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  • Khaing Zin Thet

What really is weed? Where does it come from?

Updated: Apr 7

These were the questions I had for years, even after I have tried it the first time which, of course, was not an entirely pleasant experience. A friend of my friend brought a joint for a group of us to smoke but none of us really knew what we were doing. Well, I didn’t even know what the plant looked like. So, when I was told to ‘just inhale it’, I did just inhale it big a couple of times which made me cough, a lot. For the rest of the evening, I was freaking out at this new intense feeling that I wasn’t even sure was the way it was supposed to feel. This made me freak out more and there I went, down the ‘freaking out’ spiral. I’m glad that is now behind me. More to unpack on that later but let’s talk about weed, the plant, first.

What exactly is it?

Weed, also known as marijuana, cannabis (the industry term), pot, and many other nicknames, refers to the dried flowers and leaves of the annual flowering herb that are used primarily for medical or recreational purposes. If you are reading this, you have probably seen pictures or paintings of these green marijuana leaves before. But you may not have seen pictures of the cannabis flower before.


These flowers are parts of the plants that have gone through the cultivation, harvest, drying and curing process and that you can smoke. Note that depends on the types or strains of cannabis you are growing, these leaves and flowers look different. Cannabis is just like every other plant life; you can grow yellow roses instead of red if you prefer. (If you are curious about the cannabis cultivation process or want to try and grow a plant at home, we will be posting another blog on that).

How did people start using cannabis?

According to various paleobotanical studies, cannabis plants already existed on this planet 11,700 years ago in the territories of Central Asia. The first evidence of cannabis use by humans dates back to more than 10,000 years ago at the end of the Ice Age. People in ancient China were using this plant as a source of fiber as well as for medicinal and ritualistic functions. This, then, spread to the rest of Asia as well as all over what we call now Europe.