History of medical cannabis

There are records of cannabis cultivation as early as 8000 BCE, and the first report of its medicinal use was made by the Chinese emperor Chen Nung in 2717 B.C.

This plant has passed through the history of the Romans, Persians, Egyptians, Jews, Arabs and Indians, due to its analgesic, anti-inflammatory properties, and benefits to insomnia, gastric disorders, fevers, vomiting as well as for its mood-changing properties. In the 19th century, Irish doctor Willian O’Shaughnessy, in his studies in India, treated a condition of refractory epilepsy in a child (a type of epilepsy which causesmultiple seizures per day and which the usual medications cannot control.

At that time, the understanding on the topic was very limited and there were not many treatment options. The doctor experimentedgiving his young patient a tincture made with the Cannabis Sativa plant.

He noted that the numbers and frequency of seizures had been reduced. William then introduced Cannabis Sativa into western medicine for the treatment of refractory epilepsy, rheumatism, muscle spasms, menstrual cramps and pain.

In the 20th century, in 1910, during the Mexican revolution, immigrants brought the recreational form of cannabis to the culture of the United States, and its use began to be associated with crimes. Note that, at that time, cannabis was prescribed by doctors and sold in pharmacies. In 1915 the plant was banned for non-medical purposes.

From 1916 to 1937, newspapers and magazines took up a strong campaign associating cannabis with crimes, unemployment and racial prejudice. Until 1937 it was banned throughout the American territory, and came to be described as the most violent drug on the planet.

Fortunately, in 1996 in California, an initiative known as “the act of compassion”, modified the law on a state basis, allowing people with cancer, anorexia, HIV, muscle spasms, glaucoma, arthritis, migraines and other chronic diseases to legally obtain the the right to use and grow cannabis for medical use.

Currently, 46 American states have local laws that favor the medical use of cannabis. Canada and Israel also have programs approved by the Ministry of Health that facilitate access to the plant and related information.

Cannabis is also approved in much of Europe and in some Latin American countries. Colombia, Chile, Uruguay and recently Brazil have removed cannabidiol from the list of prohibited substances and are moving towards regulation for medicinal use.