Did you know that hemp (Cannabis Sativa) is one of the first plants to ever be cultivated by human beings? As humanity spread so did the plant, and is considered to have had a significant contribution to the development of the human civilization. Have you ever heard of the Scythians? They long ceased to exist, but are credited to have asserted the useful value of hemp among other people, particularly until the middle ages. It is assumed that the Scythians were responsible for introducing the hemp to the Balkan Peninsula, even in Macedonia. Hemp in Macedonia was widely used until the beginning of the 20th century, mostly for clothes and food, with high probability that it found its use in rituals and for pleasure. Older generations remember hemp as the quite useful plant of the past. At the beginning of the 20th century, hemp cultivation in Macedonia dropped due to the arrival of other crops, industrialization and stricter state policies. However, the 1970s saw the arrival of new trends in Macedonia, mostly hemp use in rituals and for pleasure. People who started using hemp at this time considered themselves to be pacifistic and good-natured, attributing hemp for these qualities. Hemp’s psychoactive characteristics impacted partially the establishment of popular culture. Supporters of hemp use believe that its psychoactive effects and the new-found ritual aspect helped further expound their mind-set and become better human beings. The arts significantly promoted the expansion of these beliefs. In the early 21st century, hemp use acquired a new context. People throughout the world and Macedonia began increasingly using hemp oil for its healing qualities. Still, despite such facts, hemp cultivation and use in Macedonia, and most of the world, is considered a punishable act, a misdemeanour or a criminal offence. However, HOPS perceived this as an encouragement to do an ethnographic research on the tradition concerning hemp cultivation and use in Macedonia believing that such an edition would be an argument plus in the pro or con debate on this current topic. Therefore, it is with great pleasure that we announce the release of Traditional Hemp Production and Use in Macedonia, published by HOPS.
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