BACKGROUND OF MEDICAL CANNABIS
The history of cannabis used for medicinal purposes dates back to the earliest eras of medicine and pharmacology. Medical properties were realized when humans first began to deliberately use plants for their effect on the body rather than a simple source of nutrition.
The first recorded mention of Cannabis used in a medical context comes from Shennong pên Ts’ao ching (the Great Herbal encyclopedia of the Emperor Shennong). This is one of the earliest texts on herbal medicine, dating back to 2700 BC.
During the early 1900’s cannabis was the world’s most widely prescribed medicine after opiates. Cannabis was part of numerous medicines from cough syrup to painkillers and digestive aids.
In Canada, Cannabis was criminalized in 1923 under Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King’s Liberal government. An amendment bill to the Opium and Narcotic Drug Act 1920 added Cannabis to
a list of restricted substances prohibiting the manufacturing, sale and importation of the medicine.
In the 1970’s a synthetic version of THC, the primary active ingredient in Cannabis, was designed to make a prescription drug called Marinol. Also known as Dronabinol, the drug was prescribed in the treatment of AIDS-related appetite and weight loss and severe nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy. The drug is not longer being manufactured for sale in Canada and no longer available.
Today in Canada, Cannabis remains to be a narcotic and illegal for recreational use. Fortunately a rediscovery in recent decades of the natural advantages of Medical Cannabis have lead to resurgence in the use of Cannabis for Medical purposes. Unlike industrial hemp, Medical Cannabis contains an active amount and wide range of cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are found to increase their effectiveness when taken together and Medical Practitioners are working to pinpoint cannabinoid combinations for specific ailment relief.