6 Key Milestones in the History of Medical Cannabis


It cannot be denied that medical cannabis has a complex history. The use of cannabis for medical purposes has been controversial, and there are a number of political and social viewpoints that have complicated its uptake as a medicinal substance.

But, putting politics aside, cannabis has actually been used as a medicine for thousands of years. It has also been scientifically proven to be of medical use for a variety of complaints.

What is Medical Cannabis?

Medical cannabis refers to the parts of the cannabis plant that are refined and used for medicinal purposes, such as treating ailments and conditions, rather than for recreational use. Medical cannabis is legal in many states in the US. It must be prescribed by a physician in order for a person to use it as a medicine. In addition, you can purchase CBD oil (cannabidiol oil) without a prescription. This oil is also used as medicinal cannabis.

Here we take a closer look at the key milestones in the history of medical cannabis.

  1. Cannabis in Ancient China

Cannabis in around 2000 BC was used as a medicine as well as for food, clothing, and paper. Medical cannabis was used for over 100 different ailments, including malaria.

  1. Cannabis in Ancient India

One other important milestone also stands out on the medical cannabis timeline, that of cannabis being used in India in the ancient Ayurvedic tradition. It was used for treating sunstroke, fever, and dysentery, as well as for anxiety and for mental clarity. It is still used today in Ayurvedic medicine.

  1. Cannabis Use in Ancient Egypt

Did you know that traces of cannabis have been found in mummies from the ancient Pharaonic era? Some sources state that Egyptians used cannabis to treat inflammation.

  1. Cannabis as Used by William O’Shaughnessy

William O’Shaughnessy was an Irish doctor who was a pioneer in his use of cannabis for medical purposes. He is said to have introduced the idea of cannabis as a modern medical aid. He was interested, at first, in the use of cannabis as a treatment for nausea and for rheumatism. He published several works on cannabis describing its properties.

  1. Cannabis Use by French Physicians

Jacques-Joseph Moreau, a psychiatrist in France, was also among the first European doctors to use cannabis to treat ailments. He also published papers describing how cannabis worked, particularly to treat mental conditions.

  1. Cannabis in the USA

The introduction of cannabis to the US in the 18th century attracted medical practitioners to claim that the herb could treat inflammation and other conditions. Cannabis went through a long period of use as primarily a recreational drug, before again being accepted as a medicinal treatment in the 1990s. Its use is still controversial but many states have legalized the drug for use as a medicine. It is widely used by people to treat chronic pain conditions, inflammation, and other ailments that are otherwise not eased by conventional medications.


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