September 13, 2021 Blogs

The Journey of the Joint

While humans have been consuming hemp for thousands of years, it has historically been smoked through a pipe, hookah, or chillum. A relatively new innovation, the humble marijuana cigarette has managed to find its way into the heart of countless cultures around the world.

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The first joint consumed recreationally

It was a pharmacist at University of Guadalajara who first mentioned that laborers were mixing hemp with tobacco in their cigarettes. Though it probably started much earlier, the practice had begun by at least 1856. You don’t have to look far to spot the cultural ties that still linger from hemp’s Mexican roots. In fact, the word “roach” got its name from the Mexican song “La Cucaracha,” which tells the story of a cockroach who can’t get up because he has no marijuana to smoke.

You don’t have to look far to spot the cultural ties that still linger from hemp’s Mexican roots. In fact, the word “roach” got its name from the Mexican song “La Cucaracha,” which tells the story of a cockroach who can’t get up because he has no marijuana to smoke.

The earliest record of a commercial hemp cigarette can be found in an 1870 publication of The Boston Medical and Surgical Journal. Grimault’s Indian Cigarettes- marketed as a treatment for respiratory ailments- was a powerful mixture of hemp resin, belladonna leaves (also known as deadly nightshade, a powerful and sometimes deadly muscle relaxant), and a small amount of potassium nitrate. This combination would have acted to deconstrict the bronchial tubes in the event of an asthma attack, allowing the patient to increase oxygen flow to the lungs.

Early 20th Century

Many nicknames for the hemp cigarettes were birthed in the 20s and 30s, some of which are still used to this day. The words “reefer” and “joint” originated in this era. As did the term “muggle,” since popularized by the Harry Potter franchise. Some words haven’t stood the test of time so well. Ever heard of a killer, goof butt, or joy smoke?

The prohibition of alcohol in 1920 had a big hand in hemp’s widespread usage. Speakeasies were springing up around the country, providing an illegal underground hub where patrons could sip on the finest bathtub whiskey and listen to jazz. New Orleans musicians began touring over the country, bringing with them their iconic “jazz cigarettes.” Popularity for the drug boomed – its legal status in most states meant that a Viper (the term for hemp smoker) could roll a reefer in public and face no repercussions.

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