History of CBD and Cannabis In: Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a country located in Western Asia and is the largest sovereign state in it. The country constitutes the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula and is bordered by Iraq and Jordan to its north, Kuwait to its northeast, Bahrain, Qatar, and United Arab Emirates to its east, Oman to its southeast, and Yemen to its south.
The country is also separated from Israel and Egypt by the Gulf of Aqaba and is the only nation that has both a Persian Gulf coast and a Red Sea coast. Saudi Arabia has a land area of about 830,000 square miles with a population of over 33 million as of 2018.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is said to be the site of several ancient cultures and civilizations with a history dating as far back as 125,000 years ago. It is also said that the Arab people and Islam originated and emerged in the territory. In the 7th century, present-day Saudi Arabia was inhabited by nomadic tribes.
Through the centuries various invaders attempted to control the country, but by 1517 the Ottoman Empire dominated until the late 18th century. Fast-forwarding to relatively modern times, the creation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia began in 1882 by King Ibn Saud. Today, Saudi Arabia’s capital and largest city is Riyadh and the official language is Arabic.
Cannabis, CBD, And The Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia: A Brief History
Cannabis is known as “alqanb” or “hashish” in Saudi Arabia. No one knows for sure but it appears that cannabis is not a native plant in the country and does not grow naturally. Little is known on who discovered and introduced cannabis to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
However, it is said that in the 10th century, cannabis was mentioned in a book that indicated that “if it was mixed with other drugs it became poisonous and caused death.” This indicates one of the earliest recorded evidence that cannabis was known in the region.
Cannabis is illegal in Saudi Arabia both for recreational and medicinal purposes. The growing, buying, selling, possession, use, and other related activities are illegal in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The US State Department indicates that penalties in Saudi Arabia are severe and may include public whippings, imprisonment, fines, or a death penalty.
The country is internationally known to be extremely conservative when it comes to drugs with no distinction between recreational or medicinal uses of cannabis. This means penalties remain the same no matter what purpose cannabis is being used for in Saudi Arabia in any form.
Why Is It Illegal?
Cannabis contains many chemical compounds. THC or tetrahydrocannabinol is the main psychoactive substance that is responsible for the intoxicating effects when using and consuming the cannabis plant. THC is perhaps the reason why authorities perceive the plant negatively. Thus, influencing the legalities surrounding it in the country in addition to its historical and cultural conservative aspects regarding drugs in general.
As for CBD or cannabidiol, many have found it beneficial in relieving various symptoms associated with several conditions. CBD is what many may consider to be the medicinal or therapeutic side of the cannabis plant. However, despite studies suggesting the numerous health benefits it may offer, it is still illegal in Saudi Arabia.
So even if a company indicates they ship CBD products to the country, there is a high risk of severe punishment when caught no matter the form or amount. It is not recommended that travelers to Saudi Arabia take any CBD with them or face possible heavy consequences.