Cannabis use continues maintaining its prominence across cultures since before the beginning of known human civilization.
The idea of medical cannabis was only introduced in 1842 by Dr. William O'Shaugh. Since then, there has been various research on the effects of cannabis in the medical industry. Now, medical cannabis is quickly becoming a go to for several people for numerous reasons.
Let’s take a look below and see how the history of medicinal cannabis continues shaping modern use.
The Great Medical Cannabis Debate
There is much debate about the long-term consequences of cannabis use on people’s health.
Yet, many Americans, including members of Congress and medical practitioners, endorse cannabis legalization for medical purposes.
It was proven that cannabis can help with minor/acute nausea and vomiting.
Moreover, to be medically beneficial, cannabis does not need to be smoked.
In some situations, cannabis can be less risky than certain other drugs used for similar minor symptoms.
Cannabis may aid in restoring normal appetite caused by various acute reasons.
Some people are finding cannabis can provide the short term relief with less side effects instead of using the heavily addictive opioids.
According to reports on neuropathic pain, some of the cannabinoids present in cannabis may help protect normal function of nerves from more damage after an injury.
For certain physicians and their patients, cannabis's euphoric effect can restore normal feelings of well being and help you relax.
Since cannabis is banned by federal law and is listed as a Schedule I controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), cannabis has to endure strict limits on the medical studies that assess the potential of cannabis as a medicine.
Other challenges scientists are facing include monitoring the allowable THC and CBD concentrations allowed in research.
Without any further study into dosage and side effects, clinical research on the medical value of cannabis will remain unclear.
Cannabis Through The Decades: 1800s
Cannabis was rediscovered in 1842 by Dr. William O'Shaugh, an army surgeon who had been in India previously.
Since it was known that cannabis can be an intoxicant, the Indian government set up the Indian Hemp Commission in 1893-94 to investigate the issue of its use in India.
Some of the other recorded beneficial properties of cannabis use are shown to be in supporting the restoration of normal sleep as well as stimulating concentration.
Cannabis is also used as an aid in supporting several prominent issues of that time.
Cannabis Through The Decades: 1900-1950
Indica was one of the most important psychedelics of the last century.
Medicinal cannabis was commonly used in the Indian subcontinent for aid in restoring normal breathing and more recently even aiding in normal appetite function.
The regulation was in the design of product labels rather than pre-market clearance.
There were other places that prohibited it at the turn of the 1910s including Massachusetts in 1911, Wyoming and Indiana in 1913, New York in 1914, and New Hampshire and Vermont in 1915.
This was done not due to the nature of cannabis, but in an attempt to deter use in the future.
With the passing of the Harrison Narcotics Act that made the use of cocaine illegal in the U.S. helped to establish a milestone in the later criminalization of cannabis.
In August of 1915, Woodrow Wilson enacted the Harrison Narcotics Act as a framework for future cannabis laws.
At that time, the medicinal use of cannabis was being prescribed to patients suffering from fatigue and labor pain.
At this point, prescription medications such as "Piso's cure" and "One day cure" were still available.
Drug possession was made illegal in 1914 with the passage of the Harrison Act with President Wilson signing all three of Harrison's bills into law by January 1915.
This bill, which was known as the Harrison Act, mandated that any doctor, who prescribed an opioid or one of its variants, make a record of the order.
Passing the Harrison Act was widely accepted and became the starting point for the cannabis Tax Act of 1937.
The Tax Act was imposed on all growers, sellers, and buyers of cannabis, thus decreasing the availability of cannabis to patients.
Canada soon followed suit in 1938 by banning cannabis cultivation.
Soon after, the Boggs Act established minimum sentences for small amounts of controlled substances in 1951.
A minimum two to five-year sentences on first offence that included simple cannabis possession.
There was no distinction made between drug users and drug traffickers in sentencing.
Cannabis Through The Decades: 1960-1979
Medicines put in Schedule I are illegal under the U.S. and asserts there’s no medical value with a high potential for abuse -- therefore essentially eliminating any discussion of cannabis as a potential medicine.
With cannabis being placed on the Schedule I list, the DEA was formed with the merging of the Bureau Of Narcotics & Dangerous Drugs (BNDD) and the Office of the National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) in the early 1970s.
In New Mexico, the first medicinal cannabis statute was passed in 1978 and for the next two years, more than 30 states passed parallel regulations.
To stop lawsuits, the National Institute on Substance Addiction began supplying FDA-approved patients with cannabis in 1978.
A federal judge found in the case of cannabis Decision, Docket 86-22, that the medical use of cannabis meets the same criteria as other prescription drugs in 1994.
Charges were dismissed and he was approved to administer cannabis for medicinal purposes.
Shortly after, the federal government granted the University of Mississippi a license to cultivate cannabis for medicinal uses in 1999.
Cannabis Through The Decades: 1980-1990
A law enacted in 1986 strengthened the penalty for dealing and possession of cannabis, offering a three strikes and you're gone policy.
Some offenders were given life imprisonment in some instances of violating cannabis laws.
With the strict penalties of handling whole cannabis flower, researchers decided it was a good idea to create a synthetic version of the THC molecule, commonly known as Marinol or dronabinol.
First approved in 1985, Marinol was given to people with anorexia associated with AIDS as well as patients with nausea & vomiting who had cancer and were undergoing chemotherapy.
Beyond the synthesis of an FDA approved synthetic version of the THC molecules, in 1988, the journal of Molecular Pharmacology verified the distinctions of cannabinoid receptors in a rat brain through complex methods.
Cannabis Medicine History Today
The ongoing discovery of the medicinal properties of cannabis are triggering exponential growth in endocannabinoid system research.
Even though various cannabinoids are heavily regulated, there are currently over 400 clinical trials in various stages for THC, as well as over 700 clinical trials for CBD.
With as many clinical trials cannabinoids are undergoing, it will continue to become more and more challenging for the federal government to maintain the “fact” that cannabis is a schedule I drug with no medical value.
While plant based cannabinoids are slowly making their availability to the general population, the federal government has no problem quickly approving synthetic variants of cannabinoids.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), THC-based synthetic drugs, Dronabinol (Marin®) and Nabil (Cesamet®), can be given in pill form to relieve vomiting symptoms and patients with cell mutation diseases.
Synthetic cannabinoids may also help some patients suffering from autoimmune diseases undergoing chemotherapy, as well as potentially helping restore normal appetite.
Several other drugs that contain cannabis compounds have been licensed or are in the clinical trial stages of approval.
More and more states have now permitted the dispensing of cannabis or its derivatives to be administered to persons who have a variety of medical conditions.
Cannabis is being provided in a stable dose and along a predictable supply path in order to ensure that patients receive expected benefits, says Dr. David Seres.
Medical cannabis is also legal in many jurisdictions, including the UK and Canada. Today, you can find cannabis strains for pain and other ailments.
About the author: Joe Powers
After an incident in the military, in 2011, Joe Powers began investigating cannabis by talking with industry leaders. In 2016, Joe launched Hemp Writer with its first publication in clarifying disinformation on specific updates to certain federal CBD laws.
Upon calling out a leading cannabis law firm spreading dis-info, Hemp Writer established itself as an authority in clarifying updated information emerging from the cannabis industry. Joe continues charging forwards with increasing momentum to continue fulfilling his vision of SHARING ACCURATE CANNABIS INFORMATION.