6,000 Years of Medical Cannabis Today’s infographic comes to us from MedReleaf, and it focuses on the muses of cannabis discovered by many cultures over time. With uses dating back to Ancient empires such as Rome, Egypt, and China, it helps to put into perspective recent legal and cultural developments regarding cannabis on a broader historical scale. 4000 BC: Pan-p’o village Cannabis was regarded among “five grains” in China, and was farmed as a major food crop. 2737 BC: Pen Ts’ao Ching Earliest record of cannabis as a medicinal drug. At this time, Emperor Shen-Nung recognized its treatment properties for over 100 ailments such as gout, rheumatism, and malaria. 2000-1400 BC: Scythians Nomadic Indo-European peoples used cannabis in steam baths, and also burned cannabis seeds in burial rituals. 2000-1000 BC: Atharva Vedas Cannabis was described as a “source of happiness”, “joy-giver”, and “bringer of freedom” in these Hindu religious texts. At this time, cannabis was smoked at daily devotional services and religious rituals. 2000-1000 BC: Ayurvedic Medicine Open religious use of cannabis allowed for exploration of medical benefits. During this period, it was used to treat a variety of ailments such as epilepsy, rabies, anxiety, and bronchitis. 1550 BC: Ebers Papyrus Egyptian medical papyrus of medical knowledge notes that medical cannabis can treat inflammation. 1213 BC: Ramesses II Cannabis pollen has been recovered from the mummy of Ramesses II, the Egyptian pharaoh who was mummified after his death in 1213 BC. 900 BC: Assyrians Employed the psychotropic effects of cannabis for recreational and medical purposes. 450-200 BC: Greco-Roman use Physician Dioscorides prescribed cannabis for toothaches and earaches. Greek doctor Claudius Galen noted it was widely consumed throughout the empire. Women of the Roman elite also used cannabis to alleviate labor pains. 207 AD: Hua T’o First recorded physician to describe cannabis as an analgesic. He used a mixture of cannabis and wine to anesthetize patients before surgery. 1000 AD: Treats Epilepsy Arabic scholars al-Mayusi and al-Badri regard cannabis as an effective treatment for epilepsy. 1025 AD: Avicenna The medieval Persian medical writer publishes “Avicenna’s Canon of Medicine”, stating that cannabis is an effective treatment for gout, edema, infectious wounds, and severe headaches. His work was widely studied from the 13th to 19th centuries, having a lasting impact on Western medicine. 1300 AD: Arab traders Arab traders bring cannabis from India to Eastern Africa, where it spreads inland. It is used to treat malaria, asthma, fever, and dysentery. 1500 AD: Spanish Conquest The Spanish brought cannabis to the Americas, where it was used for more practical purposes like rope or clothes. However, years later, it would be used as a psychoactive and medicinal drug. 1798: Napoleon Napoleon brought cannabis back to France from Egypt, and it was investigated for its pain relieving and sedative qualities. At this time, cannabis would be used to treat tumors, cough, and jaundice. 1839: William O’Shaughnessy Irish doctor William O’Shaughnessy introduced the therapeutic uses of cannabis to Western medicine. He concluded it had no negative medicinal effects, and the plant’s use in a pharmaceutical context would rapidly rise thereafter. 1900: Medical Cannabis Medical cannabis was used to treat nausea, rheumatism, and labor pain. At this point in time, it is available over-the-counter in medications such as “Piso’s cure” and “One day cough cure”. 1914: Harrison Act Drug use was declared a crime in the U.S., under the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act in 1914. 1937: Marihuana Tax Act The Marihuana Tax Act banned the use and sales of cannabis in the United States. 1964: Discovery of THC The molecular structure of THC, an active component of cannabis, was discovered and synthesized by Israeli chemist Dr. Raphael Mechoulam. 1970: Classified as Schedule 1 Drug Cannabis became categorized as a Schedule 1 Drug in the U.S., which limited further research into the plant. It was listed as having “no accepted medical use”. 1988: CBD Receptors Discovered The CBD1 and CBD2 cannabinoid receptors were discovered. Today, we know they are some of the most abundant neuroreceptors in the brain. 2000-2018: Medical cannabis legalization Governments, such as those of Canada and various states, begin to legalize cannabis for medical purposes from licensed producers. Recreational legalization quickly starts to follow.
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