The Knights Templar was founded by Hugh de Payns of the Pagans around the beginning of the twelfth century to protect pilgrims making their way to Jerusalem. Europe got introduced to the marijuana benefits when the Knights Templar involved itself in a trade of goods and knowledge with the hashish ingesting Isma’ilis famously known as the Assassins. Mansur el Hallaj, an outspoken advocate of intoxication as means to spiritual ecstasy, is stated to have been the founder of the still existing Order Templar Orientis in the official documents. The Knights Templars maintained liaisons with the Isma’ilis in order to obtain cannabis drugs for them for trating their various wounds and diseases. Hence, recognizing marijuana benefits for medicinal purposes had long been established in history.
The Knights Templar and their marijuana needs
The Knights Templars as a clan possessed enormous wealth and a massive fleet of ships as well as a strong army and were great warriors. Modern day ‘stoned’ philosopher Robert Anton Wilson dedicates a whole book on the Templars where he states that they practiced a form of Arabic Tantrism, which included ingesting hashish, which they had picked up from their contact with the Assassins. However, the Templars were accused of heresy in an orchestrated attempt framed by King Philip (who was denied admission into the sect) and the Pope Clement V. They were accused when it was felt that they were becoming very powerful at the cost of the rule of the Papacy and the kings of Europe. The many criminal accusations against them were mocking the cross, sodomy and worshipping a mysterious idol in the form of a head. The Templars were found upon and arrested in 1307 on a particular Friday 13th (the origin of the ‘bad luck’ associated with this combination). The crucifixion is a major tenet of Roman Catholicism and the Templars were killed in large numbers for repudiating it.
Thus, marijuana benefits reached Europe through the Templars activity with the Isma’ilis. Marijuana, a cannabis-product, can be used for a myriad number of medicinal benefits like treating anxiety related disorders and chronic stress, curing several forms of epilepsy and various kind of body ache. The European Knights were initiated to cannabis use by the Assassins and were privy to their occult practices. Regardless of the nature of the interactions, the Templars were spiritually influenced by certain movements of Islam and borrowed much of their constitution of their order from them. Through the Templars the knowledge of cannabis and their various products spread to the point that recipes for marijuana wines and tinctures began to appear in European alchemical and medical texts. However, after their persecution at the hands of the Roman Catholics, the remaining survivors, it is alleged in some texts, fled to Scotland and several of their graves bear Templar Insignias. The Knights Templar certainly weren’t outright pot dealers, but it’s undeniable that their interactions with the Middle East influenced the culture back in their native Europe in many ways and brought to light in Europe the benefits of cannabis use.