Brief History of Medical and Recreational Marijuana

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The use of cannabis has been around for quite some time, medically and recreationally. This article takes a look at how both started being used and where it is today. Canada, in particular, has been making leaps in both these sectors

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However, as shown, both compounds have therapeutic effects and they work synergistically to produce the observed benefits in combination with over 85 other cannabinoids found in cannabis. therefore, while choosing for the specific strains to treat a certain condition, keep in mind that saying some strains are purely recreational while some totally medical is a gross overlook. A brief history of the medical use of marijuana.

Historical records date the use of marijuana as far back as 2737 BC where Emperor and pharmacologist Shen Neng of China recorded how cannabis can be used as an effective treatment of rheumatism, gout, poor memory, anxiety and constipation in his notebook after experimenting on himself. Between 2000-1000 BC, cannabis spread throughout South Asia where it is described in an Indian poem as “herbs…that release us from worry”.

The Greeks also have records of using cannabis to dress wounded-horses after the battle and also on themselves to treat ear pain, inflammation, etc. The Greeks are mostly credited with the spread of cannabis to Arab countries. Ancient Egyptians used cannabis to treat tumours based on the texts from the 2nd century known as the Fayyum Medical Papyrus. This is believed to be the first ever record of the use of cannabis as a treatment for cancer and remains a subject of interest in this field until today.

For 90 years, between 1851 to 1941, cannabis was listed as a legal medicine in the United States Pharmacopeia (USP). However, the drug was slowly replaced by synthetic versions with the onset of the 20th century and it became almost impossible to prescribe the drug after the Marijuana Tax Act was passed in 1937. It was delisted from the USP in 1942 and has been the case till today. Fortunately, the long-known medical benefits of marijuana have re-ignited a new wave of interest especially with the discovery of the endocannabinoid system and more active compounds in cannabis such as CBD and terpenes.

A brief history of the recreational use of marijuana

A nomadic tribe called the Scythians have evidence of cannabis use for both spiritual and recreational purposes. Historians believe that marijuana’s psychoactive effects led this ancient community to use the drug. Arabs also have a record of using marijuana for recreational purposes as seen in the anthology 1001 Nights which was written in the 12th century. There is much evidence showing the wide use of hashish in the Middle East during this time.

Theophile Gautier formed Club des Hashishins (the Hashish Club) in 1843 which met monthly to get high on mostly hashish. In North America, an influx of immigrants from South America led to the spread of recreational use of marijuana especially after 1910. The drug was shortly illegalized in 1937. Today, the recreational use of marijuana is prevalent in North America with a recent study showing that 52% of American adults have tried cannabis at least once and 44% of them end up being frequent users. In Canada, controlled recreational use of marijuana will be legal by July 2018.

Other differences between medical and recreational marijuana

From the above information, it is clear that there is no much difference between medical and recreational marijuana besides how you access them, the information available behind each strain and more importantly, the intent of using the drug. In states where recreational and medical marijuana are both legal, the tax rates vary on both and maybe even different at the county and city levels. The amount of marijuana you can purchase also varies depending on your intent of use in these states.

Lastly, dispensaries selling medical marijuana will often require an ID and a prescription from a doctor before they can sell to you. On the other hand, anyone with a valid ID can buy from a recreational marijuana dispensary. Have any questions or comments about using marijuana for medical or recreational use? Be sure to share your thought below.


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