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.

Brief History of Marijuana Use in Medicine