c. 1090 CE
Hasan-ibn-Sabah and the cannabis-assassin myth

Around the year 1090, Hasan-ibn-Sabah (an Ismaili leader and warlord) and his followers struck fear in the hearts of many in Persia. Hasan’s devotees allegedly fulfilled his every wish, including murdering his enemies. Their loyalty allegedly stemmed from a belief that completing their missions guaranteed entry into paradise. One legend told that new initiates were drugged, blindfolded, and taken to a lush garden filled with various exotic amusements. After a few moments they were again drugged and blindfolded and removed from the garden with the promise that they would return at their deaths if they did Hasan’s bidding.

Later it was believed that the drug used was hashish (cannabis) and that the followers used hashish just before murdering Hasan’s enemies. This led to the belief that cannabis can cause people to become crazed killers. Some even claimed that the word "assassin" was derived from "hashish." While all these beliefs and claims are fanciful, the myth lives on.

Source: Earleywine, M. (2002). Understanding Marijuana: A New Look at the Scientific Evidence. Oxford.

Drugs: Cannabis (marijuana)
Regions: Iran