History of Marijuana
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Marijuana, also known as cannabis possesses immense health benefits and has been used as an effective medicine for thousands of years. Throughout the world, various ancient cultures such as Chinese, Greek, Arab, Indian and Native American have relied on cannabis for its medicinal benefits.
The earliest known material identified as marijuana was found in an ancient burial site from the Chou Dynasty of early China. Archaeological data reveals that cannabis was first used in Chinese medicine around 3000 B.C. Evidences of medical marijuana have also been found in Egyptian archaeological remains dated as early as the 16th century BC.
Marijuana is considered as an excellent medicine for reducing nausea that is associated with various medical condition and treatments including chronic pain and swelling. Cannabis reduces intraocular pressure by 30% for patients suffering from glaucoma.
Marijuana was first introduced into the modern world by William Brook O’Shaughnessy, an Irish physician and herbalist of British India. He was the person who experimented with marijuana and wrote the first modern English medical marijuana history. After his findings, medical marijuana became a useful ingredient in many pharmaceutical products in western hemisphere. After the development of medicines for the treatment of pain, the use of marijuana was dropped and thereafter banned by the federal government in 1937.
In 1970, doctors started experimenting on medical marijuana again and found that marijuana caused a significant reduction in intraocular pressure within the eye. Between 1970 and 1980, the health departments of several states started experimenting with marijuana. Finally, in 1996,for the first time California approved marijuana for treating cancer, AIDS, chronic pain and other illnesses. In 1997, The Office of National Drug Control Policy commissioned the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to conduct a comprehensive study on the medical efficacy of cannabis.
The IOM report recognized that marijuana and its constituents possessed numerous therapeutic properties, including the ability to control pain, nausea, and anxiety. They urged the government to make it available for patients and researchers too for further study. Immediately following the IOM’s report in 1999, the White House promised to support independent research on medical marijuana.
In 2001, the regulation on accessing marijuana for medical purpose was first established by Health Canada. They defined two categories of patients who are eligible for access to medical marijuana. First category covers any symptoms associated with the physical ailments like severe pain, multiple sclerosis, and weight loss, severe nausea from cancer or HIV/AIDS infection, arthritis, and epilepsy. Second category is for applicants who have any devastating medical symptom, other than the conditions described in first category.
In 2003, the US Health and Human Service Department applied for the patent of medical marijuana cannabis and received the government approval of the same. They filed a patent application for the use of cannabinoids, the active ingredient unique to marijuana and have been used as antioxidants and neuroprotectants. Government found the cannabinoids effective at treating ischemic, autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, neurological problems like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. So far, the United States of America has legalized the use of medical marijuana for 15 states and the District of Columbia followed by Washington DC and today, 60% of Americans support legalizing marijuana for medical use.