Weird History 13 Ways Important Historical Figures Used Marijuana  

Sara Kate
766k views 13 items

Marijuana use has a long history that predates the modern day "stoners" we've grown accustomed to. We all know about the ganja from India, and the weed from Jamaica, and we've memorized a list of countries and states that have legalized recreational and medicinal marijuana use. But there are some significant historical figures and cultures who made important contributions to the development of common cannabis usage.

 Whether they promoted growing weed, or simply took a few puffs and soared to new heights, these illustrious figures and cultures have all had an important green connection. From ancient civilizations, to queens, to presidents, to emperors, this list of historical figures that used marijuana will shock and intrigue you.

These aren't your average skateboarding stoner bros. Some of these historic icons made major contributions to world culture, and history itself. Whether they blazed it, toked it, or smoked it, Mary Jane was a key ingredient in these leaders' lives. Weed has definitely been known to get the creative juices flowing, and these prominent historical figures are no exception.

Are you surprised that some of these people smoked that wacky tobacc-y? Let us know what you think of these successful pot smokers in the comment section below! 

William Shakespeare is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 13 Ways Important Historical Figures Used Marijuana
Photo:  John Taylor/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Place in History
William Shakespeare was a 16th century English playwright who is widely considered to be one of the greatest, if not the greatest, dramatists of all time. His plays, which include such classics such Romeo and Juliet, King Lear, and Hamlet, are still performed, adapted, and swooned over today.

Place in Marijuana History

Researchers found traces of cannabis on clay pipes which came from Shakespeare's home in Stratford-Upon-Avon. We can't be certain that those pipes belonged to Shakespeare himself, but we know they were made in the 17th century (Shakespeare died in 1616), and they were found on his property. Shakespeare also wrote about a "noted weed" in one of his sonnets. I think we can all guess what he was talking about...

Why It's Awesome
Remember those plays listed above? Those aren't the only ones: Shakespeare also penned A Midsummer Night's Dream, Othello, and Macbeth. If smoking a bit of grass helped Shakespeare create masterpieces, then stoners everywhere have another reason to assure their parents that they are not, in fact, wasting their lives. We would all love to see a sonnet composed by a contemporary pothead. Shall I compare thee to a Doritos Locos? Thou art more flavorful and delicious.

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Queen Victoria is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 13 Ways Important Historical Figures Used Marijuana
Photo: Alessandro Bassano/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Place in History
Queen Victoria ruled the British Empire from 1837 until 1901. She is still Britain's longest-ruling monarch, and helped guide the country through the changes that came with industrialization and modernization.

Place in Marijuana History
Queen Victoria was an extremely powerful woman, and, like all women, was visited each month by her pesky Aunt Flo. Unlike most women, however, Queen Victoria had a bevy of physicians at her beck and call, all of whom wanted to make their queen comfortable, which is why her private physician, Sir J. Russell Reynolds, prescribed marijuana for her menstrual cramps. In an 1890 issue of The Lancet, one of the world's oldest medical journals, Reynolds wrote that marijuana is "one of the most valuable medicines we possess."

Why It's Awesome
Ever hear of the Victorian era? This is the woman who embodied that repressed time period, during which it was considered scandalous to even say the word "leg" in mixed company. So it is awesome to think that the woman who led a nation in wearing corsets and eschewing all mention of bodily functions was secretly doping in order to cope with her PMS.

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James Monroe is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 13 Ways Important Historical Figures Used Marijuana
Photo:  Samuel Morse/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Place in History

James Monroe was the 5th president of the United States. He was a representative at the Continental Congress, and before becoming president, he served as minister to both France and Britain.

Place in Marijuana History

In his book, The Great Book of Hemp, Rowan Robinson wrote that Monroe "was introduced to hashish while he was serving as ambassador to France, and he continued to enjoy the smoke until he was seventy-three years old."

Why It's Awesome

Rumors abound that many of our Founding Fathers used marijuana, but most lack definitive proof. Robinson's account of Monroe smoking hashish when he went to France is the most solid source for any of these claims. If it's true, this would mean that Monroe would have continued smoking marijuana while he was in the White House.

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Egyptian Pharaohs
Egyptian Pharaohs is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 13 Ways Important Historical Figures Used Marijuana
Photo: captmondo/Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY-SA-3.0

Place in History
Before there was a United States of America, a British Empire, or even a Roman one, there were the pharaohs of Egypt. The pharaohs presided over a great civilization on the banks of the Nile River. Dynasties in Ancient Egyptian first gained power in 3150 BC and lasted, in varying lines and kingdoms, until 30 BC.

Place in Marijuana History
During their long reign, dynasties of Ancient Egypt started to use cannabis. Cannabis pollen was found on the mummy of one pharaoh, Ramesses II. Details on medical papyrii describe a multitude of medical uses for marijuana, including treatment for hemorrhoids and sore eyes.

Why It's Awesome
These guys built the pyramids! Today most people still doesn't fully understand how Ancient Egypt was even able to build the pyramids, but they did it. So if Egyptian pharaohs felt that using marijuana was a good idea, way back in 2000 BC, maybe we should listen to them.