A Brief History of Cannabis and its Uses
Cannabis is know to have been used in many cultures for thousands of years and was even one of the fundamental herbs in traditional Chinese medicine with accounts recorded from 2727 BC by the Emperor Shen Nung. When the Chinese invented paper 2,000 years ago, it was made of hemp. Egyptians used hemp suppositories to relieve hemmorhoidal pain. The oldest surviving piece of fabric from 8,000 years ago was made of hemp. The Greeks used it nasally for nosebleeds, dress wounds, and eradicate parasites. In India, cannabis was used to aid in sleep, belly aches and headaches, as well as for pain and childbirth. Centuries ago, it has been used throughout the middle east for many of the same conditions it continues to be used to treat today like nausea, seizures, pain, inflammation. Shipping was completely dependent on hemp for ropes and sails until the 19th century, so much so that the word canvas came from cannabis, Latin for hemp.
It was imported from India to Europe in the 1800s and then came to the US. In 1850, cannabis was included in the US Pharmacopeia. As opiate use rose, marijuana use fell and in 1937, the Marihuana Tax Act changed forever the relationship between physicians and cannabis with regulations and fees on physicians. By 1941, it had been removed from the pharmacopeia. In 1970, it was declared a controlled substance and officially banned.
Most recently, 29 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana on a state level. Federally, it is still a Schedule 1 drug which is defined as having a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use. In Dec 2014, the Rohrbacher-Farr amendment passed which prohibits the justice department from prosecuting those following state medical cannabis laws.
In Florida, low-THC medical cannabis was first legalized in 2014 with the Compassionate Use Act. The Right to Try Act in 2016 permitted terminal patients to get full strength cannabis. In 2016, Amendment 2 passed allowing medical cannabis programs to expand in 2017. Senate Bill 8A removed the 90d wait and established guidelines including encompassing other debilitating conditions in June 2017.
The US Food and Drug Administration does not recognize the marijuana plant as medicine. To become FDA approved, clinical trials on medical marijuana must be performed on hundreds to thousands of patients and there is very little research that has been done on the marijuana plant. More than 20 cannabanoids are being studied by the FDA.
However, the FDA has approved two medications containing cannabanoid chemicals. Marijuana pharmaceuticals do not require registry with the Office of Compassionate Use and are prescribed to treat nausea from chemotherapy and weight loss with AIDS. Dronabinol is synthetic THC and nabilone is a synthetic chemical similar to THC.
The FDA states “marijuana has a high potential for abuse, has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and has a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision.”