In part two of this series, we’re going way-back to explore the history of medical cannabis. While people may stereotype what cannabis use 'looks like,' it has been used in medicine for thousands of years. This article will help you better understand its potential as a medical treatment.
2737 B.C. (Before Cannabis) A Chinese Emperor was the first to go au naturel and prescribe cannabis tea to treat illnesses like gout and rheumatism. David’s Tea should totally do an homage. Then between 2000-1400 B.C. India was bhang-ing. Bhang was a popular drink made from cannabis paste, milk, clarified butter and spices, which was used for curing fevers, dysentery and sunstroke, and increasing alertness. Even the Indian Hemp Drug Commission highlighted the medical benefits of bhang.
Some time went by and in 200 A.D. a Chinese surgeon used cannabis mixed with wine as a surgical anesthetic. Super glad I wasn’t having whatever surgery was happening that day… Being the leaders in medical cannabis use, Chinese physicians also used cannabis root, leaves, and oil to treat blood clots, tapeworms, constipation, and hair loss. Real talk, this plant was doing it all. The good word spread and by the 1000s, the Middle East and Europe had to get in on the action. Cannabis made its way into traditional medical practice in the Middle East and Europeans used it to treat cough and jaundice (how conservative).
Across the ocean, in the 1840s an Irish physician that practiced in India, boasted about medical cannabis as a treatment for rheumatism and nausea in England and the U.S. Unfortunately, with the rising opioid addictions in the U.S. at the time, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was created to control drug use and there was a huge shift in drug policy. So huge, that drug use was declared a crime in 1914 and non-medical cannabis was made illegal in 1937. Apparently, that wasn’t enough so, in 1970, cannabis was categorized as a Schedule I drug having no accepted medical use. Research in this area was really difficult at the time due to lack of access to the plant and government restrictions.
In 1996, the state of California said: “Guys, this is a plant” and legalized medical cannabis. Woah. Now it’s 2018 and 29 U.S. states have legalized medical cannabis for certain conditions, which include (*state dependent): epilepsy, cancer, HIV/AIDs, Parkinson's Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Chron’s Disease, glaucoma, seizures, Wasting Syndrome, and PTSD.
While more research is required into cannabis as a medical treatment, it is notable that it has been used for thousands of years. There lies the power of medical cannabis.