History of CBD and Cannabis: Kazakhstan
Straddling both Europe and Asia, Kazakhstan is a country known for its vast natural resources, large land area, and entrenched presence of criminal organizations. In the early 2000s, several international drug reports estimated that nearly 400,000 hectares of marijuana grow wildly in the Chuy Valley.
The Chuy Valley, which is moist in the winter and very warm in the summer, features vast networks of natural irrigation that criss-cross throughout the valley. The region links several major rivers together, which provide large quantities of moisture to naturally growing cannabis plants.
Despite receiving harsh criticism from global environmental groups, the Kazakhstan government has routinely enacted wild cannabis eradication measures in order to protect the population. In fact, Kazakhstan is considered Central Asia’s largest producer of cannabis, accounting for over 97 percent of all marijuana sold in the region.
Cannabis, CBD, and Kazakhstan
As one of the largest producers of cannabis in the world, Kazakhstan boasts a long history with the plant that goes back several thousand years. Researchers have determined that human cultivation stretches back to 10,000 BCE.
For hundreds of years, locals have returned to the Chuy Valley in order to secretly cultivate wild cannabis during the humid Summer months. Over half of the hectares of cannabis in the Chuy Valley are actively harvested today, while many plots remain undiscovered.
When the growing season is over, residents return to large cities in order to sell marijuana in bulk to international distribution chains. Residents learned how to cultivate marijuana through nomadic Scythian tribes that passed along the tradition in 500 BCE.
Though most Scythian descendants occupy present day Siberia, many now inhabit the rural regions just north of Kazakhstan. In 300 BCE, Scythian tribesmen became well known for their recreational and ritualistic use of cannabis.
Nowadays, many modern cannabis crops throughout Central Asia, East Asia, and India trace their lineage back to the original Kazakhstan crops. The country is situated directly over the heart of the Silk Road, making it an important distribution network for both the Asian and European worlds.
Up until the early seventies, cannabis was openly and legally marketed in Kazakhstan markets. Flowering buds were comparable to the price of other crops, like sunflower seeds and tulips. Due to the illegal status of cannabis, prices have risen dramatically, which has only caused more residents to dive into the market.
Considering that one acre of cannabis is thirty times as profitable as comparable crops, it makes sense that both farmers and distributors have joined the industry. Worldwide legalization could decrease the presence of illicit markets all throughout the country.
Even though cannabis is currently illegal in Kazakhstan, officials aren’t blind to this fact. Many government officials are openly calling for full decriminalization, legalization, and medical access to verified cannabis products.