The Long History of Marijuana as Medicine

Marijuana has long been recognized as having medical properties. Indeed its medical use predates recorded history. The earliest written reference is to be found in the fifteenth century B.C., Chinese Pharmacopeia, the Ry-Ya.

Between 1840 and 1900, more than 100 articles on the therapeutic use of cannabis were published in medical journals.

The federal government in its 1974 report Marihuana and Health states: The modern phase of therapeutic use of cannabis began about 140 years ago when O'Shaughnessy reported on its effectiveness as an analgesic and anticonvulsant. At about the same time Moreau de Tours described its use in melancholia and other psychiatric illnesses. Those who saw favorable results observed that cannabis produced sleep, enhanced appetite and did not cause physical addiction.

The 1975 report of the federal government began its discussion of medical marijuana by stating Cannabis is one of the most ancient healing drugs." The report further noted: One should not, however, summarily dismiss the possibility of therapeutic usefulness simply because the plant is the subject of current sociopolitical controversy."

The list of medical uses of cannabis from historical references includes:

Anorexia, Asthma, Nausea, Pain, Peptic Ulcer, Alcoholism Glaucoma, Epilepsy, Depression Migraine, Anxiety, Inflammation Hypertension, Insomnia, Cancer Interestingly, relief of many of the symptoms marijuana was used for in these illnesses are many of the same symptoms that have been proven in modern research. This should not be surprising unless we want to assume that all of the experience of thousands of years did not have some factual basis.

Modern Research Findings on Medical Marijuana

As you can see from this compilation there has been a tidal wave of published research demonstrating marijuana's medical usefulness. Indeed, it is stated in the research studies conducted by various states under FDA protocol that the research being conducted was in the final phase of approval by the FDA. When the federal government stopped research on the medical use of marijuana in 1992 the drug had nearly completed the requirements for new drug approval.

Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey's assertion in his Scripps-Howard News Service column that No clinical evidence demonstrates that smoked marijuana is good medicine" is inconsistent with the facts. Whether this is an intentional deception, as part of the federal government's stated public relations offensive against medical marijuana, or whether it is based on ignorance does not matter. The reality is General McCaffrey's statements are not consistent with the facts.

The research reprinted in this compilation includes randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled studies, research using a variety of objective and subjective measurements and a range of research protocols. Doctors have a sound basis on which to recommend marijuana for use by their patients. Indeed, physicians are well aware of the medical value of marijuana. One study, a scientific survey of oncologists found that almost one half (48 percent) of the cancer specialists responding would prescribe marijuana to some of their patients if it were legal. In fact, over 44 percent reported having recommended the illegal use of marijuana for the control of nausea and vomiting.

This publication addresses research that has been published in three areas: cancer, glaucoma and muscle spasticity. All of the materials herein were published after 1970. The materials enclosed are either published in peer review journals, government publications or are reports submitted to the federal government by state agencies.

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