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Did Native Americans Smoke Weed: History Can Tell

The use of marijuana has been increasing and continuously growing its demands in the global market. While the cannabis industry is rapidly growing, time can tell that even before, cannabis popularity has not faded even a little. 

Before even marijuana has become extremely popular especially as a drug and even medication, different cultures in the entire world have already used this stuff as a part of their lives or at least in various aspects of their being. In this article, we will talk about did native Americans smoke weed? 

As there are a lot of ethnic groups and other ethical traditions present even a thousand years ago, the consumption of marijuana is pretty evident and apparent for the Native Americans. But the question is, how did it even go to them? This will be discussed in the next section. 

History can tell

Just like other cultures, religious practices, and cuisines that are passed along from hand to hand, so does cannabis to Native Americans. According to Barney Warf, a professor at the University of Kansas, he indicates that the spread of marijuana from other countries like Asia to America has become possible due to different influences such as social, economical, and even political influences. This statement was published in 2014 in a Geographical review article. 

Marijuana possibly emerged in the east part of Asia and Sayan mountains which is part of Southern Siberia. On the other hand, there is also a discussion that cannabis evolved in the Hindu Kush mountains and other parts of South Asia. 

Based on the recorded evidence and various influences of the said countries and places to America, the cannabis consumption back then is regarded 12,00 years ago. What are these pieces of evidence? 

  • Psychoactive marijuana found at 3,000 B.C in  Pazyryk Burial Grounds
  • Paintings containing marijuana images found at 6,200 B.C in Yangshao-era Pottery
  • The use of cannabis for surgical anesthetic at 2,737 B.C 

The timeline

Central Asia to Europe and the Middle East

The use of cannabis has recorded back 2,000 B.C by Koreans, Chinese, and even Japanese.  The influence of marijuana consumption has even spread throughout central Asia. And due to the diverging cultures and connections, some of those who use marijuana back then have carried cannabis with them as soon as they moved to Europe and others to the Middle East. 

What makes marijuana very interesting to these tribes is the use of hemp for producing ropes and textiles. So due to its influencing demand for the production of various necessities back then, it has become a very important plant for trading. 

Eastern Europe to Southern Asia

As the cannabis reaches eastern Europe, the influences of Aryan people were brought by them when they invaded south Asia back at 2,000 B.C. After their invasion, carbon dating indicated that the use of cannabis as medicine has been notable per evidence in India. 

Germany to France and Britain

Meanwhile, various tribes in India near the Main rivers have introduced the use of cannabis back with Aryans and through Germany. And as soon as the influences of marijuana have been passed to the said country, the invasion of the Anglo-Saxons tribe to Germany is so far one of the identifiable groups who may have to introduce marijuana to other countries like France and Britain. 

The Middle East to Egypt, Africa, and Ethiopia

On the other hand, the trading ventures made back then by the Arab merchants may be responsible for introducing marijuana to their scope of influence like Egypt, Africa, and Ethiopia. While cannabis use has been the word of the mouth, its influence on the east coast of Africa is evident and even used by the Portuguese when they arrived there in the 16th century.

Portuguese to South America

After the invasion of Portuguese in the east coast of Africa and other countries in Asia, they have colonized South America successfully through colonial capitalism. This is where cannabis consumption is believed to have started by the Native Americans.  

Did native Americans smoke weed? How recreational cannabis use started?

As soon the capital colonialism conquered part of Southern America especially Brazil, they have started their endeavor in sending Africans to Brazil. As they have slaved various African traders, the slaved African people who are believed in using marijuana for recreational purposes have dispersed and even become poor laborers of Amazon. 

Since then, the use of marijuana for recreational purposes has been encouraged in various aspects most especially by the slave owners to their laborers to enhance their mood and stimulate their minds for efficient and effective labor results. 

But the marijuana they know that time has low THC levels and was soon known as hemp when the cultivation became popular. It has even become a trend when they finally discovered strong and potent varieties. 

Due to the emerging demand for marijuana and a variety of marijuana like hemp for medicinal purposes, cultivation has become even developed making it a great contributor to the economic rate increase. 


Native Americans smoked weed as soon as the effects were made known to them. The influence of the capital colonialism of Portuguese colonizers has established the way for marijuana to get known and to get used as soon as African slaves present and was seen using this type of plant. 

Though the legalization and decriminalization of marijuana are setting its foot to finally get this accomplished, there are a lot of people who despise it. But even before this has become a federally alerting issue due to the effects it can influence on the body, hundred years ago have testified that the use of it has become part of our ancestors’ lives. 

In answering the question did native Americans smoke weed, the answer is yes. They have smoked weed and even used it further and continuously as a medicinal agent. One that has become part of their lives and they used for recreational purposes to get high. 

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