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A Look At Cannabis Medicine Through The Years

Hempco LogoHempco Admin
4 Mins. Read

The use of Cannabis as a medicinal product, thanks to its excellent benefits, is no new science. Despite the little research done in recent years, cannabis medicine dates back over five thousand years and has been known and renowned worldwide for its incredible benefits.

The History Of Medicinal Cannabis 

Medicinal Cannabis has been prescribed throughout the centuries for a variety of different uses, as well as being commonly prescribed across various centuries: 

2737 BC 

Looking back as far as 2737 BC, Emperor Shen Neng of China began prescribing Cannabis as a medicinal product in the form of cannabis tea. At the time, he commonly prescribed medicinal Cannabis for gout, malaria, rheumatism and, surprisingly, poor memory issues.

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From here, the use of Cannabis for medicinal benefits quickly and effectively spread throughout Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Frequently Cannabis was prescribed during this time for various ailments like headaches, ear aches, and those mentioned above - alongside many more. However, in some cultures, such as in the Hindu religion, Cannabis was also used to relax, de-stress and as a part of religious ceremonies. 


As quickly as medicinal Cannabis spread across Asia, the Middle East and Africa, the awareness and information surrounding this magical plant and its popularity in America didn't grow until 1492. It is believed that Christopher Columbus introduced the cannabis plant to America as part of the 'New World'. 

Initially, the cannabis and hemp plants were used in America for industrial purposes, such as when Christopher Columbus brought hemp rope. However, industrial hemp became so popular in America during these years that in 1619, Jamestown colony law required all settlers were required by law, to grow Cannabis and hemp.

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Recreational and medicinal Cannabis did not become hugely popular throughout America until around the 20th Century, when popularity rapidly spread throughout the country.

The 18th Century

Towards the end of the 18th Century, certain parts of the Cannabis and hemp plant had begun being recorded for their medicinal benefits throughout various medical journals, particularly in America— with records of hemp seeds being recommended for incontinence, inflamed skin and venereal disease. 

In 1788 hemp and Cannabis officially arrived in Australia, thanks to Sr Joseph Banks on the first fleet. This follows rapid popularity in the United Kingdom after the Irish Doctor William O'Shaugnessy raised medicinal cannabis popularity throughout the United Kingdom and America.

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Similarly to America, cannabis use in Australia began by utilising industrial hemp for its various properties, typically using hemp fibre for rope or fabric and hemp seeds. However, the recreational use of Cannabis rose in Australia in the early 20th Century before its rapid de-escalation. 

Early 19th Century 

Throughout the early 19th Century, medicinal Cannabis became very popular, particularly in America. Sir William Osler, dubbed the 'father of modern medicine', stated that medicinal Cannabis was the best treatment for migraines, alongside being prescribed for many other ailments such as labour pains and nausea.

Lockdown On Cannabis 

Unfortunately, by the 1900s, the use of medicinal Cannabis rapidly declined, alongside recreational uses and industrial hemp uses. Starting in America as the war on drugs, propaganda campaigns began to be run alongside many false claims of the effects of Cannabis, such as supposedly causing 'mayhem'. 

As early as 1937, America introduced the Marijuana Tax Act, which included a total ban on Cannabis, making it illegal to consume, grow, possess or transfer throughout the country. Once word spread worldwide about America's ban on Cannabis, the vast majority of countries worldwide followed suit, causing a total lockdown on Cannabis.

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Unfortunately for Cannabis, this also included medicinal Cannabis, and after so many years, many of the therapeutic benefits of Cannabis were unfortunately lost. However, in recent years, many countries have begun looking back into the research on the medicinal benefits of Cannabis. 

Modern Uses Of Medicinal Cannabis 

Despite the massive loss of information and research surrounding the medicinal benefits of Cannabis, many countries worldwide invested time in researching the medicinal properties of the cannabis plant. Thankfully, a vast amount of research has been overwhelmingly positive and has pushed many doctors, legislators and governments to implement medicinal Cannabis in their countries. 

Some of the more popular uses for medicinal Cannabis that are being prescribed today are as follows: 

Cancer patients 

One of the biggest pros and evidence-based benefits of medicinal Cannabis is for patients with cancer. Chemotherapy, in particular, can leave many patients feeling nasty side effects such as nausea and pain. So in recent years, many countries have begun allowing doctors to prescribe medicinal Cannabis for patients with cancer. 

Arthritis, Rheumatism and Inflammatory Diseases

One of the most significant and most researched medicinal cannabis benefits can be seen in patients who have arthritis, rheumatism diseases or other inflammatory diseases. This is primarily due to Cannabis's incredible anti-inflammatory benefits and its fantastic ability to reduce pain relief, which is so often seen in patients suffering from these types of diseases. 

Mental Health and Sleep 

Unfortunately, the massive rise in people suffering from mental health disorders like anxiety and depression is on a colossal incline worldwide. Cannabis has been shown to be a natural and safe treatment alternative for many people suffering from poor mental health, alongside sleep issues. 

Wrap Up 

The use of medicinal Cannabis has been used for centuries and has proven itself as a natural, safe and effective treatment option for so many health issues, disorders and diseases. Despite the substantial setbacks cannabis faced in recent years, the rapid rise in popularity worldwide is putting Cannabis right back at the forefront of medicine.