Are you as much of a cannabis connoisseur as you think? There are probably at least a few weed facts you’ve never heard—some fascinating, some historical, and some just downright weird.
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1. Beer and Weed Are Close Cousins.
Have you ever had a beer that tasted a bit...skunky? Have you ever looked at the art on a craft beer can and thought you saw little bud flowers? Those aren’t marijuana, they’re hops—one of the most important ingredients in beer. The two plants look so similar because they’re genetically related, both belonging to Cannabinaceae family.
Both hops and cannabis are green, resinous flowers containing fragrant terpenes that give off distinct aromas unique to their genetic family. A team of researchers at the University of British Columbia published a study that “found close to 30 terpenes in the cannabis genome, producing such ‘fragrant molecules’ as limonene, myrcene, and pinene when those genes are active, and thus give it an alternately citrusy, skunky, or earthy quality.” It’s no coincidence that those three descriptors are often used in the names and descriptions of hoppy beers.
2. There Are A Lot Of Weed Infused Beers
iStock / AntonioGuillem
Many beers, especially the extra hoppy and hazy, already have a sort of essence that distinctly recalls the marijuana-esque flavors, but a lot of breweries have crafted special weed infused beers that draw on the cannabis flower more specifically. Many of these brews are made in celebration of 4/20 and most are IPAs. Here are a few popular weed-infused beers:
Sweetwater 420—Hop Hash Imperial IPA: With 420 in the name, this Atlanta-based brewery just had to make one of the best bud-based beers out there. The pioneered hop hash brewing with this IPA, using pungent resin from the hop pelletizer as a main component in the brewing process.
Lagunitas—Censored: The Lagunitas crew loves bud—all their serial numbers end in 420 and their brewery was allegedly almost shut down by the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control in 2005 for hosting weekly “weed parties.” This ale is their ode to Mary Jane.
Ale Industries—Cherry Kush: If you want to drink a beer that captures the essence of bud without that bitter hops flavor, this Ale Industries is your move. The Cherry Kush is made with zero hops and sweetened up with a little cherry infusion, making for a refreshing sip.
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3. George Washington Grew Cannabis...Well, Kind Of.
It’s widely agreed upon the first President of the United States grew hemp on his land in Mount Vernon. He initially started farming hemp as a cash crop in hopes that it would surpass tobacco. When it failed as a cash crop, he began using the plant for utilitarian purposes on his farm, as the fibers were great for making rope, sail canvas, or thread for clothing. So maybe he wasn’t quite a stoner, but hey, we don’t know what the guy did with his spare time.
4. There are Crossroads of Cannabis and Religious Freedom
While in America many evangelicals refer to weed as the “devil’s lettuce,” Rastafarians in Italy claim it is an integral part of their religion and worship. In May 2016, a 30-year-old man in Italy was arrested for possession of marijuana, and a prosecutor called for a sentence of four months in prison. The man’s attorney, however, argued that his Rastafarian religion regarded weed as sacred and thus he should be acquitted—and he was!
On January 1st 1976, Los Angeles residents squinted through their New Years-hangover light-sensitive eyes to find that a zealous marijuana smoker had altered the Hollywood sign to celebrate California’s decriminalization of cannabis the summer before. History repeated itself on New Years Day in 2017, celebrating the full-blown legalization of marijuana.
iStock / Kirk Wester
6. Marijuana Was the First Thing Sold on the Internet
Prostitution may be the world’s oldest profession, but sometimes it seems like drugs are the world’s oldest commodity. There’s no exception when it comes to eCommerce, as marijuana was the first good to be sold via the Internet. It was the early 1970s when Stanford students used their Arpanet accounts at Stanford University's Artificial Intelligence Laboratory to communicate with their counterparts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and coordinate a rather sophisticated drug deal. Now if only we could get Amazon Prime to take a few lessons out of that book. However, according to Civilized Life, the internet was used to facilitate the deal, but the exchange of money was done in person, so some people might argue that it doesn’t count as an online sale. Me personally? I’m too high to care.
7. The US Government Used to Think Marijuana Harbored Vampiric Tendencies
Dr. James C. Munch served as the US Official Expert on Marihuana from 1938 to 1962. He’s contributed largely to the early days of criminalizing marijuana, so it’s no surprise that he really didn’t know what he was talking about. He once testified, under oath, that marijuana had turned him into a bat. He also helped get a someone acquitted by claiming insanity, as the defendant had been in the same room with a bag of marijuana when the crime was committed.
iStock / helenaak
8. Getting High, B.C.E. Style.
In 2008, researchers uncovered the world’s oldest known stash of weed in a tomb in rural China. They confirmed that the weed was at least 2,700 years old and certainly “cultivated for psychoactive purposes." The tomb contained a light-haired, blue-eyed Caucasian man, likely a shaman of the Gushi culture, and 789 grams of dried cannabis. That sure beats my lunchbox stash.
9. Tupac Was Smoked, Literally.
Following his 1996 death, legendary rapper Tupac Shakur’s friend sent him to the afterlife in true stoner fashion. For a while, it seemed like absolutely absurd rumors, but Shakur’s old bandmates from when he was in Outlawz eventually confirmed that they rolled up his ashed, sprinkled on a bit of THC, and toked up.
"Yes, it's definitely true... Had a little memorial for him with his mum and his family,” said rapper and Tupac’s old bandmate Young Noble. "We had hit the beach, threw (in) a lot of shit he liked at the beach. Some weed, some chicken wings, he loved orange soda. Pac loved that kind of shit, so we were giving him our own farewell."