c. 50 CE
Too much cannabis leads to seeing devils, Pen-ts'ao Ching

The use of cannabis in medicine was a very early development. But according to a famous early book on Chinese herbal medicine, the Pen-ts'ao Ching (The Divine Farmer's Materia Medica), "ma-fen (fruits of hemp) . . . if taken in excess will produce hallucinations (literally seeing devils)." On the other hand, moderate use over a longer time has benefits. "If taken over a long term, it makes one communicate with spirits and lightens one's body."

The Pen-ts'ao Ching is attributed to the legendary Emperor Shen Nong, who is said to have taught the Chinese people how to farm. The book was actually compiled in the first century CE but was apparently based on early traditions passed down from pre-historic times.

Source: Li, Hui-Lin (1974). An Arch & Hist Account of Cannabis in China. Economic Botany, 28:4 pp. 437-448.

Drugs: Cannabis (marijuana)
Regions: China
Topics: Health and social problems, Medicinal use of drugs