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History of Medical Marijuana: 7 Key Dates in Using Pot for Healing

By    |   Monday, 30 Mar 2015 01:23 PM

Marijuana as a medicinal option has surfaced many times throughout history. Marijuana laws have changed early perceptions of cannabis. Marijuana as a healing element is referenced more than 3,500 years ago and the debate over its medical use continues to this day.

Medical marijuana’s health benefits have been debated for centuries. The earliest mention of medical marijuana use was by Shennong, an early ruler of China, who discovered the plant’s healing properties. But Shennong, who supposedly existed more than 6,500 years ago, seems more myth than historical figure, as no proof of his existence has surfaced.

The following are seven important dates in medical marijuana history, including laws that ended a time when marijuana was a popular prescription for doctors:

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1500 B.C.E.
Solid evidence of medical use does appear more than 3,500 years ago. Though the consumption of marijuana likely predates it, the Ebers Papyrus, a document from about 1,500 B.C.E., tells of the use of cannabis for medical purposes among the Egyptians. This is considered the earliest confirmed reference to medical marijuana in history.

1 A.D.
The use of marijuana for medical reasons began to grow throughout history. A Chinese medical collection from 1 A.D. lists marijuana as an aid or cure for more than 100 medical issues, with malaria and rheumatism among them.

2nd Century A.D.
One of the earliest known references to anesthesia comes from China, and it involves cannabis. Physician Hua Tao developed something he called mafesian, which was an anesthetic made from wine and cannabis. His use of cannabis-related anesthesia in the second century is important, not only for the use of marijuana, but because he was the first person in China credited with utilizing anesthesia.
 
The appreciation for marijuana as a medical plant continued through to the Middle Ages, and no laws were really enforced since experts of the time found positive uses for it. William Turner, an English botanist, wrote in his 1538 book “A New Herbal” that the hemp plant had good uses for medicine and that it could help with burns.

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Further information was uncovered on the healing power of the plant, as marijuana was found to treat more than physical wounds. In 1621, Robert Burton wrote “The Anatomy of Melancholy,” in which he suggested that cannabis was an excellent treatment for depression.

In the early part of the 20th century, there was support from the U.S. federal government to make marijuana possession a criminal offense in many states. Laws passed, and marijuana basically became a banned drug for much of the 20th century. The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 quickly led to a drop in prescriptions by doctors, temporarily ending its time as a healing agent in the United States.

1996
In 1996, California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana when voters passed Proposition 215. As of February 2015, 22 more states and Washington, D.C. have followed in allowing marijuana for medical use.

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Marijuana as a medicinal option has surfaced many times throughout history. Marijuana laws history have changed early perceptions of cannabis. Marijuana as a healing element is referenced more than 3,500 years ago and the debate over its medical use continues to this day.
marijuana laws history
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2015-23-30
Monday, 30 Mar 2015 01:23 PM
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