History of Medicinal Cannabis

Medicinal cannabis has progressed from a fringe therapeutic option to mainstream medicine. The use of cannabis for medicinal purposes has been around for centuries, but it wasn’t until recently that the medical community began recognizing its potential and efficacy.

Humankind has a long history of using cannabis for health purposes, and it has been used to treat various ailments across many cultures for centuries. In the modern era, we increasingly recognize the physical and mental health benefits that cannabis can bring about in some individuals.

Whether it’s synthetic THC or natural CBD oil extracted from cannabis plants, the medical community is beginning to understand that there are many therapeutic benefits to be had with medicinal cannabis. 

Farmacy District is here to help you understand the history of medicinal cannabis, how it works, and why more and more people are turning to this natural remedy.

Let’s further discuss the history of medicinal cannabis and how it has evolved.

Ancient History Of Medicinal Cannabis

Medical marijuana buds in large prescription bottle with branded cap on black background

Centuries ago, in 2696-2737 BC, the renowned ruler Emperor Shen Nung reportedly became the first known user of Cannabis for medicinal purposes. He is even credited with being a creative genius who invented tea. Nung, a well-known philosopher and farmer renowned for his enthusiasm for hemp, documented the plant’s ‘yin energy.’ [1]

It is considered the first entry into pharmacopeia, an extensive compilation of medicines and their effects. His research noted its use as a treatment for malaria, dysentery, constipation, and rheumatic pains.

As far back as 1550 BC, African historical records have indicated that cannabis was used in traditional medicine for fever relief, easing pain, and uterine contractions. This evidence is documented in the Egyptian Ebers Papyrus, an ancient medical manuscript that still stands today. [1]

Dioscorides, the personal doctor of Emperor Nero, made detailed accounts of it while traversing across the Mediterranean region as a remedy for alleviating earaches. From the 8th to 18th centuries, records demonstrate that individuals in the Arab world relied on this remedy as a pain reliever, anti-inflammatory and anti-epileptic.

Uncovering the 20th Century’s Path of Medical Cannabis

Green leaves of medicinal cannabis with extract oil.Medical marijuana flower buds. Hemp buds - medical marijuana concept

Since the beginning of the 20th century, cannabis has been socially unacceptable by regulators and Western society. Starting from the late 1900s, a series of regulations in the United States made accessing cannabis increasingly tricky for consumers. [2] This culminated in 1937 with the Marihuana Tax Act that declared it illegal on a federal level and criminalized usage throughout America. After 85 years, the ban on alcohol in Canada was lifted due to recent progress. [2]

Surprisingly, the 20th century’s opposition to cannabis is merely a minor blip compared with its 6,000-year history. For centuries, cultures worldwide have held this plant in high regard due to its therapeutic effects and medicinal properties. [2]

How The Future Of Medicinal Cannabis Is Taking Shape

In the 21st century, the medical community slowly recognized cannabis as a legitimate treatment option, and several countries allowed its medicinal use. 

In Canada, both recreational and medicinal cannabis became legal in 2018 following a successful campaign led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. This put an end to almost 85 years of cannabis prohibition. [3]

In the United States, several states have also legalized medicinal marijuana. They are now allowing it to be used for treating severe medical ailments such as Epilepsy, Glaucoma, Crohn’s disease, Cancer-related pain, and anxiety.

Young woman preparing homeophatic medicine from marijuana plant.

Studies conducted by renowned research institutions such as the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) suggest that cannabis may treat anxiety, insomnia, addiction, and chronic pain. The agency has also concluded that cannabinoids found in the marijuana plant can potentially reduce inflammation and regulate homeostasis.

The worthiness of cannabis as a therapy for medical purposes is now gaining momentum throughout the world. Innovations are being made, and governments around the globe are gradually coming to terms with its therapeutic properties. 

However, there’s still far to go before it can reach its full potential as an effective medicine. The future of medicinal cannabis looks promising, and it will be interesting to see what the following years have in store. Only time will tell.

Some Medicinal Benefits Of Cannabis

Prescription for Medical Marijuana on a desktop.

Like many natural remedies, Cannabis has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. The medicinal properties are due to the nature of the plant’s active compounds, called cannabinoids. The two most abundant and best-known cannabinoids are THC and CBD.

THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is a psychoactive compound that produces an intoxicating “high” when ingested or inhaled. This is why it’s been used recreationally for centuries. But it also has numerous medicinal benefits, like pain relief and helping with nausea or appetite issues.

CBD (cannabidiol) is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that won’t make you feel “high.” Its medical properties are just as effective at treating specific conditions, such as pain, inflammation, and anxiety. It can also treat seizures and be an effective anti-inflammatory agent.

The medicinal value of Cannabis has been known for centuries in many cultures worldwide, but only recently have scientific studies begun to validate these effects. The potential benefits of cannabis are:

1. Treating Gastrointestinal Disorders

Cannabis has been used for centuries as a remedy for digestive issues. Cannabinoids can help reduce inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract, allowing food to pass through more efficiently and reducing symptoms of nausea and vomiting. The ulcer-healing properties of CBD have also been studied with promising results.

2. Fighting Cancers

Cannabis has been making the headlines lately, recognizing its medicinal benefits. Research is increasingly showing that cannabis can combat cancer in multiple ways. 

Through influencing cannabinoid receptors and modulating or suppressing pathways leading to tumors, CBD, one of the essential compounds within cannabis, has started to show promising anti-tumor effects. [3]

Countries worldwide are using cannabis oil as a natural treatment for certain forms of cancer, and many doctors stand behind it as an effective way to reduce tumor size and symptoms like nausea. As evidence continues to mount, cannabis will become less controversial, even moving up from its classification as a strictly recreational drug to a medicine.

3. Helping in Preventing Alcohol And Drug Addiction

Cannabis has also been known to prevent addiction to other drugs and alcohol. Science is still investigating how this works, but preliminary studies suggest that CBD can help reduce cravings associated with addictive substances like opiates and alcohol. 

This could be due to the anti-anxiety effects of CBD, which reduces stress and helps individuals cope with withdrawal symptoms. The medical potential of cannabis is only just being discovered, and its anti-addiction results are certainly worth exploring further.

4. Lowering Blood Pressure

According to a 2017 research published in JCI Insight, CBD was discovered to effectively reduce the blood pressure of human participants. This effect is attributed to its ability to reduce the activity of the sympathetic nervous system and decrease stress-induced cardiovascular responses, including inflammation. 

High blood pressure can lead to many medical problems, and CBD is an effective way to lower it without any adverse side effects naturally.

With history, culture, and science backing it, cannabis is a powerful tool for medical treatment. Its anti-inflammatory properties make it ideal for medicinal use, from treating seizures to reducing blood pressure. 

Cannabis can even help with addiction. As research continues, we will discover more potential medical applications of cannabis, and it will become an increasingly important ally in therapeutics. 

Farmacy District has the best quality cannabis products for medicinal use, so you can be sure to get the best care around. Explore our selection today and see how cannabis can help you. Contact us to learn more and get the care you need.


1. What was cannabis used for in ancient times?

Thousands of years ago, the Greeks employed cannabis to heal wounds on their horses and utilized its dried leaves as a remedy for nosebleeds in humans. Additionally, they used cannabis seeds to rid tapeworms from their bodies. Such was the power of this remarkable plant’s healing properties.

2. What cultures used cannabis?

For many centuries, entheogenic use of the plant has been documented in various cultures such as Ancient China, Germanic peoples, Celts, Ancient Central Asia, and Africa. In recent times, however, its spiritual use has been predominantly associated with Jamaica’s Rastafari movement.[4]

3. What is medicinal cannabis also known as?

Medical marijuana, also recognized as medical cannabis, is derived from Cannabis sativa and contains several active compounds. The two most prominent ones are delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol, which are responsible for the momentary “high” sensation. Both substances possess highly touted medicinal properties, which have been widely studied in recent years.

4. What are the side effects of using medical marijuana?

Generally, the side effects of medical cannabis are usually considered mild to moderate and short-lived. Symptoms such as dizziness, fatigue, dry mouth, lightheadedness, drowsiness, and nausea may occur. However, in rare cases, more severe reactions can be experienced that require immediate attention. Always check with your pharmacist at a Medical Cannabis Dispensary if any concerning symptoms develop after use.



[2] https://www.visualcapitalist.com/history-medical-cannabis-shown-one-giant-map/

[3] https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-44543286

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7605027/