Ancient China: Cannabis was used 10,000 years ago in China. Hemp seed was used in food, and before long, medicinal properties were discovered. Chinese surgeon Hua Tuo was the first to use cannabis as anesthesia; the Chinese term for anesthesia means “cannabis intoxication.” They used the plant for many different ailments, from wounds to scorpion stings.
Ancient Egypt: cannabis was used to treat hemorrhoids as well as sore eyes.
Ancient India: Cannabis was incorporated into religion and medicine. Doctors used it for insomnia, headaches, stomach pain, and pain from childbirth. An Indian philosopher said, “It cures dysentery and sunstroke, clears phlegm, quickens digestion, sharpens appetite, makes the tongue of the lisper plain, freshens the intellect and gives alertness to the body and gaiety to the mind.”
Ancient Greece: Cannabis was used to treat wounds and sores on horses, as well as nosebleeds, pain, and inflammation in humans.
Medieval Islamic World: doctors used cannabis for many medical conditions- fever, pain, epilepsy, nausea, and more.
Irish physician and professor William Brooke O’Shaughnessy introduced the therapeutic value of cannabis to Western medicine. He tested cannabis on animals, then on patients, using it to treat migraines, pain, fever, and seizures.
Further research showed that cannabis could lower the intraocular pressure in glaucoma patients, and could help Vietnam vets with muscle spasms.
In the 1970’s, a synthetic THC, Marinol, was approved for use in the United States. However, the capsule form was not ideal for patients suffering from nausea due to chemotherapy. The capsules were difficult to swallow while nauseous, and the slower onset of action was not as helpful. Smoking marijuana seemed to be the preferred method.
California was the first state, in 1996, to legalize medical marijuana. Colorado and Washington were the first states, in 2012, to legalize recreational marijuana.
As many states have adopted state Medical marijuana programs, the recreational debate is always a hot topic. On the NORML website, you can see the policies for each state.
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