Brief History of Marijuana Use in Medicine

Brief History of Marijuana Use in Medicine

• Dr. William B. O’Shaughnessy introduced cannabis to Western medicine in 1839 after spending several years in India and observing its healing effects.

• In the 1890’s, Sir Joshua Reynolds prescribed tincture of cannabis to Queen Victoria for the treatment of pre-menstrual syndrome.

• In the late 1890’s Sir William Osler, M.D., considered the founder of modern medicine, wrote in his textbook that cannabis was the most effective treatment for migraines.

• Dr. Morris Fishbein, editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association, reiterated this same position in a 1942 article.

• Cannabis was the fourth most common ingredient in patent medicines manufactured by such companies as Squibb, Eli Lilly, Merck and Parke-Davis from 1850 to the 1930’s.

• Cannabis fell out of favour in the 1940’s when pharmaceutical companies avoided plant ingredients, which began to be viewed as primitive, for “more modern” chemically developed compounds.

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