History of Human Usage

Cannabis has been used for centuries. The extent of usage can be seen in European and American medical journals, between 1840 and 1900, which published more than 100 articles on the therapeutic use of the drug known then as Cannabis indica ( Indian hemp) and now as marijuana. As late as 1913 Sir William Osler recommended it as the most satisfactory remedy for migraine headaches. Today the 5000-year medical history of Cannabis has been almost forgotten. Its use declined in the early 20th century because the potency of preparations was variable, responses to oral ingestion were erratic, and alternatives became available--injectable opiates and, later, synthetic drugs such as aspirin and barbiturates. In the United States, the final blow was struck by the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937. Designed to prevent non-medical use, this law made Cannabis so difficult to obtain for medical purposes that it was removed from the pharmacopeia. It is now confined to Schedule I under the Controlled Substances Act as a drug that has a high potential for abuse, lacks an "accepted" medical use, and is unsafe for use under medical supervision.

The Lindesmith Center (www. soros.org/lindesmith/tlcjama.html)

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