Scepticism around medical cannabis still abounds, despite both its long history of worldwide medical use and modern day research backing up its diverse medical properties. Next time you find yourself debating someone who says that cannabis is not medicine, perhaps you want to keep some of these examples at the ready and give them a pot-ted history of this palliative plant.
The first known uses of cannabis
When we say history, we´re talking ancient history here. The first documented uses of cannabis as medicine date back to China, around 10,000 years ago. It was used in various pharmacopoeias as anaesthetic, as pain relief and for minor ailments like hair loss and constipation; with cannabis sativa or ‘dà má (大麻)’ becoming one of the ‘50 fundamental herbs’ in Chinese medicine over time.
Ancient Egyptians also used cannabis, both for religious and cultural practices and for the medicinal benefits. The Papyrus Chester Beatty VI, part of the papyri collection of American mining magnate Chester Beatty, was a medical work dating from around 1200 BCE and is one of the oldest preserved medical documents still in existence. Among its herbal treatments and accompanying spells, is the use of cannabis to treat pain related to colorectal cancer and headaches. Other papyri from the period also include cannabis among their ingredients for medical preparations.