History of Medical Marijuana – History, Legality and Present Scenario

Source: Green Camp

A large number of states in the U.S. have legalized the use of medical marijuana in one way or the other and more states are considering the bills. Though many people have turned to this herb as a natural remedy for a variety of health concerns, the FDA has approved it for the treatment of some forms of epilepsy. More research needs to be done on the supplement to study its benefits but anecdotal evidence suggests its amazing therapeutic effects and ability to treat a number of problems. Today, as the wave of legalization spreads across the world, we learn more about this drug.

What is Medical Marijuana?

This compound uses the components of the Sativa plant to treat specific conditions and diseases. The drug is the same as that used for recreation but its purpose is different. The cannabis plant contains over 100 chemicals known as cannabinoids that act in different ways on the body. CBD and THC are the main components in this medicine, with the former being responsible for the high people generally associate with the use of this drug. Medical cannabis is used to treat a number of conditions including epilepsy, appetite loss, glaucoma, PTSD, anxiety, nausea, pain, multiple sclerosis, muscle spasms, cancer, Crohn’s disease, depression and others. It also helps deal with symptoms like pain, vomiting and nausea associated with chemotherapy in cancer patients.

History of Medical Marijuana

The origins of the marijuana plant’s use as a medicine date back to thousands of years back. Physicians in the ancient world used to mix weed into medicines to combat pain and other symptoms. China is recorded to have first used the plant for its medicinal properties in 2700 B.C. The Cannabis Sativa plant was used extensively across cultures like Islamic, Indian, Persian, ancient Romans and Greeks. The earliest uses of this plant were largely medicinal and involved treating gout, depression, malaria, inflammation, nausea and other problems. It was even used as an anesthetic and to suppress sexual desires. Some cultures even used this compound for religious ceremonies and spiritual purposes. It was in the late 1500s that the Spanish brought this herb to America. Colonies in the United States grew the plant and used it for a number of applications like making rope, paper and other products from hemp.

Timeline of Medical Marijuana

Weed was introduced to Western Medicine in the 19th century. Since then, it has undergone numerous advancements in terms of use and legality. Right from its ban in the 1930s to its legalization in most states of the U.S., medical cannabis has always remained a topic of debate. However, the future of this herb seems to be bright as it is gaining widespread popularity for its therapeutic effects in the modern medicine world.

Early Use

Colonists in the United States had begun growing the plant for making things like rope and clothes. A large number of farmers had started growing the plant in the 1600s. It was mostly used as a plant until the 20th century to draw attention to the use of the drug by Mexicans. The racial undertones of the stigma associated with weed along with the racial tensions contributed to the negative connotation about the drug. Immigrants introduced the practice of smoking weed to cities across the country.

War on Drugs

The marijuana tax act passed in 1937 was replaced by the Controlled Substances Act as a part of the War on Drugs and categorized this drug as a Schedule 1 drug just like cocaine, heroin and LSD. Even today, it remains a Schedule 1 drug known to cause abusive use in contradiction to its actual benefits. It is federally illegal for use as it is known to have no medicinal use and prone to addiction.

First Legalization 

Under the 1996 Compassionate Use Act, California was the first official state to legalize the use of medicinal supplement by patients suffering from chronic diseases. Four other states followed this lead in the 1990s and the drug was legalized in Alaska, Oregon, Maine and Washington. By the 2000s, more states including Vermont, Montana, Nevada, Hawaii and Rhode Island had passed laws regarding the use of medical cannabis. Today, it is legal in 33 states and the District of Columbia. A person can get the drug for medicinal purposes in these states with the help of a recommendation from a doctor for a condition that qualifies for the use of this drug. These states also provide a medical marijuana ID card that you can use to buy it from a dispensary.