10 Historical Figures Who Used Marijuana

The legalization of marijuana in certain parts of the globe is significant, but cannabis has been a around for a long, long time and was quite popular among some of history’s greatest and most celebrated figures. After reading this, you’ll understand just how much of an impact cannabis has had on our world.

#1: George Washington

The general of the revolutionary army and the first President of the United States liked to grow hemp on his farms. The fibres of the plant were perfect for making rope, but the president also hailed it for its medicinal benefits. Washington liked to smoke marijuana to help with his chronic tooth pain. Some sources claim the president said that a pipeful of cannabis paired well with any drink. This wasn’t uncommon behaviour for the time either, with Thomas Jefferson and James Maddison being two other U.S. presidents to enjoy some ‘erb from time to time.

#2: John F. Kennedy

Perhaps there’s something about being president that leads one to take up smoking weed. John F. Kennedy was known to suffer from severe back pains. At least, that was his rationale for smoking a joint every so often. And, with the immense pressures of the Cuban missile crisis (among other things), a little doobie here and there likely served to ease his nerves as well.

#3: Christopher Columbus

There’s no hard evidence that this the troubled world explorer smoked any weed himself. However, it is known that Columbus brought hemp seeds with him on his expeditions to the new world. The crew would grow marijuana wherever they went, and never have to worry about running out. Pot was widely used on their travels across the Atlantic, so we can see certainly understand why there might be problems if supplies were to run low. It seems Columbus may have been oner of the world’s first pushers. 😉

#4: Queen Elizabeth I

Marijuana was commonly grown on farms in the early Americas, but they had to get it from somewhere. Queen Elizabeth I was supposedly a strong supporter and user of cannabis. It’s purported, that she would fine residents if they owned 60 acres of land and didn’t use any of it to grow pot. Sources say she always had a stash of quality cannabis on hand for medicinal purposes, or if she was just in the mood. Could it have been the relaxing properties of cannabis that made Queen Elizabeth I advocate for peace in her country? We’ll leave that one up to the historians (but yes, it most definitely was.) 😉

#5: Queen Victoria

Those English Queens sure knew how to party. Being the second-longest ruling monarch of Britain would have to be somewhat stressful. Perhaps that’s why Queen Victoria liked to use marijuana to treat many of her ailments. Her private physician would prescribe cannabis for everything from menstrual cramps to headaches. He wrote in his notes that marijuana is “one of the most valuable medicines we possess.” An entire era was named after Queen Victoria, due to her influence over the UK and Great Britain which, without this miracle drug, might look a lot different today.

#6: Carl Sagan

One of the most influential astronomers and authors of his time, Carl Sagan changed the way we see the universe and how we think about and contemplate life beyond our own planet. Carl Sagan also loved to smoke weed and wasn’t remotely shy about it. Although at first, he advocated in print for the destigmatization of marijuana under the alias of “Mr. X” while there was still a huge stigma around cannabis use, later in life, he left nothing to interpretation, stating unequivocally that recreational weed helped him to generate ideas for his books. 

#7: William Shakespeare

Speaking of marijuana helping to get the creative juices flowing, William Shakespeare, one of the greatest playwrights in history, was seemingly a prolific cannabis user. Clay pots on his property were found to contain traces of cannabis in them, which date back to when Shakespeare was alive. Some people believe there’s no way one person could write so much in their lifetime, but if the man was smoking reefer then that would pretty much explain it.

#8: Alexandre Dumas

Alexandre Dumas is one of the best-known French authors in the world. His fictional works entertain people to this day, while his non-fictions shape how we understand the past. The author of The Three Musketeers, has said that pot has helped him find inspiration when working on his books. If you consider his output, it’s clear that he’s “gotten inspired” quite a bit over his lifetime.  

#9: The Ancient Greeks

Weed was so common in Ancient Greece that we can’t single out any one individual. Seriously, read some Greek mythology; Zeus turned into a goose in order to seduce a woman?? It appears that everyone was smoking pot during this time period. But on a more serious note, so much of western philosophy and civilization came from the Greeks. If marijuana was so widespread during this critically formative period, then this humble plant has truly had a massive amount of influence on the entire world as we know it.

#10: Hua Tuo

This ancient Chinese physician and surgeon is arguably one of the most influential medical practitioners in history, creating the first general anesthetics to aid with surgery. But Hua Tuo is famous for another reason: He invented another herbal anesthesia called Mafeisan, a mixture of wine and hemp, to relax his patients. We presume that Hua Tuo tested his potion out before giving it to patients. Perhaps he never touched it himself though. Yeah – right. 😉

In the history of humanity, Mary Jane has been a major playa. It has impacted, influenced and inspired some of our greatest thinkers, artists and leaders. It’s hard to imagine a world without it. The importance and significance of marijuana is quite apparent, as we continue to make it more widely accessible to people today. 


By the Potmaster General, for Potsmart

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