Cannabis has been used as a medicine for centuries, with the earliest record found in the Chinese Pharmacopeia of the 15th Century BC. The science of Cannabis was advanced during the 19th and 20th Centuries as more than 100 articles on the subject were published in medical journals. Cannabis was listed in the United States Pharmacopeia from 1850 until 1942 and used as a prescription for various conditions including labor pains, nausea and rheumatism.
Modern research conducted under FDA-approved protocols, including studies sponsored by federal and state governments, has documented the effectiveness of Cannabis as an antiemetic, anticonvulsant and as a treatment for glaucoma When the federal government ended Cannabis research in 1992, it had nearly completed the requirements for new drug approval. Federal restrictions have limited subsequent Cannabis research in the United States.
Growing abuse of marijuana and an aggressive anti-marijuana campaign by the Federal Bureau of Narcotics led to federal prohibition of possession and transfer (but not medical and industrial use) in 1932. The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 ranked Cannabis, alongside heroin and LSD, as a Schedule 1 drug with the highest potential for abuse and no accepted medical uses. In 1996, California became the first state to legalize the use of medical Cannabis.
Today, 23 states and the District of Columbia allow medical use. However, the possession and use of Cannabis in any form remains illegal under federal law. Recent federal drug enforcement policy has been not to interfere with qualified patients who use medical Cannabis in compliance with the laws of states that have legalized medical use.
There is considerable misinformation about medical Cannabis. Further research is required and is being conducted in the United States and around the world. What we do know, however, is that Cannabis is recognized by science for its well-established palliative effects and is used to treat the symptoms of cancer, Crohn’s Disease, epilepsy and other seizure disorders, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, neuropathic pain, rheumatoid arthritis and.
The drug provides doctors with an alternative to pharmaceuticals with debilitating and often devastating side effects. As such, medical Cannabis is being used today in some parts of the country to provide critical palliative relief to patients suffering from a host of diseases and conditions. Ultimately, it has the potential to help millions of Americans.