People have been using and cultivating cannabis (marijuana) for a variety of purposes for centuries.
In fact, the oldest written record of cannabis for medicinal purposes dates back to 2727 B.C. by the Chinese Emperor, Shen Nung.
Ancient Egyptians used it to treat glaucoma and inflammation; the Greeks touted its powers to treat ear aches and swelling—even early Americans used the plant to treat depression.
By 1850, the potent therapeutic properties of the cannabis plant had made their way into the U.S. Pharmacopeia, where it was cited to treat: “neuralgia, tetanus, typhus, cholera, rabies, dysentery, alcoholism, opiate addiction, anthrax, leprosy, incontinence, gout, convulsive disorders, tonsillitis, insanity, excessive menstrual bleeding, and uterine bleeding,” among other things.
Despite the seemingly irrefutable evidence of its medicinal value dating back thousands of years, and by almost every culture, by the late 1930s, the US federal government had prohibited both therapeutic and recreational use of the plant.
Since then, it has taken almost a century of legal challenges and ongoing testing to bring cannabis and its healing abilities back into the medical forefront.