Marijuana, cannabis sativa, or hemp, is one of the oldest psychoactive plants known to humanity. Cannabis has become one of the most widespread and diversified of plants. It grows as weed and cultivated plant all over the world in a variety of climates and soils. Cannabis preparations have been used as remedies for thousands of years and the active ingredients of the hemp plant (THC) can be put to use in a multitude of medical conditions. A native of central Asia, cannabis may have been cultivated as long as ten thousand years ago. It was certainly cultivated in China by 4000 B.C. and in Turkestan by 3000 B.C. It has long been used as a medicine in India, China, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, South Africa, and South America. Today, people all over the world are beginning to use the cannabis plant for its unique medicinal properties. Neolithic archaeology grounds in China include cannabis seeds and plants. The first known mention of cannabis was in a Chinese medical text of 2737BC. It was used as medicine throughout Asia and the Middle East to treat a variety of conditions. In India particularly, cannabis was associated with Shiva. Cannabis was well known to the Scythians. Germans have grown hemp for its fibres–used to make nautical ropes and material for clothes–since ancient times. In the Elbing Prussian vocabulary from around 1350, hemp is recorded as knapis (derived from cannabis). Large fields of hemp along the banks of the Rhine are featured in 19th-century copper etchings. The hemp plant has to be soaked to harvest the fibre. This liquid was used as a drink. In today’s Germany there are bars that serve hemp beer and hemp wine. Cannabis was used medicinally in the western world (usually as a tincture) around the middle of the 19th century. It was famously used to treat Queen Victoria’s menstrual pains, and was available from shops in the US. By the end of the 19th century its medicinal use began to fall as other drugs such as aspirin took over. It was outlawed in the USA in the 1930s. It has a prominent religious role in the Rastafarian religion. Although it has probably been used as a recreational drug thoughout its history, it came to prominence in the jazz scene during the fifties, its use taking off in the 1960s. It is now one of the most widely used illicit drugs in the world.