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History of medical cannabis

History of medical cannabis

Our history of medical cannabis covers the fascinating rise, fall, and rebirth of our favorite plant and its use for medical benefit around the world — not just here at the Farmacy Isla Vista cannabis shop.

Introduction to the history of medical cannabis

Have you ever wondered about the history of medical cannabis? After centuries of being shrouded in mystery, it is now gaining attention and popularity. Although a great deal of progress has been made in uncovering the history of medical cannabis and its potential health benefits, there are still many unknowns to explore. In this article, we will provide an overview of the history of medical cannabis and discuss how far it has come in terms of research and acceptance. Through further exploration of its history, we hope to better understand how it can be used as a treatment option for various conditions.

Definition of Medical Cannabis

Medical cannabis has been around for centuries, with its history dating back to ancient times. It is a term used to describe the use of marijuana plants and the active chemical compounds they contain, known as cannabinoids, to help treat medical conditions and improve overall health. This can be done either by taking cannabinoid-based medicines or through direct consumption of the raw plant or products made from it. The primary psychoactive component of medical cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC. Different strains of marijuana contain various combinations of cannabinoids and other compounds which can produce different effects and therapeutic benefits depending on the condition being treated.

overview of the benefits of medical cannabis

Medical cannabis has a long history of medicinal use, stretching back to ancient times when it was referenced as a treatment for rheumatism. Although its therapeutic properties have been embraced for thousands of years, modern science is only just beginning to scratch the surface in understanding all the possible benefits of medical cannabis.

Not only is the plant effective in managing nausea and loss of appetite, but it can also be used to reduce seizures and inflammation in patients with chronic illnesses such as cancer, arthritis, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis. Medical cannabis also has potential to treat mental health issues such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety. The possibilities are well-documented; many anecdotes from patients provide concrete evidence that medical cannabis is an effective option for improving overall wellness and happiness.

History of medical cannabis research on laptop

Ancient Egyptian and Chinese Medical Uses

From ancient history to modern times, medical cannabis has been used around the world for a variety of maladies. For thousands of years, it has been suggested that cannabis could help treat an incredibly wide variety of ailments, including poor cognition, chronic pain, and even psychological conditions. This ancient knowledge isn’t exclusive to Europe – Chinese medicine often included herbal components for medicinal purposes, with traces of hemp use dating as far back as 10,000BCE.

India is often credited with the introduction of cannabis’ analgesic applications in the world of medicine. Ancient Ayurveda texts from 2000-4000 BCE provide directions for preparing medical preparations with marijuana – and many still recommend such treatments today! While its history may be long and varied, medical cannabis remains a viable option for many illnesses in certain parts of the world.

Medieval Physicians’ Use of Medical Cannabis

Medieval physicians were some of the earliest users of medical cannabis. Little is known about the history of using cannabis for healing, but many believe that it was first used centuries ago in India and other parts of Asia. European doctors adopted these practices and began to use cannabis medicinally, often as an ingredient in salves or concoctions for relief from pain and inflammation.

Although the practice eventually shifted to using plant derivatives instead of whole plant forms, many ancient documents still demonstrate that early doctors relied upon cannabis for healing purposes. In summation, medicinal cannabis has a long history with roots firmly established in medieval times!

Tinctures and topical cannabis

Modern History of Medical Cannabis

As we move from ancient times into the modern world, we see an interesting trendline in cannabis use for medical purposes, from an increase in medical use to a widespread backlash which saw its use almost eliminated in many societies.

The 19th Century U.S. and Europe

In the 19th century, medical cannabis use was actually on the rise in the United States and Europe. Doctors were using the plant to treat a variety of conditions such as muscle spasms, seizures, and chronic pain. The history of medical cannabis even goes further back to 1800s when Queen Victoria reportedly used it for menstrual cramps. At this time, doctors also believed that cannabis could help with childbirth pains, improve appetite and promote sleep. Even though laws changed drastically throughout history, medical cannabis is still an important resource in modern day both in America and around the world.

20th Century Discontinuation of Medical Use

During the first half of the 20th century medical cannabis use was widespread. In fact, cannabis extract medicine was in the United States pharmacopeia and commonly prescribed to treat numerous diseases such as migraines, seizures, muscle spasms, and even nausea. Therefore, it is quite ironic that as we progressed further into the century its medical support seemed to be decreasing.

By 1941 most states had also started banning or regulating marijuana (cannabis) use which resulted in a halt of further research into cannabis’ potential therapeutic benefits. This further caused the decline of medicinal cannabis treatments and nearly stopped any knowledge on how useful cannabis can be in the world of healthcare. Unfortunately, this has hurt many patients who could potentially benefit from this natural remedy.

21st Century Resurgence in Medical Use

This resurgence of medical use cannabis has seen more and more countries around the world legalizing its possession and use for therapeutic purposes. Nowadays, a growing number of doctors are prescribing cannabinoids as part of treatment protocols, given their effectiveness in reducing symptoms of chronic pain, seizure activity, anxiety and even cancer. In addition, there is increasing evidence to support cannabis’s potential to alleviate the side effects from chemotherapy treatments used to treat cancers. It’s no surprise then that this ancient plant-based remedy is seeing a renewed surge in popularity!

Cannabis products alongside fruit and herbs

The Future of Medical Cannabis

The potential uses of medical cannabis are incredibly exciting to think about! With more research, this therapeutic drug may be used to treat a variety of medical conditions and illnesses. We’ve already seen incredible progress in the use of medical marijuana to treat epilepsy and chronic pain, just to name a few.

By learning more about how it interacts with the human body, scientists can work towards making more personalized treatments available and potentially helping even more people. The future of medical cannabis is a bright one that could bring much-needed relief to patients around the world in all areas of life.


In California, there no longer has to be such a defined line between medical and recreational cannabis use. Individuals can use cannabis for its enjoyable recreational effects, its medical benefits, or both. It’s an opportunity to serve both the physical and mental needs of a variety of people from all backgrounds, something we’re passionate about.

Want to learn more? Check out our recent webinar on the complete history of medical cannabis.