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Saturday, June 23, 2018

Medical marijuana history

Medical marijuana history

 
Cannabis has been used both medicinally and recreationally since ancient times. In China, it appears in the Pen Ts´ao as a treatment for “gout, rheumatism, malaria, beriberi, constipation, and absentmindedness.” The Pen Ts´ao is traditionally ascribed to legendary emperor Shen-Nung who is said to have lived in the 3rd millennium BC (although some modern historians date his life to the 1st century AD). Famous surgeon Hua T’o was supposed to have used cannabis to perform painless operations as far back as the second century AD. Eastern Indian documents in the Atharveda refer to the medicinal use of cannabis all the way back in the first millennium BC.
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Cannabis was also mentioned in several medicinal texts by the ancient Assyrians, who referred to the hemp plant as “qunnabu” (an apparent etymological cognate of “cannabis”). Some Biblical scholars believe that “qunnabu” is the same as “kaneh bosm” (translated as ”aromatic cane” in Exodus 30:23, a verse in which God orders Moses to make a holy oil composed of cinnamon, kaneh bosm, and kassia) (Russo).

In the Roman world, cannabis was described in the classic medical writings of Galen and Dioscorides, both of whom imaginatively recommended the “juice of the seed” to ward off earaches, sexual disinterest, and flatulence. It was also regularly prescribed as an analgesic or painkiller.

In 1994, the oldest archeological evidence of medicinal cannabis use was discovered in an Egyptian tomb dated back to the third century AD. The tomb contained a young girl who had died in childbirth alongside traces of hashish (concentrated cannabis resin) which had likely been used to ease labor pains.

An Irish physician, William B. O’Shaughnessy, brought knowledge of the medical properties of cannabis to Europe in 1839. He observed its use in India and then experimented with alcohol-based cannabis tinctures to try to treat rheumatism, rabies, cholera, tetanus, and convulsions. He described it as an analgesic and an “anti-convulsive remedy of the greatest value.” In Victorian times, cannabis came to be popular as a method of treating asthma, migraines, neuralgia, senile insomnia, and painful menstruation and childbirth. By the late nineteenth century, however, its use began to wane as stronger, more conventional medicines became available.

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