People taking cannabis may seem like a modern-day problem but experts believe the drug has been in use for thousands of years.
Historians claim that ancient tribes were consuming cannabis nearly 10,000 years ago. It is believed that early humans starting picking the plant once the glaciers which had covered Europe began to retreat at the end of the Ice Age.
Cannabis is known for being psychoactive and can even cause users to have hallucinations or suffer from paranoia. However, it seems that ancient civilisations valued the plant for more than the feeling of being high as they would eat the seeds and use its fibres to make clothing from hemp.
This revelation, from researchers working for the German Archaeological Institute, means that cannabis has been in use for far longer than alcohol, which has been drunk for around 7,000 years.
But people only started dealing the drug for financial gain during the Bronze Age. Around 5,000 years ago, nomadic herdsmen living in what is now Russia and Ukraine started to trade it in exchange for other goods.
Crop exchanged by Bronze Age nomads
Researcher Tengwen Long, from the German Archaeological Institute, said: “Cannabis’s multiple usabilities might have made it an ideal candidate for being a ‘cash crop before cash,’ a plant that is cultivated primarily for exchange purpose.”
Cannabis was first made illegal in the UK in 1928, although it was still allowed to be prescribed by doctors until 1971. However, despite being against the law for almost nine decades, it is the most widely used banned drug in the world and is taken by 147 million people every year, two million of whom live in the UK.
AlphaBiolabs offers a range of drug tests which can detect whether someone has taken cannabis. Urine and blood tests can tell whether someone has recently used the substance, while hair strand tests can identify consumption over a longer period of time.
Drug testing is used by a variety of people from worried family members and employers looking to crack down on substance misuse in the workplace to law firms and organisations like the probation service.