While the origin of cannabis has been hard to pinpoint, we do know that it originated somewhere on the Asian continent. We also know that China is where its first medical use was recorded. In 100 AD it appeared in the world’s first (surviving) pharmacopeia, and in 240 AD it was being used as an anaesthetic. It soon came to be considered one of the 50 fundamental herbs in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Western Medical Tradition
In the western world, medieval times saw the birth of the western medical tradition. It did not evolve from medicines already being used, but diverged wildly into many practices that are considered barbaric, uneducated, and downright harmful by today’s standards. One man, Paracelsus was ridiculed in his day, and for generations after, for trying to preserve the knowledge local women healers had of various plant medicines. His revolution against this new, religious-based medical establishment would eventually win out, and today he is considered the Father of Modern Toxicology.
Modern Day Regulation
Cannabis would be used as a medicine for hundreds of years until the invention of patents, and the introduction of the government regulation of medical products in the early 1900’s. Just as scientific advancement made new understandings of plants and medicines possible, political elements succeeded in getting cannabis (and other plant medicines) deemed illegal, and prohibited.
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