For over 4,700 years, hemp as a plant has been used for many purposes, including for medicine. As more and more people decide to leave pharmaceutical drugs, in the search for natural and whole-plant based products without the slew of side-effects, it is fun and energizing to remember that this plant has been around for quite some time, without any dangerous or negative implications for the users.
From the Journal Article “History of cannabis as a medicine: a review”:
The use of cannabis as a medicine by ancient Chinese was reported in the world's oldest pharmacopoeia, the pen-ts'ao ching which was compiled in the first century of this Era, but based on oral traditions passed down from the time of Emperor Shen-Nung, who lived during the years 2.700 B.C. Indications for the use of cannabis included: rheumatic pain, intestinal constipation, disorders of the female reproductive system, malaria, and others. In the beginning of the Christian Era, Hua T'o, the founder of Chinese surgery (A.D. 110 – 207), used a compound of the plant, taken with wine, to anesthetize patients during surgical operations.
In the United States, hemp is being grown in several States, and hemp products can be sold in all 50 States (as long as the hemp plant material tests at <0.3% THC - there will always be trace amounts of THC and other cannabinoids in hemp because they are naturally occurring parts of the plant). Research on plant genetics is proving useful to growing plants with higher or lower amounts of cannabinoids, as well as varying types and amounts of terpenes - another compound found in cannabis (and many plants) - that can have therapeutic effects.
What does this mean? Well, as the United States comes out of the dark ages of pharmaceutical medicating (there is a place for it, but not first place) and instead starts to look for healthful alternatives that encourage real healing of disease (versus shutting down the symptom) - the population will benefit. And what is most exciting, is that this plant can be very accessible, both geographically as well as financially, for everyone.
1. Li HL, Lin H. An archaeological and historical account of cannabis in China. Econ Bot. 1974;28(4):437-47. [ Links ] end-ref ref
2. Touwn M. The religious and medicinal uses of Cannabis in China, India and Tibet. J Psychoactive Drugs. 1981;13(1):23-34.