Amazons were all about weed, using cannabis for recreational and medical purposes and using it to make tools and weapons, according to historians.
Amazons are female Scythians, a group of nomadic tribes which travelled in the Middle East and Western and Central Asia from 600 BC to 400 AD. Today, they are probably best known in popular culture for Wonder Woman, an Amazonian warrior who fights atop a horse armed with a magic lasso.
That might not be all that far off from the truth of the Amazons, except that the equivalent of Wonder Woman may have inhaled cannabis smoke in rituals, used it to treat battle wounds, and her lasso would have been made from hemp.
Amazonian women were known as fierce warriors with impressive physical prowess who had the freedom to roam as they please and choose their own sexual partners. That made contemporary Greek men “feel awe, fear and respect” for the Amazons, as historian Adrienne Mayor recently told Leafly. Among many other aspects of Amazonian life, Mayor explores the group’s heavy use of cannabis in her new book, The Amazons: Lives of Warrior Women Across the Ancient Lands.
While Mayor has expanded upon the culture of the ancient warriors, she is far from the first historian to document their use of weed. More than two millennia ago, Greek historian Herodotus wrote about the Scythian vapor baths where “kannabis” was thrown on burning braziers.
“These seeds smolder and smoke and send forth great clouds of steam. The Scythians howl with joy, awed and elated by their vapor-bath,” he wrote.
Given how common cannabis use appears to be, and the frequency of battle injuries such as slashed ribs and blunt-force skull fractures in recovered skeletons, Mayor believes Amazons also used cannabis to treat pain, injuries, and arthritis.
The Scythian use of cannabis went beyond its effects on the human body. Herodotus wrote that “A plant called kannabis grows in Scythia, similar to flax but much thicker and taller. It is wild in Scythia but the Thracians cultivate this kannabis and weave garments from it that are just like linen.”
Mayor adds that “Scythian women probably used hemp to make lariats,” or lassos, “useful every day with herding their horses but also as a weapon.”
It’s only taken western civilization a couple thousand years to catch up with the Amazons when it comes to cannabis use. About the same amount of time it will probably take for the new Wonder Woman movie to come out.