Marijuana has a long history of use in medical and health purposes, which dates back, according to early evidence, to Shen Nung in the 28th century BC. Shen Nung recommended people to use marijuana because of its medicinal properties. The first evidence of the use of marijuana as a medicine has been found recently by archaeologists, who found traces of marijuana in the remains of a young woman who died, probably at birth 1,600 years ago. The researchers hypothesized that marijuana was used to accelerate the process of birth and to alleviate the associated pain.
The systematic use of marijuana as a therapeutic agent did not occur until the 1800s. For example, the Parisian doctor Jaco Morua used it in the mid-1800s for the treatment of headaches. Marijuana became more widespread due to Dr. William O’Shaughnessy, an Irish doctor, who in his scientific work outlined the aspects of the use of marijuana to help in diseases such as rheumatism, pain, rabies, cholera and convulsions.
The decline in the use of marijuana in medicine, which is observed in today, is the result of the influence of two factors. The first one is the progress in the development of new drugs and the discovery of new knowledge related to many diseases and methods for their treatment. The second factor is the Act on Fees for marijuana in 1937, a legal document has markedly reduced the use of marijuana for medical purposes.
In recent years, attempts have been made aimed at legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Most of these attempts are stimulated by an increase in the number of marijuana smokers among AIDS patients, who say that marijuana reduces feelings of nausea and vomiting caused by disease, stimulates appetite, and thus helps them to make up the weight loss occurring as a result of the disease. One such attempt was the creation of marijuana clubs in several major US cities. These organizations buy large quantities of marijuana and supply it (for free or for money) to patients with AIDS, cancer, and other diseases. Marijuana club in San Francisco operates entirely legally and is under the patronage of the city law, which allows the use of marijuana for medical purposes.
Final resolution regarding the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes is not likely in the near future. Meanwhile, there are some diseases – especially glaucoma and seasickness – when marijuana can be prescribed in synthetic form.
Marijuana has a long history of use in medical and health purposes, which dates back, according to early evidence, to Shen Nung in the 28th century BC. Shen Nung recommended people to use marijuana because of its medicinal properties.