If you've watched Psychedelica on Gaia.com, you'll notice Chris Bennett (author of Liber 420 and Cannabis and the Soma Solution) looks into the ancient past of cannabis and how it was used in the old world. It was traded heavily along the Silk Road and became infused with the origin of many ancient religions. Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism, Buddhism, Taoism, Muslim, and quite a few other religious beginnings are intimately tied to visions from cannabis ingestion and even Scythian rituals in tripod tents when a king would die. Herodotus noted in his writings that the Scythians, a horseback band of traders, warriors and tax collectors were likely the group that dispersed the sacred tree and its psychoactive flowers across ancient Asia, Siberia, Middle East, Europe and even into Africa.
However, the Judaic religion and the Bible have this word called Kaneh Bosm. Scholars are long mistranslated this as a form of Calamus which is a slightly toxic plant and doesn't seem to have all the properties and uses that Kaneh Bosm was purported to have. But cannabis definitely fits the bill.
However a 2,700 year old temple in Tel Arad has just been excavated to find cannabis that was burnt and used in ceremony. The famous psychoactive compound THC was present. This makes it quite clear that the psychoactive effects of the plant were known and used in religious rites.
The temple was first discovered in the Negev desert, about 95km (59 miles) south of Tel Aviv, in the 1960s.
Tel Aviv University's archaeological journal proclaim that archaeologists found two buried limestone altars at the shrine.
The dry climate preserved the cannabis offerings quite well and allowed for easy testing to discover that the incense at the altar was intact not just for a pleasant aroma, but to intoxicate and offer vision.
So in conclusion, the sacred plant is sacred because it has cornered the plant and animal market in the highest concentration of diverse cannabinoids that fit perfectly within the human endocannabinoid system. This system is 600 million years old and existed in Sea Squirts or Sea Cucumbers long before humans and long before the cannabis plant existed on earth (to our knowledge).
In the hunt for a candidate for the fabled Tree of Life, what other tree grows to full maturity in 3-6 months as opposed to 20 years for most other trees. What other tree can offer food with no use of pesticides at such a high caliber that only breast milk has the same ratios and ingredients? What other tree remediates the soil, provides building materials, sacred sacrament, medicine that works better and more replete than much of the pharmaceutical industry for a wide swath of ailments? It has also been found that graphene to make super conductors for computing systems is quite expensive to come by. Where as a gram of graphene is roughly $1000 when a whole ton of graphenized hemp costs only $5000. That's a mere fraction of the cost.
What else can this incredible plant do for humanity in the future? It's as if the gifts from this plant haven't been exhausted.
Please check out Chris Bennett's work and purchase a few of his books. Great reads. Check out Brigitte Mars and her philosophy on Cannabis being the Tree of Life where the "leaves shall be for the healing of the nations."
Chris Bennett can also be found at www.cannabisculture.com