A Short History of Cannabis, aka Marijuana, and its Uses
- Cannabis is better known as marijuana, it has been used for its medicinal properties for thousands of years. Historical remnants from all around the world reveal the importance of cannabis in medicine and spirituality
- The earliest written references to cannabis are found in the Chinese Materia Medica, written by Shen Nung around 2800 BC Nung documented 100 conditions that responded well to cannabis, including gout and rheumatism
- For 1000’s of years, cannabis remained one of the 50 essential plants used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. The Vedas, the sacred text of India, also lists cannabis as 1 of the 5 sacred plants
- The ancient Egyptians, Persians and Greeks also used cannabis in a variety of ways, including medicinally and for spiritual upliftment
- The marijuana plant contains more than 60 different cannabinoids, the 2 Key ones are CBD and THC. Cannabinoids interact with the human body by way of naturally occurring cannabinoid receptors embedded in cell membranes throughout it.
- In the US it is banned by federal law and designated a Schedule 1 Drug, like heroin, that is changing
The American History of Cannabis
The American history of cannabis goes back to the Founding Fathers, who cultivated the plant for industrial purposes.
George Washington is said to have grown more than 100 hemp plants at his home in Mount Vernon, Virginia.
Cannabis is called hemp when being used for its fibers, which are extracted from the stem and constructed into rope, clothing and paper.
Hemp plants are low in tetrahydrocannabinols (THC) levels and therefore do not get smokers high.
During the 17th Century, hemp was viewed as an important cash crop. It was used for rope by navies around the world, and as a thick durable linen ideal for clothing and packaging heavy materials.
Hemp seed oil was used in soaps, paints and varnishes.
The battle that has raged over marijuana is a long and hard one.
Still, movements to legalize marijuana have persisted throughout, starting as early as Y 1973, when Oregon became the 1st state to decriminalize cannabis. The most successful movement to date, and the 1 that produced the 1st legal marijuana market in decades, is the medical marijuana movement.
Medical cannabis is now legal in 30 US states, the majority of which allow limited use of medical marijuana under certain medical circumstances, although some limit medical cannabis to oils or pills only, and just 8 states have legalized it for recreational use.
A number of municipalities have also created their own marijuana rules, either decriminalizing it, legalizing it, enacting rules that direct city law enforcement to cease arresting individuals for marijuana possession, or making cannabis offenses the lowest priority for law enforcement.
In the US, the prohibition of marijuana began to turn in Y 1996 when California became the 1st state to legalize medical cannabis.
Since then, many others have followed.
In Y 2012, Colorado and Washington state became the 1st states to legalize its recreational use. Today, the majority of Americans support cannabis either as a medicine, for recreational use, or both.
Surveys show at least 4 in 10 Americans have tried marijuana, while nearly 60 percent support full legalization.
A Y 2013 survey found a majority of physicians (76%) approve of the use of medical marijuana.
Neurosurgeon Sanjay Gupta also made a highly publicized reversal on his marijuana stance after the production of his 2-part series “Weed,” which aired in Y 2014.
Educate Yourself on the Scientific Evidence Supporting Medical Marijuana
If you are on the fence when it comes to giving people the right to use medical marijuana, 1 of the best ways to still fears is to look at the research, and look at what doctors are doing in clinical practice.
Here are some good sources.
|1. The International Association for Cannabis website, which maintains a Clinical Studies and Case Report page.|
|2. Cancer.gov, the US government’s cancer website, contains research relating to the use of cannabis|
|3. PubMed is a searchable public resource containing a vast amount of medical literature, including studies involving cannabis|
|4. The Journal of Pain is a publication by the American Pain Society with a long list of studies on the pain-relieving effects of cannabis|
|5. National Institute on Drug Abuse provides information about preclinical and clinical trials underway to test marijuana and various extracts for the treatment of a number of diseases, including autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease, inflammation, pain and mental disorders|
|6. ProCon.org lists 60 peer-reviewed studies on medical marijuana and cannabis extracts published between Ys 1990 and 2014, listed by the condition treated|
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