Exclusive Book Excerpt: ‘A Brief History of Edibles’

Our ancient ancestors had a far more intimate relationship with food as medicine than most of us do today. Many plants familiar to us—basil, cinnamon, cumin, fennel, mint, oregano, thyme, and cannabis—were intertwined in both kitchen and apothecary throughout history.

Our earliest written references to cannabis appear around the 15th century BCE in China, where it was consumed as a tea. However, scholars agree that surviving ancient medical texts speak of cannabis use in the past tense, giving the impression that it had been a common medical staple long before written texts confirmed the fact.

By 1000 BCE, cannabis (or bhang) was being cultivated in India, where the Vedas, collections of Hindu religious texts, considered it one of five sacred plants. Bhang is also the name of what is arguably the world’s oldest marijuana recipe, an ancient cannabis-laced drink that remains popular in India today.

During the Middle

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