fertilizer and water on them. However, compared to what it takes to get high yields of tobacco plants, cannabis is easier to grow for the novice grower while an experienced grower may prefer the challenge of growing and curing tobacco for personal use.
Tobacco and cannabis go hand in hand
As you know, there are plenty of differences between cannabis and tobacco plants. However, the two go hand in hand these days in many ways. Many cannabis smokers also smoke tobacco. Many herb enthusiasts will follow up a joint with a Black and Mild cigar or cigarette to “boost” their THC high. Those who smoke blunts use cigar wrappers and tobacco leaves to roll their cannabis.
Cannabis and tobacco have a lot in common in terms of their history, even though they come from different sides of the globe. Both plants have been used since before human history for various purposes, ranging from recreational use to religious and medical use.
Outside of their histories, the plants don’t have much in common except for how people consume them. They have different growing processes, curing processes, and vastly different effects on smokers. However, now that they’ve come together, they’ll always be linked.