There has been increasing awareness not only within the medical profession but also among politicians that marijuana has demonstrable effectiveness in the treatment of a wide range of ailments. Cannabis has been found to reduce the nausea and pain resulting from chemotherapy regimens used in cancer treatment, as well as pressure effects within the eye that are one of the primary symptoms of glaucoma. While these appear to be recent discoveries, Western medicine is, in fact, making a belated rediscovery of an effective medicinal plant used worldwide for thousands of years.
The History of Medical Marijuana
The Chinese were among the first peoples to discover the health benefits of Cannabis Sativa. The Emperor Shen-Nung, in his book on pharmacology written in 2737 B.C., included a complete description of the plant as useful for the treatment of ailments ranging from gout, nausea, and constipation, to absent-mindedness in the elderly. Similar works in Hindu and Egyptian medical libraries also documented the usage of cannabis for various illnesses, as did Greek, Roman and Arabic treatises on herbal medicines in succeeding centuries.
The West Discovers Weed
Western medicine became acquainted with the pharmacological properties of marijuana in the 1830s, with its usage spreading across Europe and eventually to America by 1856. However, by the end of the 19th century, a combination of factors would result in its decline in clinical usage. These included the lack of proper dosage control, the ability to directly inject opium-based and the later synthetic drugs for much faster delivery, and other cultural and political factors that eventually led to the wholesale criminalization of marijuana by the federal government in 1970.
Modern Medical Marijuana
The change in attitudes toward the medical usages of marijuana were initiated by physicians willing to brave criminal sanction by prescribing the drug to relieve pain in cancer and AIDS patients. Since that time, increasing public and professional advocacy has resulted in changes to the laws, and marijuana is now being recognized as a legitimate treatment agent once again.
With the reappearance of medical marijuana, one of the major challenges faced by clinicians and patients is to ensure the delivery of product uncontaminated by various biological and chemical agents that could prove highly toxic. Readers can find more details online regarding the testing of medical cannabis for quality control to ensure its safe and effective usage.