According to Grinspoon (2005) marijuana, may have been a crop farmed as many as 10,000 years ago. The first evidence discovered that attests to the use of medicinal cannabis dates back to the Chinese Emperor, Chen Nung, who lived five-thousand years ago when this plant was recommended for malaria, constipation, and rheumatic pains, as well as, the inability to concentrate and pains in relation to the female body (Grinspoon, 2005; Guterman 2000). Even Queen Victoria had a physician recommend that she use marijuana as medicine for ailments such as “insomnia, migraines, menstrual cramps, and muscle spasms” (Guterman, 2000, p. A21). Evidence of the power of marijuana as a medicine can be found in almost any culture on Earth. For example, some tribes in Africa use marijuana to treat snake bites and to reduced the intense pain of child-birth and in India, cannabis is used to “quicken the mind, lower fevers, induce sleep, cure dysentery, stimulate appetite, improve digestion, relieve headaches, and cure venereal disease” (Grinspoon, 2005, p. 1). Marijuana has been proven as a powerful medicine by people of many ethnic backgrounds and countries over the entire world, time and time again.
In the first few centuries of medicinal cannabis use (between 1600 and 1900) the drug was increasingly being used in a vast array of areas. This era may be considered the time of greatest usage of the substance (Grinspoon, 2005). During these years, marijuana was prescribed for many conditions including depression, skin inflammation, relief for coughing, urinary incontinence (or the involuntary release of urine), rabies, rheumatism, epilepsy, tetanus, painful nerve issues, convulsions, asthma, postpartum psychosis, gonorrhea, chronic bronchitis, and sleep disorders (Grinspoon, 2005). Many informative essays, books, and medical documents were recorded in this time that described specific medical benefits of marijuana to include over one-hundred papers published in western medical literature between 1840 and 1900, as reported by Grinspoon (2005). In 1860, Dr. R.R. M'Meens concluded that marijuana was a more effective and less intense sleep medication than opium and in 1877, H.A. Hare noted that it was a wonderful anesthetic that could be applied topically to the mouth or tongue (Grinspoon, 2005). Perhaps the most interesting discovery about marijuana in this time period was made by a British physician by the name of J.R. Reynolds in 1890 who found that marijuana could be used continuously for months or even years without the doctor having to increase the dose the patient was taking (Grinspoon, 2005). This fact alone may be what causes medical marijuana to be a forerunner in the treatment of many ailments by physicians, their patients, and those without a doctor's recommendation, today.
By the nineteenth century, the prescriptions for medical marijuana written by doctors were well on their way to an end due to the invention of the...