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Videos: The History of Cannabis

Updated: Aug 29, 2023

Editor’s Note: We’ve featured guest posts and interviews with the cannabis historian Chris Bennett several times before on Points, and today we’re thrilled to present a selection of his newest documentaries. Chris has been making videos for years and his work is thoughtful and wide-ranging, and his videos are entertaining, enlightening and beautiful to look at. Thanks for sharing your work with us, Chris! 

Cannabis Historian Dr. Mike Aldrich

Chris Bennett talks to Dr. Mike Aldrich, who has been studying the history of Cannabis and Folklore for close to 50 years. Like a whimsical wizard of weedlore, Aldrich takes us on a fascinating and entertaining tour of cannabis culture and history in India, the Mid East, ancient Greece, Africa, China, ancient Scythia and more.

Michael Horowitz, Cannabis History Mid 19th-Mid 20th Century

Noted drug historian Michael Horowitz discusses Paris’ mid 19th century Hashish Club, Aleister Crowley on hashish and meditation, Timothy Leary’s 5th circuit and marijuana, Cannabis medicine with William O’Shaughnessy and for impotency with Dr. Frederick Hollick, as well as the marijuana fuelled jazz of Mezz Mezzrow.

Kaneh Bosm: The Hidden History of Marijuana in the Old Testament

Chris Bennett takes a look at the fascinating references to cannabis, under the Hebrew name ‘kaneh bosm’ (spelling – qoph nun he’ – bet shim mem) in the Old Testament text that have been suggested by anthropologist Sula Benet and other researchers, with interviews from Prof Carl Ruck, Dr. Ethan Russo, David Hillman PhD., as well as drug historians and authors Chris Conrad, Michael Horowitz, Martin Lee, and Michael Aldrich. Included is a discussion of the linguistics behind the theory as well as a look at the references in context of the Biblical story line and the use of cannabis by the surrounding cultures who influenced the Jewish cosmology, such as the Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Canaanites and Scythian.

Mithra, Marijuana and the Myths of the Messiah

Cannabis Historian Chris Bennett takes a look at the potential references to cannabis use among the ancient worshipers of the Persian God Mithra, who became popular in ancient Rome and throughout a large portion of ancient Europe. Mithra was involved with the Haoma cult of ancient Persia, and as Dr.Michael Aldrich discusses, recent archeological evidence this ancient world sacrament was a beverage made from cannabis and ephedra. Prof Carl Ruck and Dr. David Hillman suggest by the time the God reached Rome, cannabis was being used as a entheogenic incense to fumigate the cave like temples in which the worship of Mithra took place. Mithra worship is believed to have deeply influenced emerging Christianity in a variety of ways, particularly in regards to the adoption of the God’s birthday December 25th in the 4th century by the Roman Catholic Church.

The Hashish Explorer: Laurence Cherniak

Laurence Cherniak is interviewed by Chris Bennett, about his over 50 years of cannabis activism, opening the world’s first ‘head shop’ in 1965, and the a dventures he had in distant lands chronicling the world’s Hashish culture in his photo filled volumes known as The Great Books of Hashish.

Cannabis in Ancient Greece: Smoke of the Oracles?

POT TV – Host and cannabis historian Chris Bennett talks to Professor of Classics at Boston University, Carl Ruck, along with Dr. David Hillman, who holds the combined degrees of a Ph.D. in Classics and a M.S. in Bacteriology from the University of Wisconsin, where he studied the medicine and pharmacology of antiquity, as well as other scholars, about the role of Cannabis in the ancient Greece.

Topics discussed include the influence on Greek ritual practices from the Scythian and Thracian shaman, known as ‘Kapnobatai’, meaning ‘smoke-walkers’, who were known to fumigate themselves with cannabis smoke to achieve ‘ecstasy’. The potential role of cannabis in the cults of Aphrodite, Orpheus, Apollo, Hera, Dionysus and other ancient Greek deities, along with the potential ritual use of cannabis at the Oracle of Delphi and other sites. The alleged archeological find of ancient hashish at the Nekyomanteion (a place for consulting the dead) on the River Acheron (one of the most famous entrances to the netherworld) as discussed in the book ‘Mysteries of the Oracles’ . The use of cannabis infused incenses and wines in ancient Greece, with a discussion on Homer’s ‘nepenthe’, as well as a look at lotions and ointments that were applied vaginally. The various names cannabis may have been known by during the classic period, and much, much more.

Martin Lee on Cannabis and Creativity in Literature, Song and Culture

POT TV – Cannabis Historian Chris Bennett interviews Martin A. Lee, author of ‘Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana – Medical, Recreational and Scientific’ and ‘Acid Dreams: The Complete Social History of LSD: The CIA, the Sixties, and Beyond’.

Lee discusses the role of cannabis in creativity and the herb’s influence in literature, music, and culture, as well as its history in the United States.


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