The History of Medicinal Cannabis

2900 B.C

Ancient China
Chinese Emperor Fu Hsi
Popular medicine of the day

2737 BC

Ancient China
Chinese Emperor Shen Neng and Pharmacologist
Prescribed cannabis for malaria, rheumatism, constipation, and menstrual cramps.
Oldest Chinese Pharmacopeia

Around 2000 B.C.

Ancient Egypt
Used to Treat Sore Eyes

1700 B.C.

Ancient India
Cannabis prescribed by doctors as an anaesthetic. A mix of weed with milk.

1400 B.C.

Recorded in the Book of Exodus
Holy Anointing Oil made from Cannabis

1213 B.C.

Ancient Egypt
Remnants of cannabis plants were found on the mummy of Ramesses II.
Cannabis was used to remedy Glaucoma, inflammation and other uses.

1000 B.C.

Ancient India
Prescribed cannabis as an anaesthetic and anti phlegmatic.
medical uses of Bhang expand beyond spiritual realm
Treatment in the form of a drink called BHANG which is Cannabis and Milk

700 B.C.

Middle East
Recorded in Ancient Persian Religious Text: Cannabis is the most important of 10,000 medicinal plants

600 B.C.

Ancient India
Ayurvedic, Anti-phlegmatic, Cure for leprocy

200 B.C.

Ancient Greece
Treatment for Earache, Edema, Inflammation


Jesus anointed his disciples with chrism, a holy oil made from cannabis as mentioned in Exodus. (1450 B.C.E)


Ancient Rome
Suppress sexual longing


Chinese Surgeon Hua T’o
Anaesthetic made of cannabis resin and red wine was given to relieve patient pain when undergoing medical procedures


Division of the Arabic Ideals concerning Cannabis
Medicine or a Lethal Poison?
Migraine, analgesic, anaesthetic

1538 AD

Hemp used in the Middle Ages

1600- 1762 A.D.

Jamestown Settlers, Virginia, USA
Brought into America
British government would penalise settlers who did not grow hemp.

1745 – 1775 A.D.

Mt. Vernon USA
The first American president George Washington grew hemp for 30 years, according to his agricultural records.

1774- 1824

Thomas Jefferson
Grows Hemp at Monticello
No recorded evidence of his use.


Queen Victoria would take tincture for menstrual cramps
muscle spasms, rheumatism, epilepsy, sleep, rabies, tetanus


Marijuana is added to the US Pharmacopeia


The 1854 United States Dispensary said this about cannabis;
“Extract of hemp acts as a decided aphrodisiac, increases the appetite, and occasionally induces the cataleptic state. In morbid states it has been found to produce sleep, to allay spasm, to compose nervous inquietude, and to relieve pain. In these respects it resembles opium in its operation; but it differs from that narcotic in not diminishing the appetite, checking the secretions, or constipating the bowels. It is much less certain in its effects; but may sometimes be preferably employed, when opium is contraindicated by its nauseating or constipating effects. The complaints to which it has been specially recommended are neuralgia, gout, tetanus, hydrophobia, epidemic cholera, convulsions, chorea, hysteria, mental depression, insanity, and uterine hemorrhage. Dr. Alexander Christison, of Edinburgh, has found it to have the property of hastening and increasing the contractions of the uterus in delivery. It acts very quickly, and without anesthetic effect. It appears, however, to exert this influence only in a certain proportion of cases.”

November 30, 1903

The first legal medical dispensary appears in Edinburgh, UK


US Prohibition with California being the first state to pass marijuana prohibition laws.


The US Federal Government appoints Harry J. Anslinger as Commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics.

Anslinger noted in reports the significant increase in marijuana smoking and prepared a legislative plan to seek from Congress a law making distribution directly under federal control.

Anslinger ran a media campaign against marijuana on radio and at major events

1937 A.D.

Marihuana Tax Act
Banned cannabis in the U.S., by congress even over the objection of the American Medical Association.


Prohibition Begins in China


U.S. Congress passes the Marijuana Tax Act which criminalized the drug against the advice of The American Medical Association.  On October 2nd, Samuel R. Caldwell became the first marijuana seller to be arrested and convicted under US Federal Law in Denver Colorado.

1941 A.D.

Cannabis preparations were removed from the United States pharmacopoeia in 1941

“The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 placed illicit drugs in one of five schedules, and the final decision about which schedule a drug was put in was made not by medical experts but by the Justice Department-the attorney general (John Mitchell) and the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, later named the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).


NORML is Founded
The US National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) was formed.


The Controlled Substance Act
Under this system marijuana is a Schedule 1 drug with “no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse”.

1996 A.D

California, USA
Approved for medical use.
Treating cancer, AIDS, chronic pain and other illnesses.

Arizona, Alaska, Colorado, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Washington D.C., Hawaii, Maryland, New Mexico, Rhode Island and Vermont all pass similar measures there after.


The United States the Supreme Court rules that there is no medical exception the Controlled Substances Act and attack medical marijuana dispensary The Oakland Cannabis Buyers Cooperative.
President G.W. Bush intensifies the war on drugs


Dr. Sanjay Gupta reverses his stance on medical marijuana stating that there is no sound scientific evidence to support the classification of marijuana as a schedule 1 drug stating that, “We have been terribly and systematically mislead for nearly 70 years in the United States and I apologise for my own role in that.”





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