From wagon covers to legal tender, here are some weird ways cannabis has been used throughout history

Hemp textiles were once used to make covered wagons. Photo credit: Getty Images

Archeologists found the oldest specimen of cannabis in a village that was dated as 10,000 years old in China. This illustrates how the history of cannabis is as storied and long as the history of humanity. Indeed, throughout the ages, this versatile plant has had many uses. And while cannabis has been used primarily for medicine, it’s also showed up where you’d never expect.

Looking for trivia that will impress the cannabis enthusiasts in your life? You’ve come to the right spot. We rounded up some of the most unexpected uses for cannabis throughout history.

The Creation of Clothing and Other Textiles

Weed literally grows like a weed, which is good for its usage in commercial applications. Cannabis fibers have long been prized for strength. These properties make cannabis a powerhouse of textile creation, and people have spun cannabis fibers into fabrics for centuries.

Historians say that preserved artifacts of hemp clothing have been found from 16th century Brazil, and cannabis played an enormous role in early American history. Hemp’s rapid growth made many American farms profitable, and cannabis textiles were used for the pioneers’ covered wagons and sails for explorers’ boats.

Scrolls and Paper

China invented the world’s first hemp paper in 150 B.C. They pulverized the plant’s fibers into a liquid-like paste that they would then spread thin and allow to dry. Hemp paper’s use continued throughout the centuries across the globe.

Legal Tender

While money was sometimes printed on hemp paper, people also exchanged the plant themselves for goods and services. In the 17th century America, hemp’s use was so prolific and the crops so lucrative that several states passed laws legalizing the exchange of hemp as money.

Religious Ceremonies

The psychotropic properties that are sought after today were divined long ago by our ancestors. For example, about 2000 years ago, Taoists would burn cannabis seeds to produce a hallucinogenic effect that they believed would aid them on their quest for immortality.