Cannabis use for any reason has been frowned upon by both regulators and Western culture since the early twentieth century.
In the late 1900s, a series of legislation made it more difficult to obtain cannabis, culminating in the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act, which effectively made cannabis usage a federal criminal. Meanwhile, prohibition lasted 85 years until being repealed in Canada due to recent events.
However, in the larger 6,000-year timeline of cannabis, this recent phase of 20th-century hostility is essentially just a little speck. After all, the plant has been widely respected for its therapeutic properties by various cultures worldwide for millennia.
Cannabis Has Been Used for Medical Purposes for 6,000 Years
The infographic we have today comes from MedReleaf, and it focuses on the medical uses of cannabis that numerous cultures throughout history have discovered. With applications dating back to ancient empires like Rome, Egypt, and China, it helps to put modern legal and cultural developments around cannabis into context.
4000 bc: Cannabis was recognized as one of China’s “five grains” and was grown as a major food crop in Pan-p’o village.
Pen Ts’ao Ching records the first use of cannabis as a medical medicine in 2737 BC. Emperor Shen-Nung recognized its healing potential for over 100 disorders at the period, including gout, rheumatism, and malaria.
Scythians, a nomadic Indo-European group that used cannabis in steam baths and burned cannabis seeds in burial ceremonies, lived between 2000 and 1400 BC.
2000-1000 BC: Atharva Vedas Cannabis was characterized in ancient Hindu sacred books as a “spring of delight,” “joy-giver,” and “bearer of freedom.” Cannabis was smoked at daily devotional services and religious ceremonies at the time.
Ayurvedic Medicine (2000-1000 BC)
The open religious usage of cannabis allowed for medical benefits to be investigated. It was used to cure a range of diseases during this time, including epilepsy, rabies, nervousness, and bronchitis.
1550 bc: The Egyptian medical papyrus Ebers Papyrus mentions that medical cannabis can relieve inflammation.
Ramesses II reigned from 1213 BC to 1213 BC.
Ramesses II, the Egyptian pharaoh mummified after his death in 1213 BC, had cannabis pollen found from his mummy.
Assyrians used cannabis’ psychoactive effects for recreational and medical purposes around 900 BC.
Greco-Roman use, 450-200 BC
Dioscorides, a physician, recommended cannabis for toothaches and earaches. Claudius Galen, a Greek physician, wrote that it was commonly consumed throughout the empire. Roman wealthy women also utilized cannabis to relieve labor pains.
Hua T’o is the first known physician to describe cannabis as an analgesic in the year 207 AD. To anesthetize patients before surgery, he employed a combination of cannabis and wine.
Treats epilepsy in the year 1000 A.D.
Al-Mayusi and al-Badri, two Arabic academics, believe that cannabis is a good epilepsy cure.
Avicenna died in 1025 AD.
“Avicenna’s Canon of Medicine” is published by a medieval Persian medical writer, claiming that cannabis is an efficient therapy for gout, edema, infectious sores, and severe headaches. From the 13th to the 19th century, his work was widely researched, and it had a lasting impact on Western medicine.
Arab traders arrive about 1300 AD.
Cannabis is brought from India to Eastern Africa by Arab traders, spreading inland. Malaria, asthma, fever, and diarrhea are all treated with it.
Conquest of Spain by the Spaniards in 1500 A.D.
Cannabis was brought to the Americas by the Spanish, who used it for more practical applications like rope and clothing. Years later, though, it would be employed as a hallucinogenic and therapeutic substance.
Napoleon brought cannabis back to France from Egypt in 1798, and it was studied for its analgesic and calming properties. Cannabis was utilized to cure tumors, cough, and jaundice during the period.
William O’Shaughnessy was born in 1839.
The therapeutic applications of cannabis were first brought to Western medicine by Irish doctor William O’Shaughnessy. He concluded that it had no harmful therapeutic effects and that its use in pharmaceuticals would skyrocket after that.
Cannabis was first used for medical purposes in 1900.
Nausea, rheumatism, and labor pain were all treated with medical cannabis. It is currently over-the-counter in products such as “Piso’s cure” and “One Day Cough Cure.”
The Harrison Act was passed in 1914.
The Harrison Narcotics Tax Act of 1914 made drug use a criminal in the United States.
1937: The Marihuana Tax Act was enacted.
The Marihuana Tax Act made it illegal to consume and sell marijuana in the United States.
THC was discovered in 1964.
Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, an Israeli chemist, discovered and synthesized the molecular structure of THC, a psychoactive component of cannabis.
1970: Drug is classified as a Schedule 1 substance.
In the United States, cannabis was classified as a Schedule 1 drug, limiting further research into the plant. There was a disclaimer that it had “no recognized medicinal purpose.”
CBD Receptors were discovered in 1988.
The cannabinoid receptors CBD1 and CBD2 were found, and they are now known to be among the brain’s most common neuroreceptors.
Legalization of medical cannabis from 2000 to 2018
Like Canada and several states, governments are beginning to legalize cannabis for medical use from licensed growers. The legalization of recreational marijuana is swiftly catching up.