History of Medical Marijuana

Brief history of the legalization and cultivation of medical marijuana

History of Cannabis

The first historical usage of cannabis by man dates back to the JOMON of ancient Japan (10,000 BC to 300 BC). To the Japanese of this period, cannabis had many important uses including fishing line, bowstrings, strong, durable cloth suitable for extreme weather. The first physical evidence of cannabis and hemp use was at an archaeological site in the Oki Islands. The date established for this site reaches back to pre-Neolithic Japan approximately 8000 BC. At this site were found both dry cannabis seeds and plants. Evidence of this strongly supports the use of cannabis for multiple products including food as a psychoactive spiritual aid. In stone-aged China (4000 BC) cannabis was considered one of the “major five grains.”

Historical Record of Cannabis As Medicine

2737 BC is the oldest record of cannabis used medicinally. During that period, the world’s oldest literature on cannabis was recognized for its therapeutic qualities and treatment of various ailments such as, malaria, rheumatism, and gout. In 200 AD HuaT’o, considered to be the founder of Chinese surgery, invented the first anesthetic which was cannabis paste and known as Mafeisan, which translates to “cannabis boiling powder.” HuaT’o used this often to sedate and numb patients for surgery. Additionally, there is evidence from Ayurveadic medicine exploring the benefits of cannabis.

Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries

In the late Nineteenth century cannabis was accepted for therapeutic use in Western medicine and was widely distributed in patient medicine products. In the late 19th century to early 20th century patient medicine came under attack because of lack of consistency, false claims, the presence of impurities. During this period marijuana became associated less with patient medicine and became sold in pharmacies. This along with prohibition made marijuana acceptable with more people. It is interesting to note the attacks on marijuana began to rise as prohibition faded and was removed. The repeal of prohibition made it obvious that revenues were lost to the federal government. If you are a conspiracy theorist, you might find this an interesting coincidence. By 1941, US Pharmacopia officially removed marijuana from their list, a position it had since 1850.

Most of us are aware of the changes since then. Cannabis legalization, like in Cleveland is becoming a more common occurrence. The most interesting thing is with the current situation across the US, with currently 41 of 50 states having legalized some form of various uses it is likely that marijuana may be returned to the US Pharmacopia in the near future.