There are references to marijuana in the Chinese pharmacopeia that go back to 1500 BC (National Institute of Drug Abuse – Marijuana Research Findings – 1976, 1977). The Chinese were said to use cannabis to treat diarrhea, dysentery and to stimulate appetite.

The use of cannabis in India probably goes back to the Vedic times (c. 1800 BC onwards), as mentioned in the Atharvaveda.

Marijuana was added to the US Pharmacopeia in 1850, where it is listed as a treatment for neuralgia, tetanus, leprosy, dysentery, uterine bleeding, and many other ailments.

The synthetic form of THC, going under the trade name of Marinol, was approved for medical use in May 1985 and was used to treat nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. THE US FDA approved this product to treat anorexia in patients with AIDS (Eddy, 2010).

Cannabinoids found in marijuana were studied for their antioxidant and neuroprotectant property. A US Department of Health and Human Services patent US 6630507 B1 was awarded to Aidan J. Hampson, Julius Axelrod, and Maurizio Grimaldi in October 2003. The abstract citation is reproduced below:

Cannabinoids have been found to have antioxidant properties unrelated to NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) receptor antagonism. This new-found property makes cannabinoids useful in treating and prophylaxis of a wide variety of oxidation-associated diseases, such as ischemic, age-related, inflammatory, and autoimmune diseases. Cannabinoids are found to have application as neuroprotectants, for example, in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease Parkinson’s disease, and HIV dementia. Nonpsychoactive cannabinoids, such as cannabidiol, are particularly advantageous to use because they avoid toxicity that is encountered with psychoactive cannabinoids at high doses useful in the method of the present invention…

Components of marijuana are under investigation about its effectiveness as a treatment for autoimmune diseases and malignancy (Owen et al., 2014).

Additional reading:

  1. Asian Herbs and their wondrous health-giving properties
  2. Holy Herbs: Modern Connections to Ancient Plants

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