Over the past few years, public attention and awareness in the US regarding the usage of medical cannabis for various health conditions has witnessed a significant upswing.
This has been a direct consequence of a large number of US states legalizing the use of medical marijuana. These legalizations have helped boost the usage and positive outlook of people towards medical marijuana.
However, with cannabis and cannabinoid agents being regarded as medically beneficial for relieving symptoms or treating disease, their efficacy for particular indications is yet to be verified.
The FDA has considered how this recent spate of legalizations might support the scientific rigor of medicinal cannabis claims and the ongoing review of public data regarding the safety & abuse potential of this controversial drug.
Amidst all these happenings, it’s important that we are aware of the historical importance of medical cannabis!
Historical Importance of Medical Cannabis
To begin with, the origins of cannabis can be traced back to the ancient world. Extensive evidence has indicated its use over 5,000 years ago in modern-day Romania. The first direct source of evidence suggesting cannabis usage for medicinal purposes can be found to be around 400 AD.
Speaking of its history in the United States, widespread use of cannabis as a patent medicine during the 19th & early 20th centuries has been described in the United States Pharmacopoeia for the inaugural instance in the year 1850.
The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 was the first time federal restrictions were imposed on the usage and sale of cannabis. Subsequently, 3 decades later, the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 was passed and marijuana was classified as a Schedule 1 drug. This resulted in marijuana being officially outlawed for any use, including for medical purposes.
Besides criminalization, these acts played their part in creating limitations for research on the medicinal properties of marijuana for specific health conditions by restricting the procurement of marijuana for academic purposes.
Legalization of Medical Marijuana
After the act of 1970, it took more than a quarter of a century for a US state to permit legal access to the usage of botanical cannabis for medicinal purposes under the supervision of a doctor. This came with the enactment of the Compassionate Use Act by California state in 1996.
Since then, the movement for the legalization of cannabis for medicinal purposes gradually gathered momentum in the country.
This has culminated in today’s much more favorable situation wherein 36 US states, 4 territories, and the District of Columbia have legalized medical cannabis usage. Nevertheless, at the federal level, its use still remains prohibited.