Weed Symbol: Representation Today vs. History

Weed symbol

The weed symbol today is everywhere around us. Have you ever wondered where does the weed symbol comes from and what it represents since the beginning of time? Well, now we pretty much know what is the plant used for and what its supporters want to achieve by wearing it. However, there are still people affected by the current cannabis prohibition and the way they perceive the iconic weed symbol. There are many Clothing and accessories, sports or casual that have the weed symbol attached to them but if you are the person wearing these you might experience the diversity of beliefs about the leaf firsthand.

What I mean by this is that when it comes to the weed symbol the people and the perceptions they have about it usually tend to fall into three basic categories: the positive, the negative, and the indifferent ones. Namely, those with the positive perception around weed and the weed symbol associate it with advocacy, social change, and medicinal choice. Additionally, for some, the leaf means personal liberties, the belief in a better day and the hope of a brighter world. They see this as an indication of a shared enthusiasm for natural remedies. Or simply it means that you support the plant movement and you like smoking pot. So, when they see anyone wearing these garments they will either be supportive or simply go about their day.

Weed symbol in a cave

Weed symbol in a cave via vice.

Next, we have the people with a negative association based on the weed symbol and the cannabis plant in general. These misguided negative perceptions people have are usually appropriated by beliefs that this is a harmful drug so you shouldn’t carry the weed symbol around or anything of that sort. These people think the weed symbol represents crime, addiction and the corruption of youth. Negative perceptions can include everything from government interference and regulation to the end of American culture as we know it. When you pass one of these naysayers on the street, they may view your clothing choice as blatant defiance of the status quo. It’s never good nor useful to argue with these people about the importance of the plant and that it isn’t harmful at all. It’s important to have a good approach and respective tone and try to explain why you have the weed symbol on you and how it affects you.

Then, a lot of people that see the weed symbol may recognize it and think: ‘Oh, a weed symbol t-shirt, cool” and go about their day. Whether they have more important things to worry about or fail to recognize your blazing green fashion statement, some folks simply don’t care. They may not even recognize the many medicinal properties of cannabis. They don’t follow politics or stay abreast of current events. This does not mean that they would not support the medicinal use of marijuana or recreational use and its legalization. They simply hadn’t been properly educated on the topic in order to take a stance for or against it. The third type of people simply doesn’t hold strong feelings one way or the other.

Wearing the Weed Symbol

Many fashion designers and trend watches recognize the weed symbol motif as adding value to a product. Something that makes their products more desirable and brings better profit. And many think that buying and wearing clothes and accessories that feature a weed symbol design is the quintessential expression of consumer confidence in a product. In the face of misinformation and blatant condemnation, a section of the population chooses to wear a diversely perceived symbol. The weed symbol is globally recognized, eye-catching and simple, natural and celebrated. Consumers recognize the symbol’s value as a social commentary.

T-shirt with weed symbol

T-shirt with weed symbol via Pinterest.

However, whether we choose to present the symbol of weed or not we should wonder, are we doing this for ourselves or others? Is it a normalizing of the cannabis culture or just fashion capitalizing on a trend? Whatever the motifs behind the weed symbol are, we can all agree choosing to wear the leaf has its consequences. Let’s keep hoping one of them is broad acceptance.

The weed symbol throughout history

We can talk and discuss the weed symbol to infinity and beyond but one thing is for sure. It didn’t just come out of nowhere. It’s not like consumers and nature lovers just discovered the seemingly controversial watermark of weed. In fact, we see this symbol in our clothes industry ever since the 1960s, and that’s only when it made its way into the consumer clothing world. And there are no indications of it going away any time soon.

Especially because the history of the plant is marked since the dawn of time. We can see the weed symbol in many tombs engraved in stone and have many ancient texts that testify for the plant’s effectiveness and medicinal use.

Whether known as hemp or cannabis back in the days, we cannot argue that the Cannabis sativa has been farmed by humans for 12,000 years. In fact, archeological evidence suggests the recreational, medicinal, and psychoactive properties of marijuana have been understood for around half that time. Furthermore, there are Chinese radical characters found written in stone and texts that date back thousands of years, and represents two plants hanging to dry under the roof of a shelter.

Ancient weed symbol

Ancient weed symbol via wiki.

So, according to certain sources, for instance, Michael Backes’ book Cannabis Pharmacy, the cave painting found on the coast of Kyushu, Japan from the Neolithic era (10,000-5,000 BC) represent an illustration of cannabis, which would likely make it the earliest representation of a pot leaf known. However, whether or not this primitive artwork actually depicts the plant is purely speculative, though it’s worth noting that hemp was cultivated in Japan during this period.

Also, it is worth mentioning that there have been some fringe debates about the Egyptian goddess Seshat. Namely, experts say that she may have been a big supporter of the pot. They base their opinions on the fact that she is frequently depicted with a seven-pointed leaf above her head – as you can see in the photo shown below.

Egyptian goddess Seshat with a weed leaf above his head

Photo By Jon Bodsworth – http://www.egyptarchive.co.uk/html/luxor_temple_16.html, (Copyrighted free use, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6316582)