It may seem like you’ve only recently heard about the beneficial effects of CBD and medical marijuana, but cannabis and its related products have been used for medicinal purposes in the U.S. much longer than they have been prohibited. Let’s take a quick skip through 300 years of wellness-related history as we look at how medical marijuana has been part of the doctor’s toolkit.

It’s commonly known that the Jamestown settlers introduced the marijuana plant to North America in 1611. The first recorded mention of the pharmacological use of marijuana comes from “The Anatomy of Melancholy,” published in 1621, where it was described as a treatment for depression. 

The medicinal use of cannabis continued freely throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. In the 1800s it was prescribed routinely by physicians who regarded it no differently than any of the other products at their disposal. By 1850 it achieved fully recognized status when it was classified as a legitimate compound in the official handbook of all over-the-counter and prescription medicines, the United States Pharmacopeia. It was prescribed regularly for patients suffering from convulsive disorders, gout, neuralgia, tetanus, alcoholism, anthrax, and incontinence. It was also found to be an effective treatment for opiate addiction.

In the early 20th century, some states were beginning to prohibit marijuana production, but over 60,000 pounds was still being grown annually in the U.S., with most of it being produced on farms owned by large pharmaceutical manufacturers. In 1930, standardized marijuana extracts were being sold by at least three large companies – Eli Lily, Parke-Davis, and Grimault & Co. Marijuana had been in regular use and production in North America for over 300 years at this point, but things were about to change.

The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 criminalized the possession of cannabis without a prescription. The new laws and regulations made it increasingly difficult for physicians to prescribe cannabis, so its use rapidly declined. In 1942, it was removed from the United States Pharmacopeia, which was the last blow to its legitimacy as a medicinal compound.

Over the next 30 years, not only was marijuana no longer recognized for its beneficial qualities, it was classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is defined as a drug with no medical value that is a real danger to public health.

When President Nixon declared the War on Drugs in 1971, marijuana was one of the primary targets of the government agencies that would merge to form the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). From there, marijuana continued to be perceived as a public menace until CBD-related products began to show that they could offer real relief to patients.

Many people think that medical marijuana’s surge in popularity is an entirely new development, but it’s simply a reaffirmation of a practice that was part of our country for centuries. It’s a shame that we lost decades of effective treatment for a variety of common conditions, but now that it’s back, medical marijuana is returning to form as a powerful part of a holistic wellness plan. 

As a side note, we think that anyone interested in the healing potential of marijuana should go back and look at some of the historic documents produced during those times when it was a trusted source of relief. It’s not only interesting reading, it’s a great way to regain some of the knowledge that used to be part of our everyday lives.

Everyday relief is what we’re about here at Elevate Holistics. Become a customer and we can help you find a physician that understands your needs and retailers that are able to provide the products that work best for you. Take charge of your health and let us help you find quick and effective relief.