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12 Historical Figures Who Smoked Marijuana

historical figures who smoked weed

Humans and cannabis have a very long history together. Reports of cannabis use date back to 2800 BCE, when it was listed in Chinese emperor Shen Nung’s pharmacopeia, but it’s very likely that cannabis was used informally long before then.

The many health benefits of cannabis, the endless uses for strong hemp fibers, and the recreational aspects of the plant are some of the ways cannabis has been intertwined with human culture. In fact, many historical figures had dealings with cannabis in one way or another.

Let’s look at a few of the more famous figures in history who smoked weed and those who also contributed to cannabis culture.

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Christopher Columbus

Did you know that one of the world’s most famous explorers has ties to cannabis? When Christopher Columbus set sail in 1492, he reportedly had huge quantities of cannabis seeds on board.

Some hypothesize that the seeds were intended for growing crops should they become shipwrecked, but others believe that he intended to cultivate the plant in the New World. While we don’t have any hard evidence of Columbus’ involvement in the cannabis trade, it’s not a huge leap to say that he likely partook in the therapeutic drug in some way.

Queen Elizabeth I

We don’t know for sure that Queen Elizabeth I smoked weed, but we do know that she ordered landowners to grow it. Sure, the strong hemp fibers were needed, but did she have other reasons for cultivating the plant?

George Washington

Following the war for independence, George Washington took his title as the first president of the United States and retired to his home in Mount Vernon in Washington, D.C. You may have learned in school that he grew tobacco there. Still, many believe that he also cultivated cannabis.

Washington reportedly was interested in using hemp fibers to make ropes and sails, a common practice in the day. But some say he was also a proponent of the medicinal properties of cannabis. It’s not much of a stretch to say someone who grew cannabis likely also smoked it.

Queen Victoria

As far as famous people smoking weed, you can’t get much better than Queen Victoria. The legendary monarch ruled over the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 1837 to 1901 and reportedly smoked cannabis regularly.

It is said that the royal doctor at the time, Sir Russell Reynolds, prescribed Her Royal Highness cannabis to help ease menstrual cramps. Since cannabis is well-known for helping relieve pain and inflammation, it’s no surprise that the Queen enjoyed smoking weed.

James Monroe

The presidents of the United States are no strangers to smoking cannabis, and the fifth person with the title, James Monroe, was no exception. Mr. Monroe reportedly became a fan of smoking weed while serving as a minister to France and Britain. This penchant for herb didn’t disappear when he became president — some say he smoked weed until the ripe old age of 73.

Alexandre Dumas

You’ve undoubtedly heard of the book “The Three Musketeers,” but did you know that its author, Alexandre Dumas, was reportedly a prolific smoker of hashish? France was awash with all forms of marijuana in those days, but Dumas took it to the next level by starting a hashish club. Members could reportedly try out new strains of hashish as they were brought into the country, perhaps making Dumas one of the most influential weed smokers in history.

Joan of Arc

Legendary French revolutionary Joan of Arc was burned at the stake at the age of 19, but she allegedly didn’t let her limited time on this earth stop her from smoking cannabis. While no writings prove the young warrior smoked weed, she came from a village known for its “witch ointments.” The modern belief is that these ointments were made from cannabis to make use of the plant’s therapeutic effects.

John F. Kennedy

John F. Kennedy is another U.S. president believed to have been a smoker of marijuana. He reportedly suffered from severe back pain, and cannabis is known for its pain-relieving properties.

According to the former president’s biography, a mistress of his once brought him four joints. He allegedly smoked three joints, commented on not feeling any effect, and promptly closed his eyes, refusing the fourth.

William Shakespeare

Many famous people who smoke weed do so for its ability to boost creativity and unlock the mind. It should be no surprise that William Shakespeare is reported to have smoked cannabis regularly. Researchers reportedly found many pipes on the bard’s property, some of which contained traces of marijuana.

Louisa May Alcott

Louisa May Alcott was most definitely a fan of cannabis, or at the very least, she smoked it on more than one occasion. Ms. Alcott was famous for her many literary works, the most well-known being “Little Women.

She also wrote a piece called “Perilous Play,” which has been described by some as a hashish-fueled love story. Perilous Play included multiple in-depth descriptions of the experience of smoking hashish.

Francis Crick

Many say that the Father of DNA, Francis Crick, was a weed smoker. This isn’t outlandish, given his open support for the legalization of marijuana in the 1960s and his documented personal knowledge about another popular drug of that era, LSD.

Carl Sagan

There is no question about whether or not Carl Sagan was a weed smoker; all doubts were laid to rest when he wrote an essay under the alias “Mr. X” on why he enjoyed smoking the plant. Sagan said he smoked weed to inspire his essays and to get his brain pondering the big questions in life.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Who was the first person to smoke weed?

Because of how long ago weed was discovered, it’s impossible to say who the first person was to smoke weed. Cannabis has existed since before 2800 BC, when it was listed in a Chinese emperor’s pharmacopeia.

Which celebrities smoke weed?