The Historical Use of Medical Marijuana

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The world of medical marijuana historically has been used more regularly than many people realize. Throughout history, the medical marijuana plant continues to appear as a tool used by different civilizations. The ancient Egyptians supposedly used the cannabis plant as a therapeutic tool to assist with a variety of different ailments. Furthermore, the cannabis plant has also been recorded as a tool used by the ancient Greek and Chinese civilizations.

The plant has also been used historically with hemp being grown specifically for its industrial applications. One great example of this came during Hemp for Victory, a campaign deployed to help the Allies’ troops fighting in Europe and the Pacific during World War II through the growth and processing of the hemp plant. There have been other modern historical examples of medical marijuana being used as well. Luckily today in 2019, we have a robust hemp and medical marijuana industry which can help patients across many of the states which have legalized either option. With this, we will dive into the ancient and more recent historical applications of the cannabis plant today. Let us dive in and take a closer look.

Ancient Egyptian Uses of Medical Marijuana

Egyptian Pyramid

The Ancients of Egypt have shown a few clues to suggest they had many applications of medical marijuana throughout their reign as an ancient and powerful civilization. These texts are few and far between though with many of the Egyptian documents lost over time. However, there have been a variety of different texts which reference medical marijuana. One example showed a prescription being written for medical marijuana to help with sore eyes.  

There have been other reports of the cannabis plant being used as medical marijuana during the time of Ancient Egyptians domination of their Nile Kingdom. With that in mind, we do not have a terribly strong understanding as to how the applications of medical marijuana were precisely used during this time period. Simply put, many ancient civilizations only have left us clues as to how they benefited from medical marijuana. As we look at younger ancient civilizations, we find more clues surviving as to how they used medical marijuana.

Ancient Greek Uses of Medical Marijuana

Ancient Greeks

The Ancient Greeks also used the cannabis plant for medicinal reasons. There is more evidence to suggest what applications of medical marijuana the Greeks benefited from compared to their older Egyptian friends.

With this said, there are reports of the Greeks using medical marijuana to treat nose bleeds and ailments on their horses. Furthermore, the hemp seed was utilized to help treat tapeworms, an interesting application we are thankful we do not see any more in modern times! The Greeks also recorded notes how they discovered the anti-inflammatory properties of the plant. The ancient greeks would seep the hemp seed into a solution, perhaps similar to a modern day tincture and use this to help with patients suffering from pain or inflammation. All and all the Ancient Greeks provided a clearer picture than the Egyptians and slightly less so than was the case with Ancient China.

Ancient Chinese Uses of Medical Marijuana

Medical Marijuana in Ancient China

To the East, China also has many recorded cases of utilizing medical marijuana during their early and ancient history. Some of the earliest recorded applications of medical marijuana in the world. This should make sense with a more Eastern medicinal mindset coming out of China to see medical marijuana as an ancient cornerstone to some of their medicinal practices. For example, the ancient Chinese reported applications for medical marijuana as an anesthetic on a human. The ancient civilizations of the east tended to be far more open to the concept of medical marijuana. This may be because of their heavy use of herbs in the first place. We may simply see more examples of medical marijuana in the Chinese texts since they had better record keeping practices than other ancient civilizations. Either way, we do indeed see more examples of medical marijuana showing up within ancient Chinese texts.

Hemp for Victory

Hemp for Victory

The hemp for victory movement came about more recently than our ancient examples. With this in mind and interestingly so, Hemp for Victory became a famous government campaign to promote the growth and production of hemp to help with World War II despite cannabis being prohibited at the time. With this in mind, the campaign was largely responsible for a successfully campaign to properly supply the troops with hemp rope and other textiles. The now notorious drive for hemp production across America farmlands has been cited many times in the modern debate over cannabis prohibition. It goes to show that if America could once before be a global leader in hemp production that the country can certainly do it again in the future.

Modern History of Medical Marijuana

The world continued its prohibition of cannabis after the end of World War II and the need for hemp was no longer so pressing. We saw some countries such as the famous Cannabis loving population found in Jamaica, separate themselves from the rest of the world with a more relaxed approach to cannabis prohibition. With this in mind, scientist discovered that fishermen in Jamaican coastal cities were using cannabis oil to help with their eyes and eventually led to the discovery of how cannabis can help with glaucoma. Precisely, scientists notices the low numbers of recorded cases of glaucoma in Jamaica compared to other parts of the world. Eventually, an exciting and often cited benefit for the medical marijuana plant to provide the world was discovered with marijuana being a common treatment for glaucoma in today’s age.

In the 1980’s scientists also discovered how to create a synthetic version of THC which became known as Marinol. This advancement was exciting for some patients who benefit from a THC only medication. However, the majority of medical marijuana patients today report that they get better relief from a full plant experience rather than the Marinol alternative which is still on the market today in 2019 under a new brand. The medical marijuana movement would receive another boost in the late 1990’s when California legalized the plant for medicinal uses. Since then, the medical marijuana movement has enjoyed a huge windfall of victories across the countries as more and more states legalize the plant. By 2014, we even saw some states legalize the plant for adult usage and today we have 10 operational adult-use marijuana markets and over 30 medical marijuana markets across the United States.

All and all, there have been a dozen of ancient and modern historical examples of medical marijuana being used. The ancients used the plant in many of the same ways in which we use it today in the modern world. The ancients of Egypt used to the plant to help with sore eyes. Among other uses, the Ancients of Greece used the medical marijuana plant and so did the Chinese, perhaps to an even greater degree. The modern world saw examples of cannabis being helpful with the Hemp for Victory campaign of World War II and the anecdotal evidence presented by Jamaican communities who utilized the plant as an eye medicine.

We hope you enjoyed the historical look at medical marijuana today! As always, we with The Peak Dispensary are always happy to answer any questions you may have.

Until next time friends, stay well!

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