What is the History of Medical Cannabis Use?

What is the History of Medical Cannabis Use?

For thousands of years, the cannabis plant has been freely used for a wide variety of medical, spiritual, and recreational purposes.  It wasn’t until the mid-20th century that the plant was outlawed and associated with criminals.  Fortunately, attitudes around the world are starting to improve.  Our goal is to help enlighten people about the rich history of cannabis use around the world. Here is a brief overview of this wonderful and misunderstood plant.

Where was the first recorded use of medical cannabis?

The use of cannabis as medicine can be traced all the way back to ancient China.  In the year 2727 BC, Chinese Emperor Shen Nung, also known as the Father of Chinese Medicine, compiled the first ever medical encyclopedia, or Pen Ts’ao. This book contained recipes for hundreds of drugs derived from minerals, animals, and of course, plants.  As you might have guessed, cannabis was one of the most prominently featured plants.  The Emperor listed it as a treatment for over one hundred ailments, including gout, rheumatism, and malaria.  Needless to say, the thought of outlawing such a useful plant would have mystified the brilliant Emperor.

When was medical cannabis first used in India?

In neighboring India, cannabis was also becoming widely used for medical purposes.  Indian doctors had expanded their understanding of the plant and begun using it to treat dysentery, sunstroke, and indigestion.  More interestingly, however, they began to realise cannabis’s unique ability to inspire spirituality. According to the sacred Hindu texts known as The Vedas, cannabis was one of five sacred plants.  It was even believed that a guardian angel lived within its leaves.  The ancient Hindus were among the first to realise that cannabis could inspire happiness and release its users from the grip of worry and anxiety. Cannabis use remained widespread in India until the Colonial Era, when misguided British forces tried to eradicate it from society.  This unfortunate pattern has been repeated many times throughout history.

When was medical cannabis first used in Egypt?

There is much evidence of cannabis’s growing impact on the ancient world.  It was first documented in Egypt in 1500 BC as an anti-inflammatory treatment.  As far away as Siberia, it was being used to soothe the pain of breast cancer.  Meanwhile, the Chinese had gotten so advanced that they were able to use cannabis as an early anesthetic.  In an era long before modern medicine, cannabis must have seemed like a miracle drug.

When was medical cannabis first used in the UK?

The United Kingdom’s attitude has been less enlightened than the rest of the world, but cannabis still played an integral role in the early days of British medical practice.  Centuries before the swinging sixties in London, the UK’s top medical minds were diligently studying the plant’s effects. The earliest documentation of a report to the Royal Society regarding cannabis’s effects dates to 1689. Britain was far behind the Eastern World, but slowly, cannabis was being introduced into society.

In 1842, William O’Shaughnessy published The Bengal Dispensatory and Companion to the Pharmacopoeia, the most comprehensive medicinal guide of its time.  Cannabis was one of the most prominently featured plants.  Over the course of a twenty-five-page chapter, O’Shaughnessy detailed a litany of conditions that could be treated with cannabis, including rheumatism, tetanus, and convulsions.  Meanwhile, religious cannabis use was becoming especially popular in the Caribbean, where Rastafarianism was becoming an accepted way of life.

Of all the cannabis related discoveries made over the years, its effect on mental health surely ranks near the top. Because of how misunderstood mental health has always been, history is full of terrifying stories of asylums, lobotomies, and other cruel ways of dealing with the mentally ill. Cannabis provided a compassionate and effective alternative.

In the 1870s, the brilliant Scottish psychiatrist Thomas Clouston began an exhaustive study on the phenomenon of mental illness. He was among the first to discover how hemp plants could have a positive effect on a patient’s wellbeing.  His new treatments proved to be so helpful to society that he was awarded Fothergillian Gold Medal of the Medical Society of London, one of the highest honors of the day.

Did Queen Victoria use medical cannabis?

In the late 1800’s cannabis use was on the brink of being accepted into mainstream society. Even Queen Victoria is rumored to have used it to ease menstrual cramps and pain related to childbirth. Her personal physician, Dr. J Russell Reynolds, was one of the most prominent proponents of cannabis use, publishing many articles describing its many benefits of CBD for pain relief

Why was medical cannabis made illegal?

In the late 1890’s, the seeds of cannabis eventual demonisation were planted.  Opium abuse was becoming widespread, and many in society unfairly grouped the two plants together.  In the ensuing decades, scrutiny of cannabis intensified in an unprecedented way. 

In 1928, cannabis officially became illegal in the United Kingdom, driven by social, racial, and political reasons. Cannabis was classified as having no medicinal or therapeutic benefits, despite the advice from countless medical practitioners at the time. In our next installment, we will detail how this injustice came to be, and detail how some cannabis derived products have become rightly legalised once again.

The History of Cannabis Continues 

As you can see cannabis has played a significant role as a medicine for thousands of years throughout every corner of the globe. Now CBD and medical cannabis are rightly legal again in the UK and we at Mission C have created three ranges of products from immune enhancing CBD gummies to CBD joint and muscle balm to help people lead healthier, happier, and more fulfilled lives.

We believe in open, honest, and balanced communication, we tell people everything they need to know about CBD. All information is trusted, vetted, and backed by scientific evidence. If you want to learn more about CBD and have any further questions, please reach out through our contact form on the website or contact@missionc.comAbove all else, we’re human. Our team is made up of real, contactable people who are on hand for anything you might need.

Let’s, Create Change.



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