Factoid #4 – A History Lesson in Medical Marijuana
Long before Cannabis (including Hemp) was intentionally dumbed down to nicknames like pot, weed, dope, and marijuana (among other colorful monikers), it was actually quite accepted in the social and medical world as one of the most effective natural remedies for a long list of ailments. The question is how did Cannabis lose its foothold in the medical world and how do we repair the damage? The history of Cannabis is a complicated and tragic story that continues to be written…and re-written. (See historical medical cannabis timeline here)
Having been time-tested in just about country and culture, cannabis had been proven by this time to relieve pain, counter insomnia, anxiety and reduce inflammation, and prescribed by physicians for about as long as man has had maladies. This was until about the early 20th century when large pharmaceuticals emerged to play a much greater role in purposely demoralizing cannabis when efforts to capitalize on the marketing and re-patentability of cannabis products failed, and cheaper synthetic substances were much quicker to manufacture resulting in greater profit margins. Big name pharmaceuticals like Eli Lilly, Parke-Davis (now Pfizer) and even Grimault & Company were already producing and marketing extracts and cigarettes made from cannabis as sedatives, analgesics, antispasmodic and anti-asthma products, just to name a few. With the help of lobbyists and some relatively deep pockets, 1936 ended with all 48 states passing laws to ban and regulate cannabis use since it was too easy for anyone to grow and use at home themselves. This would seal the fate of cannabis and force consumers to buy (through prescription) other legal alternatives like morphine, aspirin and opium derivatives…all with side-effects as a consequence, unlike cannabis.
Not everyone agreed with this legislation. In fact, Dr. William C. Woodward, legislative counsel for the American Medical Association (AMA), vehemently opposed the Marihuana Act because not only did it impose taxes on physicians, pharmacies and cannabis cultivation but the bill had been prepared in secret not allowing preparation for opposing response. The bill passed being rushed through Congress before anyone caught on to the fact that the term ‘Cannabis’ had been renamed as ‘Marihuana‘ intentionally by authors of the bill. No one associated the new Mexican terminology with medical cannabis or even made the connection, so it passed without hesitation. Up to this point in time, the term cannabis was the only name used for its medical reference. The term ‘marihuana’ intentionally combined cannabis and hemp together as one and the same plant and later being maliciously labeling it as a narcotic under the 1970 Controlled Substance Act directly relating it to heroin, LSD and ecstasy.
Oddly still, few people realize that cannabis was used as a medicine thousands of years before being named marijuana identifying as a recreational substance. Up until 1936, it was always referred to as cannabis. It wasn’t until the last 100 years or so that marijuana was sought after for its mind-bending, psychoactive effects. Many still speculate that the alcohol prohibition played a significant role in criminalizing cannabis. When alcohol became illegal and difficult to obtain, pro-libation users had to seek other ways to relax and unwind. Cannabis was an obvious, inexpensive and readily available substitute. Like the effects of the alcohol prohibition, listing cannabis (marijuana) as an illegal narcotic has been a very expensive and needless war while completely ignoring the medicinal aspects of it along the way. Eventually, marijuana would go on to steal the headlines in a villainous direction fueled by politics, corporate and government greed.
Until the world regards the fact that Cannabis is a healing herb and not a ‘drug’, it may take another hundred years to off-set the brainwashing that has damaged the reputation of one of the safest and most beneficial plants in the world.