The debate over the use of medical marijuana continues to rage throughout the media and in the general public. It is also a matter of great controversy among healthcare professionals and much discussion and research has gone into the advantages and drawbacks of using marijuana in modern medicine.
The fact is, however, that the use of marijuana for medical purposes is not a modern phenomenon. There is a Chinese legend, dating back to around 2,700 BC, that the emperor Chen Nung, known as the Father of Chinese Medicine, discovered the medical uses of marijuana along with ephedra and ginseng. There is also evidence of such use among other ancient peoples, including the Ancient Greeks, Persians and Egyptians as well as in colonial America and Victorian-era England. Read on to find out more about this history of use for chronic diseases.
The Rise and Fall of Medical Cannabis
Even in conventional medicine, marijuana was an established history and cannabis was actually listed from the 1850’s until 1942 in the United States Pharmacopeia, an official public document which registers every prescription and over-the-counter drug used throughout the country. It was used in the treatment of various ailments, including menstrual disorders, convulsive conditions like epilepsy, rabies, cholera, tetanus, dysentery and, interestingly, alcoholism.
It was during the Prohibition of the 1920’s that medical marijuana gained many critics, who saw it as being on a par with alcohol as an addictive substance. Finally, in 1937, the United States passed the first of its anti-marijuana laws — even over the objections of the American Medical Association and the doctors like Dr. William Woodward who testified in front of Congress as to the efficacy of medical treatment of these chronic conditions with cannabis.
Cannabis Regains Broader Acceptance
Today, however, it appears the pendulum is swinging back in the opposite direction, with more members of the medical profession – and indeed the public at large – once more beginning to accept the legitimate uses of medical marijuana. Even important leaders in the medical community, such as Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who is the chief medical correspondent for CNN and who spoke out against marijuana back in 2009, later reversed his opinion and is now speaking in favor of medical marijuana use. He believes that the United States has been misled about the risks and benefits of marijuana for over seventy years and went so far as to issue a public apology for his previous role in that debate.
In conclusion, medical marijuana use is nothing new. And the fact that medical marijuana is once again gaining acceptance in mainstream American thought is likely to lead to further clinical research and may even help to find new treatments for serious conditions like chronic pain, cancer, prolonged loss of appetite and glaucoma, all of which current therapies seem unable to effectively treat.
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