We’ve all heard by now that cannabis has been around for thousands of years, the earliest remnants of which having been found in pipes in tombs off the coast of ancient China. But have you ever wondered where cannabis itself actually originated? It’s a question that gets wandering minds wondering when we consider some interesting facts in Jason King’s The Cannabible 3 that lead to speculation that cannabis actually came to Earth from outer space.
First, consider that cannabis appears in the fossil and historical record seemingly out of nowhere about 12,000 years ago. It has no known evolutionary predecessors, and the DNA structure of cannabis is unique from any other plant on Earth. Believe it or not, its closest relative is the strawberry plant.
Then notice the name itself. Cannabis is a Greek word that combines “canna,” which means “canine” or “dog,” with “bis” or “bi,” which represents the number two – making cannabis the “two-dog plant.” Finally, consider the most intriguing evidence that cannabis came from another planet: the ancient stories passed down for thousands of years among the Dogon Tribe.
On a continent far, far away lives a tribe of cannabis-lovers in Mali, West Africa. Known as the Dogon Tribe, this group was visited by Herodotus, a Greek chronicler, sometime around 300 BCE, during what just happened to be their years-long festival that takes place every 50 years. Explaining the significance of their celebration, the Dogon pointed to the brightest star in the winter sky, Sirius, calling it the “Two-Dog Star” and saying that it was the home of their treasured “two-dog plant” – cannabis.
In stories that have been passed down for millennia, they claimed that the “two-dog plant” was brought to Earth by the goddess from the Two-Dog Star thousands of years ago when their tribe was visited by beings called the Nommo, from the Sirius star system. Among the knowledge given them by the Nommo was the fact that Sirius was a binary (if not ternary) star system – something the Dogon knew long before telescopes were powerful enough to discover this in 1970. Their epic celebration was in honor of Sirius B completing its 50-year orbit around Sirius A.
In The Cannabible 3, Jason King writes, “All of this would be easy to dismiss if not for the fact that the Dogon possessed specific knowledge about the Sirian system for thousands of years before scientists with modern telescopes and equipment could catch up and prove them right… The Dogon had specific knowledge about Sirius B, a white dwarf star, which they call Po Tolo. They knew that it was white, that it was extremely small, and that it was the heaviest star in its grouping… They were able to describe its elliptical orbit with Sirius A, its fifty-year orbital period, and the fact that the star rotated on its own axis. Sirius B is invisible to the naked eye and is so difficult to observe, even through a telescope, that no known photographs were taken of it until 1970.”
The tribe also described a third star in the Sirius system, which they knew as “Emma Ya.” But it wasn’t until 1995 that two French astronomers published what could be preliminary evidence of the existence of Sirius C, a small, red dwarf star in the Sirius star system.
“If the Dogon were correct in all of their other knowledge about Sirius,” King muses, “why would they not be dead-on with their claims of cannabis being from Sirius? It is, after all, named after that Two-Dog Star!”
We may never know for sure the true origins of our beloved two-dog plant. But we can definitely keep lighting up and pondering all the far-out possibilities…