Hemp’s History As A Medicine

Hemp has been utilized for health benefits for many, many years. It is unknown when civilizations started experimenting with hemp as a medicine. Nevertheless, there is some evidence that it has been around since ancient times.

The First Crops?

American author and astronomer, Carl Edward Sagan, thought that hemp was probably one of the first crops ever cultivated by man. Like others, hemp was often used for folk remedies. Unfortunately, there is really no evidence to pinpoint when hemp was first harvest.

It is highly likely that hemp was user for a long period before civilizations began recording their experiments with herbal medicines. Throughout history, there has been little to no traits settings marijuana and hemp apart.

Nevertheless, it is clean that hemp has been used for many purposes for a long duration.

The passage of time has caused much of the history to be lost along the way. The history of hemp is just now being uncovered and reclaimed.

Ancient Usage

The Ancient Chinese were one of the very first known groups to use hemp as a medicine. The Chinese used hemp for numerous purposes, including clothing, food, tools and more since 6000 BCE or so. The very first written evidence of hemp being utilized as a medicine dates back to 2737 BCE. Emperor Shen-Nung is known for developing and using hemp oils for alleviating pain.

He recorded his findings in the Pen Ts’ao Ching. After that, many other pharmacopoeias listed the medicinal impacts of the cannabis planet’s seeds, flowers and leaves.

In the 2nd century, Hua Tuo recorded that cannabis had from anesthetic properties. In his recordings, he also concluded that the plant could be beneficial for combating hair loss, tape worms and blood clots. The Romans were one of the most advanced civilizations during their time and they used hemp regularly.

Pliny the Elder admitted that hemp was very good for pain relief and it was also effective for extracting insects from ears around 77 AD. Discocorides also recorded some of the health perks of hemp.

The mentioned that hemp could be beneficial for those suffering from burns, stomach issues and even ear pain. Around 200 AD, Galen recorded that it could indeed be used to alleviate pain. However, he also mentioned its potential negative side effects, which he thought was dehydration, stomach pain and headaches.

Since the Middle Eastern regions had prohibited alcohol because of Islam, cannabis was very popular in these areas.

Since hemp was in such an abundant supply, it was used and studied regularly. This has led many figures from the past to suggest that help could be good for relieving pain, diminishing inflammation, and so much more. These aren’t the only locations in the world where hemp was used. It was also used by the Ancient Greeks and Indians.

While historic civilizations thought about hemp differently, almost all of them used the plant for pain relief purposes.

ancient china used hemp

Western World History

Hemp would not be left behind. In fact, it eventually became more and more popular over the years. It spread across Europe, where it was used to treat coughs and tumors. It was also used for recreationally purposes. At one point in time, hemp was one of England’s primary cops.

And, Henry VIII once forced farmers to grow hemp. If they didn’t, he would subject them to a healthy fine. Around this same time, two notable physicians, Li Shih-Chen and Garcia de Orta found several new possible uses for the plant. They discovered that it could potentially be used as an antibiotic and a way to improve the user’s appetite.

Hemp finally made its way to North American before the 17th century. In fact, farmers in Jamestown grew hemp, which would eventually be used for the manufacturing of sails, clothing and even building materials. In the new world, several laws were passed to ensure that farmers were forced to grow hemp.

At one point, it was even accepted as legal tender in several states. Then, Robert Burton gave hemp a good recommendation in his Anatomy of Melancholy. He explained that hemp could be beneficial for the treatment of mental health disorders.

A short time later, hemp would be recommended for the treatment of inflammation, cough and pain.

Hemp as a medicine

Enter O’Shaughnessy

There is no doubt that hemp was used frequently in the past and it has been mentioned in many medical texts. However, there is one individual who receives most of the credit for making hemp very popular in the Western World and that man is W.B. O’Shaughnessy.

He worked as a professor and surgeon at the Medical College of Calcutta during the 1800s. The Irishman carried out many experiments regarding cannabis indica on children, adults and animals. He found that the analgesic impacts of hemp would give it the ability to relax muscles.

He provided hemp to patients suffering from hydrophobia, cholera, and even rheumatic diseases. It is true that hemp was not able to cure these diseases. However, it was able to lessen the impact on the patient. O’Shaughnessy knew this and that is why he decided to give it to his patients.

Later One

Before the outbreak of the Civil War, hemp received even more credit when it was added to the 3rd additional of the United States pharmacopeia. Around this time, the United States Dispensatory did the same. While the government and others knew that the herb was intoxication and capable of causing a high, it was also excellent for relieving pain.

Plus, it was capable of promoting sleep. Near the end of the 19th century, JR Reynolds released his findings. He determined that hemp showed some improvement for patients dealing with asthma, tics, dysmenorrhea, and migraines.

Opiates And Syringes

Eventually, the popularity of hemp dropped significantly. Why? Well, syringes were introduced and opiates entered the picture. Some specific forms of cannabis remained very popular. One was Chlorodyne. This medication, which combined cannabis and morphine, was designed to treat stomach problems.

During this time, there were many folk remedies that relied heavily on cannabis. Eventually, the war on drugs took a big toll on cannabis. After all, this caused the drug to be prohibited. Synthetic drugs and extracts became available in the 1970s. They were primarily used for cancer patients and those with autoimmune diseases.

There were other drugs that helped treat glaucoma. Around this time, some states began putting forward ideas to legalize medical marijuana. New Mexico and New Orleans both put forward ideas. Unfortunately, these programs wouldn’t last very long.

They were soon cut short because of DEA restrictions.

Legalized Medical Marijuana

Finally, California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996. It was approved for certain conditions, including cancer, HIV and Aids. A short time later, Arizona followed in suit. Canada has put up less resistance.

The country legalized medical marijuana in the early 2000s. It is true that regulations make it very difficult to research the potential health benefits of cannabis. Nevertheless, a few cannabis-based products have popular up over the years.

legalized medical marijuana california

Regulations Against Hemp

The truth of the matter is that hemp was immensely popular throughout history. That all changed during the 20th century. Around this time, various agencies took action to get cannabis prohibited and banned. In 1906, the Pure Food and Drug Act placed restrictions on trafficking hemp.

Before too long, this led to the creation of the Food and Drug Administration. Around 1913, several states had already prohibited cannabis. They did so in attempts to crack down on Mexican immigrants. Things got even worse for cannabis in 1914 with the Harrison Act.

The media also had a big role in causing consumers to believe that cannabis was immensely dangerous and deadly. In 1937, the Marijuana Tax Act was passed. That law actually states that marijuana and hemp are one in the same. A short time later, marijuana had been banned in more than 20 states. During the 2nd World War, regulations were lessened to ensure that hemp could be used to make materials for the war.

Before the 70s, the Controlled Substances Act would ban the cultivation of marijuana and hemp. This made it possible for the DEA to raid hemp and marijuana farms. It was still possible for industrial hemp to be cultivated in some states, but others were left out in the cold.

Even worse was the fact that cannabis would eventually be slapped with the Schedule 1 drug label. This is one of the main reasons that research has been nearly impossible over the past 50 years or so.

Springing Back To Life

The good news is that hemp is coming back to life very quickly, people starting to discover the benefits of CBD hemp oil. Over the years, more and more states have decided to lift their restrictions on medical marijuana. Some even allow recreational marijuana. President Obama eased the regulations regarding hemp cultivation by signing the Farm Bill in 2014.

Plus, studies regarding the health benefits of marijuana have become more common. Things aren’t perfect at this point in time and they never will be. However, it is true that those who need medical marijuana have a better chance of getting it today than they would have 40 years ago.